I've spun a few new skeins since my back surgery last fall. Some already have dibs on them, but the remainder will be listed in my Shop in the next little bit. I even have a new fibre (!) - Manx Loaghtan which was an interesting spin.
I have also been back full time into teaching classes. I've updated what I know of so far on my Classes page if you are interested in learning new and exciting things this year.
Here is a sneak peek:
If you are ever looking for a great crocheted mitt pattern that is super customizable and fits great then look no further than "The Perfect Fit Mittens" by Left in Knots. I use Malabrigo Worsted which is suuuuuper squishy and soft. This yarn was a gift from my Fibre Share partner this year and I have 1 more skein of it left! I think I will make a cowl or hat with that one. I finished these on the way to Edmonton and was able to wear them on my trip.
I had sent some of my older fleeces away earlier this year to the Dakota Fibre Mill for processing. As I'm sure is the same with many of you, I have more fleeces than I can process on my own. This was my first time sending fleeces away and my friend Nicole has had fibre processed at this mill in the past (she even took them down for me!) I sent of my very first fleece which was from a Corriedale sheep named Viv. I bought this one from Val Fiddler of Woolly Wool of the West when we took our Wool Judging course together in 2012. I also used this fleece in many of my classes as a great example of Corriedale. I didn't want it to continue to sit in my basement and now I can spin it up! It. Is. So. Wonderful! Val's fleeces are always exceptional and this one was no surprise. I also had a giant Rambouillet that I bought at the Drake Sheep Show & Sale several years ago. It was from a Manitoba Producer named Graham Rannie who I've not met on a bunch of occasions art different wool shows. He also won Grand Champion with his Rambouillet at the All Canada Classic in 2015. I knew a fleece of this size would be too much for me on my own and it is so fine, I was a bit scared I would wreck it so off that one went. The 3rd fleece I had processed is a Romney X.. and to be quite honest, I can't remember where I got that one but wow is it squishy. Overall I am so incredibly happy with the quality of the fibre and the care that went into making the roving. I paid $145 for the 3 fleeces which came out to 5 bags full. I will start spinning and weighting as I go. These will be sweaters FOR ME! They are so nice and light now without the lanolin, sweat, VM, etc. So light in fact that I dumped the entire Romney fleece out into the snow without even realizing - oops hah
I often get asked which mills will process single fleeces and besides the Dakota Fibre Mill you can now also process your fleeces at Long Way Homestead in Manitoba! Anna will be the next person I send my wool to (and I do have more of course).
really am happy that I could have each fleece kept separate. Especially for others like me who have special fleeces that they want to use for a specific project. I can't wait to show you how it all comes out!
I knit this hat a few years ago for my sister. I usually knit her a new hat every year. This one I made with bulky yarn using Paton's Classic Roving in one of my favourite colours. I wrote up the pattern and had some test knitters check it out. Last week my friend Nicole knit one in Cog Yarns Bulky 2 ply which I intend to do as well so I sent the pattern off to my Tech Editor Mandyz and it has now been released on Ravelry
Not only is this toque stylish, the stitch pattern combined with bulky wool makes this hat super thick and virtually
impenetrable. Wool is a great insulator in itself, but the design of this hat will trap warm air between the layers and keep you toasty all season. The brim can be knit longer and folded over for even more warmth in sub zero temperatures.
o Small: 18” (45.7 cm) circumfrence
o Medium: 22” (55.9 cm) circumfrence
o Large: 25” (63.5 cm) circumfrence
Using size 10 US (6.0mm) needles; 15 stitches and 20 rows in stockinette = 4” (10cm)
- Bulky yarn (samples knit in yarns below)
Cog Yarns Bulky 2-Ply (purple/white hat size medium)
80% SW Merino/20% Nylon (1, 1, 2 skeins)
“Sweet Dreams” 185 yards (170 m) 200 g
Patons Classic Roving (yellow hat size small)
100% Wool (1.5, 2, 2 balls)
“Yellow” 120 yards (109 m) 100 g
o k – knit
o k2tog – knit 2 stitches together as if they were one
o k2sltog – knit the sl2tog stitches as if they were one
o p – purl
o sl – slip stitch
o sl2tog – slip 2 stitches knitwise as if they were one
This year was yet another wonderful success and as always, the highlight of my year! I was SOOOO busy and exhausted from teaching 5 days and recovering after only 4 weeks after back surgery but it was worth it! I was also able to take a class this year and I chose natural dying taught by Caitlin Ffrench!!
We learned a lot of cool info about natural dyes and she showed us all the colours she can make just by using plants and such from her landshed. We also learned that all the tartan colours for the different clans were made using the dyes they could make from their own surroundings. So if there was a mountain separating 2 clans their landshed could be totally different from one another and the colours that could be made would reflect that. We received some pretty cool samples in silk, wool and cotton and she even gave us a few recipes for botanical inks.
