Craft Britannia Shop of The Week #14, Spinning Streak
This week’s CraftBritannia Shop of the Week is Spinning Streak, home of soft handspun and hand knitted treats. From classic to fun pieces, all her work is totally original.
Describe your “typical” working day or week
My working week is very different now from a few years ago. I come from a long line of skilled weavers, lace makers and silk workers and, yes, my grandmother taught me to knit, crochet, embroider and do tatting when I was about seven. But in the first part of my adult life I did none of this. I was married to a Cambridge academic and spent my time researching social history, translating books from French for Cambridge University Press and hosting dinner parties. I remember another well known historian referring to the domestic arts as ‘peasant skills’ – they just weren’t valued!
Change of husband and five children later, I took up spinning. I didn’t want to mess about with a spindle, I always knew I would be able to use a wheel – and I was right, I got it almost instantly. So my Schacht sneaked into the house and that was that – about 17 years ago now.
When you are not doing Etsy related things, what are you doing?
When I’m in Brighton, tracking down my teenagers, mostly! We get up to London for music and theatre pretty regularly too. And reading. I never watch television (though the teenagers insist on having one) This can actually make it hard to follow team chat – once the conversation turns to ‘boxed sets’ I’m lost!
I have four Etsy breaks each year when we are in France, where we have a house in the North of the Auvergne. No internet though – so lots of carding, spinning and messy dyeing – that is where I do all my indigo and natural plant dyeing. The hedges and trees end up covered with dripping coloured fleece and fibre!
What was the first piece you ever sold?
Three handspun beanie hats. I was terrified the buyer would be disappointed, but she sent me raving over the top feedback which probably enabled me to carry on
What advice would you give someone taking up your craft for the first time?
Do not dump raw fleece in the bath to soak for 24 hours if there are teenage girls around. They hate ‘dead sheep’ around the place – and will not be complimentary about the smell (or the colour of the water…)
What material do you most enjoy working with?
Silk, without a doubt, and lots of rare breed sheep – mostly ready prepared these days.
If you could try a new craft, what would it be?
I have started weaving in the last couple of years. Too late to take it very seriously but I am beginning to grasp its infinite possibilities.
Tell us about one handmade item that you own and love
A portrait of the two of us, commissioned by my husband from a talented artist – we made it to the wall of the Royal Academy Summer show that year!
What plans do you have for your shop in the future?
Still thinking about this one – but I do know that it will NOT include making the same item more than once if I can help it!
Thank you for a great read, Spinning Streak, we love your unique work!
Drop by her shop SpinningStreak regularly to see more work from this creator.