After several months of not spinning due to my chronic pain, I have finished a couple skeins for a fellow Guild member to use in weaving projects. Both are BFL, dyed by Sharon of Golden Willow. The one on the left is dyed with indigo in a gradient from white to dark (218 yards)and the skein on the right transfers from purple to blue to green (178 yards).
I am hoping to spin 40 new skeins for my upcoming sales in September (Manitoba Fibre Festival and Etsy Made in Canada) and I will likely have to take a bit of a break from spinning for a bit. This hurts my heart a lot as spinning is my life but I don't want to make things worse before they get better. You can always follow me on Instagram as well for handspun updates.
I have been very busy the last while spinning up a storm. I am sending off 20 skeins to Wolseley Wool in Winnipeg today. This yarn shop is my LYS away from home and guess what? They just moved into a bigger location which is absolutely gorgeous, you must check it out if you are in or around Winnipeg. They offer lots of really awesome classes and have a great selection of yarn, fibre, notions and more. I gain a lot of inspiration just seeing all of their pattern samples throughout their store.
These are just a few of the skeins I'm sending. Lots of wool types from SW Merino to Wensleydale and BFL and some really amazing blends like Polwarth/Silk. I hope you find a skein that calls to you (they all call to me) haha!
Well I didn't get what I had planned spun (at least on my support spindles) but that's ok. I did get these skeins spun and plied. 22.75 ounces and 1090 yards. Colourways are (from L to R): Skating on Thin Ice, Emotional Intelligence, Sagebrush, Google Doodle and Bon Voyage.
And look what I won! 390g of Merino/Silk in this pretty mix of reds and purples. I'm thinking it would make a nice shawl.... but don't I always say that? How did you do this Tour?
I have sent off 15 skeins of yarn to Elaine at Field and Fable in Swift Current. Yay Saskatchewan! I have quite a mix of fibres from alpaca, to BFL and Merino, Falkland, Bamboo and even Cashmere. Below are some of the skeins included in the box.
Field and Fable is such a beautiful shop filled with handmade items from local artists. Just take a look at her website (which you can also buy from) and see all the beautiful creations she has in store.
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 updated my Etsy shop with some new handspun this week. The top skein (Between Generations) is a gorgeous mix of jewel tones on top of a natural oatmeal BFL base. The very neutral and so incredibly soft skein on the bottom right (Milk Mustache) is spun from some very luxurious Superwash Targhee into a delectable gradient going from white to grey to brown and black. The third skein (Ambient) surprised me - I LOVE it and I am not a red person. Luckily I have 8 more ounces of that fibre to keep for myself :D
I also listed this super cozy infinity scarf I crocheted from 100% baby alpaca. It is such a gorgeous colour and can be worn many ways. These cowls/scarves are a must have accessory in my wardrobe. One main benefit of this one is that it isn't bulky, so you can wear it at work without feeling like you left some outerwear on. Classy and warm <3
I didn't have much left after the Etsy Holiday Pop-up Market but I did a bit of a shop update with some yarns and hats - including the original Frosty Morning hat! I've been holding onto it hoping to keep it for myself but I've never worn it and I hate to see it go unused. Its crocheted from Noro Kochoran which is a wool/silk/angora blend - super luxurious! The cloche hat is a new style for me. I've added some handspun buttons as a bit of a detail on the side. The slouchy brown wool hat is similar to my other slouchy crocheted hats but with a cute nest button. The yarns are spun from fibres I have been hoarding in my stash as they are just so gorgeous. More to come :D
I updated my shop with 4 skeins this week
Bijoux - Merino/Yak/Silk
The Tell Tale Heart - Shetland
The Lone Gunmen - Dorset
Sweater Weather - Wensleydale
Bijoux is a super luxury blend of fibres and it was N-plyed. I wanted to mix the colours slightly but not too much. The Tell Tale Heart was spun from some fibre I have had in my stash for quite some time. I love the colours and this Shetland was probably the best I've spun. The big, fluffy, bulky skein in the middle was my favourite of the week. Dorset is a down breed and a first for my shop. A very prairie fibre, often overlooked but I LOVED how it turned out despite the fibre prep, which gave me a few problems. Another X-Files related colourway name. And finally, the last skein listed was a nice lustrous long wool; Wensleydale. I kept it as a single, but spun it softly. Although a great tapestry yarn or textile yarn, I was thinking shawls, and the like because of its wonderful drape.
