Felicia's Notebook, SweetGeorgia

Fifteen Years of SweetGeorgia

Sourdough Boule

This morning, as we are in the midst of starting new routines of getting kids up and out to the begin the school year, I took a quick glance at my sourdough starter, percolating happily on the kitchen counter. It just looked so bubbly and ready that I couldn’t help myself. I cracked open a new bag of Flourist Red Spring flour and started mixing up some dough for a single loaf of sourdough. It’s 8:30 am and I’m busy stretching a pile of dough while I assume the children are finding their socks. After all these years, apparently I still have little self-control when it comes to the creative itch to make something.

You might know that this blog originally started out in 2004 as a venue for me to write about bread baking as well as knitting, sewing, food, and photography. In fact, it was right there in the tagline.

sweetgeorgia blog — baking bread

Screenshot of the sweetgeorgia blog from back in 2004, when I occasionally wrote about baking

 

Like many home-bound people during the pandemic, my interest in bread was reignited and I’ve been learning a lot about sourdough bread baking this past summer. I was recently reading about how higher hydration doughs make for lighter and airier loaves of bread but it means the messy handling of uncomfortably wet and sticky dough at the start.

Burbling, bubbling ball of sourdough ready for the oven

Burbling, bubbling ball of sourdough ready for the oven

So this morning, as I repeatedly stretched and folded the wet and gummy dough, over and over, it began to take shape. It transformed from a shaggy, unruly, and unpredictable glob of flour, yeast, salt, and water and (eventually, hours later) became a smooth, shiny, and compact ball of lively and springy bread dough. I enjoy a good food metaphor (as you probably know, if you’ve been reading this blog since 2004), and I can’t think of a better metaphor about starting and growing a creative business.

Fifteen years ago today, I posted a couple of skeins of hand-dyed yarn onto Etsy and waited to see what would happen. The skeins sold out within a couple of hours and I began an intense journey of hand-dyeing and growing a brand new business. SweetGeorgia has had its share of highs and lows, moved studio spaces six times, grown to a team of more than a dozen amazing humans, and still evolving and trying to improve every day.

When I see new indie dyers launching thumb-stopping Instagram accounts, setting up shops, and starting their businesses, I am so excited for them. It’s a distinctly magical moment when the creativity and passion can no longer be contained and it bubbles over. Launching anything is an explosion of energy and I wonder if they feel what I felt when I began too. The days leading up to my “launch” day were speckled with long conversations, sleepless nights, and endless ruminating thoughts as I wrestled with the idea of starting this “sweetgeorgia” project. “What am I doing?” It’s one thing to love crafts, love knitting, and love playing with colour, but it’s a whole other thing to put it out into the world as the thing that you do. The dreamy state of creative bliss and excitement that I imagined was also studded with moments of trepidation and uncertainty. I felt like I simultaneously didn’t know enough and wasn’t ready but I couldn’t wait any longer. Again, little self-control. I wanted to know what it meant to be a professional in arts and crafts, what my work meant, and if my work had value or purpose. What was it all for?

After all these years, I think we are transformed like bread dough. From a confused tangle of primary ingredients, we have been stretched and folded, kneaded and worked over. Each time we are stretched to the breaking point we are given a moment to rest and relax, then stretched again, over and over, building strength and resilience into our very being. The strength gives us shape and form. The resilience allows us to rise and bloom. We have to go through the messy and uncomfortable phase in order to get to the smooth and shiny phase, and we are stretched and stretched, again and again.

Thank you to our community and fellow fibre friends who have supported our hand-dyed yarn journey from the very beginning. And thank you to our team of creative and steadfast individuals who have helped stretch and shape SweetGeorgia. It is with your energy and enthusiasm that we continue to work towards spreading joy through colour and craft.

We wanted so very much to celebrate with our community this year. We wanted to host a party and invite you all to see our new space, share some cake, and be together. But that kind of celebration will need to wait. Instead, I think it’s fitting this year that we have a quiet moment of reflection to celebrate our resilience as a team and as a community. If you stretch us, we will get stronger. And if you poke us, we will spring back. Here’s to 2020 and 15 years of food and fibre arts metaphors. May there be many, many more.

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About Felicia Lo

founder + creative director of SweetGeorgia // designer + dreamer // wife + mama // dyer, knitter, spinner, weaver, youtuber + author // been writing this blog about colour and craft since 2004 // see what I am making @lomeetsloom and @sweetgeorgia.

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4 thoughts on “Fifteen Years of SweetGeorgia

  1. Bonnie Strickland Cocuzza says:

    I’m just curious where your first business was located. I seem to remember you packing up shop years ago and searching for a place to relocate. But my brain just can’t remember exactly. Am I dreaming?

    I love your yarn especially your colors and your Craftsy video helped me to learn to spin. So glad that Craftsy is back!

    1. sweetgeorgia says:

      Oh thank you Bonnie! SweetGeorgia Yarns has always been located in Vancouver, but in different studio configurations and sizes. Yes, I’ve moved my set up many times! But we’re still in Vancouver :) Thank you so much and I have to agree, I’m so glad Craftsy is back too!

  2. Jill Dean says:

    You inspired me way back in about 2005? I was searching for yarn and patterns online and your blog popped up. Between you and the Yarn Harlot, I realized I was not alone and others were fired up to make things too! Thank you! I am a lifer for sure. I always love your booth at fibre festivals and online. Love colour. Love your unapologetic colour!
    And having lost my long term admin job last spring, I have been selling bread (including sourdough) and other baking at our local farmers market.

  3. Judy11 says:

    I must say I adore your yarns and find that dollar for dollar yours are a much nicer yarn than many of the others out there. And, to me, your color selection is unbeatable. I am a pink and purple lover and you’d be surprised that others do not have REAL pinks (no orange-ish tones in my pinks, please!). You are my go to when searching for a solid to go with the collection of variegated , speckled, or multicolor hand dyed yarns I have collected over the years. I do also appreciate your semi-solid hand painted and color splash selections and have done projects in those also. My favorite was a purple pink ish combo I think called Amethyst. That we such a perfect combo for me used for a shawl that would be worn and visible around my face. Kudos to SGY!!

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