Its All About People

Its All About People

A while ago, a very special friend shared a link with me, a Ted talk by Brene Brown about vulnerability. This subject, and the findings that Brown shared, affected me quite profoundly. The things she talked about, the people she described, and the ways of thinking about living, gave shape and substance to all the rather vague, partially processed ideas I had in my head, she was able to lay these out and express them in a very clear way that totally resonated with me. Living ‘wholeheartedly’. I love that. I am IN love with that. The idea of vulnerability, and the way she links that up with creativity, also resonates with me. Remember a while ago I posted about my ‘fail’ yarns? And about my inspiration (and lack of it) and my occasional flat moments spaced out with complete insecurity? This was my vulnerability, and I particularly wanted to share those things, to show that there is nothing special about me, I dont magically make perfect yarns every time, I have the same insecurities as anyone else, and there is ‘always’ someone who makes me feel utterly inadequate and fills me with self doubt. I wanted to share that because I had/have become aware that this online world not only brings people together, it also creates a certain hype all of its own. As more and more people started following my FB page I became more aware of a degree of admiration that I did not feel like I fully deserved. I mean, I do what I love 🙂 Of course I am very happy if that inspires others, this has become one of my goals! but I am also uncomfortable with the idea that ‘I’ might be someone who could potentially make someone else feel any sense of inadequacy, and at times I have understood this can be the case. This is totally counter to my goal of, hopefully,  sharing and inspiring, as so often that feeling of inadequacy can freeze creativity. So I want to tell you that, if you ever feel any sense of ‘wow, I could never do that’ when you look at my yarns or weavings, I want you to remember that, actually, thats not the goal! The goal is that you create something all your own, and it WILL be amazing, and other people WILL look at it and love it, YOU will look at it and love it. Also I want to say that I am not sharing my work to be anything special, what I actually want to share is the excitement this work creates in me, and the creativity that excitement fosters in our hearts and hands, all of...

Read More

Alpaca Milestones Summer Wool Days

Alpaca Milestones Summer Wool Days

Finally we seem to have achieved something that resembles summer here in the Netherlands! Blue sky, warm sun, birds singing (at least in our garden) annoyingly peeping and dive bombing the cat. Apart from that though, it’s now definately a time to be outside. So last weekend I packed up my wheel, some Fiber, and my hand combs, and went off to enjoy the Summer Wool Day at my friends Alpaca farm in Ridderkerk. It’s always a pleasure to visit with Marian, not to mention the amazing Fiber she always has! I’m talking really fabulous quality alpaca fleece. It was Marian’s Fiber that I used for my Lord of the Rings concept yarns, my favourite of which is actually one of the simplest, hand combed white alpaca with a silver thread. It has the most amazing drape and definition and I am SO still hoarding it 🙂 Back to the day 🙂 It was gorgeously sunny, and populated with some amazing people, I enjoyed seeing some familiar faces, and sitting in the shade with Patty to spin, and (I am quite proud of this) I also managed not to maim her with my hand combs as I paused my spinning to comb the next bunch of fiber. Just as well too as she needed some concentration to work on her band weaving! I really like combing alpaca, I think it gives a much nicer preparation for the yarn, less fluffy, and I think it enhances the drape, or maybe thats just me 🙂  And I also usually blend in a bit of sparkle as I am combing too. In this case I also added an extra colour as well to make a nice reddish brown. Sophie was also with us from Belgium, and was curious about the hand combing, she tried it out on some newly acquired Ouessant fiber (I very nearly bought the black fleece!) This is a lovely fiber, from such a cute sheep – read about them HERE if youre curious too 🙂  As you can see in the pic, Sophie found that combing it worked really nicely!   The hosts of the day, Douglas and Marian, also took a tour to see the Alpaca, including a week old cria.  This is a working farm with a focus on producing top quality fiber, while they remain very much animal focussed, with the wellbeing of the flock, coupled with care for the environment, being one of their primary interests. You can visit them too, at least, virtually: at their Alpaca Milestones website. These ‘Summer Wool’ days are an annual event at Marians, and I can totally recommend going next year, such a lovely atmosphere there, and of course, awesome...

