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...

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Open Day with Woool! Yarn Store The Hague

Open Day with Woool! Yarn Store The Hague

It only takes about an hour to drive from here to The Hague. Its a really nice city, Dutch center of government, home of many embassies and diplomats, site of the wonderful Peace Palace, a truly international city. And this extends even to the yarn stores! Woool is a lovely little shop packed with fibery goodies and creative activities, Pauline runs regular workshops and knitting groups, and she has a great eye for colour, its a visual feast as soon as you walk off the narrow street and into this cosy shop. And today it was truly an international hub of creativity. During the open day today the shop was buzzing with activity, I found myself speaking to people from all over the globe, UK, US, Holland (of course!) I heard a South African accent, me the only Kiwi, and did I hear a Scottish lilt at some point? And the focus of the day, fibery creations. There were people poring over knitting patterns and books, discussion about stitches and designs, others browsing the yarns and making their selections, and there was a lot of interest in the activities of myself, doing some corespinning from a multi-mixed up batt, Victoria Logan was there with her stunning animal creations ( http://www.victorialogan.co.uk) Andre was spinning on his Louet, from various bags of raw wool originating from, among others,  the Dutch Blauwe Texelaar breed, and Patty, with her wonderful Saori looms, a great attraction that took everyones interest young and er, less young! In the above picture you can see Patti demonstrating the Saori Piccolo loom, it was a major hit with the kids that had come along with their mums, and it was impressive to see how fast they picked it up and started creating fabric! I am quite seriously wanting this loom pictured below, (this VERY LOOM) to be my own. See my name written all over it? SEE? Patty is a Saori Dealer, her website is still under construction but she can be contacted via the email address listed on her page Here . She is a very knowledgeable weaver and happy to answer questions (at least, she hasn’t gotten sick of me asking them all the time, yet!) Anyway, I did more than just drool over the loom, really! Here is the proof! Above is my spinning from the afternoon, a soft and super bulky chain ply (navajo ply) made from one of my batts, which I especially packed with extra sparkle! And here below, are some of the yarns that are now in stock at Woool, hanging on the wall! I do believe there were some sales involving my yarn, and some batts too I think, and I know Pauline...

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Holiday update

Holiday update

What an awesome vacation. I really love England, particularly rural England, the countryside is so pretty, dotted with gorgeous little villages and farmhouses, just like out of a storybook! We have been out driving around taking in the scenery, took the little guy on a Gruffalo hunt in a pretty forest (and he even made a nice little mouse house!). We walked Salisbury and of course, visited the Cathedral, what an awe inspiring place that is, I love being somewhere like that and imagining all the people who have been there before me, almost a thousand years worth of people living their lives in and around that Cathedral. Its humbling but refreshes my whole perspective on life the universe, and everything.. I am also a history geek, progressing from my teen  years of reading romanticised historic fiction to studying it at university, its so endlessly fascinating!  I also found a real modern treasure in Salisbury, a rebfurbished Mill House that now houses  a gallery, and many artist studios; jewellery makers, a glass blower, milliner, weaver, painters and photographer, AND a fabulous little yarn store! I was so inspired, its exactly the kind of place I would love to have my own studio, it had such an open and creative atmosphere there. I bought some excellent knitting needles and had a nice yak with Heather. She runs lots of workshops there as well as a couple of Knit and Knatter groups each week. It was great to hear that knitting is just getting more and more popular here, particularly among the 20 somethings generation, and I could see in her shop that there is plenty of local inspiration here to get people started as well as all the practical help needed.  I was feeling really inspired after my visit to Born to Knit, and so I finished off knitting up that Gotland lockspun Gandalf the Grey Firework yarn I started earlier, and it ended up a nice cowl/hood, I wanted it to be somewhat LOTR-ish 🙂 I am pretty pleased with it and love the texture and chunkiness of it. Yesterday we went to Bath and spent some time with the wonderful Virginia (my kiwi mate who sews like you wouldnt believe).  Bath is beautiful. Coming over the hill towards the city you get a stunning view of a city spread out below you along a river, almost glowing as every building is created with the local Bath Stone, which ages into a light creamy rusty colour. It felt a lot like Florence actually!  We drove into the center and went in search of the Baths, ancient roman bath houses which must have helped them feel just  little bit at...

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Spinning day today!

Spinning day today!

I know its meant to still be summer holidays, but here in Holland the weather hasnt cooperated with the dates, and actually I think we had summer one lovely Wednesday afternoon a couple of weeks before the vacation began. Since then we have had sporadic sunshine and a lot of rain. Today was a rain day. So I stayed indoors and dyed some sunshine, and then spun it! It was slightly accidental, in so much as, I am using a new dye brand for my yellow, and I didnt know quite how it was going to work. Now I do. Its an amazing, in-ya-face super vibrant incredible ‘Bright Yellow’ from Eurolana (World of Wool). Its so very sunny and bright, it was a very good experiment! I painted the roving with the yellow, added orange and let it blend in, then painted on some cherry red and let that bleed into the orange. Then I wrapped it all up and let it steam away. It was pretty hard to photograph, the colours were too bright for the camera! Spinning it was like catching the sun, I felt like Maui, the mythical demi-god of Maori legend, who caught the sun as it sped across the sky to make it slow down and stay long enough for people to enjoy its warmth, thats what I would love to do for our Dutch summer! Catch the sun and make it stay...

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The Photography ebook, in the works!

The Photography ebook, in the works!

I just posted a quote on my Facebook page from my brothers author blog about how he understands professionalism.  Of course he wrote this about professionalism in writing, but I thought the quote was particularly relevant to any creative activity, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that we had both come to this same premise quite independently! He said that one aspect of professionalism is;  ‘Inclusion. Accept that others are going to be doing something similar. Welcome them. What’s the point of difference between their work and yours? Find out. Emphasise it. That’s why readers want your work – and theirs – together.” This seems fairly simple huh? However it is often one of the hardest things to do. We create something, something we dreamed and woke up with in our heads, or something inspired purely by the media we are using, or even from an idea that started as a tiny glimmering seed and we worked and worked to develop it into something that, to us, is the equivalent of the tree of life in all its glory. Then we go online to show it and discover someone else has already done it! Happens all the time… Not only that, but often, people ask you how you did it, they want to try it themselves, and why wouldnt they, if your idea rocks! I have always worked on the policy that our craft is always evolving, that through sharing our inspirations and techniques we contribute in a very meaningful way to the future of our craft and the continuation of the skills we use through generations, because each time you pass on a skill the next person will take it, use it, add to it, and pass it on again. Awesome eh! However, sometimes, there is a little something I want to hang on to. Thats why Matthews statement was particularly relevant for me right now, because I am in the middle of writing the next ebook to share my photography process, I get lots of positive feedback about my Etsy photos and people asking about how I do them. I want to share that! But in the back of my mind is the question, if thats my ‘edge’ online why would I share it?! If I make this ebook, what if people copy what I am doing and their photos look just like mine? I mean, my styling is fairly distinctive on Etsy, and I have worked hard to create a ‘branded look’ to my images, and I hope that people will see one of my photos and instantly know that its a WoolWench yarn! Is it crazy to share how I did that? So ok, I...

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