Resolution Number 3

Hellooooo!!!

I hope this post finds you well and happy!  I’m going to show you some gorgeous wool today, and of course, explain my third resolution, which I’m very excited about and wonder if you might like to join me on….

But first… gorgeous wool.  My Mum is so talented at stuff that sometimes she makes me sick when I see the gorgeous things that emerge from her hands and needles.  She is  a Wool Ninja and can do pretty much anything fibre related, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have such an able and dedicated teacher…. although of course, it’s really hard to learn new and tricky skills from Mum because I’m not too shy to throw a tantrum in front of her when the knitting just won’t do what it’s meant to…. I’ll say no more!

In July, we went to a spin-in and her friend Maria was there, selling beautiful 50gm knots of unspun wool which she had dyed herself.  If you don’t remember this post, click here and a new window will pop up and take you back in time!  I went CRAZY over these knot of wool…. go and look at this post and you will see why!  Maria is an amazing dyer (unfortunately she is internet-phobic, so I can’t send you to a website showing you her work) and after I had bought a bagful of her wool and was so hypnotised by the colours I couldn’t stop staring at them, considering getting more and more and MORE, Mum put her foot down and banned Maria from selling me any more as I had nominated her to spin them all for me.  (I suppose that’s fair enough?)

Yesterday I went for a visit to my parents place and found the last two knots had been spun for me.  THANKS MUM!  They were in fact, my two favourite ones, and the way she had spun the purple one took my breath away.   She tried to spin each knot a different way, and she put this one through her drum carder to achieve this result.

Have you ever seen a drum carder?  They look like a piece of torture equipment….

I don’t really know what I’m talking about in this post… I’m no spinner (yet!) but whatever she did with the drum carder made the wool… well, like a piece of artwork!

I am experiencing deep wool lust here, and even though I made a rule that all special wool goes into the big click-clack container in my wardrobe and does not clutter up my wool baskets, I just can’t put it away, it is on top of the baskets where I can gaze at it adoringly and stroke it every now and then.   I’m thinking it might make a beautiful tea cozy which I will not sell or give away, like I usually do!  It needs to be something small as it is only 50gm, and something that won’t wear out.  Any other suggestions?

So.  Gorgeous wool attended to, I’m now going to tell you about my third resolution.  Consumerism bugs me.  My workmate at the shop I work at labeled me a “consumer” the other week and I took offense at that, because the environment is highly important to me and I’m always mindful of the impact I’m having on the earth.  I try to minimise my impact by doing lots of small things, such as not buying anything that can’t be recycled, upcycled or regifted and will eventually end up in a landfill.  I try not to buy things with excess packaging.  I try to buy NZ made and try to avoid $2 shops.  I hardly ever need a bag and I use pages from old, falling apart kids picture books from the op shops as wrapping paper instead of using fandangly-spangly paper from the bookshop that can’t be composted or recycled.  I’m far from perfect, but try to make choices based on ethical and environmental reasons, and this year, was highly inspired by the handmade Christmas challenge that was happening around Blogland.  (I don’t know who started it, but you are a legend!)

I thought about doing it…. thought about doing it for the whole year, not just Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s and Father’s Day… the whole lot!  But then I thought, there is only so much crochet people can receive before they start to hate crochet, and decided to modify the idea slightly, and that…..

For the whole of 2011 (and beyond, but we’ll make it a 2011 thing!) any gift I give to anyone will either be handmade my me, or bought from another New Zealand artist.  Throughout the year, when I buy things made by NZ artists, I’ll post about that artist and show you what we get up to down here at the bottom of the planet, and introduce you to some of these amazing people.  My main reason for doing this is that I’ve really had it with seeing big businesses taking over the little guy, and I want any money I’m spending this year, to be put straight into an artist’s pocket, to give them an energy exchange that is appropriate for the work they put into creating the product.  Because we all know how long it takes to make something amazing don’t we!

My rules for this game are:  Handmade gifts are great, all other gifts must be made in New Zealand by an artist of whichever persuasion, as long as they are not owned by a big business which is then probably owned by another big business.  No imported gifts are allowed, and nothing that is made by someone who is not being paid accordingly.  (Think, crochet beanie from chain store being sold on sale for $5, marked down from $20.)

