Wow, what a great weekend! I planned to post everyday but by the end of the day I was so tired I fell asleep as soon as I sat down. This will be mostly a picture post with a little bit of commentary.
As you can see the grounds are beautiful. Although there has been terrible flooding in Alberta during this time, the rain helped make these grounds even more lush (although the mosquitoes were relentless).
Jeremy found a really cool wetland area on the college grounds that has a great walking path that lead up to a gazebo that would be a great spot to relax and read a book (or knit).
There are also barns on campus, we visited the horses and their babies <3
One thing that could be good or bad depending on how strong your will power is... there are always items for sale, at really great prices and available everywhere you look. This spinning wheel was for sale and looked very interesting.
I helped out with the wool show again this year. I had fun scribing, laying out the fleeces into sheep shape and filling out the judging cards. We had over 50 fleeces this year. The wool judge, although a tough marker, showed a lot of knowledge and kept the audience - yes we had an audience, interested. The whole point of the wool show is to educate and I believe we achieved that. We spent the day laughing and making friends. The following day was the wool auction. People could bid on fleeces based on the judges marks/comments or by feeling the fleeces themselves. As usual the auction was a big success, people went a little crazy when it came down to crunch time but that's part of the fun ;P
There is also another auction which creates a lot of excitement and wow there were so many great items to chose from. I bid on a couple things and won a couple bags of cotton. There was fibre of all kinds, fibre tools, a spinning wheel, an antique sock knitting machine (!) bags, books, clothing and SO much more.
There are social events put on by the college every night during the weekend. I went to see a fellow guild member talk about how spinning changed her life. Colleen Nimetz is a master spinner and is a silk expert. She talked about her time spent at a silk farm in Laos and all the work that's goes into reeling silk. The most impressive part about her presentation is at the end she showed a picture of her sitting with a live tiger and spinning tiger fibre on her Tabachek spindle... now that's cool!! We also went to a pub night in honour of Shuttleworks who became a Titanium sponsor this year. There is also the fashion show on the last night, you can see all the wonderful work people do and all the talent that surrounds you during Fibre Week.
Saturday we stayed up late to watch the fireworks put on by the college to celebrate their 100th year. I have to say the show was VERY well done! A lot of thought and effort was put into it. They shot off fireworks to music and they were perfectly timed. They even had fireworks that when they exploded they made hearts and the number 100. Well worth the wait!
Olds is a beautiful town and had lots to offer during our visit. We also checked out the Summer Oldstice street fair and car show and ate at the BEST restaurant ever called Stonewood Grill. Can't wait for next year.
Time for another giveaway, and just in time for Tour de Fleece! The prize this time is a top whorl spindle made by Jill Holbrook and some merino & merino/silk fibres. This is a great little starter kit for someone who wants to learn how to spin or another great addition to your spindle collection. So now for the catch, to win this you must answer a skill testing question:
"What is the difference between top and roving?"
You can post your answer in the comments and also post why you love spinning or why you want to learn how to spin. I will pick a winner based on the correct answer via a draw on Sat June 29th in time to kick off the tour. If you aren't aware, Tour de Fleece runs along with the Tour de France. People pick goals or challenges and spin during the entire tour. You can make this as simple or difficult as you like. My friends and I are a little more easy going than others during the tour and people will be spinning all around the globe during this time. Did I mention you can win a lot of great prizes? Another little tid bit of info; this year is the 100th year of the Tour de France, so if you haven't tried it yet this would be a great year to start.
What a great day today, even though it POURED for a bit, the sun did come out and I spent the whole day spinning <3. In my spindle class we started off with supported spindles, I haven't had too much experience with these as I only bought my first supported spindle last year here at Olds. Our instructor gave us this cute little bead spindle and a bag of fibre to practice with. After a few false starts I got the feel for it and away I went. By lunch time I spun 4 punis and about 1 foot of pima cotton on this little bead spindle (I'm pretty proud of myself :). After lunch we focused on top whorl spindles and plying.
I also learned a few tricks, if you wind your yarn onto your spindle up and down kinda making a criss-cross pattern its faster. I also learned that making your cop football shaped you can pack more yarn onto the spindle while still keeping it balanced. If your yarn isn't all plugged up at the top under the whorl you can spin until your spindle gets too heavy. Hey Jeremy, see spinning and football DO co-ordinate :P
I was lucky enough to have one of my favourite spindle makers in my class; Ed Tabachek. He was very humble and most of the people in the class who thought themselves "experts" on spindles had no idea who they were sitting beside. I did get to have a nice chat with
him during lunch. He was plying some corriedale he had spun on one of this spindles. We talked about different woods, which spindle makers he likes and how he has always been a wood turner but just took up spinning because it was of interest to his wife (who has also graduated from the
Masters Spinners courses at Olds) He and her would go on winter trips and he found spindles were a great, portable tool and he could get a lot done even just sitting around.
