Creation Hive Knitters

This week I’ve been at Creation Hive looking at products and talking product development. Today we talked woolens, and as I had suspected, they are accomplished knitters!

Jane, middle, and Jacqueline, right, picked up my Bousta Beanie in Milarrochy Tweed and carried on where I left off. Jane then cast on her own hat using locally produced wool yarn. They don’t have circular needles here, but we’ve found a source for them.

I have great faith in these ladies developing a line of Fair Trade woolens in Kenyan merino wool yarn! It will support their textile economy as well. It’s a great solution and I’m thrilled to have played my little part in it. I can’t wait to see their creations and to bring them to the US through Global Gifts!

Kenana Knitters

On the way to Eldoret we stopped at Kenana Knitters. Unfortunately we were there on a Saturday when the workshop is closed, but the Manager, Susan, met us and the founder, Patricia, came to meet us. I was able to interview both of them for The Just Craft, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Susan and Patricia showing me one of their handmade spinning wheels made with a repurposed bicycle wheel.

They use locally produced wool for their yarn, and dye it with native plants! As you can imagine, I was totally geeked out.

They don’t allow photos of their products, but if you go to their website you will see what they make. It’s a wonderful workshop offering gainful employment and empowering programs for the local women.

I finished my first hat in Kenyan wool. What do you think about the tassel? Two tassels? No tassel? Pompom? I like how the tassel looks like a thistle and I am calling it my Thistle Tassel Hat. It’s a tad big (I have a big head) so it needs to be taken down by a couple of stitches. But it’s simple and a novice knitter could accomplish it easily, I think. I might add another tassel.

Kenya Day 3: Hell’s Gate

Today we biked through Hell’s Gate National Park.

It was a stunner of a day. We saw zebras, warthogs, water buffalo, eland, impala, Kirk’s Dik-Dik (ok I had to look some of these up.) It was really spectacular.

After that we hired a boat to take us out on Lake Naivasha. If you look carefully at the little lumps in the water, they are hippos.

Most of the birds we saw we’re Cormorants but we also saw pelicans, herons, duck, and vultures! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a vulture before.

On the way to Nakuru we stopped at a spinners and weavers workshop. There were some beautiful wool and cotton rugs and throws, but the looms were empty and I didn’t want to take any pictures because artisans prefer you not photograph (and copy) their designs. Fair enough!

I have been knitting away on what I hope will be a sample hat for our artisan partners. We’ll stop at the woolworks tomorrow to pick up more yarn. It is merino and super soft!

Kenya Day 2

Most of our day today was spent at Kitengala Glass Art and Kitengala Hot Glass. It is a magical place, started by Nani Croze in 1981. The village has grown to include two more workshops started by her sons. The artisans work, live, and farm in the village. I’m pretty sure this is what my heaven looks like.

The glass is all recycled from bottle waste collected in Nairobi.

You can tell the artisans really enjoy their work. I interviewed Tom, the manager, and I look forward to sharing that as part of my Kenya Adventures podcast on The Just Craft.

There are guest houses you can rent, and I think a stay in one may need to be added to my bucket list. It was a beautiful day!

Kenya Day 1

Are you surprised I scored yarn on day 1? We went to a place called Spinner’s Web. It was full of African handmade, including this periwinkle wool yarn! There were textiles, jewelry, coffee, wood carving, bags, clothing, pottery, you name it. I was very reserved and only bought yarn, coffee, a beaded bracelet, and a shopping bag to bring it all home in. They also had a cafe, and I had fresh pulped mango juice. It was delicious!

Afterward we headed downtown to CBD (Central Business District) and did some fabric and supply shopping for the workshop.

This is the view from my balcony. Another night in Nairobi and then we will head to Eldoret. Look at that moon!

Wisconsin Babes!

I am in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin for work and I got to meet up with Kathy B from the compassionknit blog! It was so lovely to meet her in person! We met at a Mexican restaurant and chatted and ate wonderful food. She also gave me a lovely little pouch and cable needle set. I love meeting my “blog friends” in person! I think we need a name for this group so we’ll have one ready when we all go on a knitting trip to Shetland together.

I finished Bob’s Tread Hat and brought another with me (for Hans) since I am now thinking I may not have enough Hogsmeade Justice for the Jessica Jones cowl. It looks like it should be held double, so I’ve got to crunch some numbers!

Giveaway! There’s a movie reference in the title. The first person to comment correctly will win a prize which will include: 1 hank of yarn, 1 stitch marker, and 1 handmade project bag sewn on my new Juki machine! It really is a great machine. I can’t wait to get home and give it a whirl!

It’s so cold here I am wearing my Twilight Toujours over my pajamas in bed.

Sunshine Blogger Award

Karen nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award! To be fair, she nominated every one who reads her blog. But I need blogspiration, so I’ll take it! There is also something about nominating 11 people so I will nominate the first 11 bloggers who read this (which is probably everyone)!

1. Dog or cat?

I like both. I’m more of a cat person but I aspire to also be a dog person.

2. What is your least favorite food that other people love?

Halva, pears, do people love those?

3. Where on Earth would you like to go but you know you never will? Why do you want to go there? Why will you not?

I would like to go to Egypt to see the pyramids but I probably never will. There are other places I would rather go, and Egypt feels a little scary.

4. What is your favorite household chore? Why? Make me love it too because I detest all of them.

I like doing the dishes. It’s rewarding to finish the job.

5. Your house is on fire. All living creatures will get out safely but you can only grab one sentimental item. What do you grab and why?

I’m assuming I’m wearing my wedding ring so I will grab the cd case that has all the cds full of pics of my boys when they were little.

6. Would you rather eat a slug or a spider?

No.

7. Do you prefer houseplants or cut flowers?

Houseplants. I love flowers but they always wilt and die and make me sad.

8. What is the absolute hardest thing you have ever had to do for another person?

When my Grandfather had dementia I had to hold him down to keep him from harming my mother and grandmother. I couldn’t let him up until the paramedics came. It was hard both physically and emotionally, but I knew if he had been in his right mind it’s what he would have wanted.

9. What was your favorite food as a child?

Black olives

10. Be honest, do you exercise as much as you should?

No.

11. . Have you ever met someone and you felt like you knew them? Did the relationship continue and did the feeling continue?

Yes and yes

Two hats down! Christmas knitting accomplished! Although I have three more Treads in the queue.

Hans and I volunteered at Global Gifts yesterday. We had fun!

Grateful Sunday

It’s been a long time since I went to a coffee shop by myself, ordered a soy peppermint mocha, and enjoyed a leisurely moment in public. Most of my moments seem filled with purpose. It’s nice to sit here and not feel like I have to perform or impress, or even relate. I’m grateful to have this moment to myself.

After my moment, I did a little Christmas shopping and then went to my studio to get my knitting organized. I caught a full rainbow!

The new issue of Seamwork came out. I have fallen hard for the Billie jumpsuit. Mood is having a sale so I ordered some wool knit velour to make it. I will not wash this fabric before sewing! Must avoid the Ace catastrophe (when I lost my mind and shrunk new wool knit fabric in the washing machine).

Since I’m a Seamwork member the pattern is free. There are so many patterns I want to make. I’m trying to limit myself to sewing one garment per season. It’s all I can handle.