Posted on 1 Comment

Slow down Martha!

Haste. The sickness of our time. Technology has changed our lives from the simple, slow life, to a fast paced battle to survive. The more technology advances, the faster the pace becomes. We live in an instant world, where everybody wants instant gratification and instant results. It is with great sadness, that I have witnessed this mindset, creeping into the crafting world. Let me give you some examples:

The crocheter who admired the knitted shawl in the shop: “I don’t knit. It takes too long to make something.”
The knitter who admired the sock weight yarn in the shop: “I don’t knit with anything thinner than DK; it takes too long.”
The weaver who wants to start a new project: “I hate warping my loom. I wish I can just sit and weave.”
The once-upon-a-time-knitter: “I miss knitting, but I don’t have time anymore.”

I think we all need to stop and think this through.

Working with yarn is therapeutic, but if you rush through the process, only focusing on the end result, all the therapeutic qualities are lost. In fact, you will increase your stress levels with this mindset, instead of allowing your craft, to lower your stress levels.

Stop and smell the yarn. Seriously. Smell your yarn. Touch your yarn lovingly. Look at the colours as you are working. Every now and them, put it all down and admire it from a small distance. Look intently at how you form your stitches. See how the colours of the yarn play around in the project. Embrace every part of the project, as part of the therapeutic process. Don’t rush towards the finish line, instead, enjoy the journey. The entire journey. Everything that is part of it. Planning the project. Choosing the yarn. Choosing the colours. Starting the project. Working on the project. Finishing the project. Everything is part of the therapy and should be enjoyed as such.

When I launched my own spinning wheel, as part of the Ilona Wooden Range, I named it Ilona-Mary. We all need more Mary moments, in a Martha world.

Take your life back. Take your time back. Slow down and smell your yarn, Martha! I am focused now on enjoying some Mary moments every day of my life. Join me.


Posted on Leave a comment

Show and Tell: Mohair Wrap

My mother taught me to knit and crochet when I was just four years old. She did it to keep my hands occupied. I have Aspergers, and as a child, I had some very annoying habits because of it. My hands were never quiet. I was always tapping on something, rubbing my fingers together in a rhythm, rolling my thumbs or alternating between a clench and an outstretched hand. It drove my father crazy, so my mother gave me something to keep my hands so busy, that I won’t have time to annoy anybody. It worked. It still works! I still have the tendency to randomly play with my hands if I don’t have fibre in them.

Over the years, I became absolutely fascinated with fibre and yarn. It became my passion. Most adult people who are somewhere on the Autism Disorder Spectrum, have a passion. Fibre is mine. It grew from knitting and crochet, to include spinning and weaving. Today, I am absolutely thrilled with a project like the one I just finished.

I started with beautiful braid given to me by Linda Tacke. It was a vibrant mix of Merino and Silk.

Without thinking too much about it, I promptly started to spin the braid, without splitting it. This resulted in LONG colourways. When the entire braid was spun, and sat and wondered how I would ply it. I didn’t want to do a chain-ply: the colourways would be preserved, but a 3-ply yarn would be too thick. I couldn’t do an andean ply either, as the colourways would be lost. So I decided to ply my handspun yarn, with Adele’s Mohair Skinny Wool in colour Peach. This is an excellent add-on to any spinner! The barber pole result was stunning!

Can you believe this yarn came from that vibrant colour braid? Amazing isn’t it!

Next I had to decide what to do with it. I wanted a wrap, but didn’t have enough yarn for the entire wrap, so I chose to use this yarn as the warp. My 4-shaft loom Penelope, was ready and waiting!

Look at those long colourways! Perfect on the warp!

The weft yarn decision was easy – I wanted to use mohair, in my favourite colour! ORANGE! Fizzy Orange Brushed Mohair from Adele’s Mohair to be exact.

There was risk involved though. I chose a brushed mohair with a nice halo. It could easily conceal the beautiful yarn underneath if woven too dense. I had to be very careful when beating, to not BEAT the fibre into place, but to rather PLACE the fibre. It had to be loose enough for the Mohair’s halo to show, and for the warp to peek through. It worked!

I could have added mohair to the fringe, but I chose not too, simply to allow the fringe, to highlight the colour hidden under the mohair.

Is it scratchy? NO! Mohair doesn’t like to be constrained. If you work loosely, you will have a luxury item you will use for many years. If you work tight, regardless of the craft you are using, mohair will scratch. This wrap is loosely woven, and it’s gorgeous. The drape is absolutely amazing!

I love my mohair wrap. I am ready for the winter of 2018! I am going to feel like the queen of fibre when I wear it! Roll on winter!!!