Maybe you’d like to join in on Resolution Number 3?  I haven’t travelled extensively, but I’m positive that there are amazing local artists in other places that are easy to access!  Is it viable where you come from?  If not, why not?  I think it’s going to be lots of fun, and I can’t wait to share the things I find throughout the year with you!  It might be a bit of a challenge coming up to Christmas, but it’s one I’m prepared to take on with much excitement and enthusiasm.  I’d love to hear what you think!  

I’m off now…. I’ve got some fantastic knitting on the needles and need to get back to it urgently!  Wishing you many blessings for today!

Lots of love, Alice and Raymond XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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About Crochet with Raymond

I'm a crochet obsessed, reiki master, crystal healing, yoga junkie, counselling student, in a happy long term relationship... and Raymond's mum!
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24 Responses to Resolution Number 3

  1. I feel like I’ve been away from your blog for too long Alice, Christmas really got in the way of normality this year, so it’s a joy to be back. I applaud your resolution to buy only local or made by you, hurrah! I like your idea very much indeed, will have to think about it, it’s quite an undertaking. Raymond curled up looks so tiny doesn’t he? I was thinking, do you ever try and move him when he’s asleep like this?! He is in your chair after all?! Hugo does this thing where he perches on the edge of a chair rather than move the dogs, whereas I just move them, terrible owner that I am. It goes down very badly with Ellie in particular. Beautiful yarn there Alice. Gosh, 2011 hey! I’m so looking forward to all the bloggy goodness you’ll be giving us Alice. Happy New Year! Love Vanessa xxx

  2. Dee says:

    This is gonna be my first project for the next 50g lush handspun I get my hands on – http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/button-up-your-cup – and you get to practice your cables – which are much easier than you would think. -dee

  3. Joya Roy says:

    that yarn your mum spun up is simply beautiful. i’m totally entranced by it! and i love your resolution #3. i think it’s quite do-able and look forward to meeting the local artists you embrace this year. what a great idea! i’m inspired. i’m sure i can easily do the same, here in los angeles, and meeting other little peeps and supporting them will be a win-win-win! hny over there, and keep the good ideas coming!

  4. Maria says:

    Totally love your third resolution. It is something I have tried hard to achieve for a little while. My main problem is that I really only like to give gifts that are really useful and they can’t be bought from “locals” – eg a Xmas gift was hose, reel, nozzle etc – bought Australian made but they are a large company – that was my compromise

  5. Kate says:

    Sounds like a wonderful resolution. I mostly kept to bartering my handmade pieces for other artists or made my own gifts, with a few book exceptions. I like that you are keeping it local-ish(nz is BIG huh!) Having seen the beautiful things available on felt and other nz bloggers sites I’d say you’ll have no troubles with this!
    Definetely do-able here is Aus too!
    Happy new year too, best wishes for a happy year!xxoo

  6. Sara says:

    I think this is a great idea. Honestly I haven’t explored local artists here in Kansas. But maybe it’s something I should look into. That yarn is BEAUTIFUL! I told my husband recently that we need to get a sheep. Not sure why but I really want to try spinning my own yarn. Now that I know you can buy it and spin it maybe we don’t need a sheep? I missed your first two resolutions. So I better go catch up. Happy New Year!

  7. Terrie says:

    I’ve got serious wool envy here! It’s simply gorgeous! I can’t wait to see what yumminess you make with it.

    I’m up for your resolution number 3. I often pine after goodies made in the US, NZ or Austraila (You are a talented bunch!) but have to admit that I wouldn’t pay the postage for various reasons. So I do think it’s about time I start looking closer to home. I love finding new artists so it should be fun – it also gives me an excuse to dream up some goodies to make myself =]

  8. tejehannah says:

    Hello Alice! How beautiful the wool can be!!! And the yarn it made is wonderful!
    Very good and important thought for the gifts! Last years I have given handmade gifts and also we don’t change so much presents like before. We have to support other artists and handmakers like we want others to support us! Lets do this even better this year!
    All the best for the Year 2011! xxx Teje

  9. Amanda says:

    That is a beautiful resolution! This past Christmas we tried to make as much as we could (chocolate ginger fudge, gingerbread kits for the kids, a necklace for my MIL) but we didn’t manage to do all of them and our finances just would not allow for us to buy hand-crafted goods, however much we’d like to…

