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.
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.
I have been wanting to tell you all about a podcast you need to add to your list (if you don't already subscribe). There is no doubt why The Bakery Bears podcast hosted by Dan and Kay Jones is so popular!! Each episode is full of inspiration to get your needles clicking, funny moments that will make your cheeks hurt and interesting trips through their UK countryside including history and more are a feast for the eyes. Dan and Kay have such chemistry and have captured the attention of many around the world.
They have recently posted up Episode 53 so if you haven't watched, they are seriously binge-worthy! This latest episode was a special one for me because I make a guest appearance - or shall I say, Dan and Kay make an appearance in my studio!
I "met" these two a few years ago when they first mentioned my Bankhead hat on their show. Since then, it has been knitted over 2200 times! I wanted to do something as a bit of a thank you and sent them over a box of Canadian goodies including 2 skeins of handspun specially spun for them.
Kay knit these gorgeous mitts and Dan knit... a Bankhead!!
These were my FO for their show, I knit these socks for my new nephew on the way and finished them just in time the night before while at a Sask Rider football game. It was so much fun to talk to Dan and Kay and we had to coordinate it so that we both had daylight, so I talked to them on Canada day in the morning which was around suppertime for them. We talked on Facetime for quite a while and I was sad to have to say goodbye. Seriously awesome people <3 They have a patreon program for people who want to keep them going and also get in on some extra goodies like tutorials, monthly prize draws, discount codes, behind the scenes videos and more! While you are at it, you should find them on Facebook, favourite their Etsy shop and join their group on Ravelry so you can keep up with all the news and happenings on the way!
For those that follow me on Instagram or Facebook, know I was helping Gerry shear her sheep this past weekend. I am working on a blog post about how exciting that was, but in the meantime, I also wanted to share a post I wrote for another site I work on and an initiative Gerry and I have been doing called All Things Wool in which we are trying to promote the value of wool.
When looking for a fleece at a wool show, it is important to read the judging card to get all the important information that will help in your decision. Most of the time, you are just looking at a fleece in its bag, rolled up with the nicest fleece showing, but what's actually inside? This is where the judging card comes in. Usually before the fleeces are on display, they have been opened up one at a time, examined thoroughly and all the comments are recorded on the card. This is a great source of information for both the producer, so they can see what to work on or what's great, and the buyer can see if this fleece will need more TLC then they are prepared for or if the fleece is even more beautiful then first thought. Let's delve into what a judging card is and what each section encompasses.
One reason Gerry and I work so well together because she is a wool producer and I am an artisan. Between the two of us we made our own judging card which works better for both producers and artisans and it is what we use at all the wool shows we co-ordinate. We allotted certain points depending on importance and combined criteria that was similar in nature. Our card is more streamlined (compared to other artisan style cards) and speeds up the judging process.
Ok, let's begin.
Soundness. This is the most important matter on the entire card. This refers to the strength of the fleece. You will often see me pulling out a few locks from different areas of a fleece and putting them up to my ear and pulling them apart, I am listening for tenderness.
Clean Yield: You are looking at a dirty fleece, if a fleece has a high clean yield, it means after washing you will still be left with the majority of the fleece. A low clean yield means you have a very dirty fleece where much of the wool will have to be wasted or you will have to put a lot more work into the process.
Presentation: We combined a few criteria from the Olds judging card to make this section. This is an informative criteria for both producers and artisans. This category lets you know as a buyer what condition the entire fleece is in. Pay close attention to deductions like skin flakes, second cuts, manure and stains as these issues cannot be washed out.
Lustre & Handle: If wool has lustre, it means it has shine. Long wools have amazing lustre whereas fine wools not so much and down wools – not at all. A judge must be fair to the specific breed characteristics. Handle is all about how the wool feels. Is it silky & soft or dry and lack life?
Staple Length & Evenness: Fine and medium wools are at least 2” in length and usually 3” – 5”. Long wools normally start around 6” and can be up to 12” long! This category will let you know if the fleece has the same staple length throughout and if the length is adequate for its breed.
Crimp Style: Fine wools have a very dense crimp, that’s what gives it, its elasticity. Long wools have a wide wavelength present and medium and down breeds sometimes don’t have a clearly defined crimp. Areas around the upper body will have a finer crimp style then the britch.
