Lawyer-turned-wool-master Jacqueline Fink isn’t afraid to think big — really, really big
Tragedy has spurred some of the greatest creations. It is during testing times that we are forced to look within and question our current path, determining if it’s time to veer to the left and try something new. For Jacqueline Fink, traumatic circumstances led to a booming voice within that told her to “knit big” after her mother underwent a life-saving double-lung transplant. And from this hardship sprung Little Dandelion.
Daring not to question that career-altering voice, Jacqueline set out to investigate what ‘knitting big’ entailed. “At that point in my life, I didn’t have a great deal of knitting experience behind me and I certainly didn’t
know much about wool, apart from a lifelong appreciation of its beauty and special properties,” says Jacqueline. Opting to work with unspun wool, Jacqueline never regretted her decision to use the challenging material. “In 2010, no one else was working in this space — I was very much a lone wolf,” says Jacqueline. “No one in their right mind knits with unspun wool as it is essentially as delicate as fairy floss. I worked out very quickly that in order for a textile made from unspun wool to be commercial, it would need to be felted. So I went about the process of teaching myself how to felt the wool in order to give the made-up textile greater stability and robustness.”“I work from home so everything is made by hand — it’s just me and a huge set of sticks doing the best I can”
Launching her business in 2012, Little Dandelion has rapidly grown to encompass private and commercial commissions, and additional pieces are made to feed the company’s online store, ensuring there is minimal wastage in terms of locally sourced materials and personal labour, too. “Every piece is brought into existence because a customer wants it,” says Jacqueline. “I work from home so everything is made by hand — it’s just me and a huge set of sticks doing the best I can without a production line in sight.”
With a collection comprising cocooning throws, wall pieces and blankets along with other top-secret projects, Jacqueline is pioneering her sector of the design scene, teaching extreme knitting workshops locally and overseas. She has also introduced a new super-fine merino wool extreme knitting yarn dubbed K1S1 (Knit One Share One), which is already felted and enables users to forget about the foibles of unspun wool. “In all my dealings and creative outputs, I am governed by the following principles: honesty, simplicity, beauty and consideration.” And judging from these larger-than-life pieces, Jacqueline’s will to create for the individual is a battle that has long been won.
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Written by Annabelle Cloros
Photography by Aimee Thompson for The School and Megan Morton.
Images from Extreme Knitting Workshops
Originally from Home Design magazine, Volume 19 Issue 1