I also loved ash alberg's display with her naturally dyed yarns <3
The socks I designed using Cog Yarns were also in the fashion show at the festival. It was really cool to see all the different designs come together on the stage.
Thank you to everyone who came to visit Jeremy and I at our booth. I always have the best time and was happy that many of my friends from Saskatchewan could make it out as well.
This year I taught both levels 1 & 2 of Wool Judging at the Manitoba Fibre Fest. It was an intensive 3 days of looking at the good and bad in many different breeds and fleeces.
At the end of level 2 there was a written exam as well as a practical judging portion. Every student did exceptional!
Above are examples of some of the very beautiful fleeces which were excellent examples of their breeds.
This fleece on the other hand is a VERY BAD example. It weighs 26 lbs!! This fleece came from a medium breed with the locks well over a foot long. It is a bit hard to see in the pictures but it also show canary stain which is unscorable. This fleece shows bad animal health, bad animal care and it should NOT be supported in any way. Locks WAY too long for breed type is not a luxury. It is animal abuse. This case was different from Shrek in the fact that this sheep did not escape and hide in the mountains, it was living on a farm not getting sheared. Yearly shearing is important for the sheep's health. The sheep that carried this 26 lbs of extra wool would have been very uncomfortable. It's skin would not be able to breath and bacteria grew rampant. Please keep this in mind when you see overgrown fleeces/lock online or in the field.
Most of our 2 classes were here for the certificate award ceremony. Many thanks to Gerry (3rd from left) who coordinated the course as well as sourcing all the fleeces and providing an insight that was immeasurable to class participants. Much thanks also to Wool Growers who provided learning materials, funding and backed the courses and provided the certificates.
If you are ever interested in wool judging keep an eye out for upcoming courses with the Manitoba Fibre Fest.
I wanted to make a bunch of the Manitoba Fibre Fest Collection patterns this year. I decided to cast on Ice Flow by Johanna Giesbrecht using Feet of Clay Ceramic's colourway dyed by Cog Yarns. All of these women were vendors at the festival as well. The other awesome thing is the yarn went perfect with my newly made Carson Dress sewn specifically for the weekend :) and of course my Jul designs Sheep shawl stick.
I tried to to a lot of spinning for the Tour this year. While I didn't really have a strict goal I had fun. I spun 5 bobbins that still need to be plied and 5 skeins. I was also working on my 2 support spindles which are handmade by local makers. I will focus more on those as soon as I finish my fibre with them.
I also received my NEW wheel!!!! This one replaces the wheel that was stolen in my car earlier this year. I wanted to keep with the same wheel as I loved it and I still have parts for it. This time though I got the walnut stain <3!! I bought it from Jo's Yarn Garden in Stony Plain, Alberta. Joanne was such a pleasure to deal with!! I am smitten with my new Kromski Sonata.
I miss my old spinning wheel bag which was made by Blue Mountain Handcrafts... but when I laid eyes on this Tom Bihn Quarter Packing Cube, I knew it would make the perfect replacement. I will devote a blog post soon to this bag. It really is perfect.
I feel so good to be able to finally replace some of the items lost in Feb. I have been so grateful for friends and my fibre community for lending and supplying me with all the tools I have needed to keep going.
But...... wait there's more!
Look. At. What. I. Won!! This beauty is my newest treasure handmade by an amazing woman named Jenny Noland. She is an AMAZING fibre worker in our community, a friend and a whiz at everything she does. Jenny is truly a Master Crafter, from spinning, knitting, weaving, lampwork, wood turning and more. I am so lucky to know such a talented woman. So, Jenny has been working with her lathe and making spindles. You should check her instagram feed to see all she creates. I was the luckiest of all to win one of her new spindles!! I was looking for a beautiful fibre to start spinning and found some baby camel in my stash. More to come on this!
Registrations are soon to open for the long awaited Manitoba Fibre Festival!
If you are interested in learning more about wool than you ever expected and getting down and greasy in a hundred fleeces then you will want to sign up for the Wool Judging classes which are now open for registration! Both level 1 & 2 are offered this year. Once completion you will receive a certificate. This is a very informative course and people take it for lots of different reasons.
Wed Sept 12 - Level 1 (9 - 5)
Thurs Sept 13 - Level 1 (9 - 12)
* this is a 1 1/2 day class
Thurs Sept 13 - Level 2 (1 - 5)
Fri Sept 14 - Level 2 (9 - 12)
* must have level 1 as a prerequisite
I took this course in Olds in 2012 and have been working in the field since then. Out of all I do, wool judging is what I love most.
I will also be teaching a Fleece to Finish class on Friday
from 2 - 4:30
If you are interested in learning more about wool fleeces and how to choose a fleece at an auction or wool show you will want to sign up.