In all criteria there are deductions or problematic areas. This is good information for the wool producer because they can see which areas they need to work on to improve their fleeces. Deductions are also important for handspinners and fibre workers because it will help you determine how much work you will have to put into the fleece when processing it. As always, if you have any questions you can always ask Gerry or I. We love to talk about wool! If you are a producer and have never entered fleeces into a wool show you should give it a try, you may win ribbons and money! Wool is highly sought after by handspinners, felters and the like. Head on over to the fleece competitions page on our All Things Wool website and find all the information you need. Hope to see you at one or more of the wonderful fibre festivals this year!
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed I have been spinning a lot of skeins lately. I am sending all these beauties to Ram Wools next week. If you are in or around Winnipeg you can stop in and browse their wonderful yarn store and see and feel my skeins without having to worry about shipping - Yay! I am very excited to have my skeins for sale in such an awesome yarn shop.
I haven't forgotten about my shop! I listed 2 new skeins there this week. These are my favourites out of the bunch. Polwarth /Silk and Corriedale.
I have decided to start keeping track of my spinning this year. I found a little notebook and I have been recording all the info about my skeins. I know I can do this on Ravelry, but sometimes I can forget to post yarn info and I was tired of having pieces of paper around my office with yardages. This way everything is in one place. I can also tabulate how many pounds and yards I spin each month. So far (up until the end of March), I have spun:
122 oz which is 7.63 lbs of fibre & 5973 yards which is 3.39 miles!
And I've got more coming so keep watching
I was so excited yesterday as I watched my Cosmic Cozy pattern work its way up the top 20 list on Ravelry's Hot Right Now section in the Patterns tab. I was hoping to make it into the Top 5 and I did!
I wondered why this pattern became popular so suddenly and I saw the front page of Ravelry. In the Community Eye Candy ChristalLittleK's "Nid pour ratous" is featured and what an adorable little rattie peaking out!
This cozy was also featured in an article in Issue 92 (May 2015) of Let’s Knit magazine about knitting for pets (and if you know me you know how much I LOVE animals). The base is crocheted and then you pick up stitches along the sides and decrease quickly to create the shape of the roof which is knit quite densely to hold its shape. Wool yarn is a great choice for this cozy because it has a natural absorbency which will eliminate the smell of urine, wick away moisture and if you use a superwash wool it is easily washable.
The pictures were taken by my sister Nancy and the rats (Isabelle & Grace) in my project pictures belong to a sweet girl named Bryn.
I had been watching my way through The X-Files while making this and its design reminded me of a UFO which was also the inspiration for its name. If you have a small animal why not consider making a Cosmic Cozy for them to snuggle up in. You can find the pattern for FREE in my Patterns section and also on Ravelry.
I received the Summer/Fall 2015 Issue of Genesis Magazine, which is a journal of Rare Breeds Canada today and I saw a picture of myself spindle spinning from when I was with Gerry at the Motherwell Homestead this past August. There is also a picture of Gerry combing some of the Wensleydale fibre and the Rare Breeds Set up at the event. This homestead used to raise Shrophire sheep and I believe Gerry and Sheldon (Parks Canada Co-ordinator) are working together to make it so that the farm will once again have Shropshire sheep. This site is also an possible venue for the Fibre Festival Jeremy and I are planning to put on next year.
Weight: 11 g & 16 g / 3/8 and 1/2 oz
Length: 10.5" Shaft, 2.5" Arms
Material: Shaft: Redheart Arms: Malachite & Tigers Eye beads
I have a very special review for you today, very unique, very innovative and very customize-able spindles. My samples are both merino and I spun 15 yards and 51 yards in the 2 skeins.
Trindles are made using a shaft, a neoprene hub and perimeter weighted arms. The materials that go into making these spindles are vast. The beads alone can be comprised or glass, metal, woods, semi precious stones and even ivory just to name a few. If you are looking for a spindle you can really personalize, these are them.
My arms are beads made from Malachite and Tigers Eye. I have always had a love for rocks and quite like these ones. You can change the weight of your spindle, simply by changing up your arms. The weights of these are as follows - Malachite (4 g) and Tigers Eye (9 g). There are several arm sets you can choose from and if you have a special set of beads he can even make a custom set of arms for you! Now how COOL is that?
The arms stay in place really well yet they are easy to remove and switch around if you need to.
The neoprene hub is really quite ingenious. There are 6 holes in these spindles so I could even add 2 sets of arms for extra weight if I needed. The material is virtually indestructible and nice and lightweight. It is snug on the shaft and there is no movement at all. Both of mine are an inch down from the hook. Even the placement of this hub could be customized to make mid-whorl spindles and support spindles - which he also does (!)
