It was a shot in the dark, thinking we would be able to get an interview with an international yarn enthusiast/artist/creative yarn adventurer/yarn pioneer. So it was with a little nervousness that I emailed Jacqueline Fink, from Little Dandelion, requesting an interview with her. To my absolute surprise, I received a response from her within 30 minutes of me sending the email. Once I got over the sheer excitement, I could concentrate on exactly how amazing the work of Jacqueline really is. I came upon her unique style of knitting on Instagram, and from the first moment, fell in love. It’s not often that I come across an individual that does something so amazing that my toes literally curl when I see her art.
Read all about this amazing artist …
What inspires you?
I am inspired mostly by the colours of nature, the beauty and texture of wool and natural fibres and the creative energy of other makers, artists and designers.
When did you start crafting and who taught you?
My Mum taught me how to knit when I was quite young but I never committed to the language of knitting in order to be able to read a pattern.
I knitted purely for its therapeutic and meditative qualities.
Tell me about your product / concept?
I knit by hand large scale blankets, throws and textile installations using mostly unspun woollen fibre in natural colours.
Each knitting needle is 1 metre in length with a diameter of 48mm so my work is relatively “industrial” in its scope.
Once the piece has been knitted, I felt the unspun wool in order to give it stability. My process is time intensive, very physical and quite menial in parts.
Each creation is a one of a kind, soft to the touch and highly textural and impactful by nature.
I also make oversized soft vessels from cotton rope and hemp as well as wall hangings comprised of a number of different woollen yarns, unspun wool and felted woollen fabric.
Most of my work is made to order and can be customised to suit any space.
How did it all begin?
I launched Little Dandelion in April 2012 after a long process of experimentation to work out my process.
The seed of the idea came to me after my Mum received a double lung transplant in November 2009. I had been searching for something for myself for a while before that.
I knew instinctively that I wanted (actually needed is a more accurate word) to work creatively and had been asking the universe for guidance as to what form that should take for what seemed like years.
In the aftermath of my Mother’s transplant I found myself occupying a very surreal and heightened space.
It was during this period that I had a dream in which a big loud booming voice told me “You need to knit and it needs to be big”.
The dream was actually quite terrifying and it woke me from my sleep.
I didn’t dare question it and the very next day started the process of drawing Little Dandelion to me.
What do you think will be the next big thing in the world of craft?
I am hoping that people’s fascination with extreme knitting will continue for a good while to come.
I see a definite trend in design-led handmade products that move beyond the boundaries of traditional craft making.
This will coincide with a greater appreciation for handmade and a valuing of the skill, time, love and energy devoted by makers to their craft.
What is your favourite blog and magazine and why
David has exacting standards, beautiful taste and is a walking talking encyclopaedia of design.
I have learnt a tremendous amount from David.
We have so many excellent interior/lifestyle magazines here in Australia and they have all been very supportive of my work for which I am so grateful.
We also have a number of unique publications like Habitus, Frankie and Fete Magazine.
All three are very clever at unearthing new talent in our creative scene.
What is your favourite craft?
Craft in all its forms is glorious but, apart from doing whatever I can to facilitate the crafty pursuits of my children, knitting is actually the only craft I devote time too.
If you had more time on your hands what would you do?
Tidy the house might be a good start as we live in chaos much of the time (I work from our living room).
Visit the tropics and collect shells most likely though.
It’s a favourite past time and I have infinite amounts of patience for it.
I find the patterns, shapes and colours intriguing.
I like to collect as many as I can and arrange them in little shell families. Curious, I know.
Have you bought something online and if so what?
I’m not much of a consumer these days but the internet was very helpful in the early days of experimentation.
I bought a lot of different yarns, wools and fibres online until I worked out my particular direction.
It certainly saved time but it only took me so far because many sheep farmers are still not online.
I had to find them through word of mouth and spending countless hours following up leads.
Would you buy a pattern or the whole kit online?
It’s a kit for me. I’m actually about to tackle a gorgeous kit kindly given to me by Wool and The Gang from the UK.
The kit contains beautiful timber needles, two skeins of divine pink “Crazy Sexy Wool” and all the knitting accoutrements needed to finish the project beautifully.
I suspect the smaller scale will be somewhat challenging for me but I am super excited about having a go. The kit is like a one stop shop: nothing to be done expect make a cup of tea, grab some chocolate, get comfy and start knitting. Bliss!
What is your favourite yarn store / craft store and why?
I don’t actually have a favourite and I am rarely in one these days.
I did pop into Loop in Islington, London on my recent trip though, and it was full of gorgeous yarns in sensational muted tones.
My great love is to work on a large scale and so rarely do I come across yarns that really speak to me.
At the beginning of my journey I searched high and low for a large scale yarn without success.
That’s why I turned to unspun wool as it was the only wool I could find that would achieve the scale I craved.
As a consequence I intend to open my own online yarn shop.
I’ve been working with a specialist Mill from New Zealand to create a high performing but super soft fully felted merino yarn. It’s almost ready.
I will sell the yarn in kit form together with my needles and a pattern so that knitters and crafters alike can try their hand at extreme knitting.
THANK YOU FOR INSPIRING US JACQUI!
And just when I thought I had been truly inspired I read this amazing article on Jaqueline which outlined how she got started with her amazing creations.
Not only am I inspired but Jacqueline is an example to all of us that the opportunities to create unique and beautiful craft is in our own hands.
The only thing limiting each of us is our own imaginations.
Be bold, be brave and craft on!