I have also reinstated my sheep study and you can read all about Cormo in that section.
I have been working on spindling the kit I got from Spin Off Magazine. The project I have in mind is the FFSSA Sheep and Spindle Fair Isle Hat by Theresa Gygi I've finished with the Falkland on my Bosworth spindle and for the first time was successful with Andean plying. Yes, my middle finger turned purple but i was proud of myself for winding all the yarn off and into a bracelet with no tangles or any issues at all. After plying I got 129 yards of fingering weight yarn. Onto the Yak which I am going to use my Malcolm FIelding Dervish for. More pics to come!
I enjoyed this slow process. It was very gratifying when I finished spinning and was able to start plying. To make my plying ball I wound the yarn from each spindle into my ball winder. I used my spindle bowl and help my spindles carefully to get all the spun singles off.
I plied this skein on my brand new I Love Spindlez spindle that my friend Kat's husband made.
I've already been thinking about my next spindle project. I'm leaning towards a gradient :D
I am working on a new spindle challenge for myself. I have these wonderful rolags I got from Natually Knitty on Etsy and I am spinning one a night. As I mentioned on Facebook, I am using this time to unwind and relax after a long day of work. I have 5.5 oz of fibre and it will take me about a month to complete spinning all the rolags. The fibre content is Shetland, Merino, Falkland and Polwarth - what a great blend!
I started out using one of my Glindles which I reviewed in this post, and I have 9 rolags spun on this spindle so far. 22 more to go.
I have been taking pictures every night and posting my progress on my Facebook page. Its hard sometimes because night pictures are never that great, so I thought I would post an weekly update on my blog here.
At the end of spinning, I will 2 ply the singles and I'm not sure what I will do with the yarn ~ project wise. Probably a shawl :P I have been inspired by a couple people and their spinning to shawl projects.
Rolags are great to spin with, they are easy to transport and spin on the go as you can throw a couple in your spindle bag - no need to bring them all. They are easy to spin from and will create a nice woolen yarn.
I found this spindle bag at the Fibre & Finery sale I participated in last November. It was made by Kathy Woodcock, who is well know in the city here for her unique hand stamped bags with flowers from her garden. She is a fellow guild member and an amazing weaver. Her bag fits my spindle and rolags perfectly.
So far I am quite enjoying the process which is different for me as I am usually a product spinner. It feels nice to take it slow.
What spindling projects are you working on?
New handspun added to my Etsy Shop today. It is Shetland fibre, plied with Corriedale. Both these wools combined create a very versatile, durable yarn that would be awesome for outerwear like mitts, hats and sweaters. I quite like working with Shetland, and have added more if it to my fibre stash so be on the look out.
I also have these beautiful, vibrant braids which I purchased from my favourite dyer Kim, from The Wacky Windmill. I can't wait to spin these into yarns as see what they become :D
You can see how soft this yarn is! Merino/Angora - a super luxurious blend perfect for heartfelt gifts or something amazingly special for you <3
I have updated the shop with some more handspun as well as different Spinner Starter Kit Fibres. I will be taking everything with me to Saskatoon next weekend for the first Etsy Made in Canada Day. Its a really cool idea for people who have Etsy shops. On Saturday Sept 27th, there will be pop-up shops happenening all over Canada and I will be participating. If you are in the Saskatoon area, come see my yarns and handmade items up close. I will be at Le Relais (103 - 308 4th Ave N) from 10 - 5. Hope to see you there!