In this workshop I will take the fear out of buying and processing fleeces. We will discuss what to look for in a fleece and what to avoid as well as how to read the information on a judging card. We will look at 3 different wool breeds and discuss how to choose a fleece with an end use in mind. I will also talk about storing, washing and processing a fleece by hand using carders, and combs.
On Sat Sept 15 from 9 - 12 is my Learn to Spin on a Drop Spindle class
Ever wanted to learn how to make yarn by hand? In this class you will learn the time honoured tradition of spindling. We will be using a top whorl spindle to learn how to create your own leader, manage twist, understand the drafting zone and draft continuously, build a cop and prepare your spun singles for plying. We will also discuss spindle types, fibre preparations, and finishing techniques. Perfect for beginners.
On Aug 2 these and many other great classes are available for registration. Can't wait to see you there!
Our fibre community on Regina here kicked off Tour de Fleece at The Naked Sheep. It was a good day full of food, laughs and breathing in the fibre fumes. My goals this year are to spin down my stash (not much left) and work on 2 support spindle projects.
With the french spindle I am spinning a new to me fibre: Pearl. It is a biodegradable cellulose fibre with freshwater pearl dust in it. Not sure how I feel just yet but it is interesting. It is a good moisture absorber and it even has a UV protection factor greater than 30! That's kinda neat. Watch for new spindle reviews coming up a bit later.
I spun a bobbin and plied 3 skeins. The one on the left is Merino/Bamboo from last months Spunky Club and the other 2 are Sweet Georgia BFL. Are you participating this year? What are your goals?
It's been a while since the Etsy Team Captain's Summit in Toronto but we finally received pictures from the event. Usually I try to stay invisible but I was captured in a couple.
This was a hard trip for me. First off I am afraid of flying. I try not to let that hold me back but Benadryl was my friend to help me get through. Secondly, I received a call from work on the second day and was told my co-worker Kirk had passed away. I work in a mechanical contractors office and I worked very closely with Kirk. He was a hard ass to the guys but they knew it was because Kirk held a high standard when it came to doing a good job and working hard. Everyone admired him and since he was secretly sick, all were shocked to hear of his passing. Kirk was 56. He was the man who made work fun; always joking and making up songs and strange dances. He loved donuts and if you wanted one you had to get in there pretty damn quick. He loved dogs and Princess Auto (aka the place which cannot be named).
I knew when I left that there could be a chance I would get the call. Kirk has had skin cancer his whole life. He got it when he suffered from psoriasis and was told this UV box thing would help (they did give warnings about cancer). He could easily get an infection if he bumped his hand or any little cut. He had been dealing with infections over the past couple year. We found out he had cancer in his groin this year. It was operable and he had his surgery. He didn't want anyone to know about it. The surgery, and an infection in his back that wasn't getting proper treatment was too much for him to deal with.
There has been a major presence missing at work here. I still walk into his office and look around. It's not his anymore. His stuff isn't in there. He isn't there. I put a phantom crystal in his office to try to hold his presence, or for the next person who take residence in there, to know that he is in the walls. Kirk had worked for Christie Mechanical since he was 18. I feel I haven't really dealt with his death and maybe others at work too. We still talk about him like he is still working; "Kirk wants it this way", "Kirk always said we should...", "Kirk told me that..."
While I was in Toronto I also saw the extent to a new issue in my body. I wasn't able to walk for more than half a block before I needed to rest. My left leg was numb and I was in A LOT of pain. I had to use a wheelchair to make my way around the museum. I felt terrible because I wasn't able to get around and felt that I was a drag on the trip. We couldn't check out much of what we wanted because I wasn't able to walk even down the road. I had an MRI the day I came back (right before Kirk's funeral) and found out I have 2 herniated discs which is what has been causing the pain in my leg. I am currently waiting for surgery on that. In the meantime I can't walk very well and I can't stand . This is all on top of my regular nerve pain near my ribs on my right side. This pain moves around, shocks me every now and then burns, pinches, is numb, etc etc. I sleep A LOT. About a year ago, I would sleep all weekend maybe once every 3 months or so. Now it is every weekend. I am sleeping more than awake. This has been causing me a lot of stress, anxiety and guilt. I don't know if this will ever go away. My doc has labeled it Fibromyalgia but I'm not certain. I am now on my own with healing and have found the more alternative/holistic approaches have helped me more than medical treatments (which leave me hurting, frustrated and no further than before). I have never dealt with chronic pain before and never realized how isolating and lonely it really is (going on 8 years for me now). Invisible illnesses are REAL. I don't look sick to you, but I feel pain all over. It has taken over my whole life. I struggle to get out of bed and get ready for the day. I struggle with body image because my pills make me gain weight. I look at myself in the mirror and I have aged more in the past couple years. I am disappointed with myself .
