I have been busy spinning for the Blue Hills FIbre Festival this weekend. It's in Carberry, Manitoba on June 11th and runs from 10 - 4:30. I will also have some new spinner starter kits. I hope to see you there!
After 4 years of not loving the decreases in my Bankhead hat pattern, I have re-vamped them and updated the hat to include more sizes; from baby through to XL adult. Bankhead is FREE and you can find the pattern on Ravelry and in the patterns section of this site.
This hat has been knit over 2250 times and works great in solids, semi-solids, striped, handspun, tonal and speckled yarns. It's nice a quick and can be knit in a weekend. I hope you like it and keep an eye out for some newly released patterns scheduled for this fall.
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.
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!
I crocheted this hat using merino I dyed to get a pebbled look but I needed to take better pics. Merino is the softest of all the wool breeds so this yarn isn't itchy at all. Hat measures 18.5" around and 6" from crown to brim. I was babysitting my niece & nephews this past weekend so took that time to do better justice for this cute hat. This is Kale, he originally said he didn't want to be my model but luckily changed his mind. It was his idea to pretend to read a book to make the pictures look more natural haha.
I made a few of these hats and just have this one left so I decided to knock the price down by 40%. You can find it in my Etsy Shop.
Well, after a whirlwind trip to Toronto I am back and filled with information from the Etsy Captains' Summit put on by Etsy Canada.
We started it off by waking up at 2 am so we could be at the airport for our very early flight. As a very nervous flyer, I thought this might help because I would be too tired to stress about the flight. Well I was wrong. It was a very long day as we were up for over 24 hours because we went to the Sony Centre to see Puscifer play their hearts out and man, was it ever worth it. Excellent, excellent show, and likely one of the best I have been to. Maynard James Keenan is truly an amazing artist and he and his band entertained us for a full 3 hours. This venue is more of a centre for performing arts and that is just the caliber that we saw. The opening "act" comprised of a luchador wrestling match with 5 wrestlers. Now, even though this was more of a play, they stunts these people did were pretty spectacular and the whole thing was pretty funny.
The stage was set up with Maynard and Carina (both do vocals) in the middle of the wrestling ring with the bassist and lead guitarist one one side and the keyboardist on the other. The drummer was right front and centre. All the members of this band have a very solid history in music and many either come from Tool, Ministry or A Perfect Circle. Flawless performance. I only have the above photo to show for it because the band was very adamant that there was to be no photos or recordings of any kind. If you even brought out your phone to text you got a warning then ejected from the theater. Not only were there signs posted about this everywhere, the event staff were also telling people as they came through the doors and the band played a little movie (it was well done and pretty funny) before their set to remind people once again. I appreciated this because there is nothing worse then trying to enjoy a show and having all the people around you lighting up the place with their phones held up and shining in your eyes. I obeyed the rules and got to enjoy the show :)
We walked back to the hotel in the rain but it was ok. (I actually like the rain) I wondered if it would be safe to walk downtown close to midnight and sure enough it was fine! Big cities don't sleep and there were lots of people out and about carrying on with their own business. I found this kinda cool because in my city, I don't feel safe walking around downtown at midnight, but Regina isn't the 3rd largest city in North America.
We had a busy 2 days with a full agenda with breaks for group work and snacks. We even had Etsy Admin from Berlin, London and the USA attend. I listened to very informative and interesting presentations about design, team building, PR, the art of negotiation, fellowships, partnerships, and more! Canon Canada is one of our sponsors this year and they put us in groups and we got to try out some pretty cool cameras while learning about how to take better pictures.
We got to go inside Etsy's office and have some fun finding goodies and taking fun pictures. This is what is painted on the wall right when you walk in, and that's what this summit was all about. We even enjoyed an awesome meal and wine after the first 8 hour day.
You can check out some pictures from our summit on Instagram using #EtsyCaptainsSummit. Here are some taken during the summit.
We ended the last day with cupcakes of course! It was even a part of the agenda.
St Lawrence Market and The Distillery District
On the weekend, we walked to the St Lawrence market and I was amazed at all the merchants had to offer. Meat and cheese galore. Lots of selection and it all looked SO good. It has been running since 1803! I had the BEST hot chocolate I've ever had here.
The Distillery District was really neat, it was like travelling back in time. They used to make Whiskey here from 1857 - 1927 and it was abandoned until 2002 when Mill St Brewery moved in. The streets weren't even paved and they brought in a bunch of bricks from torn down warehouses in Chicago to paved the roads. Mill St Brewery is situated in one of the old Tank Houses. The whole area is filled with unique shops and good restaurants.