This HUGE skein is made from the softest Falkland wool combined with happy colours and a cozy feel. All 8 oz will make you a selfish knitter, but that's ok :D
I met Carla in my Learn to Crochet class at Cindy-Rella's. Her fun attitude and genuine interest to learn new skills was very encouraging. She also took a spinning wheel class from me and was very determined to give it her best shot. She did awesome. She bought a wheel from our friend Susan and took off running. She joined the Regina Weavers and Spinners Guild and we have been hanging out at many of the monthly Fibre Nights as well.
Carla is about to have her baby any time now. I wanted to make her something nice for her son and knew the perfect handspun to use. This yarn is a superwash Corriedale so it will be easy to take care of yet will stay durable and last until long after her baby grows out of it. The colours are baby blue, light green, orange, gold and a sage-y green. Great boy colours.
I chose to knit a vest because it is a great layering item, and it will keep her baby warm without being too hot. The pattern is called Pebble by Nikol Lohr. It's wonderful project to showcase handspun because it is a simple looking pattern with a garter stitch border and yoke. The vest buttons up down the side and on one shoulder so it will be easy for him to get in and out of. My friend Hilary made one of these for her son when he was born and it just looked so cute on him! It's an easy pattern and you can adjust the size pretty easily.
It is super nice to give a handspun, handknit item to someone who really appreciates it. Can't wait to see the little cutie wearing his new vest.
Today's shop update is for a wonderful blend of Merino/Bamboo & Nylon. This is a nice, 3 ply worsted weight yarn that will work for both men and women. Click the picture above to be taken to the listing.
Today's Fibre Update is for a super soft skein of Polwarth. It's called Scheherazade because the colours are rich and exotic much like the stories she told. Click the above picture to be taken to the listing for more details.
Maker: Ed Tabachek
Weight: 37 g / 1 1/4 oz
Length: 11" Shaft
The sample I spun was comprised of Merino, mill ends and angelina from CrochetbyKa in the colourway "Snow Day".
I purchased this spindle at the Manitoba Fibre Festival last year and I was very happy to see Tabachek spindles for sale once again. Despite my iffy feelings on Russian spindle, this one really called to me. As you can see the wood is really quite eye catching and I thought it was really unique, not to mention I didn't have a Tabachek Russian in my collection and I HAD to have one.
These concentric circles are a signature of Tabachek spindles.
Ed usually uses very unique woods in his spindles. Whether you love natural grained woods or colourful combinations you can find both with Tabackek. He is very good at choosing combos that work well together.
The length is just perfect, it's comfortable to spin while sitting. You can pack on quite a bit of fibre without feeling like you have too much to handle. The shaft doesn't feel like it is so thin it will snap on you but I would be careful when traveling with it or throwing it in your bag without a hard case around it.
The tip has been tapered enough to make spinning off its point pretty easy. It's not so sharp that bits of the tip will break off and you don't risk stabbing yourself. Again, I would still be careful when packing it, and make sure you have protective tubing around the tip - but mostly that is just a good habit to get into with any spindle.
The wood has quite a beautiful shine to it and when tilted in the correct lighting you can really see it. It's a nice contrast against the dark grain. There are also very tiny holes in the wood that make it look like a walnut shell. I like that.
I found there is a bit of a wobble on it when it is bare but once I had some fibre on it the wobble disappeared. The shape of the bulb at the base of the spindle seems to be the right size for the length of the shaft. The tip spins smoothly on both wooden and pottery bowls.
This spindle is lightweight, but still feels dense enough so you don't have to worry about it going flying from your lap when you give it a good spin. Depending on your fibre preparation, you could definitely spin a very fine yarn on this spindle.
Length of spin: 7.8 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: Quite good
Looks: Very stunning
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
If you love to knit lace shawls and you love to spin your own yarn then consider a Tabachek Russian. You would be able to pack on a decent amount of yardage without feeling overloaded. I can guarantee that you will have people walking by asking to see both your work and the beauty of the spindle. Another reason I bought this spindle is because I walked by a woman spinning on hers and I stopped to ask her what her opinion was on his Russian style spindles. She said she loved them and then looked at me matter-of-factly and said "they're the best".