As many of you may know, we also had our car stolen right before we were on our way to work one day and I lost all my tools and equipment as I was teaching 4 classes at that time. I have been so humbled for many of you and the community that is fibre people helping me by donating items back to me and looking out for my stuff online etc. You are my heart. This was also the month I lost my everything, my Xena, who was my best friend for the last 20 years. It was the hardest decision I ever had to make and one of my worst fears. I think about her a lot and see her every now and then in my dreams. <3
We also lost a second co-worker a month later. Doug Purcell. He had passed away from cancer as well. I still hear his laugh. He was the maintenance manager and also only 56.
If you have read this far my friend, thank you. This post wasn't meant to be this way but I am glad to have gotten it out. My therapist told me to write about Kirk and Xena etc and my fingers just kept typing. I don't mean for this to be a sob story and I am not looking for sympathy. Just wanting people to understand that what you see on the outside is not what is inside. Please be patient with me.
The Naked Sheep Yarn & Fibre Emporium is stocked on my paper patterns as well as kits for Straw into Gold, my newest design for the Manitoba Fibre Festival Makers' Challenge. Colleen of Cog Yarns has dyed up many more skeins and there are lots of more kits available. She dyed on two different bases, superwash merino and superwash merino with sparkle! As you can see the day we release them, the sparkle was a big hit. She also has "Peaceful Haze" in her shop if you are looking to get your hands on it.
This pattern is also the June pick for The Naked Sheep's sock KAL
This is the mood board we worked from. Colleen did pretty good eh?
Both Cog Yarns and The Naked Sheep will be at the Biggar Fibre Fair on June 23 so if you are heading there, you should make sure to add them to your list of vendors you won't want to miss. My friend Val Fiddler will also be there teaching classes, doing demos and more. She is a great source of wooly info!
Thanks to all those who have purchased my newest pattern. Remember from now until the festival any pattern you make from the collection is an entry into the MAL. Use this hashtag (#MbFF2018Challenge) to participate and post lots of photos.
Blue Hills Fibre Fest was on June 9th - which was also World Wide Knit In Public Day. Jeremy and I spent the day in Carberry with the always amazing Manitoba Fibre Community. If you haven't visited a fibre fest before, you MUST add this one to your list. It may be smaller on scale but it is overflowing with amazing vendors, classes, fleeces and pie! This was my booth all set up and ready to go. Aside from our regular items we also had Straw into Gold kits and Cog Yarns hand dyed skeins for purchase. I am always overwhelmed at the generous support from the people in Manitoba. You all made my day so bright and one I can say I honestly enjoyed. Looking forward to next year already
I was very happy to judge the wool show this year. There were 16 fleeces in all and wow (!) most scored pretty high. Manitoba wool is exceptional.
Here are the first place winners as well as some of my favourites. My phone was a bit greasy so sorry about the shiny pictures hah!
I had a few new skeins to bring with me. Watch for an update in my Etsy shop very soon, were I will be listing the skeins I have. You can also find some at The Naked Sheep Yarn & Fibre Emporium.
If you are ever in Winnipeg then you MUST go to Baked Expectations. The cakes are so unbelievable, you will need to decide on a few to go as well. Jeremy had the Tia Maria torte. Next time I might get the Red Velvet cake and likely another cheesecake or chocolate cream pie. Also, take it from me - the hot chocolate is one of the best!
I did well. I could have bought soooo much more. The quality of vendors was outstanding and such a great variety. A new knitting wedge bag from Dragon Fibre Bags, project bag, sock yarn and t-shirt from Long Way Homestead, Sock yarn from The Sheep-ish Spinner, darning mushroom from Natural Knot Woods, french spindle from Homespun Tools and a cork wedge pouch, cedar/grapefruit handmade soap and merino hand dyed fibre from Last Dance Ranch.
Oh I love it all!!
Check out this year' Collection of designs for the Manitoba Fibre Festival! From now until June 7th the patterns are 20% off on Ravelry using the code Challenge20. I have a pair of socks in the collection called Straw into Gold that are knit with a beautiful hand dyed yarn by Colleen of Cog Yarns. We have kits available at The Naked Sheep Yarn and Fibre Emporium and I will also have them with me at Blue Hills Fibre Festival on June 9th. Why not pick one or two of your favourites and cast on during this MAL (make-a-long) until the festival Sept 14-15th. There are lots of great prizes available :)
Wheat is one of the world’s most important and oldest cereal grains. Saskatchewan is often referred to as the “Bread Basket of Canada” and for good reason. Much of the prairies is covered in farm land and wheat is a common sight in the province as Saskatchewan is the main producer of wheat in Canada and one of the largest in the world.
I really wanted to represent not only Saskatchewan with this design but the prairies as a whole. Agriculture is important here including both the flora and fauna. The leg of these socks proudly display wheat as it sways in the wind. The foot has a simple knit/purl textured pattern which I wanted to represent the soil and how I have been a born and raised prairie girl and my roots are planted here.