We stopped at several coffee shops as we walked along and Aroma was one of my favourites. This is where I had my second best hot chocolate ever. The people in Toronto really take their barista skills seriously! At Aroma, you got a HUGE mug (bowl) of coffee and a chocolate with every order. It also gave me time to write in my travel journal.
It was a great trip with lots of good food/drink, friends and sights. If you would like to hear more about the summit and our plans for Etsy Sk you can tune in tonight (April 14th) to a live Google Hangout on Air that Erin, Elaine and I will be doing. You can find the link here.
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.
This time next week I will be off to Toronto to attend the Etsy Team Captains Summit. It is a very intense yet informative gathering with many Etsy leaders from across Canada. I learn a lot from these people and I gain a lot of insight about upcoming Etsy news and promotions. I'm pretty excited because Canon Canada will be there and I'm hoping to learn more about taking better pictures.
I will be posting about my experiences while I am there so keep watching.
Jeremy and I will be checking out some of the sites and enjoying the big city. The day we arrive we will be listening to Maynard James Keenan (mostly known as the vocalist in Tool and A Perfect Circle) with his latest project; Puscifer.
Click on the above band pic to watch a video of one of my current favourite songs (language warning)
I'm hoping to see Milla Jovovich who sings in a couple songs *fingers crossed* We are also planning to check out some of the markets and a few obscure shops. What should we see and do while we are there and more importantly what knitting project should I bring??
After knitting an unbelievable amount of brioche when I worked on the 2 projects I knit for Dean Renwick and Sask Fashion Week last year (which I just realized now I didn't really post about my process.... new blog post idea) I picked another brioche project to work on. I chose the Basic Brioche Loop Cowl by Handmade by SMINE. It is a great pattern because it has instructions for a longer, skinnier version or a shorter, wider version which is the one I made and all using just one skein of sock yarn.
I had this luscious blend of Merino/Silk/Cashmere in my stash that I picked up from Kim of The Wacky Windmill and it was the perfect yarn for this cowl. This is her Ethereal sock yarn and it is so cozy and soft around my neck.
I cast on using the long tail cast on and bound off in my normal way. For seaming the edges, I used a crochet hook and single crocheted the edges together. I could have done a provisional cast on but thought of it after. I would like to make the other longer version of this cowl and will do the provisional cast on next time and a three needle bind off.
I used up the majority of the yarn and only had a couple yards left. I always worry about running out of yarn and I could have knit a couple extra rows - darn!
This cowl took me about a month to knit but I was only working on it periodically to start. I got down to business when I saw Kim's Brioche Challenge posted in her group which gave me some extra incentive.
The colours of this yarn are hard to capture. I have edited these photos to get a more accurate representation of its beauty. It is mostly fuchsia with a bubblegum pink spotted throughout and a bit of yellow every now and again. The colourway is called Cherry Cobbler :P
I have been eyeing up all the brioche patterns from Stephen West. Especially the Askews Me shawl. If you want to give brioche a try this is the site and the video that made it all clear to me. Sometimes new terminology and weird symbols on a chart can make a new project look pretty daunting. I am a huge advocate of just jumping in and trying out new techniques even if they scare you because in most cases, the technique wasn't hard at all and you avoided a pattern you wanted to try. It is relaxing to knit, it makes a nice cushy fabric and can be done in one or two colours. Here is a good starting point if you want to try it out.
I have recently joined the "planner culture" and have become quite obsessed with everything I am seeing on Instagram and such. I want it all - but of course I don't NEED it all. Since I am a very busy person and aside from working at my 40 hour/week day job, I am also juggling 3 other jobs as well as my own business, I was looking for a way to get more organized. I have lots to talk about but not a lot of time to devote to writing about it. I would like to change that and I thought if I have everything written down in one place rather then scratched on several scraps of paper I would be better at sharing what I want before it's become old news. This is a desk in our upstairs hallway beside my studio which used to be a place for me to put things instead of putting them away. It has now become my new spot for writing in my journal and planner related activities.
I was searching online to find a nice layout for a blog planner that would suit my business. I found a really awesome one on the Living Well Spending Less website that is good for a whole year! I found this 5.5" X 8.5" binder at staples for $6 (gorgeous purple colour) and I printed off the blog planner to go inside. It's no Filofax but its great for my budget and if you aren't sure on what size planner binder to get this makes it easy to try before spending more money. I used some paper I got in one of my Planner Society kits (awesome subscription!!) for the front cover.
