Last winter I spent 6 months in Africa (Uganda and Kenya), working on product developing of local handcraft. Triin Kordemets, another Estonian designer, has worked in Northern Ghana. Next Tuesday (May 26th) we will share our experience at the event Estonian design meets Africa. 

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#ANIMAL-PRINT, never say never

Well, one just has to admit. I´ve given in. Completely! It started with that one skirt. I found the fabric about 2 min after I had stated that "animal-prints are not really my cup of tea". How wrong was I? And then the Kob (antelope) covered fabric fell into my hand. And I fell in love! It is basically the only cup I drink from these days. 
Next step is to persuade the man to join the ride, starting with a lizard bowtie.

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This is a tricky question. When asked this question in Africa, it actually does mean that someone wants to cut off your hair and have it to braid in their own hair. Not to be confused with ”I´d like to have hair like yours”. 
Tip! Never reply with a yeah, unless you wanna go bald. 

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It might not be recommended, but sometimes it's just necessary to step on a bodaboda/motorcycle taxi. Although not the safest, this is by far the quickest way to get around town. As traffic jams are constant, motorcycle is the answer to avoid them. And what people bring on their vehicles is a sight for sore eyes (read: insane)!

Payas, my driver, even designed my seat! 
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The plan was to make myself a coat that I would wear when hitting the peak at Mount Kenya. These are the kind of stories I make up, to have a good reason to start yet another sewing project, when my hands are already overloaded with random handwork.

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Kitenge or chitenge, is originally a fabric made out of 100% cotton and dyed with wax-technique. Widely spread in East-Africa. Kitenge patterns are endless and the motives are often surprising and unexpected, read.. razorblades, shrimps, lips, lamps. I´ve been told the motives should hold deeper sort of messages, but I´ve failed to understand what any of the above could possibly mean. A shrimp is but a shrimp... 

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The KDI (Kampala Disabled Initiative) Women's Group project I´ve been working with is taking one big step today. We are opening our own shop! It took a lot of work, sweat, laughter and superglue, of course, to get this up and about. But finally we are ready! Here you´ll find a few pictures of the location and a selection of the products we´ve developed together. 

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Banana fiber, is the "bark" from the stem of the banana plant. The stem is layered, and the outer layers, that have dried are peeled off and collected. Banana-fiber is collected during drier seasons, if used when not properly dry, it easily molds. 

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Totally amazed by today's discovery! I was to meet up with the KDI-women's group at the school where they work, and participate in some tie- or batik-dyeing. This was all the information I had beforehand. I had no idea, of what technique we were going to use. Tying, folding or waxing are somewhat well known to me and this was what I expected to see. Imagine my surprise, when I arrived and the women were using porridge, yes you are reading correctly, porridge made out of cornflour, to dye the fabrics!!

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#KDI-women's group, KAMPALA PROJECT #2

Olivia, Remmy, Ruth, Night and Winnie are the five members of this women's group I'm going to work with next couple of months. They work and live at the KSPH, Kampala school for physically handicapped. They too, have physical disabilities, but the wheelchairs haven't stopped them from becoming really good tailors!
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Photoshoots are always very exciting. You have a vision, but you never know how it's going to work out. Location scouting took me to a rooftop parking lot on top of a downtown shopping centre. It seemed perfect from the first moment. That settled, models had to be chosen. We prefer using regular people around us for modelling rather than hiring professional models. People who we know well or who we'd like to get to know. There's a great deal more personality and sparks happening this way. This time they are good friends of ours - Murka and Marion. 

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At NoveBluesky, one of the materials we are using is palmleaves aka ensansa. The palm leaves are collected, dried and in most cases dyed. Out of the leaves you weave a braid, with 4-16 leaves. When the braids are sown together they can be transformed into different items like bags, hats and rugs.
It is a very common technique that most Ugandan ladies master. I´m proud to say I´m now one of them! 

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Well, first of all, the traffic is left-handed. This means that the first week you only remember that you are supposed to look at the opposite direction to what you are used to. But after a few weeks you don´t even remember where you looked to begin with, so you keep looking in all directions. So far I have experienced traffic coming form all sorts of direction, so I guess, this is not a bad way to go about it.

To be honest, I´ve yet failed to understand how many lanes the streets here have. At times we are up to five lanes next to each other on a street that for me should hold two lanes. And of course, there are no lines on the street to indicate how many lanes are recommended to begin with.

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#NoveBluesky, KAMPALA PROJECT #1

NoveBluesky International is a non-governmental organization located 35 km from Kampala city in Mpeggwe village, Kakiri subcounty, Wakiso District. The organization unites programs that are meant to improve the quality of life for people with special needs within the community. The special needs in focus are youth with mental disability, young single mothers and children from low-income families. You can read more about NoveBluesky here

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Big news! In this moment, I´m packing my bags and heading out to Africa aka the birthplace of mankind. I´m sent there by Mondo, an independent Estonian organization, devoted to development cooperation, global education and humanitarian aid. During my 6 months in Africa I will be working on four different projects in three different locations. First three months I will stay in Kampala, Uganda, where two of the projects are located. And the following three in Nairobi and Shianda, Kenya where two more projects are waiting. My assignment is to product develop local handcraft. As far as I can tell, it seems like I´m living my dream for the next half a year! 

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When we started this knitwear brand back in 2009, we named it NAiiV. Why NAiiV? Because we believe that certain amount of naivety can help create great achievements. Taking things too seriously can sometimes the kill magic of creativity and opportunities. We have learned many valuable lessons since then, but we still carry this sense of naivety and spirit of fun with us.
For further growth and development it was time for change in 2014. We felt it is only natural to continue working under the name of the creator and designer LIINA VIIRA.  

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On a fine sunny Saturday we had a photoshoot in one of our favourite neighbourhoods in Tallinn, Põhja-Tallinn. Right where the cute Kalamaja ends and next hot spot to be Kopli begins. Random gas station and surrounding brick walls covered with graffity were perfect for our shoot location. Here's a little making-of overview of the shoot. 

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Hello world!

We live in a world of sharing and caring, right. So, we started this blog to spread the love for wool and share our daily ventures. Many of our thoughts are visual and positive. Sometimes we might get serious about the important things in life - future, culture, sustainability, design, business, fashion, arts, humanity .. all with the hope to create meaningful discussions. Feel free to join in if you want to. Your comments are very welcome!

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