When life gives you…

Perspective is a wonderful thing isn’t it?

On Friday night, a fellow fibre artist and friend of mine opened a sale album on Facebook. Now I normally try not to be comparative (that way lies misery!) BUT she had 65+ items in this folder and sold MOST of them in 4 hours.

She made HUNDREDS of dollars.

Now lemme give you some background info to be fair:

She is an established personality in spinning/fibre circles.

She’s good – VERY GOOD – at what she does. I would never try to diminish her success – she spins beautifully, dyes amazing stuff, and there is EVERY reason why she is so successful.

And we have a different product and a different niche: She dyes commercial roving with commercial dyes, and I dye locally farmed ethical fleeces with plant-based/organic/fair trade dyes. And I add the spiritual side as well.

And I’m comparatively new to the market.

But despite all this I felt INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATED AND DISHEARTENED.

How can she sell all that in 4 hours, and I don’t even sell one item a week?! I pour my heart and soul into my art: I BELIEVE IN IT. I spin sometimes ’til my eyes hurt at night, lovingly tending each skein to completion, and severely underprice myself (often only paying myself $1 an hour and often end up giving lots of stuff away!). And for what?! Is it worth it?! Maybe I should just give it away and find ‘real job’.

I felt flattened. I felt heart broken.

So I went to a movie with my friend Lou, and we grabbed a hot chocolate afterwards, and we got to talking about our grandparents. My German Oma immigrated to Australia in the 50’s. She had no English, was DESPERATLEY poor, and lived in a converted asbestos chook shed with 7 children. My Opa worked on the Warragamba Dam Project and was away for weeks on end, and my Oma supplemented their income by growing tomatoes to sell and milking the family cow.

Perspective.

This isn’t a PROBLEM. It’s annoying. But it’s not a PROBLEM.

So this morning I picked some daffs before Jerry the Goat ate them, and Tara and I baked a Banana and Raspberry Loaf. We ate it warm from the oven. And the washing machine broke down (Grr. But I bet Oma didn’t have a washing machine; broken or otherwise. And she had SEVEN KIDS), so I made plans to go the laundromat until payday. And the vacuum cleaner broke, and I laughed at the irony and took the broken piece out.

Perspective.

It’s not about being mindlessly, irrationally, ridiculously optimistic. It’s just recognizing what is an actual HARDSHIP, and what is a TEMPORARY INCONVENIENCE.

We have everything we need. I’m lucky to be able to do what I’m passionate about, and if I follow my passion, I cant lose. Success will come. And, you know what? The vacuum cleaner works better without that piece anyway 🙂

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It’s about more than just wool.

No one ever makes something without an intention. And no one ever knits or crochets an item without someone or some purpose in mind. I’ve long been inspired by that, and by the chain of hands yarn goes through in the process of becoming ‘someone’s’. A chain of creativity and intention.

I love the way fibre craft connects me. I sit down, my mind slows, and I create. I can just be. I think about my Nan and Pop – they passed away when I was seven – and Nan was a very ill lady for a long long time. She couldn’t get out and do much. But she sat down, and put her hands over mine, and she taught me to knit. And my pop taught me to crochet. and I think many many people who knit and crochet were taught this skill by their grandparents, and aunties, and uncles. It’s probably one of the few skills still passed down this way. Generation to generation. Hand to hand.

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See, the thing I love about handmade items is their uniqueness. Their flaws. But also, their ‘story’. I love to imagine all the hands, all the skills, all the intentions that have gone into a handmade item. I’m just a link in the chain of something really special. I add my chapter of the story, then I pass it on to the next person, and they add theirs.

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It’s part of the reason I prefer to buy raw fleece from small scale farms, rather than commercial roving dyed in huge dyelots. I like to know the whole story. I like to know that this was Wilma’s fleece; a rescue sheep from Daylesford. She belongs to Linda. Linda collected and sold her fleece, and I add my hands to the story. And then I will hand it along to the next person, who will add their chapter to the story; knitting a blanket for their grandson, a beanie for their Nanna, a scarf for Uncle John. A chain of love, and creativity, and intention.

There’s something magical about that.

So that set me to thinking: I want to activate the yarn. I want to imbue it with healing qualities. I want to capture the spirit of ‘connectedness’, of ‘ancestry’, of ‘specialness’ and  healing’ that I see in yarn. And so I’ve been lead to create “Activated Yarn”.

So here’s my creation unfurling. This first attempt at a fledgling idea. I bathed my crystals in the light of the lunar eclipse. I cleaned, processed and handspun a soft Corridale fleece, into a DK weight yarn. I smudged it with White Sage to remove any negative energy, and used natural organic plant dyes to dye it a beautiful healing green. I then put it into a steeping blend of homegrown Eucalyptus and Lavender -picked from my garden – and Clear Quartz, Amethyst, Aventurine and Ruby Fuschite for healing, soothing and purifying. This cauldron bubbled away over a white candle, opening the pores of the fibre and allowing the properties of the crystals and plants to seep in. Lastly I added a tail hair from my horse Will, as an animal totem. He broke his leg as a foal, but defied all logic to not only heal, but to then go on and win races. A miracle horse. His racing name was ‘Once a Blue Moon’, so rare and miraculous his recovery.

