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Featured Artist: Kristine Haddock of Storybook Fibers

by The SpinArtiste on April 21, 2011

I met Kristine a few months ago in San Diego – we were both attending Camp Pluckyfluff at The Shepardess (a great time in a beautiful city!).  Over the course of the two days, I saw one amazing yarn after another come off of her wheel…when I decided to launch this site, I knew that I wanted Kristine to be featured, so this interview is a bit of a dream come true all the way around.

Therefore, it is my pleasure to present Kristine’s interview — so, go get a cup of your favorite beverage, curl up and enjoy learning more about Kristine:

Spin Artiste (SA):  Kristine, let’s start with the name “Storybrook” – The name evokes a magical quality that matches your work perfectly.  How did you select the name?

Courtesy Free Lense PhotoGraphic

Kristine:  As a child, I had the good fortune and blessings of hearing many fairytales.  Years later, a thought came to me that I would like to try to spin on a spinning wheel and I wondered if any were still being made for purchase.  Soon after, I happened into spinning in a very natural order of events, and I am so grateful for the chance to spin yarn…

SA:  So, did that natural order of events include finding a wheel?

Kristine:  Yes, my first wheel  (which I still have) was a Lendrum Saxony Double Drive with scotch tension and double treadle.  Later,  I was blessed when my daughter, Autumn, told me she saw a wheel at a garage sale.  It was an Ashford Traditional single drive with a jumbo flyer and double treadle conversion kit.I added the double treadle conversion after spinning angora in Renaissance attire on a hot day (99 degrees).  My vest was cinched tight at the beginning of the day and all but undone near mid-afternoon.  The conversion was well worth it.

This wheel is friendly, works great and is not too big or heavy…I also like its style for a sweet spin.
And, my son, Gable, used to spin on it too when he was a little boy.  I guess it reminds me of my children.


SA:  While we are on the subject, what other equipment do you have?

Kristine:  The most special wheel  I have is the one I was blessed with as a birthday gift from my husband.  It is Lexi Boeger’s first wheel, I believe.  She was going to Tokyo to teach class and parting with her beloved wheel…I couldn’t believe I stumbled upon her offer – the day before my birthday, besides!  I was so excited and also torn that maybe she didn’t want to sell her wheel…I made myself sick for three days.   It was an unbelievable blessing.  I am the wheel’s fairy godmother.

For wild/big yarn, I have an Ashford Country Spinner – This was a third wedding anniversary gift – the leather year on the anniversary gift list…Good thing for the tiny strip of leather above the orifice.  I’d love to be able to sell this and get an Aura wheel.

SA:  You make such whimsical, delicate batts – what about your carders?

Kristine:  Carders, carders, carders – I have (shshsh) three.  But I love them all!  They all shine uniquely, and well, I think I need them.





For fine fiber batts, I have Strauch’s Finest.
For wild stuff, I have Strauch’s Mad Batter.
And, for super wild stuff, I have a Louet Classic which was a splurge for curiosity’s sake.


SA:   Mmmm…I am experiencing equipment envy…and this investment in equipment also tells me that you have a very clear sense of purpose as an artist…Tell us how you approach your work.

Kristine:  My vision is to create high quality, beautiful, soft, structurally sound yarn and fiber fun.  I think to myself, “please let me make something of beauty that reflects what I am feeling inside.”


SA:   And, you do!  I have purchased your yarns through your Etsy store and while the pictures are beautiful, I was blown away when I got the yarns – you’ve thought of every detail:  the package, the labeling, the yarn tag…and then, the yarn!  What has been your creative journey to get to this place?

Kristine:  Home-schooling my children years ago, I started Papier Roses – a small business which was primarily holiday-themed greeting cards sewn with aged, tattered quilts or vintage material; lavender sachets made of vintage linens with beaded embellishments, and baby hand knits.  I still make these goodies on occasion.  The greeting cards were inspired by a home-schooling project from a book my sister gave me.
Then, I became inspired by a book my husband bought for me called “Knitting for Peace” by Betty Christiansen.  From there, I started knitting socks for my favorite charity, CIC (Children in Common) to benefit orphanages located in Russia and Eastern Europe.  All this sock knitting led to the creation of Storybook Ukraina Hand Spun wool yarn in worsted and bulky weights good for this sort of knitting.  Information for this charity was provided with each skein to help raise awareness for the cause.  Donations from sales of Ukraina were made to CIC in the form of Ukraina Hand Spun and knitting needles.  Unfortunately, the situation has changed with CIC…and they are currently not accepting donations of socks and knitting supplies.
Along came Etsy – What a concept!  My friend Cindy told me about the site and Storybook Fibers was born in November, 2008.  This has become my passion:  Trying to grow Storybook Fibers and become a better spinner and fiber girl.  I’m fueled by the endless possibilities of this medium – spinning and working with natural fibers has a way to make one feel “connected”…a feeling of timelessness.   It is this feeling and my passion to create beauty which inspires me.

SA:  Your inspiration and passion clearly translates to your work – how does that affect which materials are you most drawn to?

Kristine:  I prefer quality fiber that is very soft so that it makes into a beautiful, quality yarn that is a pleasure to feel and wear.




Locks and hemp seem to put the wild in.

Wool, silk, angora = substance.

Sparkle, Firestar and sari silk = magic.

Vintage flowers, strands of sequins  = whimsy.

Thrift store deconstruction = fun!

And, hand processing of beautiful fleece = natural beauty and peacefulness.

SA:   I can see how those qualities come from those fibers!  Where do you feel all this is leading you to next?