For the Friday Fibre update I have added a skein which is made from a super awesome blend of Alpaca, Merino and Silk (50/30/20). 256 yards of pure bliss. Click the above picture for my details and pictures.
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!
Wow, Fibre Week once again was a dream. I attended the whole week and it went without any problems at all. Lots of fun and I met lots of new, cool people and got to see smiling familiar faces too. Where do I start?
I traveled with two amazing women; Deb Behm and Coleen Nimetz. Lucky me, because I got to converse with experts in the fibre field, learn and laugh all the way to Olds. Deb, taught Master Spinners Level 1 this year and had a very full class. She taught me how to spin and has been my mentor ever since. If you are looking to read up on her, you can check her blog and she also has an article on twist published in the most recent Ply magazine. Coleen, who usually teaches Level 6 and is one, if not the one, of the leading experts on silk in North America. She also has lots of recent articles published in several magazines including Ply, Spin-Off and more (check them out).
The first few days were spent getting settled and pouring over my books (and maybe checking the market). The Wool Show was on monday and I was getting very excited anticipating the whole thing. I judged 44 fleeces in several different classes. Since this is the 3rd year I have helped out or have been involved in the Wool Show, I had an idea of the types of breeds I would find there but cross breeds always force me to think just a little bit harder and there was one fleece in particular that made me laugh to myself because it was such a mix; it was a Romanov, Suffolk, Cotswold, Jacob cross. So, that means its a primitive breed, that is double coated, which also has characteristics of down breeds AND long wools. Yeah. It made the cogs in my head turn a little more then they are used to. It was a lovely fleece and it won a first place ribbon in its class. There were beautiful Shetland fleeces, Dorset, Corriedale, Jacob and BFL. Cotswold, Arcott, Suffolf, Tunis, Cheviot and crosses of each and every one in between. My friend Val Fiddler from Wooly Wool of the West and co-coordinator of the sheep show at The Grasslands Sheep Exhibition in Drake won Grand Champion for her BFL fleece! So if you are looking for some really good fleeces you know where to turn. She also has Black Welsh, Corriedale, Cotswold and more in her flock.
There was a Cotswold fleece from Manitoba producer Gerry Oliver, that was absolutely stunning. It scored only a one mark less than the BFL pictured above. When I flipped the fleece over to look at its lustre, the people in the audience gasped at its shine! Below is a gallery of pictures from the show and the auction. Sorry about the poor quality of some of them, the fluorescent lighting in the building wasn't ideal for photos.
The auction is always a very stressful time. My hands were shaking by the end of it and I wasn't even bidding on anything! You can see the love for fibre right here and I did enjoy seeing some very excited faces once the time was called.
Once the show was over I got to relax a bit. As some of you know, Kim from The Wacky Windmill and her lovely minion Donna were there. Two of my favourite people <3 I got to spend lots of time with them, especially Donna and I hovered around their booth for the majority of the time the market was open. I came home with a couple items; Alpaca/Merino/Silk in the "Kiss This" colourway, Merino/Cashmere/Silk "Remember That Time..." (luxury!) and a skein of superwash Merino in "The Hollow" colourway which I won in one of Kim's KAL's recently. I also coudn't go home without some Painted Desert yarn from Pam's Wooly Shoppe, a travel niddy noddy and some fabric from"The Quilting Bee" (in the town of Olds) which I have no clue what I will do with it. Every year students receive a fibre week tote, that is different every year. Donna also made me this lovely project bag which had a lavendar sachet and handmade lavendar soap inside! Have I ever mentioned how wonderful Donna is?
