I first met Bella while holding my very first Fibre Feast stall in 2020. Bella caught my attention while purchasing some fibre for spinning. I was excited to learn that Bella crocheted and knitted, had recently started dyeing yarn, and that she was purchasing the fibre for herself as she was learning how to spin yarn too.
It was really nice to see a young woman who was still at school exploring fibre crafts. Bella has since started her own little business selling her hand dyed yarns and was even my stall neighbor at the last Fibre Feast market and will also be joining the 2023 event at Black Friars School in March. Let's learn more about Bella and how she found herself immersed in fibre crafts. I for one am very excited to see where 2023 takes her since she finished school last year.
Tell us in a few sentences a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in the suburbs of Melbourne. My family moved to South Australia a few years ago when my dad received a job offer over here. We’ve been living in the Adelaide Hills ever since. I’m currently finishing off Year 12.
Please share one random/ interesting fact about you.
I recently finished a Certificate III in Food Processing, so I’m officially qualified to be a baker.
Which fibre art/s has sent you down the rabbit hole?
Crochet, knitting, spinning and dyeing.
How long have you been creating?
I was always a crafty kid, but I first picked up the fibre arts when I started knitting at 7 years old.
How/Why did you get into it?
I picked a knitting book up at the library one day and decided I was going to try and teach myself. After many, many mistakes I got the hang of basic garter stitch. My Oma further encouraged my interest in fibre arts by teaching me the double crochet stitch and letting me try some cross stitch from her cupboard of old craft supplies. My interest died out for a few years until the COVID lock downs hit in 2020. I picked up a crochet top project on a whim and haven’t been able to stop since. I dyed my first skeins in the middle of 2020 after watching a few too many ChemKnits Tutorials on YouTube, and definitely accidentally dyed the kitchen purple about a week later (I’ve been sent outside for my dyeing adventures ever since). I picked up spinning in October of 2020 after my Dad was offered an Ashford spinning wheel by a work colleague and asked if I wanted it.
What are your future fibre goals?
I’m hoping to someday expand my yarn dyeing business to a small studio. I’m also currently challenging myself to expand my knitting skills (I’ve recently tried colorwork knitting for the first time).
What is it about fibre art that makes you love it the way you do?
I love that I can be doing something relaxing with my time and produce something beautiful. It gives me a sense of productivity while giving myself some down time.
What is your most challenging piece to date? Pics would be amazing.
Probably either my first pair of knitted socks or the Ravenlight gloves by Disyarning Design I’m currently working on. The first pair of socks I ever knitted involved teaching myself the German Twisted Cast-On, to knit in the round, change colours smoothly in knitting, turn a heel, pick up knitted stitches, and finally how to Kitchener stitch. To say the least it was a big learning experience and I had to frog quite a few times. My current project, the Ravenlight gloves, are all over colorwork in the round. This is my first time knitting colorwork and I’m having a difficult time learning to tension my yarn correctly while carrying my floats (I ended up frogging the project and starting again to correct my tension).
How have you learnt your craft - self-taught, workshops, books, online tutorials?
I’m mostly self-taught with my crafts. Over the years I’ve used various books and YouTube tutorials to teach myself new techniques.
Do you have a favourite book or tutorial you would recommend?
The Crazy Sock Lady’s vanilla sock tutorial. Paired with her vanilla sock pattern, this was how I learnt to knit in the round.
Is there a fibre artist that inspires you the most?
Kat from @heather.hops has a wonderful podcast on YouTube and such a lovely outlook on creating. I always enjoy watching her videos and take a lot of inspiration from her projects.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting into the craft but isn’t sure?
Just give it a go. It might take a few tries, but you’ll get the hang of it eventually.
Best Tip or Trick?
If something doesn’t work for you, keep trying different things until you find something that works for you. That could be the tools you’re using, the technique, or even the fibre. Keep experimenting until you get it right for you.
What is your favourite knot/technique to do? Why
For crochet it would be seed stitch. It creates a beautiful texture with a very simple stitch repeat.
For knitting it would have to be stockinette stitch. I know this is a very boring answer, but I love how mindless and sleek stockinette stitch can be.
For spinning I enjoy a short backwards draft. This is how I taught myself to draft and it now feels most natural.
Neutrals or colour?
Neutrals. I love my earthy tones. That being said, I do love to play with colour occasionally.
Are you drawn to pattern or texture?
What would you say is your style? Geometric, boho etc
Not too sure. I like to try out lots of new things. I definitely try to create items for myself that I know I will enjoy wearing/using. As for my yarn dyeing style, I like saturated moody tones and tend to gravitate towards variegated or speckled colourways.
What is your favourite VADA BLUE fibre to use and why?
The roving tops. They are so smooth to spin with and produce gorgeous yarn.
Also love the new subscription One Bag Full. It’s a great concept that will push spinners out of their comfort zone with fibres they may not usually gravitate towards - a great way to discover new fibres.
Where can you find your work? Ie: online, markets, website, shop?
I have an Etsy shop that is currently unstocked while I finished
Year 12. I try to do local Adelaide Hills markets when I get the time such as the Oakbank Market and Gumeracha Fifth Sunday Market. I’m also trying to start attending more fibre events such as Fibre Feast SA. Generally, the best place to contact me is my Instagram account (@craft_by_bella) or via my email address where I’m happy to discuss purchases if you’re interested.
If you have a social media account – let us know.