Little Dandelion / Blog

My collaboration with Pepa and Karen of Shibori Textiles has been featured in June’s issue of Vogue Living. We are so grateful for coverage like this. The support is immeasurable so thank you Vogue Living Magazine for your interest. Thanks especially Vogue Living staffer Conor Burke. We had a ball hanging out with you. Although, we still can’t understand why Vogue hasn’t picked us up as their new cover girls!!!

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At the risk of of sounding like I lack any semblance of humility, I need to tell you about a “pinch me” moment. And I do so only in the hope that it may inspire another stay-at-home Mum in search of something for herself or someone yearning to live a more creative life. I know you are out there and so this post is for you.

The 12 month anniversary of launching Little Dandelion is fast approaching. In fact, I posted my first blog post on 17 April 2012. To say that time has flown is an understatement. In the past 12 months I have:

- knitted up a storm;

- formed relationships with some amazing people;

- learnt how to navigate social media;

- learnt how to do basic account keeping (although I’m still in denial that I even have to do it);

- made a million mistakes;

- laughed, cried and pushed through some deeply held fears; and, perhaps most importantly,

- done something every day, how ever insignificant, to push my fledgling business forward.

And now, 12 months on, I find my little biz reflected back at me on the always gorgeous pages of Home Beautiful Magazine. Pinch me!

I didn’t start my business with any grand game plan  in terms of  getting media exposure in our home/lifestyle publications and I am the first to acknowledge that I have been incredibly lucky with the support I have received from them. But, honestly, there was no strategic plan, no pot of gold in which I could could continually dip and certainly no formal training on which I could fall back on.

Our home life is a little complicated at the moment and that is a whole other story which I will save for another time. Suffice to say, I have run Little Dandelion by giving it massive doses of my love, time and energy while treading water as fast as I can to continue to care as best I can for my percious ones.

It has not always been easy and, most of the time, we live in utter chaos. But, I would never go back to my life before Little Dandelion. I am the happiest I have ever been and I am, quite unashamedly, proud of what I have accomplished.

But the real gold in this story is that if I can do it, you can too. I’m not anyone special. I’m just someone with a dream and the gumption and determination to see it through. I still make mistakes, I still have worries and fears. But, I have learnt to push them aside and trust my instincts.

You don’t want to regret not giving something a go. If you have an idea inside that head of yours bubbling away then do something about it. Just do something every day to turn your idea into a reality. If you love it, chances are that others will too. Trust your instincts and don’t listen to the naysayers. Start slowly and let your business grow organically and before you know it you will have transformed your life.

I truly hope this helps you on your way. Drop me an email anytime if you need an understanding ear. My email is hello@littledandelion.com.

Thank you so much Anna Koorey of Home Beautiful Magazine. I so loved my time talking with you. This is such a beautiful time in your life and you have so much to look forward to xxxx.

Thank you too Louise Rastall (stylist) and Natasha Lorenzen (photogrpaher). It is always so energising to be in the company of like minded and determined woman who push aside their fears to cut out their own path in life. You are awe inspiring xxxx.

 

 

 

 

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My new bi-colour woollies have been snapped up by a lovely client living in Fremantle who, after moving from Queensland a few years ago, has not acclimatised to Fremantle’s cold cold winters. My client’s eldest daughter already has a Little Dandelion woollie. I am told that she frequently turns down the air conditioning to make the house so cold that she has good reason to snuggle under her woollie. That makes me one very happy knitter.

These two bi-colours are for my client’s other two girls, one pink loving and the other blue loving.

Love the details.

 

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I love everything I make in the sense that I do not have a preference for certain colours. I like my clients to take the lead with their own colour choices but sometimes they ask me to do the choosing for them. Either way, it’s so much fun pulling together a whole lot of wool and turning it into a functional beautiful object to be enjoyed and loved.

Here is a classic beauty, the combination of colours chosen by a client. Tres chic!

This throw is made with oatmeal coloured Corriedale wool from New Zealand. The trim colour is taupe. The match is near perfect.

