Sunday, 23 April 2017

When a Man tells you how to "improve" your work.

The Shed at Tin Shed Yarns (yes...it's a Tin Shed)
I'm assuming that most of you already sense the tone of this piece just from the title.

I have over the last ten years removed myself from the constant criticism and competitiveness of the business and technocrat world and now live a far quieter life in a rural town north-west of Auckland. I was used to being told how I could and should adjust to the realities of the open market. Of course I resisted.

For the most part that world has since faded away but every year at Tax Time, I have to deal with The Trustee and his Financial Company who sign everything off. It's a legacy of the Marriage Settlement and it is a reminder of That World from Before.
I have it down to a fine art now, only dealing with the CA assigned to me and bless, they keep assigning me the same lovely chatty woman who is scarily efficient and yet sensible. I actually trust her.


Bobbin on workshop bench 
So every year I send everything in pertaining to what I have earned. This year was the year where I wondered about sending my PayPal Account details in.

See, the thing is, Love Knitting pays into PayPal, but I haven't been with them long enough to make any sales...

...and that is all I can honestly say.

I did make a couple of hundred dollars (NZ) last winter with chunky 8ply sales but that was one good month.

Those cash sales are all detailed in my "ledger" and will go to Elaine (my accountant). She will cough politely and ring me to ask a few more questions. Her job is not to criticise, but it will be her Boss' job, and I am awaiting being once more told by a man how to improve my sales or more likely in this case, a sneering -why bother?


Plied skein with details 
I bother because -Spinning hand-raised wool is a good thing.
                          -Spinning keeps me calm and is cheaper than professional therapy.
                          -Spinning raw-fleece is good for my hands.
                          -Designing patterns from my wool keeps my brain buzzing.
                          -Designing is a maths exercise and stems Dementia.
                          -Designing from a natural product is good for the soul.
                          -Fleeces are readily available here and are often wasted.
                          -Fleeces from odd sheep often produce the most exquisite yarn.
                          -Fleeces smell so gorgeous.

.....and I could go on and on about ecology, the environment, water use, fleece management, climate, sheep health,loss of knowledge about wool,......


Yup...that's my Hand-Comb 
I am a big girl now and I am learning to let the criticism roll off me; they are not my people.

I also am determined to stay my course onto consistent high quality spun wool. No lowering of quality to meet a less appreciative market, and no rushing to meet deadlines. I'll work like a Man, take breaks, value my output and my quality and occasionally brag about it too.

Smug Technocrats will advise me to have the fleeces milled off-shore and put my label on them saying they were Designed in NZ. Baffled Technocrats will suggest using a Trade-Aid village where women and children can do the work...do not get me started.


Washed skein 
I recently put a statement out on my FB page stating that I do not readily offer a fleece-spinning service but if I did I would charge $500 (NZ) per fleece. It's a flat rate that should make people think twice about the value they put on work.

An average fleece (non-skirted) will weigh between 5-6 kg. If I end up with just over 5 kg of usable fleece, I waste 20% in combings (they go on my compost) so 4kg ends up as skeins. That's $125 per kg ready for knitting. That's not too bad for ethically raised, hand-combed, hand-spun, mill-equivalent consistency that has not been harshly scoured or stripped or chemically altered.


Fabulous wool in its finished state. 

So, on with the battle. 

I'll fill that basket above with more skeins and put them up on Etsy and Love Knitting and thoroughly enjoy my work.

Love to all,

Fiona MacBride

Tin Shed Yarns









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