Tuesday, 11 February 2014

A thread of connections

Isn't it strange how days can turn out ! 

Recently I've been in a real slump , some days  I've wanted to throw in the towel with my business and get a job ( which would = a wage at the end of the month ) and make my creations as a hobby . There has been some serious internal dialogue and arguments going on inside my head , I've been battling with the love for what I do and make with the serious lack of money . But as always I solider on trying to keep faith in what I'm trying to achieve . I have had some lovely moments recently, especially when my first batch  for 2014 of Mr Foxes were finished . This is what makes it all worth while , when my little creations are finished  they go off to new homes to be loved and admired and it is the fact that my handmade items are giving other people such pleasure that spurs me on and I do love making them .
 One Mr Fox had  to stay with us and has become the newest member of our Family on the insistence of
our youngest ( I had previously promised him  one and how could I refuse !!)

But little events and conversations yesterday started even more cogs turning in my head  , as Mondays go it was a pretty normal start to the week even though my head wasn't in a good place . I had decided to work at home when Rachel who teaches our Rag Rug workshops popped in to see me ( she is a neighbour as well as a friend ) and she had arrived with samples she had finished for our next round of Rag Rug related workshops . The last time we met I had shown her some images of old spools of threads I had photographed which I intend on framing and hanging up in the communal area in Coppers outside of The Studio . At which point she had promised to lend me some old spools of Dewhurst sewing thread she had and they had the name of our town on . I thought it would be apt to have large images of them hung up at The Studio as we are virtually next door to the old Dewhurst Mill where they were originally spun . So yesterday I photographed the beautiful little spools , I do so adore the tactile nature if these little every day objects . 
Then last night I had our Monday evening crochet group at my house , one of the ladies that attended I have got to know through coming to one of our Rag rug work shops as well as  having mutual friends . She also works at my eldest sons school and through our conversation and talking about photographing the Dewhurst spools she went on to tell me that my son went to school in what once was the  Dewhurst Mill owners Family home ( built in the 1850's) and she has the daily pleasure of sitting in the old sewing room as her office . Well I was quite giddy at finding this information out and apparently our huge park which is at the top of our street and many of you Yarndale visitors may have walked through was the private garden to the house and the mill was at the bottom of the garden . 

Then the thought of what have I been making for the last two days popped into my head ,  My Yorkshire Mill Mice . If ever there was a sign that  I'm on the right track and to hang on in there it  and not give up now , then I felt that this was it .
 This change in my perception of things  has all come about because of these Dewhurst spools and the fine threads of connection they have made in my very ordinary daily life . It has made me feel like I'm in the right place at the right time . 
Weird !!
So this evening I am feeling more grounded and positive and very excited at working on my Yorkshire Mill mice . 

My family for generations back have had connections with either the weaving or spinning in the wool mills of Yorkshire or the manual production of textiles . We have ancestors on one side of the family with continuous connection in the production of textiles that dates to the late 1700's and they  were frame work stocking knitters . 
I think textiles is part of my genetic make up and I know I do romanticise about the past and sometimes the cold hard reality of trying to make a small living jumps up and bites me on the butt . 

I do think it's strange how a bobbin of thread from the past can create so many connections in one day !!
But it does ground me to look into the past and see I am part of a long line of ancestors stretching back hundreds of years that have been involved in textiles . From Frame Work Stocking Knitters , Dress Makers , Miliners , Weavers , Spinners and me a Designer Maker and Yorkshire is definately where my heart is .

