Today’s featured maker is an endlessly curious explorer with a passion for ethically sourced fibres. Meet Valerie from ValFibres!
As a child in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Valerie grew up watching her mom constantly creating, whether it was crocheting, knitting, or embroidery.
Valerie was particularly drawn to her mother’s work with fibres.
My mom is a maker, and I grew up watching and learning, enchanted by how she was able to transform a simple ball of yarn into something so beautiful.
Valerie was eager to learn how to crochet and knit, but she’s left-handed and her (right-handed) mother struggled to teach her. Even her left-handed neighbour couldn’t get crochet technique to stick—but Valerie was determined.
As I am not one to simply let it go and try something else, I said to my mom "maybe try and teach me with the right hand." Well, we finally got it! In no time I was crocheting as if I was born right-handed.
This discovery led Valerie to explore other right-handed crafting techniques as well. She learned to knit, and she and her mother became knitting buddies.
As Valerie got older and life got busier, crafting and making remained her refuge. All through law school and beyond, her creative hobbies helped her maintain a sense of self.
I am a dreamer by nature who loves beautiful and simple things. Life can be really complicated sometimes but just give me a pair of needles and everything will be better!
In 2010, Valerie immigrated to Canada with her husband and 2 grown kids, Carolina and Tiago. It was a stressful time, and knitting helped get her through.
When we first arrived in Canada, we went through some rough patches, and the comfort I found in my needles and a ball of yarn was essential to keep me sane.
She decided to learn English knitting vocabulary and (naturally) found the resources she needed on YouTube. It was the start of a deep,deep rabbit hole. She taught herself Continental knitting and kept exploring.
I fell in love with all of it again, the ease of the hand-maker’s world, its peace, quiet, and relaxation. The more videos I watched, the more intrigued I became.
Although she was an experienced lawyer, Valerie couldn’t practice law in Canada without retraining, so she decided to try something else. She loved to drive and was open to doing something completely different, so she became a school bus driver. She drove the big yellow school bus around Toronto for 5 years—and loved every minute of it.
In 2017, Valerie went back to school and trained to become a paralegal, and in 2019 she got a job at a huge law firm in downtown Toronto. It didn’t go well.
I tried to fit into the corporate world … until I finally realized that I don’t need to mould myself to fit into any world.
Valerie gave herself permission to say no to the career that didn’t fit. During the pandemic lockdown, she and her family moved to St Catharine’s, and when schools opened up again, she went to back to driving school buses. It’s work she loves, and it leaves time for fibre crafting as well!
Valerie discovered hand-dyed yarns a few years ago, via a Grocery Girls podcast. She began exploring and fell in love with the beautiful yarns she found and bought…until something happened (something a lot of our dyers can relate to!):
I enjoyed it for quite some time but then the colors started to feel somehow not right, not exactly what I was looking for. So, I asked myself “what if I could make my own colors, create my own style?”
And that was the beginning of ValFibres. Valerie began experimenting with her own colourways, creating exactly what she wanted, exactly how she wanted it.
She stepped into a new, magical world, a making space all her own.
My dyeing studio is my oasis! It is my world of colors, textures, and self-love, where I get to crystallize colorful dreams into reality.
Valerie draws inspiration from the world around her, from interior design to travel photos to desserts. However, her main source of inspiration is the natural world. She’s especially drawn to bodies of water and the plants that grow around them.
Valerie cares deeply about animal welfare and has brought that commitment into her fibre work. ValFibres only uses ethically produced wool from cruelty-free farms. She’s dedicated to providing yarn lovers with durable, beautiful fibres from reputable companies that treat their sheep well.
In 2023 Valerie plans to continue growing ValFibres. She has her sights on a couple of fibre festivals and has ideas for some new yarns in the works. And in the meantime, she’ll be soaking in the magic of the fibre community.
I love that the fibre world does not look like a world where people are working at all (although NOW I know the amount of work involved!), it is more like a magic land where every character is happy to share their own tricks with everybody else. It is this sense of community, respect, and kindness that speaks to me.
We couldn't agree more!
Welcome to the Darn Yarn Family, ValFibres! We’re so happy to have you here and can’t wait to see what you create!