Straw into Gold is part of the Makers Challenge in support of the 2018 Manitoba Fibre Festival. I partnered with Colleen of Cog Yarns who dyed up a special colourway for this challenge. This pattern uses toe up construction and features the Fleegle heel.
Pattern includes written instructions followed by their corresponding charts
• 1 skein of sock yarn approximately 425 yards
I used: Cog Yarns – SW Sock – “Peaceful Haze” 425 yards (389 m) 115g
Cog Yarns – SW Sock Mini Skeins (2) – “Squash” 60 yards (55 m) 15 g
Cog Yarns – SW Sock – “City Blizzard” 425 yards (389 m) 115g
• 9” Circular needle size US 1.5 (2.5 mm)
• You may also use Magic Loop or 2 circulars
• 4 Double pointed needles size US 1.5 (2.5 mm)
• 3 Stitch markers (2 regular, 1 removable)
• Tapestry Needle
• 12” (30 cm) length of waste yarn for provisional cast on
10 X 10 cm / 4” X 4”=36 stitches X 48 rows in stockinette stitch (stitches unblocked) using size US 1.5 (2.5 mm) needles
Abbreviations and stitches used:
cc – contrasting colour
k – knit
k2tog – knit 2 together
k3tog – knit 3 together
m1l – make 1 left
m1r – make 1 right
mc – main colour
p – purl
p2tog – purl 2 together
sk2p – slip, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over
sl1 – slip 1
ssk – slip, slip, knit
sm – slip marker
Last weekend was very eventful! I spent my days at The Naked Sheep with Ash Alberg of Sunflower Knit taking a couple very informative workshops. On Sat I was able to play with natural dyes, and flowers to create this super cool napkin set. We used marigolds and pansies for the eco-dyeing and wrapped up our bundles to soak in their pots. I used Logwood, Osage Orange, Pomegranate and just plain water. It is such a cool process and just enjoying the creativity and experiment was fun, especially when there is a surprise outcome.
I also dyed a silk tarot cloth using the logwood dye. I am really happy with how it came out with bright colours scattered around.
Here it is in action with my Spirit Cats Deck by Nicole Piar
On Sunday I took an amazing Shawl Design workshop also taught by Ash. Such an abundance of good info and insight. Shawls are great projects and accessories that can be worn all year round.
I am working on a few things at the moment that I hope to share with you soon. One design is with Coleen of Cog Yarns and we are working together to promote the Manitoba Fibre Festival this year in their Makers Challenge.
I am also heading to Toronto this month to attend my 4th Etsy Team Captains' Summit. I am excited to go but also a bit worried how I will get around now that I have a spinal issue that affects my walking and standing. I am excited to let you know how the trip goes when I get back. In the meantime I am organizing Regina's first Etsy Spring Made in Canada. You can find out more details on our Facebook event page.
After a long wait, I have listed 3 new skeins in my Etsy shop. I have 2 more drying and a couple more that just need plying. I have really been enjoying spinning on Saturday's at The Naked Sheep. I'm getting lots done so keep an eye out for more updates. Stay warm in this extreme cold!
It has been a very busy start of the year, with 6 classes this month alone I have been very focused on fibre arts. I have updated my class schedule for what I know right now. Keep checking back as new classes are added. Crochet seems very popular lately!
I am currently teaching in 3 different studios and all are such wonderful places. I have been at the Blue Rooster Cafe & Studio in Pilot Butte for several years. They are one of my favourite places to teach as they also have great food and drinks.
I have been with Red Fox Creative Studio for almost a year now but have taught many classes there since they started up. What I really love about them is that they are also a wellness studio so they focus on not only being creative but also your well-being. Check out their classes for a wonderful variety!
As you know my friend Nicole opened up Regina's newest yarn shop a few months ago. The Naked Sheep Yarn & Fibre Emporium has become a regular hangout for me because I can find all I need there. She has fibre, yarn, tools, notions, and more - many from local artisans (and who doesn't love hand dyed yarns?) She has opened up a class schedule this year and I am teaching a few things there. Some 4 week classes and some afternoon workshops. Check in to see other classes she offers for all levels.
I have also tweeked Bankhead once again after knitting one for my nephew Angus. I wanted to keep my pattern format similar so I changed the file. I also took it out of Canva and onto word so I could make a MUCH smaller PDF as I heard from some that the download size was on the big side. I was also talking to a friend who knit Bankhead in Noro and said the K3tog were cumbersome and I agreed. I changed the decreases yet again. I have updated the pattern on Ravelry and my pattern page on this site as well. If you want a quick reference, the decreases are as follows:
Round 1: *k1, k2tog, k1, p1* repeat from * to * until end of round
48 (56, 64, 72, 80, 88) stitches remaining
Round 2: knit across all stitches
Round 3: *k3, p1* until end of round 48 (56, 64, 72, 80, 88)
Round 4: knit across all stitches
Round 5: *sl2kpsso, p1* 24 (28, 32, 36, 40, 44)
Round 6: knit across all stitches
Round 7: *k2tog* until end of round 12 (14, 16, 18, 20, 22)
Round 8: *k2tog* until end of round 6 (7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
For Adult M & XL sizes ONLY:
Round 9: k1, *k2tog* until end - (-, -, 5, -, 6)
I have also restocked on 16 oz bottles of Power Scour. This amazing wool wash is THE cats pyjamas if you are processing your own fleeces. I also use it to clean my carpets in our Bissel as well as washing our dog when she has been through the muck and dirt at the dog park.
