Ever dreamed of turning your textile love into a business? Sounds amazing, huh?
The reality can be a little different however.
Which is why Janet of Create With Fibre has decided to add to her business mentoring service by offering a retreat for those with a textile business.
It can be hard to turn your passion into a business, because its not always how you thought it would be.
Working out what to charge, asking for money for your work, how to earn enough to pay the bills…if you are just starting out there are systems and accounts to worry about, too. The reality may be that you will only spend half of the time actually doing what you love.
Or you may be struggling to come up with a money-making idea to even start your business.
And if you were used to having work colleagues and now work from home, it can feel isolating. Lots of us dream of working from home, right? In reality it can be challenging.
Especially when the rest of the household go out in the morning and your day starts with a mountain of dirty dishes.
Of course, it can be wonderful working for yourself and doing what you love but only if you know how to make it work. Time out to focus on your business can really help give you perspective. A chance to have fun and relax whilst sharing with others who know what its like.
And 1-1 time with Janet to think about your business. And time to really focus on planning and action. All whilst having fun in a 4 star guest house, with beautiful views, a woodburning stove, and likeminded people.
And why Janet? She has spent over 20 years earning her living as a textile artist. And has mentored others individually for much of that time. In fact many of the UK textile artists you may know have been helped or started on their business journey Janet. If you want to know more, visit the createwithfibre website
Knitting is the new black. You heard it first here.
Take the UK. A few years ago, North of Watford, there was Woolfest, the Massam Sheep Fair, Wonderwool Wales and not really much else.
Now, even here in Scotland – where perhaps the midges, and a national population of only 5.3m (to give that some context, the population of London England is about 8.7m) would, you’d think cause slower growth – there are lots and lots of fibre and yarn festivals. but we make up in enthusiasm for what we lack in numbers up here in the North of Britain…
Woolfest in Cumbria in the North of England continues to thrive and I volunteer at it every year. Just love their sheep and spinning focus of course. The Rheged Centre, also in Cumbria now has a wee wool festival in the spring. They showed the film Yarn in the Rheged film theatre. I totally love that movie by the way…
As the knitters, spinners, crocheters, felt makers and weavers just keep growing in numbers, the yarn festivals are multiplying. All are busy and there are many, many more that I have not mentioned.
Lots of you come to the courses at EYF and all of their courses have filled up fast. In fact, the second year I taught there, they started out by asking me to do two and I ended up doing five courses. I did get to have a very quick tour round the Festival in the last 20 minutes and yes, it is surprising what you can buy in 20 minutes… Like all of the Festivals, EYF is unique and in particular it has a very international clientele. There were people on the courses I taught there from New Zealand, Russia, Norway, Poland and more.
And I volunteer on the Woolclip stall at Woolfest most years, (the only year I missed was when I was away doing my Knit 1 bike 1 project) and I just love Woolfest, the Woolclip and all of it. So glad to do my bit there. The Woolclip is the cooperative that organises Woolfest and also the shop. Higham Hall sometimes have courses in conjunction with Woolfest and I have taught a couple of those over the years too. Along with all the regular courses I have done there over the years, and the recently added Higham Knitting Retreats.
So this year, check out Perth festival of Yarn. I will be there both days and am teaching spinning, crochet and weaving. Can’t wait.
Spindling is a game changer if you are a textile artist, spinner or yarn enthusiast. The reasons are this:
It is portable. So although it may be slower by the hour than wheel spinning, (although more about that later, it is actually faster than you think) it is faster by the week. whilst your friends chat at the spinning group they have to get up and leave their spinning wheel. You on the other hand can wander about and take your spinning with you.
Many moons ago, I was taught spindling, backstrap weaving and Andean Braiding by a Canadian called Ed Franquemont. He is the father of Abby Franquemont, who is still spindling away and whom many of you will have heard of. Ed was a spindler through and through.
At one point, he and others fundraised to buy spinning wheels for the community they were working with. They returned there a year later to find no one was using the spinning wheels but were back to handspindles. Why? the spindles were ‘slower by the hour, faster by the week’. You could spindle whilst doing other things. You produced more and were not stuck at home on your own. And that is the essence of spindling.
Sadly, Ed is no longer with us but the time I spent learning with him will always be special. He was also an archaeologist and worked with communities in Peru. He gave me one of the Peruvian spindles made in a community he worked with. I still have it and treasure it greatly.
Being a keen spindler, I often spin a lot of yarn whilst on holiday, wating for trains, cooking, you name it. These Entrelac socks are made with spindle spun Blue Faced Leicester yarn. The toe, heel and strip around the ankle are made from commercial sock yarn (pink in photo). Partly to add durability but partly just because it needed using up.
The thigh roll, the kick and the wrist distaff
These amazing techniques are what make it possible to really get up speed on a hand spindle. There is a myth that you need a special gadget in order to kick a spindle. Well you heard it here, all you need is a pair of sensible shoes.
Simply grip the spindle between your feet at the widest point and flick the right foot back to kick the spindle clockwise. I do lots of free videos in our lovely Facebook group, Create With Fibre Community. Check out the spindling one here. You will have to join the group in order to access the videos, then click on the videos tab to see them all, or do a ‘search in group’ with the word ‘video’.
And here is a FREE excerpt about spindling from Janet’s book.
A summary – some tips for spindle spinning
Practise pre-drafting fibre and then twirling the spindle with a piece of scrap yarn. Do each of step until you are confident before attempting the next one.
If you struggle to join on the fibre, just tie a piece of yarn onto the spindle and tie this around a small amount of fibre, or make a loop, thread a small amount of fibre through it and double it back on itself. This can be done at any stage not just when joining fibre to start a new bobbin.
Take your time. Pre-draft the fibre then spin the spindle to insert the twist. Then stop, sit down and wedge the spindle between your knees and draft some more rather than doing everything at once.
If you get in a muddle or the spindle is spinning too fast for you, stop by lowering the spindle onto the floor. This will give you time to draft without the spindle spinning.
If the yarn is getting over-twisted it is important to stop immediately or it will just get worse.
To ply, wind two lots of singles yarn into a double stranded ball. Put this in your pocket and then ply from it.
Remember to go clockwise when spinning and anticlockwise when plying.
Refer to the section on plying yarn on a spinning wheel for some extra tips.
You can check out the book some more on the Create With Fibre website, and can also find out about Janet’s courses and retreats there.
The Knit 1 bike 1 book is finished. It has a lot more commas in it than i would like but is edited and all sqeaky clean. Hubby read it after the editor and pronouncec it a page turner! Publication date early May.
I have almost caught up with everything since getting home from the bike ride and am doing lots of workshops. Pics from Edinburgh Yarn Festival where i taught five workshops last weekend. Awesome festival!
My spinning book is back for editing! this is very exciting because there is not a huge amount to change, other than adding more photographs. so Hubby has had chance to try out his new camera big time today, taking pix of spindles, spinning wheels and of course yours truly.
And best of all I now have his old camera which is much easier to use than mine.
the book will look something like this…
Still hoping for a publication date of November 2011 so watch this space…