As some of you may know, I am one of the Team Leaders for Etsy SK and i the month of June we decided to try an Instagram challenge. I came up with these topics of the month and played along for each day. If you don't follow me on Instagram, you can see my story below. If you want to check out others' posts be sure to look up #EtsySKTellYourStory to see more.
Click on the pictures for descriptions :)
To start the day off here are a couple pics of me during the last 4 years of judging wool shows at fibre festivals across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. It's one part of my business that doesn't get shown on Etsy. I took the wool judging course at Olds College in 2012 and have enjoyed learning about wool as I go. I've judged 100's of fleeces using both the commercial and artisan styles.
Day 2 of #etsysktellyourstory this is my studio. It used to be the master bedroom of our house until my husband went to a football game and I switched rooms. My office is in the walk in closet (top). I was hoping to use this challenge to make me clean up and organize my studio but that didn't happen lol. Selective pictures. The ensuite is where I wash my skeins and hang them to dry. I store my yarn stash in the cupboard but of course this explodes out into the house. My fibre stash is not pictured (it's like an iceberg). The couch is where I knit or crochet (usually with a cat) and this is my main spinning wheel.
Day 6 of #etsysktellyourstory these are my tools/equipment that help me be productive. The top left are a few of my support spindles. I have quite a collection of spindles in general (probably over 100). My Kessinich Jack Loom and the majority of my spinning wheels. My Kromski is my production wheel and I also have a country spinner and Spin well wheel which aren't pictured here
Day 8 of #etsysktellyourstory a video of my process. I was trying to think of what to show in 20 seconds and I thought to show a bit of spinning on my tiny Capar Turkish spindle and winding on the arms. Usually I will spin for longer before winding but I wanted to show all the steps including the half hitch #spindlespinning
Day 10 of #etsysktellyourstory. The prompt for today is orange. I wanted to share about one of my cats - Watson. Our only ginger kitty. Her mom (Mrs Hudson), her brother (Sherlock) and her showed up one day a few years ago and started living under our front porch. We took care of them and I raised money from my sales at the first ever Made in Canada sale in Saskatoon that @glassyeyed organized to pay for them all to be spayed/neutered. Mrs Hudson has moved on and Sherlock still lives around the neighbourhood and we have a shelter and leave food out for him on our porch. We adopted Watson as she wanted our affection and we were able to get her inside. She is a wonderful cat and is getting along with our other cats and dog. We had help from Regina Cat Rescue and I volunteer for them. We love Watson □ and as you can see she's quite relaxed with us #feralcat
For day 11 of #etsysktellyourstory it was very hard but these are some of my Etsy SK favs: @entirelycraftylindsay who makes the best project bags and needle cases as well as my supplier of knitting needles, @mytrueluminosity who makes super one of a kind and really cool jewelry using old clock parts and other vintage collectables, @moirannsu who's thoughtful cards are SO BEAUTIFUL and the care put into each one is obvious and @tooaquarius who is like Michelangelo to me. I can't get enough of her polymer clay creations and the detail in each bead is like - woah. You all inspire me
For day 13 of #etsysktellyourstory most of my works in progress are gifts for others so I don't want to spoil the surprise but this is a wip for me I started a couple years ago and have a lot of help with it from my friend @entirelycraftylindsay. It is a chain reaction quilt using moda fabric this is just the quilt top, I still need to learn how to finish it.
Here are a few of my "helpers" for day 14 of #etsysktellyourstory. Rider, Xena and Watson share a room together and I often find Watson rubbing her face on my wool judging bag and Rider is usually in my office sleeping with a tufft of fibre and Xena just likes to grab yarn and generally be with me as much as she can. These are old pics of Rider and Xena but they haven't changed. FYI the fibre both Rider & Xena are on is fibre I spun for myself. I keep my cats away from anything not for me.
