We’ve got an awesome Monday Maker in store for you today: talented weaver, and self proclaimed “serial hobby jumper” (LOL) – Kirilee of Loom Loom Shake (@loomloomshake)! Her handcrafted weaving kits are perfect for beginning weavers. …or for intermediate weavers …or advanced.. scratch that – her weaving kits are great for everyone! We’re crazy about them! Read on for Kirilee’s sweet story of balancing life, work, and creative passion:
Hi there! – My name is Kirilee and I started Loom Loom Shake when my littlest babe Arlo was born two years ago (Wow! How time flies). As a helpless workaholic and eternal academic, I found having Arlo made me want to slow down and enjoy simple and slow rituals with my three babies; I took a year off study, only worked part time and starting focusing on building a home, taking our babies out for walks and going to mums and bubs yoga, we started keeping chickens and growing our own vegetables. I discovered pretty quickly that I’d been missing out on so much from moving so fast all the time, but needless to say I still felt the need to keep my hands busy – that’s were weaving came in.
I made my first loom on the back of a photo frame one night while I was feeding Arlo (one handed. – hey, I’ve had practice) I finished my first weave in one night, and was so excited to show my husband when he got home from band prac – We quickly discovered that I hadn’t alternated the whole way through and essentially had big thick lines of warp hanging out all over the place, we laughed pretty hard, but the next day I warped back up and tried again, and again and again. For the first time in my life I found something I couldn’t put down – I’m a bit of serial hobby jumper, I’ve tried knitting, crochet, a foray of instruments, sewing and even skateboarding, but never found anything that stuck – until I found weaving.
My husband was really encouraging, he’s a third generation engineer, so he and his dad spent a weekend with me while I drew up my ideal loom and they jumped into action to make my (terrible) drawings and ideas a reality. Loom Loom Shake was born. Before I knew it I was frequenting Bunnings every weekend and then through the week, I was fluent in Tradie language and the man behind the trades desk was a little afraid of the 5 foot nothing girl who would regularly refuse assistance carrying out timber and tools and tantrumy babies. We built a series of jigs and I built looms in all my spare time. I quickly developed patterns for custom sizes, heddles and shuttles. I hadn’t thought about selling my looms to other people, but I took a few as a trial to sell with my weaves at a market, and when I sold my very first loom that I had made from scratch with my own two hands, it felt amazing.
We moved away from our home town to the hills of the South Coast at the beginning of the year were I was lucky enough to sell a loom to a fellow fibre lover who came to be the amazingly talented Julie of @Little_Loom. It was really encouraging and helpful to meet someone else who shared my love of fibre, hand made, and ethically produced goodness. I kept weaving at all hours of the night once the babes had gone to sleep, and developed an unhealthy obsession with hand crafted and hand dyed fibers, discovering pretty quickly that nothing but the best would do – so I started sourcing Australian 100% un-dyed Merino and dying my own colour – I love the ritual of skeining, dying and winding yarns, it’s almost cathartic.
Things have been going a little slowly at Loom Loom Shake this year, I went back to university full time in march to complete my undergrad studies in Indigenous Affairs and Modern history and have started applying for post grad- I’ve been working towards this goal since I was bouncing my first babe on my lap and sitting the HSC so it didn’t seem fair to put off something I’d literally poured my life into any longer, regardless of how much fun I was having weaving and making. I spend over 20rs a week on campus so we run a pretty tight ship- our babes are 2, 4 and 8 so our days are scheduled morning to night. My husband is lucky enough to work close by on the University’s innovation campus so he helps out where he can but he spends a lot of time overseas in the US and China so unfortunately I’ve had to accept that not many looms will be getting made before graduation in November. It’s been a tough call, but I know it’s the right one. I still wake up a few mornings a week before the sun rises, or go to bed just before it sets so I can squeeze in some weaving before the babes wake up, and I’ve learnt to carry a lap loom in my handbag so I can weave in the car, in waiting rooms and at singing and swimming lessons.
I’m really excited for what’s to come at Loom Loom Shake before the end of the year. We’ve started looking at building a bigger workshop space at home and meeting with supply companies, designers, timber wholesalers and injection molders to begin building new jigs and designing a new series of weaving products I can get my callused fingers busy making! I always dreamed about starting something like Loom Loom Shake, something I loved doing that ensured environmental sustainability and ethical production while supporting my babes and showing them you can work hard at something you love and make that your living. I know I still have a lot of work to go, and I love that, after all, I’m a workaholic! I also love the motivation I get out of it – when I’m crawling into bed in the wee hours of the morning after a marathon weaving session or finishing a dreaded research report, I know that I can get up tomorrow and do the exact same, exhausting balance of study, babies, building and making all over again because I absolutely love it. And I absolutely LOVE that Fibre Share and the weaving/fibre Instagram community has put me in touch with like-minded ladies who go through the same balance and creative struggles that I do on a day- to-day basis; feel free to pop by say hello!
You can follow along with Kirilee’s grand adventures here: