The ups and downs of a creative life.

The ups and downs of a creative life.

It is not often that i talk about things going on in my life, my non-fibery life, I am a very private person. While I do post pics of my kids, my outings, and pics of things that inspire me and I want to share, I do not post details online anywhere about the things that might be looming large in my life that maybe make me sad, or scared, or stressed, simply because I am not comfortable to be that public with it. Its just me.  But I have had  plenty of all of those things over the last year, which seemed to be a year that simply lurched from awful to truly awful on and on. I am posting about it now because (i hope!) it is now behind me and I have the time and space to reflect on it and where I am at the moment because of it.  Having said that, I am still not going to write about everything that has happened! But I did want to share that at times this last year I have been MIA, I have been here but simply not present as I would wish to be. I feel like I have been swimming through a tank of glue, and while I could see you, I struggled to speak or to interact in they ways I used to. It started on the day my Mum passed away, and continued for some time after my Father also passed away within that same year. Some of the ‘things’ occurred as a consequence of those major events and some happened purely coincidentally yet rather unfortunately at the same time. I will not go into more detail, but the end results of the series of unfortunate events is that on top of losing my parents,  I moved house three times in the last six months, including the buying and selling of property, we had unexpected family issues of some import that caused a degree of pain, and I remain here in New Zealand with my children on my own, which was also not really part of the plan.  Yet while I say the ‘end result’ and list a bunch of pretty majorly negative life events, it isnt actually the end, and those events themselves are not actually the real results. And this is why I am writing this now. It is very true that what doesn’t kill you does make you stronger. I already felt that I was a relatively strong person, I never got stressed much, I took biggish risks with the knowledge that if things fell apart I could put them back together. I think I am lucky to be pretty resilient and self...

Read More

Its a WoolWench Giveaway!

Its a WoolWench Giveaway!

Oh my! I am not one for numbers, quite honestly, I don’t even know how old I am most of the time, and I don’t usually look at my Facebook stats or website numbers, but today I did and imagine this, we are over 24000 likes on my Woolwench facebook page! Wheeee! When did that happen?! I think its time to celebrate our growth and share some inspiration, so I would like to offer something special, something I have made… It is also my birthday soon too! So lets call this a double celebration! I thought about this for a little while, and what I would like to offer is a one off thing and also something that was a first for me, and I have a tradition of always giving away the first of anything I make. This was the first scarf I designed and created using circular weaving! I made this as a weave along project on the Majacraft blog complete with tutorial videos and written instructions – they are all still there in a series on the Majacraft blog if you would like to try one of these yourself! Majacraft makes the original wooden circular weaving looms and you can find out more about how to use these with their free tutorials and pattern book at the bottom of the loom page, and for more inspiration you can also visit the Circle Weaving Facebook page . We started that group way back when we had just brought out this new ‘circle weaving thing’ with our Fiberygoodness Creative Spinning course Journey to the Golden Fleece, – which we are about to relaunch for the fourth time! (wow time flies!). Since then, circular weaving has really taken off! Lots more people are joining in on this wonderfully simple and portable weaving, its just one of those mysterious things that once you start you cant stop! So here is the end result of the Circle Weave Along example that you can see me making through all the instruction videos! Modelled for me by my beautiful daughter 🙂 Scroll down to read how to get in the giveaway draw! And since this is a double celebration I will also pick  a second winner and send you your own Majacraft mini circle loom too 😉 I will ship to you anywhere in the world.. Enter with a comment below to be in the draw to win ! Please share this post and leave me a message to tell me what treats you like on your birthday! I’ll close this on (my) Sunday! GOOD LUCK! I can’t wait to see how far this scarf will travel!...

Read More

Circle Weaving Majacraft Loom Giveaway!

Circle Weaving Majacraft Loom Giveaway!

Here we are today with a special announcement! Hopefully you already know about the Circle loom and the Circle Weaving group we (Andrew Poad of Majacraft and I) set up on Facebook, its a really great community of creative people doing the most creative things! We made the group because, once the Circle Looms were made and we started using them, it quickly became obvious that there are way more possibilities for their use, and what can be made with them than we had even originally anticipated. If you haven’t seen it yet check out what everyone has been doing in the group, you will be amazed too! And one of the nicest things is the spirit of helpfulness and cooperation you will find there too, you can learn lots, and the sharing of tips and techniques is very open and inclusive, I am really enjoying being a part of that. So today we are announcing the winners of the ‘Warp Speed’ competition we have been running in the group. There are four Majacraft Mini Looms to be drawn! Warp Speed is a booklet that Andy and I put together with our new system for pattern making and warping instructions for the circular looms. We included a number of different patterns for people try out, and a template for making your own. You can get your copy of it from the Majacraft Website  if you havent found it yet! The entries for this competition have been absolutely stunning, inventive, creative, detailed, beautiful, and just simply gorgeous 🙂 We will be following up with a second booklet to feature them in and to share with you too! I would like to thank everyone who took part, I am deeply impressed with your creations 🙂 We are also announcing ONE MORE winner, someone who is watching the broadcast live (check the YouTube link below to get the countdown!), someone who has left a COMMENT ON THIS POST! Just say hi, thats all we need 🙂 The draw will be made live on Air today!! If you want to jump in and join the circular excitement, this could be just the thing to get you going, this extra draw is open to everyone, although we would love it if you join the Circle Weave Facebook group too of course! Comment below then watch the broadcast live on YouTube and see if you are a winner too!     ...

Read More

Warp Speed Giveaway (Win a circle loom!)

Warp Speed Giveaway (Win a circle loom!)