I’m a simple girl really of simple taste. I like nothing more than to observe how knitting stitches all link together and working on such a large scale makes it even more enjoyable. The larger the stitch the more observable the links. Random? Yup!

Still obsessing over the detail in this shot.

And here she is:

I want to keep her.

 

 

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Here are some of my favourite pics from my Instagram feed (@jacquifink) over the last week.

This is my youngest child Elodie. She has just started Grade 1 and is super keen to learn to read, despite having difficulties in that department. Elodie appeared in this getup last Sunday evening with book in hand and sporting her brothers glasses. Elodie has her own set of glasses but apparently life is so much more interesting looking through her brother’s eyes.

 

Our house faces West so we appreciate beautiful sunsets everyday. Some sunsets are more spectacular than others, including this one. My Hubby and Sister are also on Instagram. Our neighbours too. When the sunset is really gorgeous you can be sure to find a pic of the same sunset on all of our Instagram feeds. However, it may be the same sunset but the pics end up being totally unique from one another.

 

I’m planning an exhibition this year with my insanely creative friend Lara Hutton who, when not busy being a leading Australian stylist, makes the most delicate and divine ceramics. The theme of our exhibition is the sea. I spied the exquisite pieces of sea grass above on the Instagram feed of Kara Rosenlund from Travelling Wares.

Kara is a buyer, stylist, blogger and owner of the cutest vintage caravan you have ever laid eyes on. In her spare time, Kara sources and sells one off vintage finds through her online shop and at markets by setting up shop in Frankie, the little caravan that could. Kara kindly sent the sea grass to me just because she knew I loved them. This is one generous soul. And she has the cutest free range chooks imaginable. Thank you Kara x. You can follow Kara’s pictorial journey on Instagram @kararosenlund.

 

I have a number of custom orders on the go at the moment and it is quite a juggle balancing my knitting with everything else in my life. When a client approaches me about a custom order, I make up for them a little bundle of woollen samples so they can feel the wool and appreciate the beautiful colours first hand. It makes choosing a colour so much easier than going off a photo. I always get a thrill putting these bundles together because I know they are always lovingly received.

 

This is one of my latest custom orders whilst still on the needles. I have since finished knitting this piece but it sits waiting patiently for some sustained sunshine so it can felted. This woollie is to be trimmed with a dark  navy. It will be quite a classic.

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I love wearing a scarf when the weather turns cold. If my neck is warm, I am good to go. If not, write me off because all I will be doing is obsessing about how cold I am. I’m not just talking about any old scarf either. The scarf needs to cover every square inch of skin not covered by clothing.

I’ve been toying with introducing colour to my range and I have had a beautiful bump of coloured woollen top sitting on my Studio shelf for a while now. It’s not enough for a woollie throw but more than enough for a toasty warm woollie scarf.

Here is the pictorial journey of my first coloured Little Dandelion. What do you think? Would you wear it?

The wool going on to my new jumbo needles.

The scarf worked up quickly on my jumbo needles.

I took a moment mid knit to capture this beautiful scene. I am always seeking to feed my crimp addiction.

The felted scarf drying over the balcony.

This photo was taken before the scarf was felted.

One kilo of wool was used to make this scarf. It is long and it completely delivers on the warmth front. I’m not one to wish away a summer but I will happily wear this green beauty all through our coming winter.

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I LOVE Instagram. Here are a few of my favourites pics from the last couple of weeks. If you’re an Instagram fan too, my tag name is @jacquifink.

Woollen fibre balls = heavevn

One of my favourite stitches because of the marvelous texture it creates.

My latest oversized stitch linen throw reclining graciously over my favourite chair.

This is my favourite corner of our house.

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Sometimes the stars align and my vision gets translated into something I am truly proud to call my own.

I’m always wanting to push the scale of my work to the edge. I LOVE knitting on a massive scale and am only restricted by my own strength and the size of my needles.