Use Power Scour for wool washing and wool cleaning fiber with heavier burdens of grease, wax, suint, dirt and clay, typically found in sheep, goat and bison fibers.
Use lower temperatures, 40°-50°C (104-122°F), for fibers such as Cashmere, Alpaca, Bison ,etc. Use higher temperatures, 50°-55°C (122-131°F), for fibers with more oil/wax or oils (sheep, etc.)
- Optimize cleaning at lower temperatures
- Incredible STAIN REMOVER - even Red Wine!
- Eliminates build–up of cleaning agents
- Cost effective –– use significantly less to scour
- Reduces mats and tangles
- Eliminates ODORS – Non–yellowing -
- Leaves fiber with a clean, fresh aroma
- Biodegradable – Earth Friendly – no Fillers- no Bleach
I have also been accepted to go to the 5th Etsy Captains' Summit in Toronto this spring. I will be mingling with other Etsy Leaders and Captains from all over Canada to discuss this year. I hope to learn more amazing things Etsy has planned and will share them with you when I come home. This will be my 4th year going. The Etsy SK team has also booked for 2 spring Made in Canada Sales (one in Saskatoon - May 12 & one in Regina - May 5) as well as two fall Made in Canada Sales on Sept 29th. Watch our Facebook page and our website for more info on those.
I just finished reading this book I saw recommended on Instagram. It is all about handmade clothes, sewing, knitting and why making and wearing stuff we make is important. It also touches on taking care of our clothes with mending, buying quality when necessary and all the good this brings to both society and our own mental well being.
As some of you know, I have slowly been working towards trying to develop a handmade wardrobe over the past few years with learning how to sew and to wear more of my handknits. I really felt this book was speaking to me as I am learning more about the process of making a garment, a wardrobe and to express myself how I have wanted to for years but haven't.
It is definitely written as a doctoral thesis paper so there were some parts of this book that I found were getting TOO detailed, but I did find myself nodding in agreement for most of what she writes about. Here are a few excerpts I thought noteworthy.
Page 3: "Making attracts people who are somewhat frustrated by their jobs and are searching for an activity they feel to be more meaningful."
Page 146: "Go ahead, dive in, have fun, play with colour, break the "rules", and use colours that sing songs of joy to you even if only your ears can hear them."
Page 161: "Putting together a wardrobe and a home will become a life long process and something of a quest"
Page 177: "...they reflect the fact that these sew-ers are constructing, physically constructing, in the case - the person that they feel themselves to be. While everyday items may get a great deal more wear, these aspirational garments - even if never seen by others - help them to feel that their 'everyday self' is not all of who they are."
Page 187: "The intrinsic motivations of the craft process meet our needs for identity and participation and create a positive sense of well-being. This positive feeling can be heightened by integrating a greater sense of creativity into the activity. In many cases. these satisfactions extend to the wearing stage; makers enjoy wearing on-off, personalized garments they have worked hard to produce.
Page 192: "Making provides us with an alternative means of participating in fashion."
She also has a list to sum everything up starting on page 199:
"1) Make to suit the maker, the wearer and the materials
2) Spread your wings
3) Enjoy the journey
4) Seek and give validation
5) Share, reflect and act"
If you are a maker of any kind, I feel this book is worth a read. It talks much about making and its effects on society and how us, as makers have a stronger impact in the world than we may think. We also need to focus on making just for the sake of making. Creativity is important in this digital world. With that said, it is also important to connect with other makers on the internet, whether it be on blogs, through social media or communities like Ravelry. Think of how making something with your hands and mind makes you feel, how this will get passed down (either as a skill or an actual item). These things are important. I feel that what all makers do is important so never give up what you do and never stop learning.
I don't do resolutions but here are my goals for 2018
- Live more "handmade" when possible (including food)
- Knit at least a pair of socks a month - this will be helped by The Naked Sheep's #SockFlock2018. When not working on a KAL pair I will try to have at least a vanilla pair on the needles
- Wear more of my handknits (and make more handknits for myself that are wearable)
- Work towards 65% handmade wardrobe, 25% thrifted, 10% store bought (with a focus on buying quality)
- Learn more about mending, hand stitching and fixing clothing.