Warp Speed? Are we really heading to the final frontier, to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before…? Maybe 🙂 Warp Speed is the culmination of a few months work and collaboration between Andy Poad and myself, following the growing discovery that this simple little circular loom that we designed and developed really contains all kinds of hidden depths, ones which we hadn’t originally anticipated! But upon exploration these depths have been slowly revealing themselves, in the form of a big variety of warping possibilities and potential patterns for creating a huge range of different kinds of weaves and shapes and forms. Once we put our thinking together we found that between us we could dream up all kinds of possibilities, and really wanted to find a way to share those with other people who are also discovering circular weaving. Having already started the Circle Weaving facebook group, and seeing how willing everyone was to share idea and techniques, we were very inspired to make Warp Speed into something that not only would offer patterns and designs for people to use, but also become a way for other people to create and share their own patterns too. So what is Warp Speed? Its not really a command from the bridge… Its more a suggestion 🙂 It contains a way of writing and reading a pattern designed specifically for circular weavings. Andy is very good at creating logical progressions of constructions and then also explaining them in a clear and simple way. We applied this to Warp Speed and came up with a neat way to explain different kinds of warps in a really consistent way, and it can be applied to any kind of circular loom (not only the Majacraft ones) as we wanted it to be as universal (see what I did there?) as possible. So it has the pattern key, it has a bunch of patterns for warps that Andy and I dreamed up and trialled, it also has some fabulous photos of some very inspirational weavings done by members of the Circle Weaving group, AND it has a template in it that can be printed and used for you to develop your own patterns! So here is the next cool bit! Majacraft is GIVING AWAY four of their new Mini Looms! And these are the coolest wee things, mine is now permanently in my bag with a project on the go, and they are super cute too 🙂  To be in the draw what you need to do is this:  if you havent already, join the Circle Weaving Facebook group (you will...

Read More

Circular Cooperations

Circular Cooperations

Do you remember a while back we released the online fibre creativity course ‘Journey to the Golden Fleece’..? And with it came the lovely wooden circular loom that we worked with Majacraft to create for the course? Well we are not the only ones enjoying this amazing little tool, and since then there have also been lots of non-Golden Fleece people who have picked up on this idea that circular weaving is really a great deal of awesomeness! Shall I tell you why? (cos I have made a little list) Its mega easy and fast to warp Your kids can also use it! Weaving on it can be as simple or as complex as you like Its a tool that fits in your bag and you can take with you to places where you usually (as a dedicated weaver) must endure watching ‘other’ people knit or crochet while your floor loom calls you from far away… With this you can also keep your hands busy in social situations and prevent excesses in other potentially less healthy indulgences Its light and really easy to handle There are a myriad of ways to warp it and things to create with it Ok that was just for starters 🙂 You know there will be more after I have consumed second coffee.. The point is, that this is such a versatile piece of weaving equipment, and its so easy to use, that it’s easy to get enthusiastic about it! We recently started a new Facebook group on Circle Weaving, and one of the first things I have noticed that makes this group such a pleasure to hang out in, is the sense of cooperation and sharing among the group members. I think this is encouraged by the very nature of the loom and the kind of weaving we can do on it, because it is FUN and SIMPLE and non-threatening. Its not something high-brow or elitist or specialised, things that sometimes lead to a high level of competitiveness and individualism. Nope our little circular loom is a humble wee thing, but just look what people are doing with it! It blows me away, AND the willingness of the Circle Loom group members to share their ideas. This has been the other spectacular thing I have observed (and taken part in) within the Circle Weaving group, the actual development of these ideas on the group page.   This to me is complete awesomeness, someone posts a question or an idea they are trying out, someone else posts to add more ideas that have sprung from the original one, suggestions go back and forth, its a whole cooperative creative process that actually gives us all the ability to...

Read More

Woolwench Neckwear Tutorial

Woolwench Neckwear Tutorial

This week I am excited to finally be able to bring you the woven Neckwear Tutorial for use on the Majacraft Circular loom! I have been working on this for months, and just shared it with the wonderful participants at the SWAY art yarn guild Festival in Florida, where some really amazing pieces were created using this technique. The secret? Is in the warping! This is a method that was prompted way back when we had just made the very first prototype of this loom at the Majacraft mothership in Tauranga. We were sitting on the porch and putting  warp on it and Andy suggested making a hole in the middle by using a loop. So of course I had to try this out 🙂 My first one was quite simple, and I embellished it with some Dr Who Gallafreyen text.. I found out that this was a fun way to warp the loom, and I tried a few variations on it until I found the one that I have used in the tutorial, which to me seems the simplest and it also creates some nice weaving possibilities for both thick yarns and finer threads. Making the ‘hole’ in the middle of the circle weave was the key. Its just a short hop from there, to making something you can wear around your neck, simply by not continuing to weave around and around but making an opening by turning the weaving and going back in the other direction! These can be made lacey and delicate, with beads, shells, pearls.. Or they can be made thicker and more wooly and warm for a really bold statement! I am really really excited about being finally able to make the tutorial available! I had been saving it as a special treat for the SWAY weekend participants, with the plan for releasing it here on by website at the same time. I cant wait to see what people start making with this pattern, and yes it IS a pattern, but it is one that leaves it very open for you to make what you will of it, your choice of materials, your embellishments, the kind of edging you make on it, please feel free to add or change anything you like to make this work in whatever unique and ‘you’ ways you can find. In the tutorial I have included sections on design, warping, weaving, and embellishments, all suggestions and creative starting points rather than something to be followed exactly. I think this is an idea that together we can all grow and develop and I really hope you will share your creations and discoveries with me and others! Please feel free to...

Read More