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Thursday
Dec032015

Six Sites Selling Quality Handmade 

The holiday season is nearly upon us and shoppers are more discriminatory than ever about where their clothing comes from and who makes it. There are several sites that I think offer excellent products, in different price ranges.  In the upper middle price range, Granted, from British Columbia, Canada sells handmade sweaters that run about $300 US.  They have a variety of designs from classic and simple to more whimsical with hula dancers and Smoky the Bear. The quality and consistency is evident and while hula dancers on a sweater may seem funny, it really does work. They have a variety of colors and designs and it is not hard to imagine at least one on your Christmas list who would really be pleased at receiving a Granted sweater.

Threads of Peru has everything you would expect, shawls, ponchos, those cool Peruvian hats, fingerless gloves, beanies.  (I kept thinking the only thing missing was Salma Hayek, although not Peruvian, in one of their ponchos.)  South American style (some using the techniques of the Quechua), beautiful handmade clothing does not come cheaply, though.  The ponchos range from $425- $750.  They also have great alpaca bedspreads that run $1,515.  I will have to tell my friend, Brian the alpaca breeder, about that one....

 

Threads of Peru- poncho

 

I want to also highlight a company in New Mexico called Rainbow Gate.  They don't sell clothing, but make beautiful ceramics.  I like their rainbow ware and saturn rings collections of dinnerware.  Most items range from about $50 - $180.

 

 Rainbow Gate- Saturn Rings

 

In Amish country, a number of artisans produce high-quality quilts, pillowcases and other domestic items. Amish Country Lanes has a large inventory of quilts, both large and small hanging of the patchwork, Amish colors, Christmas and embroidered quilts.  The simple lifestyle and dedication to quality work is evident in their work. Production of the quilts is very exacting and detailed.  Each large quilt has between 40,000 and 50,000 stitches.  Patchwork quilts are designed so not only are the stitches perfectly uniform, but invisible.  Designs range from the traditional:

 

 Amish Country Lanes

...to the more abstract:

 

Amish Country Lanes

 

Scotland is famous for its quality wool and knit clothing.  Wool is important in keeping warm in Scotland's cool, damp climate.  Also, here are so many sheep and so many people knitting that the competition has driven quality to the very top. Kilvaree is a small croft on Scotland's west coast where they raise Soay sheep, a rare and primitive breed that is registered with Britain's Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Using age-old methods of collecting wool ( they are not shorn, but the wool is shed and collected in the fields and near the trees the sheep rub against!) and  "solar" dying the wool, the owners produce distinctive felt and unique handmade Crofter's Bags (women's handbags).  

 

Kilvaree Croft Bag

Finally, there is a new site, Caucacaus Mountain Knits.  The Caucasus Mountains are beautiful, remote and rarely visited due to a lack of infrastructure.  The products are made in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, where useful and warm socks and mittens are necessary and the distinctive Karbarino slippers and dzhurabi are produced by hand.  The sheep are shorn using hand clippers, the wool is dyed and the yarn made using methods handed down from generation to generation and mostly older women (babushki) make the uniquely designed, durable and warm dzhurabi and other items.  Take a look at the products and also the photos and videos of the Caucasus Mountain backdrop and people who make Caucasus Mountain Knits. Because the area is remote and impoverished, buying from CMK makes a measureable difference in a place with little industry or tourism.  Prices are modest and range from about $12 up to about $28 (for cool and popular dzhurabi).

 Caucasus Mountain Knits 

 

 

 

 

Saturday
Nov282015

Newsletter

Caucasus Knits publishes a free newsletter about new products, sales and events. Please follow the link and sign up to stay in touch.  

 

Thursday
Nov192015

Caucasus Mountain Knits Press Release





Lena Talley wearing dzhurabi from Caucasus Mountain Knits

 

Sarasota, Florida November 19, 2015   Bruce Talley, owner of the global events firms, Destination Sochi and Destination Rio, has launched a new venture, offering online sales of high-quality and distinctively handmade and loomed socks, mittens, slippers from the remote, historic Caucasus Mountains.