Thank you to all those I met, talked to, taught, learned from and supported me in 2017. I have been doing what I can when I can as I suffer from chronic pain so please be patient with me as I am also trying to be kinder to myself this year and resting when I must. I appreciate everyone who has ever tried one of my patterns, read my blog, bought my yarn and handknits, visited me at sales and taken my classes, I hope to continue to keep up this year. I have so much up in my brain that one day it will get out and I can share even more of myself.
I wanted to send out a big Thank you to those who stopped by the Etsy SK Winter Market on Dec 2nd at the U of R. This was the 3rd sale I organized at this venue and it still is my favourite. I had a good day talking to a lot of great people and meeting new vendors as well. I bought some yarn from Midknit Cravings; some to make another Aura shawl and a sock appetizer (pics below). I also got some fat quarters from So Sweet Quilts which I am planning on making some quilted mug rugs. A hand blown glass tumbler from Glassy Eyed and some beautiful notecards from Sparkling Medusa. Thanks to my chronic pain, after the sale I slept from 9 pm on Sat to 2:15 pm on Monday.
I also finished 2 pairs of socks using the Straight Up Socks pattern again. One pair was for my dad's birthday and I used good ol Kroy sock yarn. I really like knitting for him because he truly appreciates it. When I gave them to him (as he was going out the door) he cam back in, took off his boots, ripped off his socks he was wearing and put my handmade socks on. I love that.
My other pair I made in only a couple days using some new yarn from Midknit Cravings. It is one of their appetizers as I mentioned above. The colourway's I used were Bad Mood Monday and Wine Not! You get 50 g of the main colour and 20 g of a contrast colour. I was waffling between doing an afterthought heel, or maybe just tube socks but thought I would try to see how far I could get with the Straight Up Socks recipe and was left with 5g of the main colour and 6g of the contrast so I could have been ok. I just love them! Can't wait to make more.
I also sewed a brand new dress!! It is the Fen Dress from Fancy Tiger Crafts and I highly recommend it! For starters it comes in a bunch of sizes and it has POCKETS! You can also make a shirt. I love the hem line and it is SO comfortable. I will be making more of these as well. I also just bought the Metamorphic Dress by Sew Liberated so it will be my next sewing project for my handmade wardrobe. It also has pockets and it is reversible.
I whipped up another smock the other weekend using some sheer, textured fabric. I didn't add pockets this time but kept it simple. I. LOVE. THIS. PATTERN. Everything about it is perfect. I wore this dress with some jeans and a black slip dress underneath and my thrifted pink Holt Renfrew merino cowl to my work Christmas party this past weekend where I received my 10 year award (a watch). I work in a place that is very male dominated and being one of 3 women out of 63, I felt very appreciated by all the guys I work with who cheered for me. It made me feel good and since many of them know that I make things, I did get asked about my smock haha. If you are looking for a really awesome sewing project you should make one for yourself as well.
My last couple of projects in the past little while have been socks. I really enjoy knitting socks and wearing handknit socks but sometimes I am not a fan of knitting items where I need 2 of something. As many of you know, sock knitting is addictive!!
My first pair I made with Wisdom Prose Sock yarn I got from Wolseley Wool in the colourway Vegitate. Normally I don't mind if my socks don't match exactly but these ones made it just so easy. I stated these just after the Manitoba Fibre Festival and finished them at the beginning of Nov. Can't go wrong with plain ol vanilla socks. I worked these cuff down and used my regular heel flap and toe.
Talking about mis-matched socks.... I was gifted this sock kit from my friend Nicole. At first I was a bit confused about what they would become, but it seems I am the only one on the planet who hadn't seen these amazing socks from the Yarn Enabler (and I even follow her on Instagram!) You can knit these either cuff down or toe up. These Paper and Pencil socks have been my most fun knit this year by far! I use my new ChiaoGoo 9" circular (2.5 US 3.00mm) and whipped through these in 2 weeks.
This kit is called Stationery and includes both paper and a pencil :P in the words of the Yarn Enabler "What good is a pencil without paper?" The larger white skein is the loose leaf which I knit as a plain vanilla sock. The other 3 skeins make up the pencil starting with the lead and wood portion, moving onto the yellow body and finishing with the metal cap and eraser. I used the No. 2 pattern for the pencil because - come on, you gotta give the pencil its true form. I used up pretty much every inch of yarn for these socks.
I used a few different techniques for this pair. I knit these toe up and since I am a fairly tight knitter, I have a hard time doing Judy's Magic cast on so I use the toe from Charlene Schurch's book "More Sensational Knitted Socks". This toe starts out using a provisional cast on and then you knit a little rectangle which you then pick up stitches on the side and increase for the toe until you are up to 64 stitches. I then used the heel and gusset increases from Kelie Oreb's Straight Up Socks pattern. Super easy, it didn't upset the stripes and I didn't have to switch to double pointed needles.