My biggest helper for #etsysktellyourstory is my husband Jeremy @riderpride75. We do everything together which means he runs my booths at shows, he shears sheep with me, he comes up with my colourway names and drives me all over and attends everything I do. He is my biggest supporter and I couldn't do it without him. He is the other half of Knit Natural
For day 15 of #etsysktellyourstory the prompt is texture. I wanted to share a few pictures. At the top left is a very perfect example of the crimp in a fine wool (Cormo) which you can see will have a lot of elasticity. Under it are some Lincoln locks which show the typical long wool waves. Under that I have some handspun that is woven, knit and crocheted. To the right I have a sweater I knit in brioche for Dean Renwick for Saskatchewan Fashion Week and my favorite - garter stitch
Found a treasure trove of postcards - thanks Moose Jaw. I joined a community called postcrossing where I send postcards to people all over the world and I also get just as many back. It's a nice surprise in my mailbox every week. I like to share pictures of Saskatchewan as we have quite a nice landscape and people in more conjested parts of the globe don't usually see as far and wide as we do. I'm also learning how to say hi in several different languages. It's a fun pastime. #postcrossing #etsysktellyourstory #saskatchewan
Day 20 of #etsysktellyourstory hands... □ well my hands cause me a lot of pain but it's mostly self inflicted. The first picture in the top left is the hole I dug into my finger after a month of non-stop knitting (I had to wear tape around it to continue - the things you do for a deadline lol) I have a knitting callous on my right ring finger and I am also a nail chewer/ripper and do both of these quite constantly when anxious. I also have cats so there is usually a scratch h or two (or three) present as well lol
Day 21 of #etsysktellyourstory my mentor. I was waiting for this day to tell you all about my dear friend and mentor Deb Behm. This is her on the cover of Western People in 1983. She was a bit younger in this picture than I am now and she was collecting stories about spinning and fibre work from people around the prairies and she even published a book about the memories people shared with her. She was the artist in residence at the Neil Balkwell for many years and had people traveling from the states to take her fibre arts classes. She taught me everything I know and shared her love of spinning and spindles with me. She was a master knitter and taught in the master spinners program at Olds College. She is widely published for her work in tapestry weaving, spinning, knitting and more. She passed away on Dec 10th last year and has left a huge hole in the fibre community and all the hearts she entered. □
Day 23 of #etsysktellyourstory Inspiration. I find I get a lot of inspiration from Piecework Magazine. It's combines tradional fibre art (knitting, crochet, tatting, embroidery, quilting, and beadwork just to name a few), history patterns and interesting stories. I remember one where after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle passed away, his wife couldn't stand the thought of him going to his grave wearing cheap socks so she ripped them off his feet as he lay on the funeral bed and replaced them with handknit socks to keep him warm. Now that's love! Lol (Pic from google)
Day 24 of #etsysktellyourstory my first listing sale was this handspun hat I knit in the best colourway ever called Whiskey & Whiskers. This is a song by Thom Dudley who is a good friend of Jeremy's birthdad who is a musician in Portland. We visited him in 2011 and went to every gig. He was playing fiddle in Thom's Scottish band and it was such a fun time. My sister was my first customer on Etsy lol. She bought this hat Pattern is "Anchors and Ropes" by my friend Síle
For day 25 of #etsysktellyourstory I wanted to share with you about my business name and logo. My husband @riderpride75 actually came up with the name (as he does with my colourways) and he said it sounded like a call to arms "Knit Natural". It is also simple enough, I don't have to worry about spelling it out and it was available. I wanted to use a venn diagram as the logo because I am combining ideas and concepts to come up with different variations of finished objects. Like combining spinning and knitting, weaving and crochet, warmth and strength, wool prep and fashion etc and making a quality product. The colours used are taken from pictures of sheep - so they are actual natural sheep colours! My sister @nancy_morrison came up with that nugget. I am quite happy with my business name as I feel it defines me. #knitnatural
Day 26 of #etsysktellyourstory display. This was my table setup at the EtsySk Bring on Spring market earlier this year. I have an old truck for my handspun that I was able to convince my mom that I needed it more haha and I use wooden crates to fit into the natural theme. My table cloth I got at Fabricland. It's just a length of upholstery fabric so it's nice and heavy. I brought part of a spinning wheel with me this time and liked it. I also use baskets, glass heads and try to put lots of images of my successes around (wool judging, Sask Fashion Week and magazines I've been published in). My husband usually runs my booth for me because I am most often doing other jobs at shows but my setup usually stays the same.
Day 28 of #etsysktellyourstory tunes. I normally prefer peace and quiet but when I am in my studio I usually listen to Tonic on CBC (jazz) my cats like it and they like to relax listening to it. I also really like The Conspiracy Show. Richard Syrett's voice is soothing and even though some of his guests are a bit on the wacko side he let's them have their say. Other than that I might listen to Chill on Spotify. But my main music choice is 90's alternative otherwise.
Day 29 of #etsysktellyourstory collection. This is a portion of my support spindle collection. I love each one and some are limited edition or one of a kind or the spindle makers have passed on. It's a very relaxing way to spin yarn, very portable and fun! You can even do it while traveling in a car. For this year's Tour de Fleece I will be spinning a 4 Oz skein on my support spindles. The TdF is a yearly challenge for spinners which coincides with the Tour de France. I will be spinning with friends and fellow guild members starting this weekend □
Final day of #etsysktellyourstory why do I love handmade and fibrework? Well I have several reasons. It ties me to the past and to many many cultures around the world. It really is better than commercially made items. I can use knitting/spinning/crochet etc to relieve stress and relax while being productive. By spending time to handmake items for my family and friends I am giving them a portion of my life in everything I make. I am promoting the craft for others to keep it alive. I can make anything I want and it is very rewarding to start with animal fibre and end up with a usable garment that will serve a specific purpose for a very long time. I can use it to send a form of love to those I care about. I have met so many amazing people though fibre and made lifelong friends. I can take it anywhere and it's fun! Thank you to all the EtsySk members who posted throughout this challenge. It was nice to read all about what you do and connect with you all on a more personal level. You are all an inspiration. Why do you love handmade?