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!
Three tassels for the win. Thanks for the feedback!
Three Tassel Thistle Hat
Solid Gold Pompom Beanie
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.
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!
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!
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!