Kristine:  Lots of playing…I don’t see it as work…practice…learning.

I’m thinking about Fairytale Handspun – extreme thick and thin dyed in vibrant colors… extreme art yarns (I may call them Rapunzel’s Twise?)… collage yarns with trinkets, vintage flowers and strands of sequen clusters…wild abandon dye jobs…exploring drum carding…I’d like to spin locks…make hats with a folktale feel to them…and wild spinning incorporating wraps and swirls…but still maintaining ‘regular’ yarns so they are knittable, etc. with the art yarns as accent…

And,  a super back burner project is to warp the loom with linen– not too many epi, and weave with a loosely spun carded single and throw in a few plied angora rows here and there.  I have the yarn ready for this.  But the looms aren’t.

SA:    Those are great — I know I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with all of those ideas.  Take us back and describe how your work has changed since you started?

Kristine:  My spinning has moved more in the direction of whimsical carded yarns with little fiber confections spun in along the way.  I love crescents!  I practised for two years until I was happy with them…as opposed to more traditional styles of hand-dyed single ply yarns.  I would love to experiment with locks more.  I have so many supplies.  I need to use them up before purchasing more..so the lock yarn will be limited to what is on hand waiting for me to process — nothing super long, but beautiful nonetheless.

I am looking forward to spinning yarn with less of that feeling where you hold yourself back.  Janice Rosema of Excavations told me a very simple but helpful sentence:  “Don’t edit yourself”.


SA:  That is a great quote!  Janice is one of my “fiber” heroines so I’m going to treasure that one.  Who are your heroes?

Kristine:  I have to start with my husband, “Super” Fiber Hero…he started out as fiber boy…but quickly attained Fiber Hero status through his help and support to me — especially in the workroom:  the yarn stand he helped design and make, the piece he whittled for one of my wheels…and the massive shelves in the workroom on casters!  I also have to mention my friend Anita, who accepted fiber express deliveries in a land far off and special mention to the angora bunnies, Willie Lee and Ainsley.

And, I also have some fiber heroines:

Lexi Boeger of Pluckyfluff — hand spun yarn and fiber pioneer whose effortless genius has changed the yarn of the world and inspired countless people with her insight and brilliance.  I am thankful for her kind, generous encouraging spirit to share knowledge with others.  She also graciously offers opportunities to the spinning/fiber world to join in her amazing ideas and projects:  The Norwegian Gallery Exhibit, Pluckyfluff Barn Raising…www.pluckyfluff.com

Jacey Boggs of Insubordiknit — for her whimsical and rockin’ approach to yarn making and educating others…her spirit of adventure and wit…her innovative idea of sponsoring her workshops via fiber donations is one of my favorites…www.insubordiknit.com

And, Judith MacKenzie McCuin — Fiber Hero sent me to a class she was teaching.  She is responsible for my understanding of wheel mechanics, a solid basis for spinning yarn, and the introduction to her beautiful hand dyed core spun kid mohair yarn..and her indespinsible knowledge and wit.

SA:  Every fiber artist should have a Super Fiber Hero!  You said it so well about Lexi and Jacey, too.  I wish I could take a class with Judith — her book, “Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning” was one of the first books I bought on spinning.

You mentioned some of the elements of your workroom — tell us more about your studio and where you live.

Kristine:  I live in a remote area in a forest in the mountains located at approximately 6300 feet elevation.  We have to drive to get our mail about three miles to the town of Idyllwild.  The elevation is lower there — approximately 5000 feet.  We get snow up where we are when down in town may not.  There is still snow outside here now (April 12th).  There are only homes and people here — the sign for the area says population 770, but I think it’s less.  There is no store, post office, or gas station, but we do have a fire department and water department where a little blue mail box is located if you need to mail a letter and can’t get to town.

We use a woodburning stove for heat.  Believe or not, it happens to be a Blaze Princess Stove.  I couldn’t believe it when I noticed what looked like “princess” covered with ashes…then dusted it off and there it was!  We also have a back-up portable electric heater.

Our cottage is actually on the historic register as it was a stagecoach stop back in the late 1800’s, I am told.  It was originally built approximately in 1880.  It has since been remodeled several times, and it is my hope to un-remodel it a bit as money and time permit.  Right now, the floors are plywood, but the highest grade finishing plywood to limit or avoid chemicals in it.

My workroom is a home of fibery goodness!  This is where I wash fleece and locks and rinse my dyed fibers and set yarns…card fairy fluffs and pixie batts…unless it’s cold and snowy out…then I usually cart stuff into the house and play there.



SA: I love rural living, so hearing about your home and studio sounds like a recipe for happiness…what is your dream of happiness?

Kristine: Living in nature…with goats, angora bunnies, maybe a Wensleydale sheep…

and bringing joy and love of this art form to others and to continue learning.



SA: Your work surely brings joy and your love of this art form shines through! Now, to start wrapping things up, tell us something about yourslef that people might be surprised to know.

Kristine: I grew up as a beach girl in Hermosa Beach, California..now I live in the forest in the California mountains.


SA: And, as a former beach girl and now a mountain girl, what is your motto?

Kristine:  My motto is the same as my favorite material:  Creativity and the guts to use it!


SA:  Great motto!  And, thanks so much for giving us such an insight into yourself and your work.

Kristine has also sent in a special gift for Spin Artiste readers… Kristine is sharing a children’s sock pattern that uses her Storybook Ukraina Hand Spun which she makes and is available at her Etsy store. The pattern will be available as a special edition post of Spin Artiste to be published this coming Sunday.  Thanks again, Kristine — you are a wonderful artist and friend!

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