I got some dividers with the binder ($4) and organized the sections. The first portion is for my long term goals and my year at a glance. The second divider is for my monthly blogging goals, my weekly post planner and my monthly brainstorming. Breaking the work down like this helps the process feel less daunting and helps me schedule my time better. This blog planner gives lots of room for post ideas and a lists to make sure I am sharing to social media and making sure I check my spelling and write everything I wanted to include as well as adding the correct pictures etc. The third section is my monthly stat tracker. This is important to me because I like to see how people are finding me and what they are interested in reading. I can use this info to make my content better. For instance I see that lots of people find my webpage by searching "spindles" and this tells me I need to get back on board with my spindle reviews!
I also have a handy password keeper and connections section so I can write down the contact info of important people in my business projects.
I am all set to get down to it and share some cool things with you! I hope you will join me more regularly and we can discuss all the fibre-y things we love.
Thank you SO much to everyone who came out to support local artisans at the Etsy Sask Bring on Spring sale yesterday! It was a wonderful day and I was happy to talk to lots of people about my process, my yarns and wool in general. I met a lot of fellow Etsy Sask team members and even Elaine, who is one of our Team Leaders. Erin, Elaine and I organized this event and were happy to see so many people supporting our very talented bunch of makers. We had something for everyone and I even came home with a few goodies myself.
This Necessary Clutch Wallet above has been on my list for a while and it has yarn balls in it!! I saw it in Dear Leora Designs' booth and I quickly grabbed it and had to have it! Kathryn even said she had me in mind when she made it :D SO perfect.
I read on Ravelry today that Tom Forrester and his wife were killed in a car accident a couple weeks ago. Such sad news :( Another fine craftsman gone too soon. I will be spinning on my favourite Forrester sheep spindle tonight.
I also own one other Forrester which is the Orchard version. I coveted this spindle for quite some time until one came up in a destash. I feel very lucky to own a couple of Tom's fine spindles.
Etsy Sask Team has been organizing another sale. Erin, Elaine and I will all be selling at this one. It is on March 13th at the Saskatoon Farmers Market 10 - 3. Click on the picture above to be taken to our Facebook event page and read our vendor profiles.
I have picked out a bunch of new fibres from my stash to spin for this sale. I am hoping to have 30 new skeins in bright, spring colours.
I've also got some nice Easter egg felted soaps :) Hope to see you there!
This current favourite is a kiss of tart citrus + crushed eucalyptus
This rinse-free formula is perfect for washing your laciest lingerie, your softest sweaters, hand-made quilts and even baby clothes. Soak is designed with fabric-friendly ingredients that revitalize fibers so they look great and last longer. Soak is safe for both hand and machine washing, including HE. Great for blocking.
Use Soak on lingerie, swimwear, knits, quilts, workout wear, dance wear and all the stuff you love most! Even your dog!
12oz bottles: 75 washes
I've been working through my spin kit from Spin Off and wanted to share how I wind my spun yarn from the spindle. I learned about this trick in one of my classes I took with Deb. I think Susan also had a hand in this ingenious trick. This is my set up in my studio with my ball winder to one side.
So, all you need is a clamp and a couple fishing swivels. The clamp was purchased from Peavy Mart or Canadian Tire - any hardware store really (or even the dollar store) and the swivels are super cheap and can be found anywhere. I just attached a couple end to end and attached on end to the clamp. It's as simple as just clamping your rig to something and hanging the hook of your spindle into the free swivel.
I hold onto the shaft of the spindle so it has a bit of tension and wind off the yarn on my ball winder - or niddy noddy after plying. Simple yet effective. Here is a quick video of it in action.
If you are interested in how I wind yarn off of my support spindles, I do something similar which you can read about in this previous blog post. How do you wind off your yarn?
I got my English wool spun, and after plying I have 116 yards. I used my Bosworth spindle for this skein. One more fibre to go - Alpaca!
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 have been really inspired by all the people spinning on their turkish spindles in the past little while. I bought a large Capar spindle at the Manitoba Fibre Festival this past fall and have been wanting to get spinning on it. I have four 1 oz bumps of fibre that I am planning to spin separately and combine into a project (likely a shawl). I really need to work on my winding but these people have given me a push. Starting at top left: Phyberphreak's TDF 2014 project, Allison (ASJKnits) (Bottom) Julie (aelllis) and Joanne Seiff. Seasoned turkish spindle users - please let me know how you got so good with your winding.
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 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.
I had a great time in Saskatoon this weekend! Jeremy and I met a friend of ours who was down from Edmonton and we had a great supper at Samurai. My first time trying Teppanyaki and man, was it amazing! It was also really great to be able to hang out a bit more with Erin and get to know her a little better, We have talked quite a bit on Facebook but never really had the chance to have coffee and talk.
