Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Stallholder profile Purl McDude Knits

Todays stallholder profile is all about Sally from Purl McDude Knits

Your name: Sally Lowe

Your Business name and facebook name and link: 
Purl McDude Knits.

The suburb/town you live in now: 

What is it that you make and what skills do you use? 
I mainly make hand-knitted accessories, mostly for winter, but some in-between items, also. So I have hats and beanies, headbands,
scarves, neck cosies, wraps and shawls, and fingerless mittens. I also make the occasional rug or blanket, and felt bowls, bags 
and pouches, which are knitted and then felted to make a firmer fabric.
I handspin quite a lot of the yarn I use. The fibres are all natural - wool, alpaca, silk, cotton, hemp, bamboo. Some are blended, 
eg wool and silk, wool with cotton. I buy only good quality, natural fibre and commercial yarns, so everything is made from the best 
materials. The trick is to know which yarns and fibres will be best suited to a particular pattern or type of garment. I make up most 
of my patterns and combine them with yarns I like that will  best suit. (A fluffy yarn is no good for a lace pattern if you want the pattern
to show clearly. Some alpaca and cellulose fibres like cotton and soy are not so good on their own for garments like hats and socks 
as they can be heavy and have little stretch.)
So then I knit, occasionally crochet, matching pattern to yarn, choosing colours that go well.  I love colour and how putting one against 
another will make them 'sing' together. I knit plain fabric, patterns such as lace and cables, and do colourwork - fairisle - making up my 
own designs which I draw up on graph paper.
Everything I make is then washed and blocked, a process where the article is laid out to dry, and sometimes pinned so as to enhance
the shape and pattern.

What inspired you to start your business?
I need to make things and work with colour, and for now, working with fibre for knitting is what interests me.  I make more than my 
relatives can wear!  
I'd like what I do to pay for itself, at least, but I also recognise the value of my skills and time, as I do for others engaged in skilled
activity. It's important that communities understand the wealth of experience and investment in learning and doing that craftspeople 
bring to their products. So although it is always easy to give away or sell for next to nothing, I believe that can undervalue creative 
endeavour.  A business approach with fair pricing recognises the worth of skill, acumen and creative process, and I want people to
see and know that.

How long have you been ‘creating’?
All my life.  I used to 'win' the lollies at kindergarten for my plasticene animals!

Is it a full time/ part time/hobby or business?
I'm always working on half a dozen things at any time, and every day for many hours. I think of it as more than a hobby as I'm 
fairly driven to it. However, it's barely a business. It's what makes my toenails twinkle!

Where do you sell your creations?
I only began selling early last year, and participated in local markets and events eg the DeMolay House Occasional Market, 
the Hospice Camellia Show; this year I'll also be a part of The Handmade Expo and Vintage Market in Toowoomba  and The Glennie Fair; 
I have the Facebook page and 

What makes what you do special or different?
I believe my selection of fibres, yarns and colours, combined with my own patterns or other patterns modified, means that every item
I make is unique. I've been knitting and spinning for over 30 years, and I'm fussy, so I'm pretty good at both!

What is the most rewarding part of what you do?
People being happy with their choices. They look through and spot something that particularly appeals to them - the colour, the texture,
the type of garment - and it's such a happy find. I don't think I've made a sale where the person wasn't absolutely sure they'd made the 
best choice for them.

What is your favourite product that you make?
I really like every piece as I'm making it, but I love making the felt bowls and pouches.  The felting process morphs them into something
really special.

Do you teach classes or workshops?
I don't, but I'm always happy to share what I know

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