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.
Looking for your daily dose of fibre? I know exactly where to turn. Kim from The Wacky Windmill was in Regina for the Regina Weavers & Spinners Guild monthly Fibre night (we are SO lucky). She brought with her a wonderful collection of hand-dyed yarns, fibre, notions, project bags and everything else a fibre artist needs. As I was helping put product on the tables I couldn't resist wanting to keep it all! Kim's good friend and awesome knitter Donna was there to enable (I mean answer questions) and she displayed some of her beautiful hand knit items made with Kim's yarn.
I managed to snag a few things that I couldn't live without. The yarn is destined to become a shawl, it's SW Merino/Stellina so it has a beautiful shimmer and all the best colours rolled into one. The two braids at the front are SW BFL in hot pink/black and white. The braid at the top left is Merino/Silk and apparently I bought fibre just like this a few years ago (obviously it's wonderful). The last two on the table are a past club colourway and my all time favourite in the luxurious blend of SW Merino/Sea Cell *sigh*. I <3 The Wacky Windmill. The project bag at the top of the photo is the perfect size and how could I not love:
a) a bag
b) a bag with sheep
c) a bag with sheep that holds fibre?!
I spun this Falkland in the "Pot of Gold" colourway for Kim's SAL (Spin-a-long). This was the softest Falkland I have ever worked with. She is hosting another challenge this month and you can check her Ravelry group for more info The prizes are gorgeous!
While we were hanging out and spinning, I asked Kim a few questions (as an adoring fan) and thought others might be wondering some of the same things I was.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find it all over the place; photos, nature, other dyers. I’ll notice color ideas on my way home from work or when I go snow boarding – there are lots of nice colour combos on the slopes. Sometimes I will also randomly grab containers and see what happens.
How do you come up with colourway names?
I sometimes ask other people around what they think the yarn or fibre looks like. We bounce ideas back and fourth. My husband doesn’t offer a whole lot but when he comes up with something it works well – like “Charred Oak”. Sometimes the names revolve around themes such as my silk yarn which is named after characters from the game Clue. “Tea Cup Elephant” was based on a dream I had. “Stow Away” was named because I found that braid among other fibre it didn’t belong with.
What is your favourite colour?
My favourite colour is green which may be why there is so much of it in the shop all the time.
What other artistic hobbies do you do?
I spin, knit, crochet, I’ve dabbled in weaving, I like to sew and quilt. I make soap, lotion and lip balm. I also like gardening, although I sometimes forget to water. I really enjoy renovating too.
How has your work evolved since you started?
When I first started dyeing I used Wilton dyes but they kept breaking and the colours sometimes ended up looking like mud. I was afraid of acid dyes – the name "acid" scared me, but when I used them for the first time and my hands didn’t burn off I realized how great they are. I have done a lot of research and looked into different fibres and how they appeal to people and take on colour. I have taught myself a lot about different ways to dye and have tried kettle dyeing, hand painting, dip dyeing, sprinkle dyeing and infusion. I like experimenting to try and get different effects. I am more adventurous than I used to be, and I will try mixing dyes to see how they turn out and will also try colour combinations that may not appeal to me but they do to others. I love seeing how each fibre artist adds their own techniques to my fibres, like in the club shipments, everyone comes up with a different way to spin or ply their yarns and come up with a unique end result.
What are your favourite fibres?
To dye? I love the way Superwash Merino and Falkland take colour, but SW Merino is slippery when you rinse.
To spin: BFL hands down. BFL and Merino plyed work really well together, the combination makes the yarn softer.
What does your studio look like?
Unfinished drywall, cement floors and poor lighting. I used to work in the kitchen but I have now moved downstairs. I have tables and a sink and stove down there, I need to work on the lighting but I have my own space now and it’s wooly. My rabbit Sunny is my dye buddy.
Tell me about your pets:
When I learned you can spin angora I found my first rabbit; Suzuki (Suzi) (3yrs) from a breeder in Vulcan. She is a French German Angora cross Red Eye White (REW). Gremlin is an English Angora Lop Cross rescue (received from the same breeder). We have fostered him for 2 years. His original owner passed away which caused him some health related stress issues, but he is a sweet boy. Sunny, which is short for Sunflower (1yr) is a French Lop Cross. She was a Christmas present and she is my biggest bunny. She loves to be held, pet and cuddled and really doesn’t like when she’s on my lap and I'm playing on my cell phone.
I also have 2 dogs; Boo who is 11 and Gracie who is 7. They are Maltese / Shih Tzu X's and are my sweethearts. I've had them both since they were puppies.
Where can we see your work this year?
May 3rd – Regina Weavers & Spinners Mini Retreat
May 30th – Kings College HWSDA Conference
June 13 & 14 – Fibre Arts Week in Pincher Creek
June 23 – 27th – Olds Fibre Week
Oct 4th & 5th – Knit City in Vancouver
Watch for more updates throughout the year!
Where can we find you online?
~ The Wacky Windmill group on Ravelry
~ Twitter @TheWackyWindmill
~ Email Kim
~ The Wacky Windmill Website and Blog
I want to share my Wacky Windmill love with you too - I have a skein of TWW Getting Heavy in the colourway "Seriously Disturbed" to give one of you! It is 250 yards of soft, fluffy wool and one of my favourite yarn bases.
To win, you must comment on this entry with shawl pattern recommendations - just kidding ;P just let me know what you would like to make with this yarn and what you love about Kim and The Wacky Windmill.
This giveaway will end on April 19th
Congrats to Linda! Thanks to everyone who entered. Stay tuned for more giveaways.
I had some hankies I wanted to dye to make the mawata mitts like the Yarn Harlot. I used this tutorial (sorry some of the pictures are blurry)
I used about 44 g of silk and soaked them in vinegar for a day
As the hanky was draining, I got my dyes ready
I poured my dyes on and let them sit for a while to penetrate the hankies
I then baked them in the over at 185F for 30 mins. When I took them out I let them sit in warm warter again ans let some of the dye leech out. I hung them up to dry and they came out way different than I expected lol
I am going to try it again but the next time I am going to split the stack in half so the dye penetrates evenly. and both mitts will be the same(ish). It was fun though!