Yarn Display 1

There are many craft and hobby shows held throughout the year. Some are local which are held occasionally and are announced on local websites newspapers; and some are international. International exhibitions and shows can be divided into two categories.

The first category are the craft and hobby fairs that are targeted towards the consumers. Two organisers Knitting and Stitching Shows and the ICHF Events, hold the best fairs that targets crafters. Anyone can visit these events where they can shop and buy at discounted prices. These fairs also hold lovely craft workshops.

The other category are the international exhibitions that target businesses and retailers. These cannot be visited by anyone. A requirement for such exhibitions is the ownership of a craft business. Out of the many held every year H + H Cologne is one of the best and largest. In these international exhibitions one can get new products for the shop and can attend various workshops that help small businesses.

However, the most important feature that international exhibitions can provide which consumer craft fairs cannot provide is predicting the direction of where the craft industry is heading. For example, t-shirt yarn became a trend in 2013 and 2014. The year before that both local and consumer craft fairs did not display such yarn. It is only at international fairs that a few exhibitors offered it. By attending these international fairs one can spot some potential trending products.

As for actual trends, they can be seen with the other type of fairs and shows. Whether it is a trending colour, trending material, or a trending brand; craft shows will definitely have trends be on display. In short, exhibitions for consumers can show current trends while exhibitions for businesses can indicate to the direction of what will or might trend. For any crafter that is trying to keep up with the craft world, it is important to either visit both types of exhibitions of look at any coverage of them which is what will be done on this website.

شركة اسكتلندية نشأت عام ١٨٦٧م تقوم بتصنيع خيوط الكشمير الخالصة ١٠٠٪ و كذلك خيوط الكشمير المخلوطة بمواد خام طبيعية كالقطن و الحري و الكتان.

في هذا الفيديو نبذة عن الشركة و جولة سريعة في المصنع.

Luxury Cotton

Navigating the world of luxury produced items is not as easy as it seems. In certain cases, luxury is a description given to an item due to social and cultural views. In other cases, luxury is the result of the craftsmanship and economy of producing the product.

Take handhelds such as phones as an example; Samsung is considered by many to be more luxurious than Huawei. Can such a view be justified? From an economic view the devices (that are on same market range) cost similarly to produce. Yet a strong held view of luxury is associated only with Samsung. This is also clearer with Apple’s iPhone where it occupies the position of being “the luxurious device to have”.

This leads to the question of this blog post, how can one detangle the term Luxury if it can be received either from the society or the economy of the market? In other words, the term luxury in some instances can be given to a product because it costs more to make and in other instances because society has given it a highly ranked status. How does one know when it is used as a social artefact and how does one know when it is due to having the item cost more to produce?

A better example showing the complication which requires the detangling of luxury can be seen with the Hassleblad Stellar. The digital camera is basically a Sony RX100 but has been accessorised with handgrips made from expensive material such as carbon fiber, mahogany, walnut, padauk wood, and olive wood. In addition to that it comes with a leather bag. Other than these two additions, the two cameras are the exact same item with the Stellar being three time more expensive than Sony’s RX100. Should one state in this case that Hassleblad is a luxury camera due to the brand name (Social Luxury) or the used material (Economy Luxury)?

Detangling the two is important especially with yarn. A luxury yarn should be considered luxurious due to the economy of production not social views. For many yarn lovers, Egyptian cotton is viewed as the most luxurious cotton type. This is well earned because both the soil, plant type, and atmosphere of the Nile River results in having cotton with long fibres. As a result of this fibre, yarn produced from Egyptian cotton can be softer, stronger, and more water resistant. However, it is estimated that only 4% of the worlds cotton is considered Egyptian Cotton that falls under this category. Not every cotton produced in Egypt and labeled Egyptian Cotton is as good as that 4%. Yet people consider such low quality Egyptian cotton luxurious. Its luxury has been obtained socially from the success and value that is found with the higher status Egyptian Cotton.

For that reason it is important to discern between luxury due to economy of production and luxury due to social values in yarn.

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رحلة البحث عن بترونات و إلهامات جديدة في عالم الكروشية تبدأ من الحصول على اتصال سريع و فعّال بالانترنت. إذا كنت تملك الاتصال السريع بالانترنت فأنت حتماً غارق في المواقع التي تتيح لك عرض و مشاركة الآخرين إبداعات الكروشية و غيره من الفنون و الحرف.