I would also be careful in packing these babies for travel as they feel a bit dainty. With that said, this spindle maker is so unbelievably awesome to offer a lifetime guarantee on Trindles. If yours breaks or fails in anyway, he will repair or replace it, no questions asked. That alone is reason enough to want to support this maker!
The hooks are simple but not a detail overlooked. The end of the hook has been tapered so it doesn't have a blunt, ugly edge that may snag your spun yarn. They have a nice wide curve that lines your yarn up perfectly with the shaft.
And after all that, lets talk about how they spin shall we? Like a dream. I was slightly worried that the arms would come flying out mid spin but that hasn't happened. I was also a bit concerned that given the weights and the design of the arms that the spin time would be short and it wasn't bad at all. BECAUSE of the design, and the weight distribution on the outer tips of the yarn, these spindles are amazing spinners! They dance in the air, almost weightless and barely look like they are moving, kinda like a hummingbird.
Winding on was a bit of a challenge at first though. I had to slow down a bit and make sure I was building my cop under the arms and not in and around them. Although, it would be worth a try if you needed to pack on more yarn to see if that helped with yarn storage if you kept it balanced and under control.
When you buy these spindles you have to buy a shaft and arms separate. This let's you choose your shaft preference and you can create your own spindle set. I like how you can collect different arms and switch them out as you like. You kinda get a modular spindle and you can change things up as you spin even.
Length of spin: 14.9 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: If you are spinning very fine lace weight yarns, you will be able to pack a lot of yarn on these, and can change weights as you need to.
Looks: Very unique, and an ingenious design
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
Here is where I tell you a secret, I traded for these spindles. A woman on Rav was looking for a Glindle (as is everyone) and she was offering these spindles as well as a Gripping Yarn french spindle in return. I REALLY wanted the GY spindle and thought about this trade for over a week. I even consulted my local fibre community on their opinions of Trindles as I had never tried them and wondered if they would be a fair trade with the spindle package being offered. I decided to go for it and I am actually pretty happy I did. I really love these spindles and they spun so effortlessly and were so nice and light that they are a joy to spin with. I was quite impressed with the spindle maker as I mentioned above with his guarentee. He also responded to peoples' comments on his Ravelry group with genuine care and even a bit of humour. I respect that. If you have ever been curious about these spindles, give one a try, or better yet, check out the Trindle Etsy shop and pick out a nice set of arms and a shaft and take the plunge, there is a reason they are popular!
Thank you to everyone who played along!!!
For the past few years I have been doing an annual giveaway to celebrate the Tour de Fleece. This coincides with the Tour de France and runs from July 4th to July 26th. Spinners around the world set goal/challenges for themselves and spin during the tour. I am usually a part of Team Golden Willow but this year I have also joined Team Canada. Check out their awesome logo!
Anyways, onto the reason you are here - prizes! This year I have rounded up a couple goodies and made a few packages you could win.
Spinners Prize: Winner is Lisa!
A collection of some of the worlds finest fibres; 2 oz of Merino/Cashmere, a little batt of Angora/Silk (50/50), a Phil Powell supported spindle, a sample of Soak Wash in the Lacey scent and a nice little handmade spindle bag to hold it all.
Book Lovers Prizes:
I also have 3 books from my collection up for grabs:
To be entered to win one of these prizes, please leave a comment below about what you would do with any one of these prizes. You can gain extra entries by heading over to my Facebook page and sharing/commenting on this post about my giveaway, re-posting the giveaway picture on Instagram, Retweeting my post on Twitter and pinning my TdF post on Pinterest. Easy stuff. I will be making the draws on Monday July 27th around 7:00 Sask time. Watch my Facebook Page to see if you won.
Thanks and let's get spinning!
For the past 2 months I have been knitting like a fiend for designer Dean Renwick's Fall Collection for Sask Fashion Week. I bound off my last item yesterday and now I am eagerly looking forward to Friday May 8th for the big night! Here is a clip that was on the news today with Dean talking about what he will be bringing to the show. He has some wonderful words to say about my work :)
I have a new pattern up on Ravelry called the Cosmic Cozy. I knit it with super bulky yarn and big needles. I have been binge watching X-Files so that could be my inspiration for the shape of this bed. You can find the pattern here, and here is a link to my project page on Ravelry
The rat's used as my models are named Isabella and Grace and they were very cute little girls. I was very happy that Bryn - their "mom" let me come over for a photoshoot with little notice. My sister Nancy Morrison of Landlocked Design took all the photo's and did a wonderful job!
