MAKER SPOTLIGHT: MadeWeaveLove
We're back with this month's maker, and those of you who peruse our products will recognise this name...
Phoebe Jones is the mastermind behind MadeWeaveLove and our ever-popular weaving kits. But did you know that she also spins and she's written a book? We've had a chat with her to find out where it all started and what she loves about her craft.
When did you start your craft?
I started weaving back in 2016. I had no knowledge of the craft, just a desire to start a business which could enable me to work from home and care for my 6 month old baby Betsy. I fell in love with weaving right away and haven’t looked back since. With spinning this didn’t happen until a few years later in 2020. Spinning was a totally different process and I found it much harder to master. But having already found a love for fibre through weaving, it was in my bones to keep practicing and keep trying. I also really wanted to be able to offer something to the growing army of weavers since launching my weaving kits with yourselves.
What do you like best about it?
I think with weaving it’s definitely the process of being able to have so much creative control. You don’t have to follow a pattern, you can change your design throughout and certainly for me, I’m able to let the fibres dictate the next technique or step, which really helps enhance my free flow style. There’s so many fibres all of which move in different ways - a chunky cotton rope wouldn’t make a great fringe but would steal the show as giant textured knots. With weaving you can shift areas on the loom to allow for changes throughout. I guess with my weaving I’m pretty decisive - just with a little splash of sporadic in there too. I don’t pre-design my wall hangings, so it’s nice to have the freedom to play and experiment, even during the making process. I once tried knitting and I hated the fact I couldn’t change something without having to take rows out - like, what if I changed my mind again and wanted them back?! At least with weaving you can pretty much press undo and redo in a flash!
With spinning 100% it’s the texture. I am all about those big bouncy coils with sparkles, silks and locks popping through. I can only describe the blending and spinning process like splatter painting… think Jackson Pollock. Organised chaos! And I love it! Very much team more is more when it comes to making yarns. I also love that with spinning art yarn you’re really pushing boundaries and creating something so unique every time.
Do you have a favourite thing to make?
Ginormous, great big, absolute whopper wall hangings. It’s so fun! I get to stick music on and spend hours and hours creating gorgeous, eye catching pieces of art which completely steal the show when hung in people’s homes. I really enjoy fixating on a project and challenging myself to make it perfect. That last sentence is also why I spend so long making the huge hangings, I’m a perfectionist and will obsess over areas of my weavings until it both feels and looks right.
Why is crafting important to you?
There’s a personal level - or connection, between me and crafting whereby it gave me the golden ticket of being present for my daughters, so I feel a lot of gratitude for crafting when I think of the opportunities it gave me. I get to spend as much time as I possibly can with my daughters because I can pick up weaving/spinning and put it down just as quickly if things change. Which they do a lot with kids, especially if they’re as disorganised as my two! So mostly the fact that crafting is always happy to wait for you. It’s not something you have to rush or be committed to, I know social media often portrays the opposite, but it’s a gentle experience which you can mould into your day to day routine. You can do 5 minutes or 5 hours, it isn’t going anywhere. It’s also a very forgiving craft, my first weaves were absolutely awful - but I didn’t feel rushed to master weaving, gradually over time I learnt more and more through trial and error. There’s not a lot of crafts where you can make mistakes and still want to come to back for more.
What are your preferred products to use?
Um hello? World of wool 23 mic merino of course! Haha! I still remember to this day the first time I found and ordered your merino. It was in the shade candy floss and I opened up the little pouch and impulsively reached in before I could even think! It’s so inviting to look at! Soft, fluffy and the colours are so vibrant. It’s also incredibly versatile, I can spin it into finer yarn, use it in pom poms, weave it, drape it or plait it into soumaks. I went on to order 20 more shades the very same day I first set eyes on it... and now if ever I have less than 5kg in my craft supply I panic! Other than merino I tend to steer away from acrylics, unless second hand/from a charity shop, as I try to be as sustainable as possible. My favourite fibres are linen frizz, banana yarn and recycled sari silks. Oh and boucle yarn - that’s a new obsession of mine. With fibres for spinning it has to be Angelina - it’s so sparkly! I’m a total sucker for anything gold!
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to take up your craft?
Jump right in and have a go! Weaving is one of few crafts you can get started on without having to spend a fortune. In my new book (available to pre order now wink wink) I show you a couple of ways to make a loom at home. Looking at the use of cardboard or repurposing a wooden photo frame. Weaving is also a craft that doesn’t require electrics and so is a very relaxing and calming process to take part in. It’s practically self care! Once you’ve mastered the basics you’re free to experiment with minimal risk of wasting materials or making mistakes that can’t be fixed. I also highly recommend grabbing one of my weaving kits. The Boho has the same style adjustable heddle loom that I use everyday and certainly one you could use for many years. Inside the kit not only do you get the loom, but also full colour photo instructions and all the fibres to make a couple of wall hangings. For under £40 this kit really is a fantastic way to introduce yourself gently into weaving. It also makes a great gift!
What's your favourite thing about World of Wool?
Where to start! The staff, obviously! You all are some of the most helpful, knowledgeable and kind people I have had the pleasure of working with over the years. I think it’s something many companies overlook during the transactional process, but World Of Wool truly are outstanding and feel like friends. The pricing of your products is also incredible, even without having a trade account and buying in bulk your prices are more than reasonable. Everything is packaged beautifully and the quality is unmatched. Finally, the ease of navigating your website and being able to quickly jump on and find exactly what I’m looking for, really does make the process of buying supplies a pleasure. Even if my bank account would be seriously side eyeing me right now haha!