My healing yarn is now out drying in the moonlight. What I do is not Witchcraft. It’s not Magick or anything mysterious. I work only and always from a place of love and light. It doesn’t fit into a box or a definition. All I have done is filled this yarn with love, focus and intention. Its art. It’s a special creation. My hope is that someone buys this yarn and makes something special. I hope they think about their Aunty while they make her some mittens, and that they add their chapter to the story. And that when they give the mittens to their Aunty, she feels the hands and the energy that has been put into this special creation, and it makes her heart feel good. That’s all.

It’s not magic. It’s not going to cure cancer. It’s not going to change the world.

But it’s my art. And I hope you like it. – And it’s also ok if you don’t 🙂

And you know, if you’re sick, this healing yarn wont ‘cure’ you. But I hope that if you’re going into battle, you’ll wear my armor. I made it with my heart and my hands x

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Dyeing to try it.

I’ve been experimenting with dyeing my own fibre for spinning of late, and Im getting more and more inspired by natural dyes. Ive been finding my brain exploding into sparks and catherine wheels of inspiration, thinking of all the plants, barks and fruits around Hill Shadow farm which could dye my yarn. I LOVE feeling inspired.

Here’s a link which shows you some of the differences between natural and synthetic dyes.

It looks like a fairly simple process, though I think there’s a lot of variables which can affect your colours.

Aaaaaaaaand since Im getting my online store up and going (!), keep an eye out for my new natural dyed, Hill Shadow Farm inspired, compassionate yarns… I cant wait. Im going to be a busy busy bee!

Here’s some beautiful dyeing and natural yarns to get YOU inspired! ❤

Timber and Twine

Dye-lot

Right: I’ve got a tonne of fleece I have to get clean and dry before tomorrow’s carding.

 
  
Im getting together with some friends and very talented fibre artists so we can swap knowledge and fluff.

Check us out on FB

Watch this space…!

xx

 

Puppies, pumpkins, pesto and pesky predators.

Hello! I’m typing this on my phone from my front step! So apologies if the spelling/formatting is all over the place! I have to blog this way as I’m multitasking: Chaperoning the chickens as they free range at the same time! 
Mrs Fox is back! And she’s picked off 3 chickens in the past 4 weeks. Last week as Ben left for work in the early dark hours of the morning, he caught her staring greedily into our henhouse; Sitting on her haunches at the door like a dog at a butcher shop window! And she comes right into our yard and up to the front door! Cheeky Lady! 
So no un-escorted free ranging for Lennon and the ladies. Grr. 
But today is an absolute cracker! My washing’s on the line, the windows are all open… It’s so lovely even some of my daffodil bulbs have gotten confused. 
“This is spring, right..?”
Wills having a lovely day in a light cotton sheet. I’ve added some warm, boiled barley porridge to his nightly feeds. He’s a bit older now, and he needs a bit extra in the colder months. Plus he deserves it ❤️x

I’m knitting up a red neck warmer for Katie to wear with her school uniform and some thick socks for Ben. These are my first socks! And they’re cuff-down style – which I believe isn’t usual?! – on teeny thin double-point needles. The first one has turned out so beautifully! 

There’s just a small problem: I only have one ball of wool left and the first sock took one-and-a-bit. And I found out from Morris and Sons in Melbourne that Admiral ombré 6 fach is discontinued!!! F%#€+*!?&@!!!!! Does anyone know where I can get a ball of this?! 

And the gardens going quietly into hibernation. The last corn fronds are sagging. The last tomatoes are shrivelling up. The last basil is curling and going brown. The bales around the bale garden are disintegrating as the first frosts come and turn the once lush-green baby fronds to crunchy silver-grey crystals. We’ll start piling up oak leaf-mulch, manure and compost.

There’s a few pumpkins sprawling around, which will come in handy for hot pumpkin soup with fresh crusty sour dough bread. And I’ve planted a few garlic bulbs, just to see if they come up. The chooks are moulting so we’re only getting one egg here or there, but I’ve been bottling passata at fever-pace: can’t let any of those tomatoes go to waste! There’s nothing like fresh pasta with homegrown tomato passata, and pesto made from the spoils of the ‘Basil Forest’! It’s our go-to week night dinner at the moment!
And if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ll already know that Hill Shadow Farm will soon be getting a new addition!

Meet little Bluebell! She’s only 3 weeks old, but I’m totally smitten. She’s pure Border Collie. (Her mother Zoe is an absolute stunner, and super smart!) A pedigree working dog! I can’t wait to take her to obedience and agility classes! Keeping Collies active and mentally stimulated is essential, and I’m totally up to the challenge!
So that’s us, up to now. Katie’s at school, and Tara’s napping, so I’m being Chook Shepherd and sitting in the sun.

It’s a tough life, but someone’s gotta do it 😉

Xx

The Jonquils are out – Winter is here.

I always know it’s winter here when the Jonquils push through the soil. At the moment little clusters of dark green spears are poking through the mud everywhere at the Mountain House, and you can’t help but be cheered from the icy gloom of winter when you smell their sweet scent and see their little delicate white faces.

I cant believe we’ll be living here in a little over a month! SO MUCH TO DO!