I may have also come home with a Suffolk X fleece..... maybe
I read an article about a spinning wheel collection donated to the Olds Museum and had to go check it out while I was there. Donna and I went and saw over 45 wheels that had belonged to a man who's goal was to open a museum with them. Among all the very unique and cool wheels were also over 20 drum carders, distaffs, mirrors, spinning wheel parts and also his anvil collection and other oddities. It is quite amazing all the different styles of wheels he had, in all shapes and sizes. Many of them still work including one that had been charred in a fire. There were a couple wheels on display during Fibre Week at the college. All of these wheels are being restored and photographed by a professional photographer and will be put up for auction in the very near future. Some of them are already being added to the museums website and if you are looking to purchase any of these wheels, you can find out all the information you need here. Click on the pictures in the gallery below to get a sneak peak on what wheels will be available.
As usual there are always social events in the evenings and I attended all of them. There was a pub night on Monday, Spin-in on Tuesday and the Fashion Show on Wednesday followed the Fleece and Silent Auctions. An item of Deb's that was in the show was her handspun/handkint cotton sweater which was featured in one of Kate Larson's articles in Spin-Off. Zach Webster, who is the new Program Co-ordinator even tried his hand at spinning during the Spin-In. Looks like he loved it.
I did get my spinning projects finished while I was there. I spun 5 skeins; Shetland, SW Merino/Nylon, Corriedale, Romney and SW Merino/Cashmere/Nylon. I will be listing these skeins for sale in my shop if you are interested.
And what would a blog post about Olds College be without several beautiful photos of the campus grounds? Enjoy
And while I was in the wetlands, there were other photographers there taking pictures, look at this amazing one!
On the last day of Fibre Week, there was a plant sale. How could we say no? If you've ever thought about attending, I strongly suggest you come next year. Fibre Week 2015 will be June 19 - 26, see everyone again next year!!
Believe the hype...
Maker: Bristlecone Artisian Heirlooms
Weight: 29 g / 1 oz
Length: 10.5" Shaft
Woods: Hawaiian Koa
My 21 yard sample is BFL wool in the colourway "Lucrezia" by Shadawyn Fibre Arts.
Glindle = glass/spindle, behold its beauty
These one-of-a-kind spindles are highly sought after and for good reason. They are both pretty AND spin like a dream. Each focal is unique and jaw-dropping amazing. The Bristlecone shop is only updated a few times a year and when it is the spindles are sold in seconds. If you are looking for one, you can post an ISO (In Search Of) on Ravelry, which might be your best bet and that was the way I was able to acquire this spindle. My lucky stars must have been shining that day.
This particular focal is very mysterious and was hard to capture with my camera. I find these spindles spin best in a glass or pottery bowl and there is a b s o l u t l e y no wobble with this one. Glindles feel very comfortable in your hands and the sound they produce when the glass is spinning in a bowl makes it sound like its singing
I'm very careful when storing this Glindle and always put it away when not in use and protect the end with a piece of plastic tubing. With that said, I'm not so afraid of breaking this spindle to not use it at any given moment. Its very well made and I have heard the customer support is wonderful in the case of an unfortunate accident. These spindles were made to be used and once you spin with one, you won't want to put it down.
The shaft is completely smooth and makes the grain shine like gold. It is tapered enough to spin off of yet its not so pointy that it may split. Your eyes will be drawn to the detailing near the focal which is the perfect resting place for the gem of the spindle. This focal changes colour depending on the light and I have seen, red, gold, green and orange (it's very warming) The tip is smooth and the roundish shape of the focal helps keep the spindle spinning for a long time. The detail and thought put into these spindles is astounding.
Glindles are the Cadillac of support spindles and heirloom pieces. You can't help but smile while spinning on one and they are the reason many people get into support spindling. They are a huge addition to any collection and if you don't want to take my word for it, just check out their large following on Ravelry and don't forget to add your ISO to the list and don't be offended when others laugh at your request. You are not alone, they too are in search of Glindles themselves.
Length of spin: 22.8 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: Excellent
Overall Rating: 10/10
Fully functional works of art. These are the best of the best. Worth every penny.