As some of you may know, I teach knitting at Red Fox Creative Studio which is a great place for combining well-being, art, creativity and support. Today I was featured on their blog as the Maker Monday post. I am also going to be teaching another Learn to Knit Class this fall starting in October. It is a 4 week class where you will learn all the basics of knitting including casting on, binding off, knit and purl stitches, simple decreases and increases as well as reading a pattern and using stitch markers. I hope you will join me :)
If you are going to Winnipeg this fall to attend the Manitoba Fibre Festival then you are in for a great lineup of workshops! I will be teaching two classes, one on each day. You can see the schedule and list of workshops here, but don't wait too long as they are filling up fast! The festival runs from Friday September 30 (5-9) and Sat October 1 (10-4). I will be judging fleeces and helping with the wool show and auction as well as selling my handspun and other items in the vendor market. I hope to see you there!
FLEECE TO FINISH
In this class you will learn how to choose a fleece with an end project in mind. We will go over the judging card to see what the judge is looking for in a fleece and what the different wool classes entail. Methods of storing and washing will be discussed as well as different ways to process fleeces. This is a hands on class and will involve a few example fleeces to gain greater insight. Bring a fleece if you have questions! Please bring an apron to protect your clothes.
Friday September 30 2:00 – 4:30 pm 2 1/2 hours
Registration fee: $25
No materials fee
HANDSPINNING WITH A DROP SPINDLE
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.
Saturday October 1 9:00am – 12:00 noon 3 hours
Registration fee: $30
Material Cost: $20 (payable to instructor) includes drop spindle and 4 oz of fibre
For the last 2 months, I have been taking a weaving class put on by a fellow Regina Weavers & Spinners Guild member. I have woven before on my Kessinich Jack loom - but only plain weave. My other handwoven scarves I have done on my rigid heddle loom, but I wanted to learn more in depth about drafts, warping a loom, and designing projects. Our instructor is an amazing weaver and she has woven some wonderful pieces. I was excited for the experience.
There were 8 of us in the class and we met at our instructors home for the first 4 classes. When you walk into her living room, she has a beautiful loom set up and we all gravitated towards it. She had her loom warped and was midway through a shawl. Our first class was an intro - parts of the loom, terms etc.
Our second class was about yarn and how to design a project. We were shown how to pair yarns to achieve the result we were looking for and which yarns make good warps etc. We were also asked what kind of project we wanted to to. I had no idea. At this point I was thinking tea towels.
Our instructor showed us how she organizes her stash by colour. This is the easiest way for her to plan a project. She also lumps fibre types together, but keeps in mind the materials when choosing the right fibres for her design.
The most in depth class was on colour. We did this on a weekend so we had decent light. I found this class very hard. There is a lot involved with colour and I felt overwhelmed. We learned about a ruby beholder which helps you pick out colour values. We were able to look through inspiration pictures, magazines, stashes of embroidery thread and books on colour to seek out what we were looking for.
She showed us how she wraps yarn or embroidery thread around a card to help visualize her project. I found this picture because I liked the colours. This was WAY too many colour choices and our instructor helped me narrow things down a bit. When I was picking these threads and wrapping them, I was feeling a bit defeated. I still had no concrete idea what I was going to make - at this point I was thinking a scarf maybe, hand towels?
Next was our lesson on drafting. I enjoyed this night. I think it's really cool how a draft is made and how there is so much info in one little table. It was fun because it felt like we were solving a puzzle. I was thinking about using a herringbone twill pattern - maybe I should weave a shawl!
So many projects were swirling around in my mind. I knew for sure I wanted to include handspun. I spun this Corriedale into yarn and went through my stash to find something suitable for weft.
My bud Marjorie came over and she helped me make my warp. I miscalculated somewhere because I was only half down my warp when I ran out of yarn. I then found this purpleish, blue wool in my stash that went pretty good so by letting the yarn speak for itself, this project was going to be a scarf. A very long scarf with 4 yards of warp haha.
I chose some grey alpaca as my weft to soften up the scarf a bit.
I borrowed a table loom from the guild library and we set up to wind our warps on Saturday. It took all day, but I got my loom warped and threaded to weave a herringbone scarf the next day.
And then, I changed my mind again. Maybe the grey wasn't the best choice... it would dull the nice colours in my warp. When I went home that day I checked my stash again to see what would be more suitable.
After weaving a small bit, and trying out the yellow and grey, it was obvious, which route would show the pattern best. I went with the golden yellow.
Things were going too well. My threading was perfect, not a mistake in the pattern. I was weaving along loving every minute of it until I realized that the reed on the beater was shearing my handspun :( We were shown how to fix a broken thread and on I continued. Until it happened again. My beautiful scarf was destined to become a mouse pad.
I didn't want to keep going on, replacing threads every few inches so, I cut off my warp. I have the rest of it saved for a different loom - one with a bigger dent. It was still pretty devastating though, after all the work of making the yarn, winding the warp, threading the heddles, sleying the reed and tying everything up.
I am not a technical person when it comes to anything. I would rather just jump right in a create. This class was good for me because I learned the ins and outs of weaving, stuff I knew little about and now know more. I was happy to learn different ways of doing things like warping and how every problem has a solution. I enjoyed seeing what other people dreamt up for projects and their colour choices. It was a great experience and I am grateful to our instructor who took on 8 beginner weavers and had us working together making cloth. I will try again, and use the time honored skills I have learned to create something beautiful.
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.
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.
Lots to do this weekend as the hours fill up with work that I've got planned in my mind and the need to create takes over. I'm sure you know what I mean ;P
I am teaching my Learn to Knit class which lasts two weeks. I
teach students two common cast on's, the knit and purl stitches, simple lace knitting and two bind off's. Students get to try out different needle types (circular, straight, wooden, metal etc) to see what they prefer. It never hurts to try before you buy and many new-comers to knitting are overwhelmed with the choices. I will also go over important tools/notions, how to read simple patterns, blocking and even laundering advice. I find it to be a very relaxing class, as we have fun chatting while practicing each stitch and isn't that what knitting is all about? Creating while having fun. If you are interested in taking this class, I will be offering more throughout the year. You can check the "Classes & Workshops" tab to see the schedule and if there is something you would like to learn that isn't on the list, please let me know. I am very accommodating and will offer private lessons as well.
I have been working on a lace collar from May's Piecework Magazine. It is based on a great story called "Of Heros, Hooks, and Heirlooms” by Faye Silton, about a girl who learns to crochet to share a portion of her family's history. Children in her class are asked to bring in a family heirloom and discuss it. The girl in the book's family was in WWII and had to leave all their belongings behind. She did have a photo though and decided to make the lace collar her mother was wearing and bring that to class as her heirloom piece. I'm still looking for the book so I can read it in more depth.
I have also been crocheting buttons, they add a unique finishing touch to many projects. I have also been making buttons from polymer clay and find them so much fun!
I have been spinning a Romney sample for June's Sheep Study on my Forrester sheep spindle (how fitting!). I have processed it from its raw, dirty form to this shimmery beautiful form.