Half-Assed Yarn

Half-Assed Yarn

First I want to talk about pre-conceptions, or as the Dutch would say, voorordelen – pre-judgements. Something that fascinates me about people in general, is the multi-facetedness of individuals, and the communities we create. Because there are communities inside communities, micro-cultures to which we either gravitate to or are repelled from. Its part of how we find our places, how we feel belonging, and how we reciprocate with others. It seems to be a natural order within most modern societies and an important part of how we structure our understanding of the world and the people around us. I also find it fascinating to apply these thoughts to the fiber community. I see that there are many levels to this. Firstly the overall, global population of spinners and fiber artists, all the people who spin and create with fiber. We all have this in common and can identify ourselves as being part of this community Inside this global community, there are many  sub-communities, each with their own culture, beliefs (about fiber) and what they consider to be, to put it simply, right and wrong. I can make some basic divisions here. A straightforward one is traditional spinners, and ‘art’ spinners. And this is where I come to my observations about preconceptions. Something I have noticed during workshops and spinners gatherings, listening to discussions and opinions, joining in the facebook groups, is that these two communities have quite a few preconceived ideas about each other. I prefer not to generalise, however some assumptions can be made when hearing or seeing the same ideas and opinions expressed regularly, so this is what I am doing, generalising based on things that seem to commonly take place within the fiber world. Why am I thinking about this? Well one of the overriding reasons is that I am looking at directions for myself in spinning. I am looking at what people are doing, what has been done, what people are enjoying. I notice stuff 🙂 I have noticed that within this culture of ‘traditional’ spinners, there is  a sub-culture who tend to look upon ‘art yarn’ spinning as something of a low-skill activity, as only big bulky ‘beginner yarns’ or simply thrown together fibers that are far too random and chaotic to be considered either good or well spun. I am sure that in some cases this may be the case. But from my own experience, I can say with much conviction that I put a huge amount of thought, planning, and design elements into the yarns I create, which are clearly not ‘traditional’ yarns and fall much more fittingly into the art yarn category.  In my search for new things, I have moved...

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The Journey Begins!

The Journey Begins!

wow Wow WOW! What an adventure this is turning out to be! Our Golden Fleece Course launched today and I can tell you, this has completely exceeded even my wildest anticipations 🙂 Thank you so much to everyone who has enrolled for this course, Arlene and I were sitting at our computers, skype running, just staring at each other as the enrolment confirmations poured in,  stunned and grateful at the overwhelmingly positive response! One of the reasons why this has become so astounding is that, a driving concept we had right back at the start, was the  development of our global community. We started out talking about just how excited we were with the international connections we could see happening, and which we could imagine happening more and more around the fiber world as people come together and link up, via the internet, and become part of this amazing movement of creativity. We both found it a very exciting development, making the world both a smaller, but ultimately more exciting and connected place. We talked about the idea of literally linking up pieces of art made by fiber artists from all over the world, not only bringing the art together and joining it up with literal threads, but also connecting the people together, to share cultures, experiences, skills, and inspirations. We really hope our Fibery Goodness website will provide a space for this to happen as we get to know one another through the Heros Journey we are about to embark on, together. It is fantastic to see we have students enrolled for this course, from: Sweden, Norway Denmark, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand…  It is awesome to see one of our big goals being realised in this exciting way. Now that our launch is achieved, and we have set this ship sailing, its time for us to take stock a little, set up the next part of the journey, and prepare for the exciting things to come. Arlene and I would like to thank the people who have supported the adventure so far, our Fiber Sponsers, the Module testers, and of course our Majacraft friends. All these wonderful people have kept us going with their enthusiasm and interest along the way to date, and this has helped us maintain our motivation and momentum throughout the development of the course. I can say for myself, personally, this is a dream that is now becoming realised, and I absolutely could not have done this on my own. This is another reason we wanted to create this course and the connections we hope participants will make through it, together we are mighty! And if...

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Like Trying to Shape Water

Like Trying to Shape Water

Where does inspiration come from? Its something we often have to wait for, it doesnt always come when we want it to. Its lack is found in the blank piece of paper, the empty bobbin, the undyed fiber… Is inspiration like some kind of fickle friend who thinks only of themselves and comes and goes from our lives like a butterfly in the wind? Unreliable, untrustworthy, mostly never there when you want it to be. Thats how inspiration often feels to me. Annoying. Sometimes it can be gone for days, only to return in a rush, which tends to be either like the sun suddenly coming out and pouring its glow all over your skin in a delightful warmth of ideas, or its like the outpouring of beans when you accidentally tip the coffee jar over on the bench and you cant move fast enough to catch the overwhelming escape of thoughts and creativity. Inspiration, you ARE my fickle friend. But. IF inspiration was more like a constant awareness, a consistent and continuous flow of small sparks, something we could count on to always be available, always be the same shape, would it still be.. inspiration? I might curse the days when I know I have creative tasks to perform and inspiration has failed me and not even arrived on the doorstep to be ushered in and put to work. I might find frustration in the blank pages and empty bobbins, but I am starting to think that if I was in a constant state of inspiredness, I would far too quickly take that for granted and treat it like part of the furniture. I think the edge would go off it, the excitement would go out of it. Maybe I would wake up every morning with the thought that, oh yes, another idea, doesn’t matter, I will have ten million more in the next hour anyway so who cares. So today I am going to work on valuing my downtime, loving my blank paper and appreciating its potential to excite me and fill me with a will to be active and alive and inspired, and I am going to work on living with a full appreciation of how much I love my fickle friend despite its tendency to hide when there are deadlines and run away when there are demands! I will work on accepting that I am not an inspiration machine, stop requiring myself to be able to switch inspiration on and off at will, and let it come as it pleases, to be welcomed by me with open arms and a vast amount of appreciation at whatever time it decides to show up. Today my inspiration...

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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...

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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...

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Sharing the glow

Sharing the glow

The good days! You know the ones, the moment you wake up you can already feel the excitement simmering away somewhere deep in your chest. I dont know what it is or where it comes from, its just known to me as a good day feeling, especially when it hits me even before first coffee. I can contrast it with slightly less good days of course. Like. yesterday, it started out with some great moments, but punctuated with a really good slice out of my finger because I havent yet learned not to play with scissors, and a kinda flat feeling all afternoon that I blame on the kinda flat weather. It was ok yesterday. I got some stuff done. I played lego. Partly I slept on the couch 😉 But the important bit? I have noticed that the way I am on the inside, totally affects the way other people are on the outside. Does that sound weird? I have started trying to be more conscious of my effect on the people around me. Its far more profound than I had realised. This is not because I am being egotistical or trying to increase my importance in the lives of the people I spend time with. This is me realising that my own frame of mind and the way I am expressing that, spreads to others and impacts them in ways that I would like to be more conscious of. If I am feeling flat, blah, tired, generally just not present, this is just what I get back from other people too. Its not surprising if I think about it 🙂 However what I notice far more is that when I am feeling joyous, creative, enthusiastic, and basically just happy, this is reflected back to me in multiples. Its the times when I laugh the most, turn the music up loud, geek out with my daughter over.. well geeky things 😉 get loud and dont care, make the most creative things and feel the inner glow growing in my chest just because life rocks. I see very clearly that those people I care about pick up on this and respond in such a positive way. This is a really good reminder to me to be considerate, to work on finding that inner something so I can share it better with the people I care about. In essence, its about seeing this same smile light up my daughters face, ten years on, and keeping it there for the next.. many 🙂 Why is this going on my blog? I am not sure 😉 Its part of my trying to be responsible for how I impact others, writing it, sharing...

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