This cozy was listed as a "Fab Freebie" pattern in Issue 92 of Let's Knit Magazine!!
Knit Natural will be on the runway at Sask Fashion Week again this year! I am working with THE Dean Renwick on his Fall 2015 collection. I have chosen the yarn I will use and have started knitting some swatches to get what I am picturing in my mind out and in wool. I have been making my calculations and scraping ideas, making new ones and madly jotting things down. I have less than a month and a half and can't wait for you to see what will be walking down the runway this May.
I love knitting for fashion designers. To go from a sketch to a finished piece, creating at every step is very satisfying and to see all my hard work on the runway feels really amazing! I will be casting on this weekend and if you're looking for me - I will be in my studio, focused on my stitches and working with wool.
If you have ever thought about seeing what Sask Fashion Week is all about, why not check it out this year? Its quite a show!
I am excited to be planning an Etsy Made in Canada Sale this year in Regina on Saturday Sept 26th. This is a day where there are many pop-up markets happening in cities all across Canada. Etsy is making a name for itself in Canada and it has been helping many people in the handmade business for quite some time. There are two markets in Saskatchewan this year - Saskatoon & Regina.
This sale is open to all Canadian residents who have an Etsy Shop. If you would like to attend as a vendor, the applications will be going out in the spring. Please sign up for this mailing list to be notified when the applications go out. If you are in Saskatchewan, you can join our Etsy Team Saskatchewan group and get in on the discussion and support. If you don't have an Etsy shop and have been thinking about it, this is a great time to open one up! You can really get your creative works out to the entire world. (here is a link to help you get free listings). Participating in this sale will also let your community know about your Etsy shop and give you an opportunity to sell face to face with your customers. I had a table at the market last year in Saskatoon and that sale was very well received. We had over 800 people though the doors and many lined up down the street waiting to get in before the doors even opened.
I will be flying to Toronto with Etsy at the end of this month to attend their Leadership Summit and obtain lots of insight into making this sale as successful for the participants as possible. My sister is coming with me to hold my hand on the plane as I am terrified of flying. There will be sight seeing and maybe a yarn shop or two ;P
It was a bit difficult to find a venue as I was looking for a classy place with lots of natural light. I have found what I was looking for in the Research and Innovation Centre at the University of Regina. Their Atrium is nice and open, and has character. Another interesting thing is, Christie Mechanical (where I work during the day) did all the mechanical for this building. I still have a lot of work to do, but I am happy to have found such a lovely place to hold this sale.
If you don't have an Etsy shop, you should still mark this date down on your calendar. You will be able to shop local while buying fine craft, and supporting your community and handmade businesses.
This will only keep getting bigger and better.
It's giveaway time, it's giveaway time!
Some of my favourite games are Hidden Object ones, especially from Big Fish Games like the Mystery Case Files series. I was thinking of hosting a giveaway for this season and thought this might be a fun way to earn your prize.
I have 10 questions for you. The answers are in front of your eyes, you just need to seek them out. Some questions will have multiple right answers and you must answer them all correctly to be entered to win. There are also lots of chances for bonus entries as well!
I have 2 prizes available. If not for yourself, they also make great gifts, so you can cross off a special someone from your list just in time for Christmas.
Knitters Prize: 1 skein of Hawthorne Fingering weight yarn in the colourway "Rose City", "Knockout Knits" by Laura Nelkin and a purse size bottle of Handmade Luxury Hand Creme in the Celebration scent.
Spinners Prize: Spinner Starter Kit including 4 oz of Corriedale and a maple drop spindle, "The Complete Guide to Spinning Yarn" by Brenda Gibson and a 4 oz bottle of SOAK wool wash in the Aquae scent.
*Note: I will take pictures in the daylight on the weekend
You can email your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will type your name to the bottom of this post to confirm your entries.
This contest is open to everyone and anyone and I will draw the winners randomly on Monday December 1, 2014 at 6:00pm (Saskatchewan time)
Good luck and thanks for playing!
1) Out of all the spindles I have reviewed, which one has received the highest rating?
2) Most of my handspun skeins are sold at sales I attend but I do have an Etsy shop and one of my favourite skeins was called "Single Malt", how many yards are in this skein?
3) I am working on sheep breed studies, what is the average fleece weight for a Romney sheep?
4) What are the 4 scents I have available in SOAK wool wash?