    When I set up my own little business I had two aims: to make quality handmade goods affordable to all and to inspire others to have a go. Despite marking my work much lower than the going rate, I cannot seem to sell anything and it makes me sad that even when handmade goods are made not much more expensive than the mass-produced goods that people still prefer a “big name” over a local business… for instance I had a local stall and kids’ craft activity prior to Christmas and despite a good turnout the only things that sold were the 50p a piece bracelets the kids could make and the £1 (about $2) bracelets my sister makes, which is such a small profit it is almost not worth trying…

    It makes me sad because I have looked at so many wonderful artists’ and craftspeople’s work and wanted to buy something, but at the prices people have to charge to make a decent living I cannot afford them… there were weeks this past year that we wouldn’t have had food to eat if it weren’t for food packages from my MIL. I would love for handcrafted items to be placed in high esteem but they just don’t seem to be at the moment, which makes me very sad because I know the joy of making things and I know the joy of being gifted something that someone has spent time and love making.

    I hope to be able to join your resolution at some time, perhaps when I actually find some part-time work to subsidise it, because I truly do hate being a “consumer” too

  10. Alice your mum is a legend!!!! I adore that wool! Such lovely colours! I am going to have to practice my spinning, a challenge for 2011 that I have set myself. I am keen to try the ‘from the paddock to the product’ process if that makes sense?? I love your commitment for the present process as well, good on you. I am only buying presents for the boys as I can’t make Lego yet :-) Everyone else will get handmade by me or by some other local artist or at least Australian AND they will get paid accordingly!!

    I am going back for another look at that lovely wool, what about a little collar type scarf, can’t think what they are called for the life of me tonight :-) Cowl I think??

  11. Robin says:

    Hi Alice and Raymond, I love your idea for all of your reasons. It is completely doable in the US and the state of Vermont that I live in. There are so many creative artist here in all mediums. I already buy alot of crafts etc, but what I need to do is make more as gifts…..and I would like to try!! Still trying to finish the 3rd sweater that was a xmas gift for the 3rd daughter, she got it in a box in pieces and still on knitting needles. Visiting my mom this week so my hope is to get the pieces made and sew together when I get home. I declare I will never make a sweater that all the fronts, back, sleeeves etc are all separate pieces. I like circular and pick up stitches for sleeves. You would also!!! Keep care and blessing always, xoRobin

  12. Siobhan says:

    Hello Alice. Happy New Year! My goodness your Mum is clever – it must be brilliant to have her around, your wool is stunning. No available sheep or skill around here I’m afraid. (I wish though!). We make virtually nothing in England or the UK ourselves anymore (in the mainstream shops), so it would be difficult to not buy imported goods. I have been an etsy buyer for some time but it has to be said most of my purchases have been from America. I have got a single skein of hand-dyed bamboo that I got from Folksy who are a UK online site selling hand crafted goods. It’s terribly difficult though as either the prices reflect some (and not all) of the time spent making an item and are therefore simply too expensive – not just in comparison to shop goods but at all (no money!); or the prices barely cover the materials to make them and people sell them because they enjoy making things. With the costs of raw materials it is impossible for sellers to make a decent profit while staying affordable. They are not charging too much given costings – far from it, but much of it is off limits to me. There is an incredible amount of talent, that is not the problem -I don’t think it is valued enough though. It was ever thus I suppose ( and why the hand loom weavers were driven out by machinery in the Industrial Revolution!) You need quite a lot of money to live only by buying handcrafted things; it is not an affordable way to live here – I am not much of a consumer so cutting back would not work for me. It even costs me more to make a scarf than to buy one very often but I do because of the pleasure it gives me. I don’t even have a yarn shop near by – all yarn is purchased over the internet. Costs can be cut by recycling but this is not always possible. It is a bit of a puzzle which I have not come close to solving myself.

  13. Jacqueline says:

    I don’t really make resolutions, just the usual ones, lose weight, get fit! I do plan to buy less stuff I don’t need though. Internet shopping has become a really bad habit for me. It’s so easy, much too easy sometimes! Anyway, I look forward to seeing all your projects for the year to come. I love your tea cosies, though I don’t posess a teapot, so they wouldn’t be any use to me!

  14. Melissa says:

    I have been working on Resolution #3 for the last year or so. Obviously not posting about it, but buying and giving locally made gifts. I’m proud to say, other than a few gift cards, I either made my Christmas gifts or a local artisan did. It’s a good feeling!