عموماً حصر هذه المواقع و التطبيقات المُلهمة في عالم الفنون بعيد المنال، فالساحة مليئة بالتطبيقات الجديدة في هذا المجال و لكن البقاء للأقوى كما هو معلوم.

اذن ماذا عن المواقع الصينية؟؟
تعتبر مواقع الحرف الصينية منجماً للبترونات حيث يتشارك الجميع في نقلها من المجلات و الكتب، لأن قانون المطبوعات الصيني لا يحوي تفصيلاً دقيقاً لمعنى حقوق الطبع. حيثُ أنه بإمكان المُدَوّن أن ينشر بترونات من المجلات و الكتب من غير الرجوع لمصدرها، و ذلك كله تحت مظلة الاستخدام العادل بما يُسمى fairuse.

أعرض هنا شرح مبسط عن كيفية البحث عن كنوز البترونات في المواقع الصينية:

١. فتح موقع الترجمة الخاص بمحرك البحث قوقل.

٢. ترجمة مصطلحات انجليزية للغة الصينية على سبيل المثال: crochet pattern – knitting pattern – embroidery

Google Translate

٣. قص ترجمة الكلمات الصينية و لصقها في خانة البحث في محرك البحث قوقل.

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٤. فتح الصفحات التي تظهر.
ملاحظة: ستظهر الصفحات باللغة الصينية، هناك طريقة لترجمتها للغة الإنجليزية و لكنها تعتمد على برنامج المتصفح المستخدم.

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Yarn Traceability Poster

Lately the term traceability has been used frequently especially with the spread of single origin coffee and gourmet chocolate. The term is used with products in reference to the ability of knowing the whereabouts of items. In other words, the traceability of chocolate is the details about the chocolate’s history. The history would include information such as place or origin, time of harvest, and processes applied to it.

The details can be broad and sometimes it can be very detailed. As an example of a broad description one can read on any single origin description coffee the following:

Country: Colombia
Altitude: 1400-1450 masal
Harvest: 2017
Process: Natural
Roast Level: Light
Roast Date: 19-04-2018

As an example of a very detailed description would include the following:

Country: Colombia
Producer: Caferino Maca
Terroir: Popayàn
Elevation: 1940-2100mt
Fermentation: Anaerobic washed
Cultivar: Wush Wush
Picked in: June 2017
Landed in: January 2018
Lot size: 700kg
Arrived in: Vacuum Packs
Roast profile by: Rubens Gardelli
Roast Date: 19-04-2018

In addition to these details a whole story is mentioned that gives specific details of farm location, farm climate, farmer work, and history of the beans.

Due to a lack of transparency in the textile industry, a question arises of how traceability is applied, can be applied, should be applied?

Below is a hypothetical proposal of what a yarn tag that applies traceability as its objective should include.

Origin:
Sheep Name:
Mother’s Name:
Father’s Name:
Breed:
Colour:
Age:
Farm:
Shearer:
Shear Process:
Shear Date:
Part of body:
Wash Method:
Washed by:
Spinning Process:
Spinner:
Spinning Date:
Dying Lot:
Dying Date:

There might be more details that can be added but as a starting place at least half of these should be included. Yarn that has seen such care in production entitles itself to be labeled “luxury yarn”.

It is important to note that what is being discussed is not absurd, Australia already has such programs applied to cotton and wool.

Funfact: Origin Coffee attempted an extreme case of traceability where they included names of every single person that came across the coffee beans in the production process.

ASMR or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response has been trending lately on youtube. Simply put it is a “deeply relaxing and comforting feeling, usually accompanied by tingling sensations in the head“. One way of experiencing this feeling is through sound.

A lot of research and work has been done to test whether such a feeling is obtained from these sounds. From a crafters perspective, this definitely is attested.

Ask any crafter to list what gives them joy and comfort. Out of the many things listed the sound of their craft is definitely one that a crafter enjoys. Whether it is the sound of two needles touching, the hum of a wheel spinning wheel, or fabric punctured from a needle, the sounds that are made are surely things that give pleasure to a crafter.

