Some resolutions while waiting for May to come
Some days ago I discovered a new podcast, brought to us by the lovely Kate @aplayfulday. Kate talks about living a meaningful and creative life where making is central. And so, while listening to her last podcast episodes, especially this one where she talks about the meaning of local for her as a maker, her words stroke a cord in me. I started to think about why do I have this need to make things, why is it that when I see something that I like in a shop window or online, I immediately think “Can I make this?”. Am I so cheap, that I don’t want to buy anything or is it something else?
Or, how NOT to start a fiber business
Some time ago I was invited by Christine to write a guest blog post. I jumped to the opportunity and thought to share the story of how my brother and I went looking for sheep. Yes, we had a very good strategy - get in the car and drive around the country side...
Now that I shared with you about our struggles and challenges, it is time to share about the changes and plans for the future. It has become clear to us that Moeke Yarns needs to grow. What we did not know exactly is the way to move forward. But my trip to Romania and the intensive schedule of meetings, brainstorming and discussion with all the parts involved resulted in a short and long term plan. Of course, nothing is carved in stone and we can only hope for the best.
I was quite nervous about the reaction to my post yesterday. I cannot express what an amazing feeling I got when I read your reactions and encouragements. It means so much to us to know that we are surrounded by such a supportive community. Your kind and supportive feedback gave me extra motivation to keep on writing a follow up post about the challenges of making the yarn the old fashion way.
As many of you know, I traveled to Romania during March. I want to share the reasons for my trip, a kind of confession that I wanted to put on paper for quite a long time now. I didn’t do it because being openly honest about Moeke Yarns, me and my family felt like a difficult thing to do: I did not want to sound like I am a completely ungrateful whiner.
When I start to consider that there is a master plan after all
Do you know how sometimes it feels that everything is just meant to be? When you have that feeling that tells you that you are in the right place at the right moment? Or that the coincidences are just piling up screaming: “this was meant to be”? I am going to tell you a story full with coincidences. And these coincidences lead to a wonderful new woolly adventure that will allow Moeke Yarns to grow and develop in ways that I did not think would be possible!
When I first saw the first photos of the Teru sweater, I was immediately in love and wanted to knit it! I just loved the opening of the neck and the baggy look of it. I thought it is the type of sweater that I could just pair with my favorite jeans and feel comfortable and cozy all day long! And that, for me, is very important.
And so, I did not want to wait the release and asked Junko if I can also test knit it together with Josh and Isabel.
This is the story of three swatches that I made in order to demonstrate the differences between the three MY yarn bases – Elena, Transylvanian merino and Heritage. I promise I will write more about the different sheep breeds that give their wool for each of these yarns after I am back from my spring visit to Romania. But now my focus is on the yarn.
I really like stockinette stitch, the more kilometers of it the better. I know it sounds boring, but this has to do with the place that knitting has in my life, and its function for me. I have been accused of being a hard-core “functionalistic” person, in the sense that I evaluate things based on their function. For instance, some people use cars to make a statement about their values or social status (think about how the middle-age crisis in some men results in buying a Ferrari), but for me a car is just a mean of transportation and as long as it works, is safe and it is not an environmental hazard, I don’t care if it is the cheapest in the parking lot.
When it comes to knitting, I am the same functionalist as always – it all comes down to the questions: why am I knitting? Why do I choose to spend my time doing this instead of going to the sauna, or painting, or some other alternative hobby?
So, let’s start with the obvious: Elena yarn is not the softest of yarns. Is that a problem? I think not. Not if you look at the yarn (any yarn) keeping in mind its characteristics, and deciding on the best project that would make the yarn shine. But if you have a sensitive skin and you wish to make a shawl, then yes, it is a problem.
I think that we all agree that the dark age of “we want soft yarn and nothing else” has passed. We are all more aware that each type of yarn has its strong and weak points. Elena is not the softest of yarns, but it is a strong one, a durable one. It is fluffy, textured and when you knit it, it does not feel like a boiled spaghetti (those yarns that feel like that are my least favorite! A question of taste I guess…).
Or, how I met Junko Okamoto
It all started on March 9 2015. I know it because it is my Etsy orders history. That particular day Junko Okamoto ordered some skeins of Moeke Yarns Elena undyed. And this was one of those orders that I remember because when I checked the address where I was supposed to send the yarns, I could not read it – it was written in Japanese characters. And then the shipping costs were incorrect – not her fault but mine, because me and Etsy’s shipping profiles don’t get along so well. Ok, so after solving all these problems and sending the yarn, my Instagram feed became much more interesting, full of beautiful photos of various projects all made in Moeke Yarns Elena. And her notes were so kind, I could see that she really enjoyed knitting with the yarn and that was incredibly encouraging and rewarding for me
Or, how I managed to knit the Lee set by Junko Okamoto
It is true. I am an ignorant knitter. I learned to knit from observing my grandmother and the other old ladies in the village. Nobody was there to explain to me how to neatly decrease to the left or to the right (to be honest, they did not know also). Or how to make a bobble. Or how to properly knit stockinette. In fact, they knitted through the back loop and purled through front, and so did I. It is a knitting style it seems, specific to the region. But before I found out about this peculiarity I was convinced that I am a complete ignorant and I am doing it all wrong.