But thanks for popping by and I hope you don't think I've totally lost the plot , honestly I am quite sane .
Have a lovely week and ta ta for now , Tracy xx


  1. I smiled all the way through your post. I LOVE your work, it is original, it is fun, it is classic, it is just wonderful. I am so happy that you have received this confirmation that what you are doing is right.I believe that its important to always follow these inspirations, these confirmations and assurances, its true that just because its right doesnt mean it will always be easy ... but Tracy, your work must continue, it just simply must. Wish I lived in your wonderfully interesting little town, so that I could visit and join your workshops. Thank you for your post, I loved reading it. xx Charlotte

    1. Hi Charlotte
      Thank you for leaving me such an encouraging comment it really helps to hear people saying nice things particularly when doubting Thomas rears his head ! , if ever you come our way you are most welcome to visit we have an open door policy and welcome all visitors ,particularly if they have needles/ hooks and yarn in hand .
      With kind regards Tracy xx

  2. What a fab post, Tracy. Keep going, you are so clearly on the right track. The mice and foxes are such original pieces. What a talent you have. One day soon I shall be saying proudly to anyone who will listen, "Oh yes, I know Tracy, she taught me how to crochet and stayed patient even when I was stuck on the corners!". Don't lose heart, you are great x

  3. Now then Yorkshire Granny
    I'm always Happy to help and teach knitting /crochet to unsuspecting victims !! even when those pesky corners are causing bother !!
    Thank you for your support and encouragement and hope to see you soon ; ) .
    regards Tracy xxxx

  4. Hi Tracy, thank you for telling us a little of the Dewhurst history. I rushed to look through my box of old wooden cotton spools and found a few - but none as old as you have with Skipton on them. So interesting to find out a little more about them. The foxes and mice are wonderful, keep going I'm sure it will all work out - it just takes time. Jilly x

  5. Great post... On one of my visits to Skipton I got some old cotton spools from a secondhand shop, after looking on Google mine to came from the mill at Skipton.
    I always look forwards to your posts as I make Rabbits similar to yours, i love your work, your fabric and colour chose is always very good.we have just changed our bedroom round so I now can sew in there ( love it) and I have just got into making fabric dolls, I like making the little dresses .
    Just wanted to let you know keep going as you are a inspiration to me and a lot of other people..
    Amanda xx

  6. No you are not mad at all. It is in your genes. I did start the family tree and found all my lot were spinners, weavers and tailors, needless to say I have since done a spinning and weaving course. Mainly I patchwork though. I love your posts. Keep at it, you will get to wherever it is you are going.

  7. The threads of life are indeed a very strange thing with the webs that they weave through our lives and hearts. I am glad that you are feeling the love again for what you do, Mr Fox is very handsome and they will surely be well loved in their new homes. Keep going and you will get there, things just waver a bit on the way sometimes!! xx

  8. Handsome Mr. Foxes that have a worldly air. Those spools are splendid. They have great character. I always admire UK history. It's so different from ours. I'm glad you're hanging in there. Maybe you need more me time to recharge your batteries?

  9. I hope you continue with your business, the love of what you do shines through your blog and it is a pleasure to come and read!
    Have you thought of making up kits for your rabbits and foxes. Much like Alicia Paulson does. I would love them, I think your patterns are amazing!

  10. Hi Tracey, don't give up! I have this argument with myself at least once a week but something always comes along to inspire me again. Threads and connections are what its all about.
    Jacqui xx

  11. You are so artistic and creative and your work inspire so many. Think that even when we have more money we end up spending more money and having less money, but ALS having a lot less time to use with our creative minds... I do believe that a you are in the right track and your hard work will pay off ...you just have to believe :)

  12. What a lovely post. It really makes you think about the past. I have a collection of old sewing things, including threads, that I love handling, thinking of the past connections with my family. Keep on mice and fox making, life has a way of working out just fine.
    S xx

  13. I love coming to read your blog too and I am finding it hard to make that leap from wage to craft, it is a hard one to fathom out. Stay determined. Jo x

  14. Reading this was a real treat. I say stick with it and it will all turn out for the best. Your animals are fab and I would love to get my hands on one. Do you have an etsy shop ? This year I am hoping to try and make some money from my hobbies - quilting and crochet. Getting started is slow going as I have a few health issues but hopefully I'll get there. Wishing you all the luck in the world xx

  15. Such a wonderful post. The old spools are beautiful, and how fantastic that they have Skipton on them. I remember my mother referring to sewing thread as Sylko. I do so envy you your talent and the fact that you have your own business. Your creations are absolutely stunning. I do hope you are able to keep going, doing something you love, and creating some so wonderful. I hope you are charging enough for your creatures - they are so beautifully finished and are worth a good hourly wage. You are an artist! I'm glad you're feeling more positive today, and I do so hope you can continue. CJ xx

