Clare Devine | Knit Share Love
Clare Devine of #KnitShareLove rejoins me on the podcast this week, as we catch up with her after quite a while since her Sock Surgery days on the show.
Clare is in Australia, the country where her knitting adventure began, at that time, she was in a totally-unsuitable-for-knitting Broome. Now she’s based in Brisbane, which is pretty warm, and presents its own knitting challenges.
Knit Share Love Collaborations
Since her last appearance on the show, which was shortly after the adult edition of her book, Sock Anatomy, was released, she’s been involved of lots of exciting projects and collaborations. She’s designed her first cardigan pattern, as well as working with UK dyers Joy McMillan of The Knitting Goddess and Jess James of Ginger Twist Studio on both The Neighbourhood Sheep Society and The Tea Collection.
Recently, she’s turned her attention to working with and raising the profile of home-grown talent in Australia. We briefly digress into the development of independent designers on Ravelry and the idea of training to be a designer.
In terms of local talent, Clare recommended Circus Tonic Handmade, a former geneticist PhD turned hand dyer. She also shared a wonderful story about Tarndie, a farm around two hours west of Melbourne. She found this yarn in a project during her first stay in Oz, having been recommended it to use for a felted bag. Around seven years afterwards, she met Jools of Woollenflower, who waxed lyrical about how wonderful this yarn from Tarndie was, and how Clare must visit when she went back to Australia. After a stint working one day a week in a yarn shop in Melbourne, the owner asked if she would like to teach at an event at… you guessed it… Tarndie.
Tarndie have Polwarth sheep and have been farming for many years, The yarn is spun in New Zealand. They have also been in collaboration with Great Ocean Road Woollen Mill, which is local to them, to produce a Super Bulky yarn called The Henry. This is made from a mix of Alpaca and Wool.
There aren’t many boutique yarn spinners – a lot of the clip is merino, which is sent to China for processing. Clare talked about a Gotland sheep farmer called Cheryl, creator of Granite Haven Gotland Yarns, who is based in Victoria. She has the only flock of Gotland sheep in Australia and breeds for diversity rather than conformity. As a result, her sheep have a wide arrange of colours in the fleece.
Australian Small Producer Yarns
Clare talked passionately about the importance of educating customers as to why local and boutique yarns can be expensive, as well as why they can make great choices. She promotes these yarns by using them in her design work, and also because it allows local knitters to access the yarns, as many people like to knit the pattern with the exact yarn. She advocated being enthusiastic about yarns and producers, as the likes of Louise Scollay has with KnitBritish, to help share these great products and knowledge with others.
Where to find KnitShareLove Online
Clare can be found at http://www.knitsharelove.com or as @knitsharelove on Instagram.
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