Caucasus Mountain Knits are handmade or loomed using the simple techniques of the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, a remote, underdeveloped region of the Caucasus Mountains in Russia with spectacular and rugged mountain vistas.  Kabardino-Balkaria is famed regionally for its high-quality socks, mittens, slippers and beautiful dzhurabi (picture above).   The unique craftsmanship and price of the knits make them a great value for outdoor wear in the winter, indoors at any time and for holiday gift-giving.   The towns and villages of Kabardino have little in the way of industry or tourism, and locals often survive on $200- $300 or even less per month.  So,  Caucasus Mountains Knits is helping to boost the local economy by purchasing directly from the villagers and farmers who produce the clothing.

Bruce Talley, a native South Dakotan and long-time Californian, has returned to the United States after a decade abroad, living in Russia for 9 years and Brazil for 1.  In Russia, his ventures included Destination Sochi, the largest events firm in Sochi for the 2-year period leading to the Games, as well as land development and promotion of projects nearby in the Republic of Abkhazia.   Now based in Sarasota, Florida, Mr. Talley has launched Caucasus Mountain Knits (www.caucasusknits.com) with his wife, Lena, to sell the uniquely beautiful, comfortable and durable knits of Kabardino-Balkaria, in the northern Caucasus.

“Many of our items are handmade from start to finish. The designs, dyeing and knitting methods have been handed down for generations by people who are hardy and know how to make clothes that stand up to brutal winters and a rugged life style. Since many of these folks have little money, they have to make their clothes last. These are fine products made by fine people from the finest quality wool,” Mr. Talley said.

During his time in Russia, Mr. Talley and his wife visited the villages where the knitted products originate. They spoke with the people who raise the sheep and harvested the wool, those who dye it, the artisans who turned the colored wool into warm, durable, and comfortable clothing on their looms.  Caucasusknits.com features video of these people, the time-tested processes and the mountain backdrop to all.

 


‚ÄčKabardino-Balkaria

 

“The mountain people who make the clothing take pride in their work. They take the time and care to create clothing that keeps their families and friends warm. They were thrilled with the idea that people in the Unites States and elsewhere may be wearing their creations in their homes thousands of miles from where they make them.  It is satisfying and cool to help make this happen, when you think about it,” he added.

After working in investment banking in southern California for almost 20 years, Mr. Talley moved to Russia to pursue land development.  He later opened Destination Sochi to provide relocation services, television studios, transport, and staffing services to the companies that work the Olympics.  Destination Sochi was the largest on-the-ground firm in Sochi and provided services to nearly 50 broadcasters, Olympic sponsors and partners in the period from 2011- 2014.  Previously, he provided guidance to the Republic of Abkhazia on the privatization of state-owned assets.  Bringing it full-circle, Mr. Talley was brought up on a cattle and sheep farm in South Dakota, where he helped to raise and shear sheep from the age of 8.

Mr. Talley was profiled in the Atlantic Monthly in 2010, interviewed for the Washington Post, the BBC, HBO, the subject of a television interview for NBC Channel 7 San Diego, profiled in Delovaya Gazeta Yug twice, Real Business and other magazines, newspapers and television stations in Russia and the United States.

 

Contact:

Bruce Talley

 bruce@caucasusknits.com

@caucasusknits

www.caucasusknits.com

1 305 336 2829

 


Bruce Talley/ Caucasus Mountain Knits

Monday
Nov162015

Caucasus Knits

Our new website selling knit clothing made in the Caucasus Mountains is now live. The website, www.caucasusknits.com , offers handmade and loomed socks, mittens, slippers and dzhurabi that are made in the villages and on the farms in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria.  Kabardino is on the north (Russian) side of the Caucasus and is remote, underdeveloped and spectacularly beautiful.  However, this area produces high-quality wool, in a natural, humane environment and the wool is spun into yarn and then knit into the socks, slippers and dzhurabi with the distinctive designs and colors of the region. 

 

Sunday
Nov242013

Moscow Guide


Customers ask us regularly about guides, transfer services and translators in Moscow. We refer them to one of Moscow's best, internationally recognized, Artur Lyukanov. He is an expert guide who can capably translate and handle transportation services for individuals and small groups.  
  
Artur provides guided tours of Moscow and the surrounding cities of the Golden Ring that are tailored to the client's interests and schedule. I met Artur nearly a decade ago and have watched as his business has grown due to excellent customer service.  f you have one day or one week, he can make your Moscow experience richer and more interesting.