yarn

Ep130 – Daria Rakowski of Cloud 9 Fiberworks

Daria Rakowski is our guest today to discuss widely varying subjects from eyelash yarn merkins(!) to an overview of the Canadian yarn industry.

Image Copyright Daria Rakowski

Cloud 9 Fiberworks

Daria is the creative genius behind Cloud 9 Fiberworks, and is based in Winnipeg in Canada. Originally, she indulged in her love of yarn as a child. She would often be found under the table in her Aunt’s yarn shop in Winnipeg, untangling balls of yarn. She’s still an aficionado of vintage yarns from the period. Daria has a full time job, and produces hand dyed yarns and fibre as a side business.

From here, we entered a rather sinister rabbit hole, prompted entirely by the broaching of the subject of eyelash yarn. Somehow, we got through the uses of eyelash yarn very quickly. First up, was the knitted tinsel/eyelash yarn hedgehog. There are many patterns for knitted hedgehogs utilising the raw texture of eyelash yarn on Ravelry. However, the pattern I was referring to is by King Cole and features chunky tinsel spikes.

I can confirm there are no patterns for merkins whatsoever on Ravelry. Tinsel/eyelash or otherwise.

Image Copyright Daria Rakowski.

Inspiration for Hand Dyed Yarn Colourways

Daria takes her inspiration from many places. A lot of her yarns have a nod to fantasy and sci fi (with Star Trek and Harry Potter being two of the bigger influences). She also draws on random ideas, such as suggestions from customers or other inspiration.

Image Copyright Daria Rakowski

The Canadian Hand Dyed Yarn Scene

We discussed the Canadian hand dyed yarn market at depth, with regard to what is available to dye onto both commercially and as custom spins. The mills in Canada are few and even fewer are capable of handling long staple fibres. Although there is a great climate for growing wool and fibre in the country, it doesn’t necessarily translate to the ability to process these fibres. Also, the market is split into little ‘islands’ – there is so much geographical distance between groups, that it can be hard to both find breed yarns to try and be brave enough to do it.

Custom Blend Yarns

Daria had her own yarn commissioned which was a blend of merino, Shetland and Gotland from local farmers, into a singles, fingering weight yarn.

Image Copyright Daria Rakowski

Where Can You Find Cloud 9 Fireworks?

Website
Instagram
Ravelry
Facebook

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Episode 103: Active Stash Exploration

The first show of 2017 brings the project of the year for podcast to you. This year, we’re all about Active Stash Exploration. What’s that you say? It’s definitely not cold sheeping, that is for sure.

First up we have a quick catch up on happenings, before diving in to some news both for the Bees on the business front and for the podcast. There are some words about the dangers of abusing Yakult as well as talking about words for the year. Do you have one? Mine is ‘press.’ I would love to hear your words and why you’ve chosen them.

Bees Inc is restructuring and that means we will lose some parts of the empire in order to focus on others. More info on those that will be leaving us next time. Essentially, I am moving away from my product based business to focus more on consulting and teaching. I currently help overwhelmed business owners gain control over their empire by implementing smart planning, systems and strategy and cutting out the rubbish they don’t need to be doing. I love this work and want to do more of it.

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There are a few ways to work with me at the moment and if you are just getting started then I have a free Facebook group for business related chat. The community over there is great, really helpful and encouraging with just the right amount of sarcasm and swearing. If this sounds like your thing, the free business group on Facebook is (Business Without The Boll*cks) as well as a new online community portal that I am currently building. If you’re sick of tying yourself in knots about what you ‘should’ be doing in your business and getting nowhere because of it, I’m the girl for you. You can join the VIP list for Business WTB here.

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Episode 102: On The Edge Of Something Magical

Intro

It’s been a little while that I have been on sabbatical, but I am once again back behind the mic and with you. There’s been lots of things ongoing behind the scenes here at Shiny Heights, preparing the new house and getting settled. I’m very much enjoying our new surroundings and hope to have many fun tales for you to come.

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Episode 97: Best UK Podcast of 2016

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Intro

So here we are at the start of our fortnightly releases – missed me?? I can’t believe how close we are to the big 1-0-0 now. Given how busy I am of late my creative juices are flowing a little slower so if you have any ideas/requests about how we should celebrate this in true Shiny style please do email and let me know. Today we have some knitting chat, a good old The Golden Skein quarterly round up and some light enabling.

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Episode 96: This Thing of Paper – An Interview with Karie Westermann

Intro

Straight into the news this week as I have so much of it. Firstly, I want to thank you all for your wonderful positive feedback on last week’s episode and my time with Countess Ablaze. A lot of the feedback was around how well she copes with her autism, and how it doesn’t stop her from doing what she wants to do. We have both appreciated it very much, you are all lovely people.

If you would like some of our crazy Orange Mocha Frappuccino, the bad news is that the batch we dyed completely sold out to newsletter subscribers in two hours. [Fortunately for us, The Countess (despite being in incredibly high demand) has kindly agreed to do a very small number of pre-orders for those of you who missed out. You can pre-order the yarn here until the limit is reached or 20th June, whichever is earliest. Dispatch will be 1st July. Edited: This is now totally sold out. Thank you!

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Episode 93 – Alpaca Love

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Intro

These hot temperatures are having some side effects, I need to open my windows for survival. That means the choice between some potential atmospheric background noise or an unconscious host. I’ve soldiered on in the belief that I’m pretty pivotal to this podcast and chosen the former. As summer approaches we are beginning to think about summer knitting, which I have discussed before, quelle surprise in the approach to last summer and summer knitting yarns.

Today is the first instalment of my fibre focus on Alpaca. More Alpaca love was requested by a listener in my survey last year and as always your wish is my command. I will touch on it today as an introduction but there will be much more info to come in the coming weeks.

