A Story About Balm

About 20 years ago I went about to create a hand balm that actually moisturized my skin. Having live in Colorado most my life I was all to familiar with the difficulty in keeping one's skin moisturized.  I also was (and still am) a knitter and was frustrated by my dry skin (ugh! those hangnails!!) snagging my yarn. I tried creams and lotions to no avail. I'd apply them and 15 minutes later would feel like I had to reapply. I tried balms and salves, but those left my hands so oily that I had to walk around not touching my hands to anything, let alone my knitting, as to not leave a grease mark. Many times, having to towel off my hands just to lessen the oily feeling.

So I set about creating my own hand balm. I had already been dabbling in making all sorts of homemade skin care products for a couple of years, so I went into my kitchen with an idea and began crafting. 

Around 2001 Knitter's Balm was born. I sold it at A Knitted Peace, a yarn shop my mother opened in 2001. I expanded my line to include a hand balm, foot balm, lip balm and a momma-baby line. I sold to a few shops around Colorado under my then company, Healing Yew. That was great for a few years. But I ended up closing it down because, though my products were very well received, I couldn't generate enough revenue to cover my bills and grow the business. I also was the mother of a young child and now that she was in preschool had to get a paying job to help support my family.

Skip forward to 2012, I had just finished my schooling as a Clinical Herbalist in Boulder, CO. I started Stinging Nettle Apothecary, creating custom skin care products and medicinal teas and tinctures for my clients in my clinical practice.

In the fall of 2012 I joined my friend Gail in opening Longmont Yarn Shoppe. The following year she asked me about that Knitter's Balm I used to make and if I could start making it again for her shoppe! I dug up that old recipe, made a few tweaks and renamed the product Yarn Balm to be more inclusive of everyone who works with yarn and fiber. Yarn Balm has been a great success, from being featured in several Interweave magazines to being a favorite among yarn shops around the country. I truly feel such gratitude for all the shop owners, customers and friends and family who have supported me over these years with this product. Who knew a hand balm for fiber artists would be such a huge hit and such a necessary product in ones project bag!

Now this balm journey brings me to today in 2019 where I have rebranded and renamed my business and Yarn Balm. The decision on the latter was so my product could be even more inclusive of all crafts and maker trades. Though I knew many people who used my balm who were not knitters or crocheters, often times I found the Yarn Balm name to be limiting. Putting some people in the position to ask "Can I use your balm even though I don't work with yarn?" "Well, of course!" I would reply, thinking there is nothing saying all people of all crafts can't use my product. But then realizing quickly just the words in a name would stop people from picking up my product. 

So Yarn Balm is now Maker's Hand Relief. I consider everyone a maker! There is no judgement against one's craft and creativity. Everyone creates something! Whether it's out of beads, leather, wood, food, yarn, fabric, paper, fiber, paint, clay, the list goes on and on. Everyone needs a hand moisturizer that works, that slips easily into any bag and that nourishes and soaks in, keeping their skin in top shape to continue crafting and creating!

We are all Makers in this amazing diverse community we call Home. We all create something – our children, our dreams and better more kind world. 

To create a world that I am proud of, that accepts and cares for all people, regardless of the color of their skin or their gender identity. Where we move beyond tolerance to a place where we don't just tolerate certain people; but instead learn about them and thus create transformation and embrace the beauty of our differences, resulting in a transformation of our community, our nation and our world. 

Create something Beautiful and share it with me. I am here to not only make amazing skincare that takes care of your hands while you work, but also to Celebrate You and Celebrate All Makers and the “Beauty” you all bring to our World.

So let Elderwood Apothecary take care of your hardworking hands so you can continue to be a Maker. Don’t let dry rough hands, ragged hangnails and cuts get in your way of creating. Rub on some Maker’s Hand Relief and let this balm heal and nourish your skin so you can get back to work.

You are Beautiful. What You Make is Beautiful. Let us Celebrate You!

Until next time. Keeping Making!

Jane Anderson

Owner of Elderwood Apothecary



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