Read More

Workshoping with WoolWench and JazzTurtle

Workshoping with WoolWench and JazzTurtle

Its over, our glorious days of exciting projects, shared teaching, and some group hilarity. We started on the Friday evening, with a meal together followed by some really cool drum carding and fiber prep for the following day. This first group was the beginning art yarn spinners, and although some were already experienced spinners, the ‘art’ techniques we had in store were new to them. It was quite a treat to see the wheels all in a row and waiting for their spinners to get started. What I enjoyed the most about this group was the enthusiasm they showed for every technique, and their complete willingness to dive in and give everything a go, even if they were not sure about the outcome, thats the kind of creative risk taking I love the most! Our second group were the advanced art yarn spinners, so we covered some more difficult techniques such as spinning on elastic and on wire, specifically with the intention of weaving with them, because our final day was a fantastic weaving day, finishing on the Tuesday afternoon. It was exciting to see eyes light up on the discovery of new possibilities in weaving, and the idea that weaving could actually be cool and exciting and innovative and not complicated or difficult! This is not a post with an hour by hour description of what we did during our workshop days, but rather an impression of the things that I personally found important in them. Of course, the topmost important things were the  people and connections made. In each group there was a wonderful dynamic and level of excitement about what we were doing. I love it when people make discoveries, have an ‘aha’ moment as a bunch of stuff falls into place in their heads and their hands as they spin something new. We had a few of those! I also think that part of teaching is offering experiences to people in a safe environment, where they can grow their expertise and confidence in what they are doing, so I hope we were able to provide this, I certainly saw some amazing yarns being made, and one in particular stands out, as Cara experimented with a new technique, and holding out the length of yarn she had made we could see a vast improvement from the start of it to the end of it! Thats a success 🙂 It was also a fantastic experience to be part of a teaching team, especially with the fabulous Esther Rodgers, I had the best time both during and after classes, and it was a wonderful chance to get to know each other and share stories and hilarity and ideas....

Read More

Workshopping

Workshopping

I have a few things to share this week. The first and most important thing is the one about connection. This is where I get a little teary eyed and filled with amazement and thankfulness that my life is blessed with some of the most wonderful people. I had one of these moments today, sitting at one end of a room that was filled with fiber, yarns, spinning wheels, and people. I struck me how much I love being in this environment, how lucky I am to have connections with people like my friend Alet, who organises events like this, and Esther who brings her energy and creativity and shares them like this, and both are people who transform the lives of others with the things they do. This is something really cool to be a part of. The last few days, teaching with Esther, and the evenings working on our weavings and spinning together, have been a really great experience, learning, laughing, sharing ideas and getting excited about the same things. So I wanted to share that with you too, because I think its always good to take a moment to stop, and appreciate the positive things in our lives. And no matter where you are at, if you look, you will find something. At least thats what my generally optimistic brain tells me, and I really hope that is true 🙂 And the workshops? Awesome 🙂 We have carded, rolagged, combed, hackled, and of course SPUN ALL THE THINGS. We have had some ‘aha’ moments, and certainly some ‘oh thats how it works!’ experiences too. Its been awesome to have the opportunity to share this with Esther and I have learned and laughed a lot and am totally enjoying this opportunity to teach together. I think we make a good team! Our first workshop was with the beginning art yarn spinners, a fantastic group with much enthusiasm, humour, and talent, they made some really amazing yarns. Today we started with the second workshop for the more advanced art yarn spinners, so we are planning a nice range of yarns to spin, with the goal of also weaving them on the second day, and we have something special planned for that! So this is an update post, and I will be back later this week with an ‘its over’ post and more photos and, no doubt, with a sense of sadness that its over and also anticipation for the next one 🙂 But for now, ENJOY THE DAY....

Read More