I dare you to!

I dare you to!

Last week I had a particularly cool day. I went to the Hand Craft Fair held in Rotterdam, its a big event and I was really looking forward to it – not least because I was planning on seeing some people there I havent seen in a while, as well as meeting up with Deidre (Deidre Dreams) – we have been chatting off and on for months on Facebook, as well as buying each others products! So this was already cool. Add to that the potential of making awesome finds and purchases, getting new ideas, and seeing what everyone else is doing, had to be good right!? It got even better. I found the stand of the lovely Alet from Textielwerk en Zo, she was surrounded by quite a number of people talking yarns, I didn’t want to disturb that so I went in search of adventure and found where Monique was manning the spinning wheels and carders at a big table. She gleefully revealed to me a large box under the table with all the left over fibers that Esther (JazzTurtle) had brought over for the workshop back in June. I say box. I mean TREASURE CHEST. I looked at Monique and I am sure she knew exactly what was going through my mind as she pointed to the drum carders. Yes! I reached in and grabbed handful after handful, allowing whatever came out of the box to take its place in the batt, as was its right. At some point, I found a white feather, it was attached, to a feather boa. It was one of the things I had added to the pile back at the workshop, one end was quite bald, and I briefly considered plucking off some more feathers to spin into the yarn. My mind balked at this idea. I wanted to whip up something fast, make it look easy, show off  the Aura and  just what can be done with an it (as it is The One Wheel afterall). The thought raced across my mind, accompanied with an image; Why not spin the WHOLE THING into the yarn? What? But.. but… its thick.. and fat with feathers!’ I thought. Followed by ‘well, thats why you have an Aura isnt it? So you can do crazy things?’ ‘But.. its weird, isnt it? a lump of feathers in the middle of a skein?’ ‘well? so?’ Ok then, dammit! I WILL spin this boa straight into the yarn! I cut off a length about 16 inches long, and sat with it, and the batt, on my knee. There were also strips of fabric, many many different colours and fibers, sparkly christmas tinsel, and Monique even found...

Read More

Hello Etsy, what a day!

Hello Etsy, what a day!

We had it all today, in so many ways. I was up early this morning, knowing it was quite a long drive to the Hello Etsy venue in Eindhoven. I had to skip my second coffee, and left by 8am. This is a Saturday, so that was hard. The adventure started with discovering we had experienced our first frost of the season and the car had a thin layer of ice over it. So it wasn’t just me, it really was cold. My winter coat was abley assisted today with my no-knit mohair corespun scarf, I can see now its going to be standard dress for me this winter so soft! I didnt worry about the frost then, only until the windscreen was clear and I could drive off, on my way to what I hoped would be a day of networking and sharing the knowledge of some interesting speakers. I have to say, it was actually rather nice to be out driving through the crisp dutch morning, the sun was not long over the horizon and the landscape was dressed in that wonderful soft light that we never see in New Zealand, the one that forms the basis for so many of the old dutch masterpieces, it intrigues me that it is really like that in real life, a low mist hovering over the flat uninterrupted fields, the sky changing from a pale gold to a pale pink and then a silvery pale blue sky above. There was also, thankfully, not too much traffic on the road and my trip to Eindhoven didnt take me more than and hour ten. Long enough to wake up and be wanting coffee number two and regretting not bringing my thermo-mug.. I got there in time, in time to get myself a cup of coffee, pick up my free Hello Etsy WoolWench Moo cards (Yes I do <3 Moo) and get a nice seat up the front (cos all the others were almost taken by then). I introduced myself to the person sitting next to me, she told me her name was Janine and she had come all the way from Canada for this event! At my gasp of admiration she added that actually she was one of the speakers and Etsy had flown her over for it. Ok I had thought she looked familiar. I realised then that I had been lucky enough to have plonked myself down right next to THE Janine – the editor of the truly awesome ‘Uppercase’ Magazine. She told me she was really nervous about the speech, which made her instantly less intimidating , we made a little small talk and then the event got going, first...

Read More

Retreat or go forward?

Retreat or go forward?