  16. What a fascinating post. It is so hard financially to make it with hand made wares, but keep at it love, your stuff is gorgeous and amazing and there definitely is a market out there for them. I love Mr Fox and your Yorkshire Mill Mice are going to be a big hit!! xoxo

  17. I don't believe that anything is totally accidental. Clearly these simple wooden spools have enabled you to make a connection with your past and, more importantly with your future. Good, worthwhile things don't usually happen overnight. Periods of self doubt are almost inevitable. It would seem to be that the more talented, perfectionist and self-driven amongst us tend to be more affected by this than others. Your work is quite exceptional. It would be more than sad if it had to go on a back burner of your life and just become a hobby, whilst you were beavering away at a job that may give you a regular income but that is all. I really hope that your enterprise, which is still in its very early days, grows steadily. It deserves to - you really must believe in yourself and know that your creations are truly works of art that many people would love to own. I have to tell you, again, that Bracken (my Mr Fox) is dearly cherished and makes me feel happy every time I look at him, which is very often. To have the gift of creating beauty and spreading happiness is something more than special. Please believe in yourself, Tracy, and I wish you all the luck possible for your future success. Deborah xx

  18. Beautiful post and you have just filled in lots of things that having visited Skipton last year (and can't wait to come back this year) have all become very clear and I could identify with all the places you mentioned. Lovely, lovely, lovely - I have taken Skipton into my heart only having visited once. Glad to see that you have decided to keep creating such lovely characters and I await to see the newer once being sewn at the moment. I have some things going round in my head also Tracy and I will email you shortly. Keep creating my lovely ... lots of love and hugs coming your way Joy xx

  19. I had the same inner dialogue in my head too and was ready for throwing in the towel - no more blogging, no more crafting and certainly no more car boots for vintage things. Then I sent an email 2 weeks ago on the insistence of my friend. I now have some rental space in a local café/gift shop, have started blogging again, have made some new fabric girls and have a few orders coming in. Please don't give up, the amount of times that both you and Lucy come up in my conversations when I am talking about craft is ridiculous. It's a bit sad really when I come to Skipton we always pass Coopers and I always wonder whether you are crafting away!. It's just a shame that I can't come and crochet during the week x My father was a weaver and worked in the mills in Lancashire and I think we are originally from the Sheffield area - its strange how you find little things, I think I have some bobbins that are from the same place and whilst I was in Skipton before Christmas I found a vintage bottle which had been made in Colne which is now on my kitchen windowsill. I look forward to seeing your mill mice which are looking very vintage and hope this wasn't too waffly : )

  20. what a lovely story - and your animals are so cute!

  21. Oh, don't' stop! Your little creatures are just adorable. Love those little clothes as well.

  22. Tracy, I am sending you hugs of encouragement, too! Sorting out with my loved ones what goals we will embrace is challenging for sure! I am happy for you that you are able to pursue the creative threads of your life. Your town history and your heritage is very interesting. My dad worked in a woolen mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts during the early 1900's and my mom made many wonderful textile creations in her lifetime. Their history fuels my own interest in the textile arts, so I can appreciate how your even more gifted heritage in the textile arts influences you. Thanks for posting!

  23. Love the foxes and mill mice. Can't wait to see for real. x

  24. Interesting post. I can understand your dilemma.
    It's amazing how the past seems to influence the present, even a few centuries back...

  25. Hello, loved your story, I sew as a hobby, my grandmother was a tailoress, I garden for a living totally by accident 6 yrs ago when I got made redundant, my grandfather was a gardener, I love horses and ride, my great grandfather bred hackney horses in the early 1900s for the carriages. Bet a lot of people, if they looked could find their connections

  26. What a lovely story, i've just gone through my thread drawer to see what I have and sure enough there are some ancient Dewhursts! I want to visit The Studio on my next visit to UK, one day! Keep crafting!