5) Bankhead is one of my most popular hat patterns. Roughly how many people have made this hat? Bonus entry for those who have knit either Bankhead or Cobblestones themselves.
6) I have done a few tutorials this past year, which sheep breed did I use as a sample in the most recent tutorial?
7) I am showcasing some of my work in the Sherven-Smith Art Gallery soon. When?
8) Have you "Liked" me on Facebook? Easy entry. If you haven't already, please do.
9) I post Daily Inspirations everyday and link these to my Pinterest page. Which one has inspired you the most?
10) What is Knit Natural's slogan?
Bonus entries for sharing this giveaway with your friends. For every referral you get an extra entry for both you AND your friend(s). Please make sure you tell me who notified you of this awesome giveaway.
Amy Anderson (3 Entries)
Carolynne Gould (3 Entries)
Weight: 31 g / 1 oz
Length: 7" Shaft, 5" Arms
Style: Turkish Spindle
Material: PLA Filament (thermoplastic)
Probably one of the COOLEST spindles I own.
First of all, 3D printing boggles my mind. The idea of it is pretty darn cool and the second I saw this spindle online it was mine.
For others who wonder how the heck 3D printers work I found this video to be particularly helpful
My sample is Merino/Alpaca/Seacell in the colourway "Silver Linings" by Kinfolk Yarn and Fibre.
About 5 minutes after my purchase, I received notification that it had shipped, which impressed me right off the bat. I was really eager to get this spindle and check it out and see what something "printed" in 3D looked like, how did it feel? I was totally giddy for this one.
You are able to pick which colours you would like for the shaft and arms. I chose orange arms and a purple shaft for contrast. The arms to me look like a reflector and I think it is really neat how you can see all the layers it took to make the spindle take its shape. If you have trouble deciding on colour, she also sells shafts separately so you can mix and match. The plastic is hard and rigid, a very solid spindle yet very lightweight. There is an O-ring in the middle of the smaller arm so there is a no slippage when the shaft is set in place. This is the standard size of TurtleMade's spindles, she also sells a mini size as well. I found this particular size perfect. It's not gigantic and not so small that you will have to spin a million tiny balls to get a decent sized skein. I bet you could easily fit a few ounces (if not more) on this one.
I should also state clearly that I am not a Turkish spindle user. I only have 2 Turkish spindles and I acquired both this year. I find them slow, frustrating and awkward. With that being said, perhaps it is just jealously rearing its ugly head because a couple of my friends; Sara and Lindsay, are excellent Turkish spindle spinners and their skills are both amazing and inspirational. My Turkish spindle skills are l.a.c.k.i.n.g. Big time. I threw all my judgments away the instant I saw this spindle online, and it was only $15!!!
The shaft fits perfectly in the cross-section of the arms without budging. Because of the nature of 3D printing, the shaft is not smooth, but that makes it perfect for holding a half hitch. There is a nice taper near the tip for holding your yarn in place as well. This detail helps me get over the awkwardness of my yarn slipping off the shaft when I give the spindle a good flick. This Turkish now takes 3rd place for longest spin time.
This spindle has the makers name on the underside of the larger arm - stamped into the spindle itself - how the heck did she do that?
Now onto the spinning. An absolute joy. I was amazed how it danced and spun in thin air with no effort. It's arms whirled around without shaking, no slowing down, and my mind in disbelief at its speed. The spindle was on the ground with a hearty length of yarn spun before I felt the need to look down to see if it needed a boost. Light also reflects off its surface and it shimmers as you spin. Pretty impressive.
I will definitely be packing this spindle with me wherever I go. I have zero fear of it breaking, (and if it does, I can replace the shaft for $5). It is a super cool conversation piece and a tool that you can hand off for someone else to try and you will be able to see them smile at it's awseome-ness. You're looking pretty cool now aren't you?
Winding on has also been a bit of an issue for me. I started by trying to make it look all fancy but threw that by the wayside when it was slowing me down. It's not important for a sample size and it made no difference when it came to plying from the centre pull ball the spindle had created. The technique I used was "over two, under one" and since I was able to grip the shaft easily, this made for winding the spun yarn on much easier.
Length of spin: 35.4 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: Excellent
Looks: By far the coolest spindle I own
Overall Rating: 9.5/10
This spindle has shattered my previous opinions about Turkish styles. It was not awkward to spin, it was not slow and its size was easy to handle.