The market mall here never disappoints. This year it is even bigger than it was last year! I was really excited, not only because there is so much fibre packed into one area but I got to meet my favourite dyer/fibre supplier; Kim from The Wacky Windmill. She has a very good selection of hand dyed fibres, handspun yarns, tools and everything I love. I snagged a couple braids that were calling my name. Kim also surprised me with a little gift from her angora bunny "Suzie"! Did I ever tell you how much I love The Wacky Windmill?! Its such a thoughtful
gift. I am going to try and spindle spin it and make something special. Thanks Kim :D
I also purchased some green Easy Spin cotton because first of all I had a coupon and secondly my spindle teacher runs the Easy Spin cotton business.
After leaving the college for the day, Jeremy and I had a GREAT supper at the Stonewood Grill and we picked up some wine and now we are just unwinding listening to the thunderstorm outside. Sigh, what a wonderful day. Tomorrow we are going to check out the Summer Solstice fair and watch some fireworks.
Well back for another year, and if you've ever been to Olds College for their Fibre Week you wouldn't miss it either. This is a very special year because not only are the Handweavers, Spinners and Dyers of Alberta holding their conference here but it is also the centennial year for the college. I have registered for the Spindles class and although it was hard to chose which spindles I was going to bring I did make my choices. (From right to left: Magpie Woodworks Mid Whorl, KCL Modular Travel Spindle, Tabachek Compact, Kundert, and my favourite IST). I heard that Ed Tabachek will be in my spindle class tomorrow and I'm excited to meet him! He makes wonderful spindles and I am happy to say I have one of each of his designs. If you EVER get a chance at one of his spindles, jump on it, you won't be sorry.
It has been a strange season with weather (as every year is) but apparently there is a state of emergency in the Calgary/Canmore/High River area because of flooding and mudslides. I have seen a couple pictures from Twitter and some streets have water that covers parked cars. I hope everyone stays safe. Sundre, which is the town right near Olds has had many people evacuated and they are staying at the college because it is the Emergency Response Headquarters. I hope the people here don't mind us fibre people. We may convert a few, you never know. Unfortunately, I heard that my instructor for the Spindles class was turned away on her way to Olds. I hope she is able to make it because it is my only class this year and this will be my second try at this class as last year it was cancelled too.
I am excited to help with the wool show this year, I will post more on that event later this weekend.
As for travel projects I brought sock yarn to knit socks for the shop and my nephew Connor. I have also brought a few spinning projects; one on my Magpie Mid Whorl and the other on my KCL Modular. I bought some merino/alpaca/nylon fibre here last year and I have split it into 3 so I can spin each portion on each of the 3 shafts for the KCL. I plan on plying them to make a nice fingering 3-ply and then dyeing the yarn and knitting socks. I have really wanted to do a full spindle project for quite sometime and I think this trip will be a big boost for me to complete it. I also brought a simple yet effective crochet granny shawl.
Only problem about travelling is I miss my animals. Our hound Jenny, is at Grandma & Grandpa's house and she gets spoiled rotten. Our cats enjoy the dog-free house but they really do miss us and much as we miss them. Xena and Rider weren't very happy last night when we brought out the suitcases.
I have been reading a new magazine for the past several months. Its called "Simply Crochet" and oh boy do I love it! Not only are the pictures gorgeous, but I find the projects do-able, useable and interesting. This magazine can make the simplest coaster look SO amazing all I can think is "I have to make this NOW". If you ever thought about crocheting and were turned off, just check out this magazine and you will fall in love.
They have had a monthly mandala pattern lately and they are made by a woman named Marinke or "Wink". She has Aspergers Syndrome. She uses crochet as a form of therapy to help her get through the tough times she encounters in life. She posts a different mandala pattern on her blog every month. The repetitive stitches are calming and her use of colours puts her in total control of what will happen next. Crocheting is a way for her to express herself and just be herself while being productive and creating beautiful works of art at the same time.
She is not alone. While I was searching for crochet as a therapy, I found many websites that proclaim that crochet saved their lives. They are many people out there that turn to this art form to calm their souls, make use of their hands, create with their minds and love the process. As a psychology graduate, and someone with a strong love for fibre arts this subject really peaked my interest.
Don't know how to crochet? Check my classes/workshops page to see when the next class is being held. Or ask someone you know who knows how to crochet. It's easy to learn and a great skill to know. Once I learned it wasn't long before I realized how much I love it :)