Fun fact: There are more than 10 million videos on Youtube of ASMR and IKEA released a  commercial with ASMR.

Spider on its web

For toddlers a spider represents fun time in a nursery rhyme.
For children a spider represents friendship in Charlotte’s Web.
For teens a spider represents a red suit fighting for the good.
For adults a spider is the fear used as a tool to scare.

For Crafters the spider is a role model.

Spinning its own yarn.
Its home stitched in every barn.
Knitting its own bed.
Crocheting with no colours even red.

The Spider is the greatest crafter.

Funfact: Spider’s Silk has been used for a yarn project.

Cath Kidston

كاث كيدستون من أسرة بريطانية عريقة، درست في مدرسة داخلية و كانت تُعاني منذ صغرها من عُسْر القراءة المعروف بالدسليكسيا، تُوفي والديها بسبب إصابتهم بسرطان الثدي و قد أُصيبت كاث كيدستون بسرطان الثدي في سن ٣٧ و لكنها تعافت منه.

بعد أن تعافت كاث من مرضها بدأت مشروعها التجاري في لندن عام ١٩٩٣م في محل صغير كانت تبيع الأقمشة و ورق الجدران و المناديل المطرزة و بعض الأثاث القديم.

أول خطواتها في عالم التصميم كانت لغطاء مِنْضدة و ورق جدران و كانت النقوش ذات الأزهار المبعثرة هي أول نقوش اشتهرت بها، و من ثم واصلت نجاحاتها حتى قُيّم مشروعها بالملايين.

و لأن دوام الحال من المُحال و عالم الموضة مُتقلب و الأذواق تتغير من حين لآخر، واجهت كاث كيدستون في مطلع نجحاتها خسائر فادحة كادت أن تقضي على الشركة حتى أنها قررت بيع الشركة، إلا أنها اتخذت خطوة جريئة في هذا الوقت العصيب حيث أنها قررت االتوجه في مشروعها للقارة الآسيوية و بالتحديد اليابان و خلاف جميع التوقعات قفزت أرباح الشرة ٦٠٪ و استعادت الشركة عافيتها المالية.

لُقِّبَت كاث بِلورا آشلي القادمة، لما حققت من إنجازات مُتميزة في مجال التصميم شبيه بلورا آشلي.

اليوم تمتلك كاث كيدستون أكثر من ٢٠٠ محل منتشرة في ١٦ دولة حول العالم.

CitizenM Lobby

Travel websites rank hotels based on categorised features that would allow readers to pick a hotel based on various preferences. For example, one can search for the best family-friendly hotel or pet-friendly hotel. These features vary from a website to another; from a category that is important to travellers such as service to a category that is specific like serving halal food.

As a result, this diverges from the traditional way of ranking hotels which uses the classic 5 star rating that is given to a hotel from well known institutions. The divergence results in not having one best hotel or similar top hotels, but instead a best hotel that is based on a certain feature.

This modern way which websites use to rank hotels is by far a much better process since it is similar to how travellers actually rank hotels.

For example, one question that travellers’ currently ask; what is the best mid-budget hotel in London that is near Edgware Road and the Hyde Park. In other words, the traveler is searching for the best ranked hotel that is categorised under “Traditional Kuwaiti London Lifestyle”. The result of such a search would be Cumberland Hotel.

Another example of a such a categorisation that can be even more specific would be what is the best Dubai Sea-side hotel that has the best service but is not crowded like other sea-side Hotels during seasons; resulting in Ritz-Carlton.

The modern categorisation that is available in travel websites do have the ability to show   such ranking which is something that is very helpful for travellers. However, this specific categorisation would leave one of the best hotels in the world out of any top ranked hotel that falls within these categorisation.

CitizenM is one of the best hotels “period”. However, if categorised it will not be the best.

The hotel which uses the terms “non-conformist” and “transformational” to describe itself, started from a revolutionary concept that opposed the traditional standards set by hotel industry. From the start, the founder wanted the hotel to be called “One Star Hotel” to break the industry’s mould that have long been forcing conventions on the whats and hows of hotel operation.

In terms of location (European branches), two are located near airports and the rest are not central (except for Glasgow’s). Thus, it will not be a hotel at the top of any list where location is searched for. Even the airport ones are not well located for travellers. Thus, it will never be mentioned under a categorisation that considers location.