My lovely Dad recently made these jumbo sized needles for me with the help of a maintenance engineer. They look more like long range missiles than knitting needles though. They are my new besties.

This is my very tall rock chick channeling 6 year old alongside my besties.

Anyway, with these missiles I’ve just completed a black linen throw using 15cm wide linen strips. The scale is massive and I am deliriously happy with the end result.

To help you out with scale, this is a Queen sized bed.

This pic shows the throw with a regular size dinner plate in the centre.

It’s so hard to convey the actual size of each stitch but suffice to say they are huge.

This particular throw has been made for one of my stockists – Les Interieurs. Pamela Makin is opening a new concept store at 104 Glenmore Road, Paddington  in the fine company of Australian designers Sass & Bide and Scanlan & Theodore in Paddington’s coolest fashion hub. Come February, Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs will finally have Pamela’s unquestionable good taste at their finger tips. I shall post more details of Les Interieur’s latest adventure soon.

 

 

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I’m always dreaming up ways to expand my range in a meaningful way. I love to create for creations sake but if I am to add it to the Little Dandelion range then it needs to be a natural extension of my existing work. But let’s be clear about this – I’m really just winging this part of the process. I quite literally make things up as I go along and often feel completely constrained by my lack of technical knowledge. I have so many ideas but I just don’t know how to make many of them work. I often reach out to my extended creative family for advice and ideas and they are always so generous with their suggestions. But mostly, it just comes down to research and experimentation. Many of my experiments  fall a bit flat in the “Approvals Department” (aka my Husband and neighbours) but sometimes a piece will come together exactly how I imagined.

For example,  I have the most magnificent stash of hemp fibre. I am so determined to find a beautiful use for it. The problem is the fibre is so delicate that no-one in their right mind would even consider knitting with it as is. (Just as a side, one could argue I am not of “right mind” but I prefer to see it more in terms of just being a lover of beautiful highly impractical things. Not everything needs to be functional right?).

Glorious, glorious, glorious! Hemp fibre you make my heart sing.

So, I’ve been dabbling: I’ve washed the fibre; I’ve starched the fibre; I’ve dried the fibre; I’ve twisted the fibre; I’ve knitted and knotted,  and I’m still at a loss.

The fibre looks beautiful knitted and the end piece is, in my eyes, something to behold.

See?

Anyway, I’ll keep persisting but here are my attempts to make this fibre sing in a non-traditional way. Clearly, they don’t quite come off  but I’ll persist. I have new leads to pursue so stay tuned on the hemp fibre front.

It’s okay – you can have a giggle!

A little better.

Oh the beauty! I must get out more……..Jac

 

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Little Dandelion linen throw hand dyed by Shibori in Indigo hues

I received some wonderful support in 2012 from Lifestyle Magazines and the talented Australian Interior Stylists who work for them. One such individual is the very handsome Mr Jason Grant.

Jason has a multi-faceted CV these days as his quirky website so aptly illustrates: freelance interior, lifestyle and props stylist; a collaboration with Murabond to create some magnificent and interesting paint colours; a collaboration with Officeworks to create stationary you are happy to have on show; and, an unofficial ambassodor for Destination New South Wales, a department of NSW Government. In his role, Jason gets to show VIP International media guests around Sydney/Bondi . What a gloriously happy sunshiny gig. You can see from Jason’s Instagram feed that he does a great job of it too. This man is never far away from water or a beautiful boat. Lucky you Jason! Follow Jason’s creative pictorial journey on Instagram at @mr_jason_grant.

In the coming weeks, Jason gets to add “Author” to his list of accomplishments. With the kind permission of Jason, here is a sneak peak of the cover of “A Place Called Home – creative beautiful spaces to call your own”. I have no doubt Jason’s book will be a visual delight. He has worked hard to pull this all together. The hours and logistics involved must have been hard going. However, this man is never without a smile and I’m sure “a Place called Home” will be cut from the same cloth. Can’t wait to see it Jason. Well done you.

I’ll let you know when it’s available.

 

 

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