For the cuff, I did k1, p1 ribbing until I had enough yarn left over to do Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy bind off. 100% fun the whole way. I haven't worn the socks yet but I did hear somewhere that people who wear mis-matched socks are geniuses haha.
This glorious wheel was made between 1930 and 1946 in Sifton, Manitoba by a blacksmith named John Weselowski. He based the design on a wheel he had from the Ukraine. The Spin-Well wheels could be bought by mail order for the low, low price of $7.75. By 1938 John and his brother were able to make 20 wheels a day! John expanded his business to become a small milling operation called Custom Woolen Mills. Later on a descendent of his sold the milling equipment to Carstairs, Alberta which is what I know as Custom Woolen Mills now. Another cool tid-bit of information is that John partnered with Willard McPhedrain and together they started Mary Maxim. That's a lot of cool history to come out of a small town. In 1947 Spin-Well Manufacturing Co. was sold and became known as Made-Well Manufacturing Co. which continued until the 70’s.
The above info from https://archaicarcane.com/workhorse-spinning-with-a-canadian-connection/
The orifice opening is 1/4" in diameter which is larger than many vintage wheels, much larger than my Haldane and my Kromski Sonata is 3/8" so pretty close! The height of the opening is 29" and it is centered on the wheel which makes it pretty comfortable.
The chair frame sets it apart from many other vintage wheels and is easily noticeable. Although not the prettiest, there is a lot of thought put into this design which makes it very versatile, lightweight and compact.
The wheel diameter is 13.5" and it is 2" thick and made from solid wood slabs, laminated together. The footman is attached in the centre and uses a crank style motion in conjunction with the treadle to get the wheel spinning.
This wheel is a single treadle but you could easily use both feet as it is the width of the frame. Treadling on this wheel is much different from other single treadles as its motion is more like that of a table sewing machine. It is very easy to get going, and much easier to keep in motion.
My friend Nicole will be opening a new yarn shop in Regina here in the next couple of weeks. I am very happy to get a real LYS again in my hometown. It is called The Naked Sheep Yarn & Fibre Emporium and it is located at 104 College Ave E. She will have a great selection of yarns and fibre from a lot of local dyers as well as all your favourite brands. I have sent her some Knit Natural handspun recently and will add a few more skeins as well in the next week or so. Keep an eye on her Facebook page for more info on opening date, upcoming classes and more goodies arriving daily.
I finished my Liplatus Shawl on the drive home for the Saskatoon Etsy Made in Canada sale last month and just got around to blocking it this weekend.
I knit it in Dye for Ewe's Snug sock yarn in the colourway Growing Pansies. Isn't it such a pretty colour scheme? I started this shawl on the way to the Manitoba Fibre Festival and really enjoyed it as it was quite a relaxing project. I really wanted a simple looking shawl to show off the yarn as best as I could. If I had a lime green yarn I might crochet a fancy border along the bottom one day.
Many of you have likely heard of a recent movement called "Slow Fashion October", and if you have been following me on Instagram you may have seen some of my handmade wardrobe projects. A couple of my goals this year was to wear more handmade clothing and wear more of my handknits. I have been learning to sew and make my own clothes with the help of friends, my mom and Jeremy's boss. Even though I know many of my dresses, tunics and shirt have been faaaaarrr from perfect they make me so happy. I feel great in them and I get a lot of compliments which makes me want to continue. I can also pair this with another love of mine - thrift shopping.
When you are a bigger gal like myself, sometimes it is hard to find nice clothing that fits properly. I have been leaning towards a more minimalist style with what I wear, simple designs, neutral-ish colours, something that I can pair in a number of ways etc. I have found peace in a few designs and designers who make it simple for beginners like myself who are looking for something to make them feel good AND look good in (no matter what size you are).
I have gained a lot of inspiration by going through #handmadewardrobe and have been making a list of items I would like to make. The fun part is changing them up with the addition of hand knits; cardigans, shawls, scarves, and more! Here are a couple patterns that I have in my queue that I want to add to my Handmade Wardrobe
These are just a few examples, you can understand now why my queue and unfinished projects list is so large. There are so many hats, skirts, and fingerless mitts you can add, and don't forget all the handknit socks you can wear with each item!
You don't have to be an expert to participate in Slow Fashion October,
@slowfashionoctober writes that it is “A celebration of the small-batch, handmade, second-hand, well-loved, long-worn, known-origins wardrobe.” I have been finding myself going back to the traditional ways of doing things and making my own clothes has been very rewarding. Just one more aspect of my life I am trying to make "handmade". If you need further inspiration you should check out these wonderful women who have really inspired me
Jessica Lewis Stevens
So why not play along? Anything you make this month that you post online, use the hashtag #slowfashionoctober. Challenge yourself, share your work with others and have fun! If you don't have time to play along, there is always #MeMadeMay :)
My goals this month are to sew a few more dresses/tunics, finish my shawls in the works and a pair of socks. What have you got planned?