  15. Penelope says:

    Lovely Alice, what a superb idea to go wholly commited to the handmade and supporting local artists / crafters etc. for gifts this year. I try my very best to invest in all things local and am determined not to let the little unique independent shops / makers be trampled by big corporate multi-million company’s. We make as many cards as we can, use brown recyclable paper for wrapping up mostly, and always lean towards the handmade for gifts. I feel very blessed here in the south east corner of the UK with all the incredible exhibitions / artists open houses / fairs etc where we can support local people if the pocket allows. I think if I embrace resolution #3 it would keep me focussed and give all those who get gifts from me the same message so they wouldn’t expect anything “main stream” or commercial. I am going to have a serious think about this and will let you know xox
    As for your yarn appreciation, well your mum is a miracle maker as far as I am concerned…..oooooooo weeeeee I love the purple skein. I have seen a book called 1 skein wonders in my LYS which you might be able to google and get some inspiration on what to make. It HAS to be something very special and precious I think x
    It’s very bleak and grey here at the moment, snowing further up north, what I would give for a ray of sunlight on my skin right now…….. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxP

  16. jacey conroy says:

    Had a go at making my own christmas gifts this year but ran out of time, will try again this year and start earlier. I also like to find little bits and pieces at charity shops to give as gifts.. pretty brooches, old books..
    Such beautiful handspun yarn, you lucky thing. xx

  17. Sandra Draper says:

    Dear Alice, AND I thought you were a NICE GIRL, STOP teasing us all with such exquisite objects of desire. that we can never possibly possess, because we do not have your lovely mother in our midst! How divinely alluring that wee skein is;
    I wonder about a necklace of some artistic persuasion, endowed with crocheted/knitted flowers trailing delicately from it, in a most decorative way… just a wayward thought:)

    Resolution 3 is a jolly superlative idea, I shall try my utmost, apart from books which are a must in my world;

    With female relatives, friends, babies, children, etc., easy~peasy, but having four adult sons, it may deem to be very much harder, their interests beings cars, motorbikes, boats, etc, though I do wonder what a motorbike warmer may look like!?!?

    I applaud your tenacity, keep it up, your integrity to help this wonderful Mother Earth of ours will hopefully be reflected in many homes, now that you have planted the seed… “ASPIRE TO INSPIRE BEFORE YOU EXPIRE…” YOU are doing it!!!!!!!

    Your the legend in your own lunch~box.

    Love & Hugs,
    Sandra
    XXXOOOOOOOOOOOOOXXXXXXXXX

  18. Alice, I left a nice long comment to you yesterday and when I submitted it it went *POOF* and was gone. I checked back today to see if it was there.. nope. I’m starting to get a complex, as that is the 2nd time I’ve left you comments that disappeared. :-(

    Love the wool!

    Teresa

  19. WS says:

    It’s always so much nicer to receive a gift that has been obviously thought-through and lovingly selected. Handmade and local-artist type gifts always go down so well! Santa gave my daughter some of your cute hand-made cat badges – I’m surprised you didn’t hear the thrilled squealing all the way across Wellington! You have a talent, Alice.

  20. sandiart says:

    Funny you write about this, on Facebook a friend has just started a “The first 5 that make a comment here, I will send you a gift made by me” Then you post it into your status and keep it going. Of course I joined. There is a move towards homemade, hand made goods, it is slowly catching on. I do as much as I can, Even thinking of making some soy candles, everyone loves candles.
    Oh my gosh I love that wool your mum spun for you, what amazing colors, you are a very lucky girl to have such a wonderful mum.
    x Sandi
    Hope your holidays are going slowly for you.

  21. Carol says:

    Beautiful wool, your Mum is a real treasure! (but aren’t they all?)
    I would make yourself a beret rather than a teacosy because the spout might drip and mark your lovely wool.

  22. MeredithJean says:

    omg your mother’s wool is BEAUTIFUL!!!
    Good on you for not hiding it away xxx

  23. Lynn says:

    This is sooo beautiful!! My favorite color too PURPLE!! Can’t wait to see what you make with it I am sure it will be very lovely!!

  24. Dez says:

    Gah I give up…net keeps eating my comments.

    So just sending yarny hugs your way.

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