I also like the fact that with this spindle you are combining a primitive tool with an advanced scientific technology to make an object that is highly functional, swanky looking and well made. Pick one up - you know you want to ;)
My friend Michele shared this video on Facebook today and I loved it so much I thought I would show you as well. It shows the journey wool takes from fleece to finish made by The Woolmark Company. They did a lovely job.
I was a guest co-host on the Entirely Crafty podcast this week. You can check it out here if you are interested. It was a lot of fun!
If you are on Ravelry, you can join her group and keep up with new episodes :)
Maker:The Clay Sheep
Weight: 43 g / 1.56 oz
Length: 2 1/2" Whorl, 10 1/2" Shaft
Style: Top Whorl
Wood: Polymer Clay Whorl set atop a Red Oak Base and Shaft
Anita from The Clay Sheep has been well known for her amazing polymer clay stitch markers, diz's and orifice hooks. She puts wonderful detail into each item she makes. A few months ago I saw on her Facebook page that she had made a couple spindle prototypes and knew that once they became available I had to give them a try. My spun skein is a rolag from Naturally Knitty.
Currently, these spindles come in 3 sizes; small, medium and large (1 oz, 1.5 oz, 2 oz). I decided on the medium spindle, mostly because its the middle ground and I tend to gravitate towards sport - worsted weight yarns. I also instantly fell in love with the design of the whorl - who wouldn't? The detail is evident right down to the little feet and the curls in the sheep's wool. I also like that because each of these polymer clay whorls are handmade they are also truly one of a kind. If you look at the other spindles with this design, no two are a like. There are different flower colours and different sheep combinations. I also quite like the sky and the colours she used are so vibrant.
The frame around the picture is sterling silver filled wire, and this distributes the weight to the outer rim of the spindle. She has added 2 notches; at 12:00 and 6:00 and they are of a decent depth. The hook is made of Argentium Silver hard tempered wire and it suits the personality of the spindle very well. Its not too thick, or too thin and it lined up my spun yarn exactly in-line with the shaft. The neck is long enough that I can wrap some of the singles around the hook without anything getting in the way. I also found that it is closed enough that when things got a little out of control (on my part not paying attention to the fact that my arms aren't long enough when the spindle reaches the floor) the hook held the yarn securely as I fumbled to grab the flying spindle. This also goes to show the spin time. I am able to spin quite a length of yarn before the spin even slows down. (This is the 3rd place for the longest spinning spindle I have reviewed so far) All in all, with the combination of all the thought and detail that went into the top portion of this spindle, it is VERY well balanced. While spinning, it danced smoothly and effortlessly.
And that's just the top side of the whorl! Underneath, she has engraved the spindle's weight and its number. Mine is already #30. She has also etched her initials. Yet, more detail she hasn't overlooked. I think it's really cool to have numbered spindles, they are works of art. I'm also glad she burnt this information into the wood and didn't use a sharpie.
If you are looking for a really unique, really well handcrafted spindle, then check out what Anita from The Clay Sheep has to offer. Fully functional works of art, and not a single detail overlooked. I can see this spindle becoming one of my favourite, go-to spindles. I am searching through my stash to start a new spinning project on it ASAP. I am SO happy that this spindle is in my collection, I think I may need the other 2 sizes as well :)
For the past several weeks I have been doing a "Daily Inspiration" segment on my Facebook page. These are pictures of projects, patterns, cute animals, or really neat things I come across on a daily basis that have given me inspiration. You should check them out if you haven't yet. I may have included something of yours that has inspired me. I also add them to my Daily Inspiration Pinterest board, which you can follow as well. Keep up the good work people, there are so many cool and creative things all around us!
I know what you're thinking... "didn't she already post about her studio a year ago?" Why yes I did, BUT since then I have moved into a much bigger and better place - the master bedroom :D You see, the closet is MUCH bigger in the master bedroom than in my previous room and I have a lot more fibre than I do clothes and since I was unsupervised one day when Jeremy was at a football game, I switched the two rooms around.
I love this space, I have lots of natural light flowing in and it's very comfortable. I can come into this room and relax, forget about the stresses of the day and hang out and do what I love. This couch is the perfect place to work on projects. I have my laptop on the table and I can work on my website, post to Facebook, check Ravelry and update my Etsy shop all while working on my current project. And if you ever come stay with me, this opens up into a bed as well.
My old dresser, which used to be my mom's then mine, houses all my reference books, my spindle collection and my torso Vivian. It is also a great hiding spot for small balls of yarn, loose fibre, notions, and anything else that I squirrel away.
That handsome guy on the back of the couch is my honey - Rider aka Mr. Eyebrows.
