Sunday, January 6, 2013

Kim Leach and Happy Hands

This past week, the wonderful Jocelyn Brown of the Detroit News craft blog (Friday's edition) ran a truly nifty column featuring a crocheted cowl done up in fingering-weight, hand-painted wool yarn by Kim Leach (Wisconsin), a yarn she called Toe Jams.  The line is Happy Hands Yarn.  Jocelyn got it some months ago at Artisan Knitworks -- indeed, I think we're the sole source of Happy Hands Yarn in Michigan.  Jocelyn chose a fabulous green mix with a dash of purple.  We also stock some of Kim's worsted-weight hand-painted wool in great big balls.

I have known for some time that the amazing Kim -- a self-taught dyer with an astonishingly interesting sense of color, a witty dyer who tossed a bit of purple into almost everything she did -- had life-threatening, congenital liver disease.  When last I saw her at a fiber festival, Kim's husband confided that he was not at all sure she would be all right, and very sure she could eventually require a liver transplant.  Now, I learn she has died.

Kim was young -- in her 50s, a bouncing little bundle of joy.  That description only sounds trite if you didn't know her.  She bounced.  She was always, always full of joy.  And I will miss her.  We have assembled a large basket of her yarn near the seating area -- obviously, when it's gone, we're done.  So come look.  There is more in the fingering district.   This has not been a good day.  Tomorrow will be better.    Love to all.    Here's Kim.      svb


  1. Kim, wonderful, funny, talented and vivacious Kim. Yes, a bouncing bundle of joy - vivacious, happy and upbeat no matter the challenge in front of her. I saw her just a few weeks before she passed and, while it was quite obvious how ill she really was, her outlook was positive and determined, yet her sparsely populated booth spoke loudly about how her condition was sapping her energy and draining the very life out of her. Despite that, she spoke excitedly of her dreams of color for dyeing projects yet to be done and the events she planned to attend in the future. I choose believe she is still adding vibrant color to everyone's the world above, both in her ability to bring joy through her use of color in her dyeing projects, and also through her personality that painted the world with color for those who were fortunate enough to have known her. I know there's 'trouble' wherever you are and whatever you are and joyous 'trouble' emanating from your bubbly core. Kim, sweet Kim, dear friend, I will forever miss you and I cherish the memories of time spent with you and the color you showered on my life.

  2. and as summer comes into view once more, and I start planning trips to fiber festivals, I miss her all over again. svb