One of the pleasures of being in networking teams for Etsy sellers, is coming across and getting to know such talented and inspirational crafters.
One such lady is Sharon Long, owner of Longstrands (click here)
Sharon learnt how to crochet as a lass of 12 years when struck down with a painful mystery illness - being bed bound the crochet was something else to do apart from read - and play compuer games! Spinal surgery followed at 16
- and, as if that wasn't enough, she started to experience pain in her hip - and was found to have arthritis.
She tells me: 'I had wanted to learn to spin for years so after my first hip replacement, I was feeling so much better my husband took me up to Wingham Wool Work in Yorkshire for a visit - and suggested I take a spinning course while I was there.' (check out their blog describing their origins - a great traditional family concern)
'My husband has always been very supportive. I couldn't ask for a more wonderful husband. I had wanted to try dyeing fibre ever since Noro came to North America and Europe. I love their colours.' (Eisaku Noro Company is a Japanese yarn manufacturer, producing yarns for handcrafting under the Noro brandname. According to Wikipedia, the yarn creates distinctive stripey patterns, and is partially spun by hand)
'So after I had spun so much we were in danger of not being able to find our way to the upstairs bedroom, I cut back spinning and started dyeing. Same problem, so Mr Wonderful bought me a shed last Christmas and turned it into a fabulous sudio and I spend most days there now. This distracts me from the constant pain and I have started to sell some of the dyed fibre, which helps pay for supplies - and makes me feel really good about myself! '
I love the process of picking the colours and painting it on, then at the end of the process, picking two and druncarding them together to see what you end up with. To pull the batt off the drumcarder and see what I have created is the part I love the best. Sometimes the colours take my breath away. They are so beautiful.
I love every day and it is by far the best pain management I have found to deal with the chronic pain I have to live with. It used to be a chore getting up every day and finding things to distract me from the pain and just getting through the day. Now I can't wait to get up every morning and get started.
'It's a Wonderful Life'
I am the luckiest woman alive! I have a wonderful husband and I have found something I can do that I love (and will hopefully make enough to cover my costs). Here is the bonus - not only has it increased my quality of life, but it also distracts me from the pain I put up with every day.
What's next for Sharon?
I have started experimenting with dying plant fibre, like bamboo, corn, seacell and milk. I am going to card them into wool batts and see what happens - I find it very exciting.
** I love animals covered in hair I can dye, spin and crochet! I would love to have a farm filled with hairy animals!**
Such an inspirational story from Sharon - and her wonderful skills are reflected in the lovely reviews she has received from her customers!
All photos of Sharon and her products have been taken with her permission from her shop page.
The angora goat picture (couldn't resist it) is from Wikicommons - By User Pschemp on en.wikipedia - Taken by Pschemp, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1100294
Come and visit us too at DunnCrafting - click here