My desk, looks in order during the time this picture was taken, but it doesn't always look that organized. My sewing machine is here, and I really want to get using it. (I'm just learning to sew and working on a quilt top). The drawers hold documents and miscellaneous notions which I can never seem to find when I need them. My ball winder and swift get used daily. If you don't have either of these pieces of equipment I can't recommend them enough. I don't know what I would do without either of them. On my chair, hangs a few project bags.
My yarn cabinet is another love. My husband and I got it at Ikea and it's exactly what I needed. Almost my entire yarn stash fits into this cabinet (with the exception of a few bins in the closet). My handspun skeins usually sit on the top shelf and some of my more luxurious fibres are also kept safe inside. My cats aren't all that interested in my fibre but I don't want to give them any reason to be either. This is Amy, Phoebe and Xena, they are getting ready to sunbathe.
On my door hang many more project bags - yes I love bags ;P The door to the right is the ensuite bathroom which is also a bonus if you happen to stay over. My Pygora Goat and my Corriedale sheep reside atop my cabinet with my niddy noddy's.
The pièce de résistance is what is behind door #1... my wonderful closet <3 I store my fibre stash in here along with a couple spinning wheels, my jack loom, class supplies and... more project bags.
The dresser holds some of my handknits, leftover yarn balls and extra bobbins. This closet was a delightful accident. When a mistake on the blueprints left us with a room within a room, we were happy to let that one go. If you haven't hung out in my studio I would love to have you. I will put the tea on and we can knit/spin the time away.
~This is my happy place~
Remember these sweaters from Sask Fashion Week 2013?
Here is how it all started....
A question was asked on Facebook inquiring about someone who could knit a few pieces for Sask Fashion Week and a friend/co-worker of my husband's
recommended me (thanks Kelcey Harasen!). I was contacted in Feb 2013 by Fashion Designer Riley Lawson to knit a couple of her designs for her fall/winter collection. We met and she showed me her drawings that she had made of two sweaters; one pullover and one cardigan, and we discussed details right down to the fibres. I had brought with me a couple swatches I knit in a few different yarns, and she decided that the pullover would be best knit with Baby Alpaca Glimmer from Diamond Yarns Luxury Collection. This amazingly soft yarn has a silver thread in it that really added to the awesomeness this sweater would become. Riley told me her favourite colour is shiny so we had a winner :P For the cardigan she chose Rowan's Creative Focus (Wool/Alpaca blend). This was beautiful yarn to work with and I loved every moment knitting with it. I was happy with both these yarn choices, as it showed that Riley had high standards in the quality of her designs and I was very happy that she wanted to include me in her ensemble. I was also humbled that she included me in her decision making process.
I got started right away as she needed both sweaters done before the photoshoot in early April. I started with the cardigan as I knew it would take me longer. I made all the pieces separately and blocked them with Soak Wash (Lacey scent). I knew I was really going to cut it close on time and I asked my very good friend Sara Yip if she could do the seaming for me. She was one of the only people I trusted, who I knew would do a professional job. I am so thankful for her as she didn't hesitate to help me out and not only did she do a professional job with the seaming she did it absolutely perfect! I don't know if I can thank you enough.
The pullover went much better, with the bulkier yarn and a looming deadline, I pondered which stitch pattern I could use that would give me the crosshatch pattern used in Riley's drawing. I knit up a swatch and sent it to Riley.
The photoshoot was April 13th at Kiriako Iatridis' studio. This was a new experience for me as I've never been to something like this before. It was very emotional to see the sweaters I had worked so hard on worn by professional models and seeing the pictures on the photographer's big screen was really remarkable and I don't have words to describe it.
The days leading up to Sask Fashion Week were very exciting. Riley showcased the pullover on Global News along with one of her eco-dyed blouses. I was itching to see everything come together on the runway and I brought Jeremy, my sister Nancy and Sara with me so we could experience it together. It was put on SO well, inside the tent it felt like we had entered another world, in a fancier city but this was all happening in Regina! Riley's collection was going to be later on in the evening but it was worth the wait! All the designers that night put out great collections and the collaboration of so many talented Saskatchewan people was really mind blowing. I know we have really creative people in this province but so many of them in one place was really cool. Here are a couple shots from that night:
The knee high socks in the centre were also knit by me. They have a really cool dropped stitch pattern with a hem at the top enclosed over an elastic. The yarn I used was Shibui Staccato (Merino/Silk) that was supplied to me by Riley. I used every last inch and finished them in 6 days.