In terms of service, the hotel’s concept has a self-service check in and check-out. A self service diner/bar where its up for the person to charge what has been bought. It also doesn’t have neither a traditional concierge nor a laundry service. Thus, it is  a hotel that will not make a list of best service hotel.

In terms of the room, it is small with a tiny bathroom and a non-existing storage area. There is no iron board in the room. The ironing is part of a communal area. Again, this makes it not be part of any category that considers good rooms.

In terms of price, at the rates given, one can find hotels with bigger rooms, more services, and much better facilities.

Taking all of this into account one should conclude that it is a really bad hotel. Yet, it is not. It is one of the best hotels “period”.

The hotel has something about it that makes a person not stay anywhere else. This is a guarantee: a single stay at any of its branches will lead to staying multiple times at any of its different locations without considering any of the traveler’s preferences and necessities.

This blog post questions why that is the case. How can a hotel that is expensive, with a not great location, small room, and weak services be the best hotel?

There will be no answer, unless the whole view of category based hotels is abandoned.  CitizenM cannot be categorised and should not be categorised. It is an experience hotel. What travellers will get from the hotel is an experience similar to the experiences one gets when visiting traveling landmarks. In other words, people travel to shop, visit museums, experience different adventures such as sky-diving or bungee-jumping. To that list of experiences, citizenM should be added.

Yarn, coffee, and wool

What is Speciality Coffee?

Coffee can be divided into Speciality Coffee and Commercial Coffee. The division between the two is based on various factors that result in the difference of the quality between the two; where Speciality Coffee is superior to commercial.

Today with the third-wave scene in which the consumer is more informed, Speciality Coffee consumption has flourished. It is reported that “Daily consumption of speciality coffee in America has risen from 9% in 1999 to 34% in 2014”. This rise in speciality coffee consumption led to high market chains like Starbucks and Costa to jump on the bandwagon and raise the quality of their coffee beans.

The division of coffee into Speciality and Commercial coffee is based on a graded 100-point scale where Speciality Coffee represents the coffee graded from 80 to 100. Speciality Coffee can be further divided where beans above 90 have come to be known as “90 plus” (not to be confused with the name of a coffee producer). This category is usually ‘out of this world’ in terms of taste. They have seen exceptional care from producer to the roaster. They are more expensive but worth it.

What does this have to do with yarn?

The yarn world is exactly similar. There are three categories of yarn that are known to knitters and crocheters. The first category is the cheap yarn that is mass produced by one single manufacturer but under different brands or by markets with cheap labour such as China and Turkey. This category is on par with commercial coffee.

The second category includes well-known brands that sell yarn which is a bit more expensive and have much better quality than the commercial yarn. They cost more because of the economics of the yarn market. They do have quality control and are produced with better marketing effort. This category is probably the one mostly used in Kuwait. If a crafter is working on something special than it is this category that is used. Brands such as DMC, Debbie Bliss, and Rowan fall under this category. Yarn made by these company can be seen as start point of Speciality Coffee.

The final category or the “90 plus” category  contains the yarn that is exceptional. These are harder to find. They are not mass produced. They are usually hand-spun and hand dyed. They are distributed either in online shops or local independent shops. You will not find them in John Lewis or in Liberty (London shops).

What does all of this have to do with the blog?

This blog will introduce this exceptional yarn category. The blog will also help in explaining why they are appreciated. As they stand, a crafter might not appreciate them, but with a certain mentality these yarn will be better acknowledged.

Using coffee as an analogy; a regular Speciality Coffee customer won’t appreciate “90 plus” coffee since in few instances it will be very similar to regular speciality coffee. However, if the customer is educated on the economics and production of coffee then appreciating a “90 plus” coffee cup is definite.

Therefore, topics on wool manufacturing and its history will be discussed in this blog. The blog will also shed light at yarn projects and crafters. The appreciation of the category of yarn is a state of mind that is part of a lifestyle. This blog will be showcasing such a lifestyle, from talking about restaurants and hotels that elevate a person’s art knowledge to science topics that can be used to reach the “90 plus” state of mind.

And the story begins….

(Note that some posts will be in Arabic and some will be in English.)