I was browsing the New Zealand Creative Fibres website today, curious to see what fiber activities are going on back in NZ at the moment, and I found on the events list an upcoming ‘Retreat’ for fibersita’s to be held in a place that has many memories for me.  It will be held at what has been used for a very long time as a Girl Guide venue, its called ‘Omatua’ and lies 20 minutes drive out of the city I grew up in. My memories of this place date back to when I was quite young, and my mother was a Girl Scout leader, yes really! I suppose its not SO different to her continuation on to Yoga Instructor, really.. Anyway. I was able to tag along to various weekend stays at this wonderful old farmhouse. Its set in a valley, beside a beautiful small river, which was always perfect for swimming in,  with shallow warm areas and deeper flowing swimming holes where the water was dark dark green and you couldnt touch the bottom when you dived in. I saw my first ever fresh water lobster there, sharing that swimming hole with me, that was a surprise! I was such a water child, I would swim for hours, and we enjoyed many summers along that same river at various points, when my dad would finish work early and we would go straight from school to dive, splash, wallow, and together with my brother, see how far downstream we could float without getting beached in the shallows.   I also associate that place with sheep memories. I lived there for a while, up the road from Omatua, over the one way bridge, round the bend past the Village Hall, over the hill past the small country school then into the wide wooden farm gate and under the large Pepper tree, and there was Peppertree cottage – A tiny wooden cottage with a veranda across the width of it, my wood pile stacked against the side wall. Four rooms all the same size inside, no hot water apart from what I boiled in the kettle or heated up in the bathroom cauldron over the fireplace! It was quite primitive, and such an adventure! I felt like a pioneer. Well, I was young and fit, and it was a bit like camping really! Except I had a comfy bed, my stereo, my books and my art gear. I lived there with my dog, and I worked on the farm down the road, as a rousie (shed hand) whenever the farmer was shearing, and helping out with some general farm jobs as needed. He also had the most gorgeous little angora...

Read More

Reading and Stuff

Reading and Stuff

Are you like me? A stack of books always within arms reach and yet you never seem to have the time to read them like you planned? These are my constant companions, next to my laptop on the dining room table. They get put away when visitors come for dinner, then every time I bring them back out again from the depths of my desk piles, I plan in my head that I definately WILL get to read them this week, and if I just leave them where I can see them all the time, then I will take five minutes here and there, and soon I will have them read! Of course That doesnt happen. Its either one of two reasons. 1. There are little grey men who visit my house and steal time away from it in order to stockpile it for their evil emperor who plans to take over the universe by using his hoard of time and making people pay megabucks to eek out even a few extra seconds a week while he has all the time in the world to sing dance and make merry at the expense of all our reading time. or 2. I have piled myself up with too much stuff to do and have unrealistic expectations of how much of it I can get through in the time available for it. I am starting to suspect that its not actually number 1, that it is really number 2, which kinda sucks because then I have to take some responsibility for it myself. Hmm. The upside however, of admitting this to myself, is that I can try to stop beating myself up over not having even opened these books for over a week. I am not being lame and simply allowing myself to be side-tracked too much so I dont get time to read, I am not the worlds least organised person who doesnt deserve to own books that I am too hopeless to actually read (therefore making them a waste of hard earned money). Its not just a matter of will-power and, dammit, it doesnt make me a failed would-be book reader just because I havent had time to read these. I see three options. At least, if its not the Grey Men and the Evil Emperor causing this issue. If I bullet point these with more numbers it also makes me look more organised doesn’t it. Doesn’t it? Option 1. Stop writing this post right NOW and read a book! Option 2. Set aside some specific reading time and drop the unrealistic expectation that opportunistic reading snippets will ever occur. Option 3. Do several things at once in order...

Read More

Fiber Frenzy for the December Workshop

Fiber Frenzy for the December Workshop

I thought I would start a little list of the fibers I am preparing  for sharing at the December workshop! I hope to have lots of different fibers for people to try out and play with, including some more unusual ones – I have a good sized stash of the amazing 38cm (15inch) Masham locks, really hard to find these! I was so happy to spot this fleece at the Dag van De Wol. To prepare this fleece I am individually washing each lock to get the best lock formation and clean sheen 😛 Its worth it! I also have some beautiful mohair, some will be in locks and some will be carded to make the coreless corespun I showed recently on my FB page. I will be dyeing that all before the event, so if you have any colour preferences let me know! Further to that is some Wensleydale roving, a lovely fiber to work with, often used as locks of course, but I thought the roving is also interesting to play with since we will already have other locks too. Wensleydale in roving form has a great sheen, and allows lots of nice twist definition for spinning, so we can also look at some of the techniques to show that off well! I will come back and edit this post when I have more fibers to add. I am still waiting on a big shipment of white Polwarth from New Zealand to arrive, I hope it gets here  in time! The previous shipment I had from this same farmer (Fine Fibre Farms NZ and if you order from Stuart tell him I sent you!) was probably the nicest raw fleece I ever bought, and its hogget fleece- young sheep, so especially fine and soft, keep your fingers crossed that the post is not delayed!   Oh and one extra – I have a little of this luxurious Alpaca fleece from Alpaca Milestones (NL) which you might love to spin as much as I did! Am I tempting you? Go here for the brochure and sign up info...

Read More