As you may have heard, Riley won the award for Best Emerging New Designer for Sask Fashion Week 2013 for her designs and her wonderful collection. She received a standing ovation and I was so happy for her! She really deserved to win for designing items that can be worn to work as a professional in the city or her items are really adaptable for pairing with other items already in your wardrobe. My favourite piece in her collection were the eco dyed silk blouses. She used berries to naturally dye silk which not only makes these blouses one-of-a-kind but it also she created wonderful splashes of colour and a cool story for people who own the tops. On that note I also wanted to tell you that her collection is available at Stella and Sway downtown on Scarth street! You can see her designs up close and become the proud owner of a Riley Lawson design. You should check out her facebook page and her website, and this article on her award. She will be one to look out for in the city. She does fashion styling for the Cornwall Centre, morning segments on Global News, writes a column for Pink Magazine and so much more. Such a talented woman and I consider myself lucky to have had met/worked with her. Finally check out Sask Fashion week this year, you will love it!
Handspun buttons made a nice, unique addition to a project. I have used them as functioning buttons, embellishments and they also make a nice addition to a swap gift. Each one is made with handspun (spindle spun) yarn and each button is one-of-a-kind. 2 packs are $2 each and the 3 packs are $3
Today's Deal ~ Buy 2 packs & get 1 free!
If you are interested in some, message me with your choices.
**Keep your eyes peeled in the new year as they many more will be added to my online shop.
Well the first day of Christmas was fun, but we must move on to day 2! This deal is for a Felted Soap Trio. 1 Unscented, 1 Lavender and 1 Green Apple. This would make a unique gift for those people who have everything or are hard to buy for. You can even maximize your Christmas spirit and give 2 away and keep one for yourself!
Its like a soap and washcloth in one!
These usually sell for $10 each or 3 for $25
Today's Deal ~ All 3 for $15
That's a 40% discount
Wet the soap and work it around in your hands until the later starts coming through the fibre. Use as you normally would. Wool is naturally antibacterial so this soap won't turn moldy in your shower. When not in use, store it in a self draining soap dish and the bar will last up to a year! As you use it the wool will felt tighter around the soap, so it just keeps getting better and better with each use :) These are my last 3 soaps. This last day for this deal will be Dec 5.
This soap is a vegetable/glycerin base. The wools used are Merino & Romney.
This year was a big success for both the sheep and wool shows in Drake Sk. The event kicked off with a wine and cheese sponsored by Granite Quarry Farms with sheep cheese from the Cheesery in Kitscoty. I have to say the maple/chive spreadable sheep cheese was the best I have ever tasted. It didn't hurt that the wine was my favourite too :P
I spent the whole weekend surrounded by sheep many of which are common in this province and the prairie provinces in general. Down breeds such as Dorset, Suffolk, N. Country Cheviot and Arcotts are known for their superior meat but I like them more for their wool. Down/Medium breeds have wool that has bulk without the weight. Their staple lengths average 3-5 inches and the fleeces can be quite large. To many of the producers in the sheep industry, the meat is the main focus and their wool takes a back burner, even though it also has a value. The point of the wool show is to show producers that there is another side to their industry and wool DOES have a value and as a renewable resource it can be productive over and over. Rambouillet sheep are also common in this province and their fleeces can be gorgeous. I bid on one that was entered into the wool show and won. Their fleeces fall into the fine category and can weigh between 9 - 14 lbs! Next year we are promised a Targhee fleece :P I am still learning and seeing more breeds this year was great. We had double the amount of fleeces entered this year compared to last and we even had an audience. We had the fleeces categorized by fine, medium (down) and coarse (longwools). Winners were awarded ribbons at the end of the show and I chose a coloured BFL X Corriedale to win the "Judges Choice" Ribbon. Prizes were awarded at the banquet on Saturday night. Special thanks to my friend Lindsay of Wired WhimZee for helping Val and I make everything go smoothly.
My friend Val Fiddler from Wooly Wool of the West co-ordinated the show and is a big supporter of the wool industry. She has a lovely flock of sheep and brought a few for the breed display; a Corriedale ewe and her lamb (so cute!), a big, beautiful Blue Faced Leicester and a handsome Black Welsh.
I also had a booth set up with all my wool items. I sold lots of SOAK, t-shirts, yarn and all my buttons :) I even had one customer say "It's SO nice to see wool at a sheep show!". Thanks to everyone who came out, I can't wait for next year.
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.