News

Oh I’ve a few things to share with you today. Firstly, and probably most importantly, the New Media Europe awards are back. Remember those from last year??

Yeah you do, you bunch of winners you!

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Episode 91: Is that it?

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Intro

I’ve had lots of happy messages this week, which is nice. First off, LJ is alive, arse and all, and managed to run the whole ruddy thing. Amongst my other lovely messages was one that particularly made me smile. It was from Lisa and made me realise that we need to relax and enjoy life. Let’s not take ourselves, or others, too seriously. Live like Westy. If you’re not sure what I mean, do as Lisa did and watch the below video. You will laugh, feel better and return to your knitting and correct your mistakes. Or watch Westy videos all night. Either way, you’re winning.

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Episode 90: Curious Handmade- An interview with Helen Stewart

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Intro

So first things first, my mental and yet fabulous (obviously) assistant LJ is running the London marathon this weekend. She has broken her arse as a result of yarn fumes, sort of, so listen in for the full comedy breakdown of the incident. If you should take pity on the poor maniac then you can sponsor her here. As promised here is a little snap of her and what she will look like on the day in case you happen to be around and want to cheer her on in her sorry state! Good luck LJ!

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I feel sorry for her already…

Interview

The lovely Helen had a very crafty upbringing in Queensland, complete with Macrame and all. How could she not grow up to be a creative soul? At the age of 25 she upped sticks after catching the travel bug and ended up here in the UK. She began knitting again as she was living in London (and it’s cold innit?) The growth of her hobby began as her friend asked her for a contribution to her pattern book, though it was after the publication of her Afternoon Tea Shawl pattern in Knitty magazine that she began to feel more recognition and believe that this may be something she would like to focus on. After having her second child she wasn’t loving corporate work the same way and wanted something flexible to fit around the children and having them gave her the push she needed to start her own business, something she never dreamt she would do. One of the least likely elements of her business is her podcast, given that she is quite shy. Her husband says it works for her as it creates a community and allows her to talk with people without actually having to meet them. Helen feels it is an excellent springboard into friendships and makes things easier when you do meet face to face. Clearly it is a good thing she took that leap – Helen’s career high is winning the UK Podcast Awards ‘Best Hobby Podcast’ last year.

Afternoon Tea Shawl c) Helen Stewart

Afternoon Tea Shawl c) Helen Stewart

There is no fixed pattern to Helen’s day, other than the drop off, work for 6 manic hours and then pick up – familiar to all us working mums. Given that her business is so varied, with many elements, her days are never the same, though having a podcast to do gives her some structure each week. Posh coffees also have a pivotal role. Another varies aspect of Helen’s life is her creative process. It will often begin with a colourful yarn she finds that sparks her interest and then she will look for a theme, however vague, that she can use to try and tie different pieces together. She likes a good swatch and some designs are quick and easy but some take an entire shawl’s worth of swatching. It can be a time consuming process but, thankfully, one that she greatly enjoys.

With the words ‘no journey is a smooth one’ ringing in her ears Helen gives a cautionary tale of what happens when you don’t allow yourself the time you need. Early in her career she submitted an idea to a magazine with a very tight deadline. It didn’t work as she was inexperienced and ambitious but had a trip planned and due to unforeseen circumstances got held up on the other side of the world. She submitted work that she wasn’t happy with and ended up with it not being published. The message Helen hopes we all get from this is to be patient, respect yourself and your process and give yourself the time you need. An excellent learning experience for all of us, thank you for sharing Helen.

Pebble Beach Shawl c) Helen Stewart

Pebble Beach Shawl c) Helen Stewart

If Helen could go back and talk to her pre-yarny self she would stress the importance of unpicking and fixing your mistakes immediately. It won’t magically disappear by itself and it’s easier to only unpick one row. You also need to get straight back on it, don’t throw it to one side in a hissy fit like I do, basically. One big message from this interview is to be patient. That is the main bit of advice Helen would give someone looking to enter this business world as it takes years to become a success. Since we’re an impatient bunch (sorry, Helen) I asked what’s next for Curious Handmade and was thrilled to hear that there is a new shawl collection in the pipeline that may even become a club. You can find Helen at www.curioushandmade.com and all the wonderful links from there. The podcast is available at Stitcher and Itunes.

Wrap Up

That’s all from me this week. As always, thank you for listening. Feedback is always appreciated, and you can email me or message me via Ravelry or social media. If you enjoyed listening today, please consider leaving an iTunes review, to help others find the podcast too. Happy crafting!

Episode 89: Paula Abdul Would Be Proud

Image Details: Los Angeles by Wilson Loo Kok Lee, via Flickr.

Image Details: Los Angeles by Wilson Loo Kok Lee, via Flickr.

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Intro

This wee’s episode is a little later than planned but here nonetheless. Paula Abdul discussed the concept of two steps forward and two back. If you’ve not heard ‘Opposites Attract’ for a while, I bring it to you for your listening delight.

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Episode 88: The Wool Kitchen – An Interview with Helen Reed

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Intro

A short intro this week as the old croaky voice is threatening a return. This week I am thrilled to bring you the other half of my Best in Show EYF winning double act – Helen from The Wool Kitchen. She is from the wrong side of the Pennines but a good Northener nonetheless and is responsible for my breaking of the ‘no 4 ply purchasing’ self inflicted rule for EYF. Her love of colour gets me every time…

Interview

Helen follows the classic pattern of a knitter – her mum taught her all she knows! She was a knitter, mainly of scarves, until her first pregnancy, when she started to knit clothes for the impending arrival. It was during this time that she realised she could read patterns and immediately have the 3D image of what it could be. Her love of bright colours and her interest in how a piece of string can be manipulated into different patterns and paired with other colours is what fuelled her desire to dye. She is a self confessed geek.

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