On Sunday I was helping Erin, the Team Captain for Etsy Sask to organize a Holiday Pop-up Market. We did it in 2 weeks and had about 25 vendors. I brought some new skeins, hats, buttons and felted soap along my regular items. It was such a great day and the Farmers Market where we set up was a wonderful venue! Thank you to everyone who came out! We hope do do more of these types of sales.
The world lost one of its best on Dec 10, 2015. Deb, one of my dearest friends lost her battle with cancer this week. This wasn't her first run in with the horrible disease. She had fought breast cancer a few years earlier and wow did she amaze me with her strength and positive attitude. I am feeling a ton of emotions but I wanted to share some of my fond memories about Deb and what a dramatic difference she made in my life.
I met Deb in 2007 when I wandered into Golden Willow and started my stumble down the rabbit hole. I took several spinning classes taught by her and I couldn't get enough. She was incredibly knowledgeable and I looked up to her so much and I have never encountered anyone who taught like she did. She always came to class with an abundance of fibres, books, magazines, tools etc and handed them out to whoever wanted them. She wanted you to try as many things as you could so you could see how different fibres spun, how they worked with other fibres, different techniques you could use to spin certain ways, or to make certain objects, secret hacks you could do to your wheel to make spinning a specific fibre or weight of yarn easier. She let us try out her wheels and her stash, and I am forever grateful. She wanted you to follow the rules - then break them. She told us that we were spinning (or knitting or whatever), we didn't have to go by the book. We were creating, and making yarn and that's all that matters. There are right and wrong ways to do things but that doesn't mean they were the best methods for the projects we had in mind. No wonder she always had waiting lists for her classes.
This is the first skein I spun in her class. When I took it off the wheel I was so happy because believe it or not, it hung balanced. I thought "yay, I made a perfectly balanced skein", but as you can see, its is SO underplied. I ended up having to re-ply this skein on my first spindle and I learned my lesson - which is of course exactly what she wanted. From that day on, I practiced how much twist to put in my singles and how much to add in my plying. I now always slightly overply my skeins to get the results I want. I took this yarn and knit a sample and made a spindle case for my beloved first spindle - a Tabachek, which came highly recommended by Deb as her favourite spindles.
She gave me confidence and never made me feel like the mistakes I made in my work were a big deal, more of a lesson. "You tried it, you saw what happened and now you know". I took every class she taught at Golden Willow just because she was teaching them. I had to be around Deb and I wanted to learn as much as I could from her. She is my mentor and everything I know about spinning I learned from her. She is the reason I have so many spindles in my collection. She first taught me spinning on spindles and I have always had a love and connection to them. I would see her spindle spinning on so many occasions, no matter where we were and loved their portability and her ability to get so much done on such an amazing little tool. We would discuss and compare spindles, trade them, enable eachother and I have continued to cherish them because of her inspiration.
She loved doing experiments, whether it be with natural dyes, energized singles, drafting techniques or which fibres were really the best for making bags just to name a few. Sometimes she was surprised by the outcome and sometimes she did them to prove certain people wrong. I highly recommend you read about some of her projects on her blog - Heart Like a Wheel. She wrote with purpose and right from the heart. Spend time reading her blog, you will gain a lot of insight.
She was often published in magazines like Spin-Off and Ply and her work can be found all around the web. Not only was she an accomplished spinner, one of her other loves was tapestry weaving. She taught classes for the guild and was the Artist in Residence at the Neil Balkwill for many years. People would drive up from the states in the middle of winter to learn about fibre from Deb.
Yoga was another huge part of her life. She held Yoga for Fibre Artist workshops and even my husband came to one because he had heard such great things about these sessions (and he doesn't spin or knit). She often said yoga was her religion and she found it to be very helpful and soothing in her everyday life.
She also talked so much about Olds Fibre Week and told me I HAD to go. Since the first year I attended, I haven't missed a year yet! I remember talking to an upper level master spinner in my first year there and they were all excited because they were going to be learning about blending fibres for spinning and I thought to myself "Wow, Deb taught us that stuff years ago!" and I felt how lucky we were in Regina to have someone like her in our fibre community. Deb taught a couple levels of Master Spinner and I have to say, the students she taught are so incredibly lucky to have learned what they did from Deb. She was an outsider because she was the first (I believe) Master Spinner instructor who hadn't taken the program. She's THAT good :) She was working her way through the levels on her own and I enjoyed seeing her homework and reading about her efforts and mistakes along the way.
I shared a townhouse with Deb in 2014 when we were at Fibre Week together and we drove up to Olds for a few years. During the long car rides and in the evenings and mornings we talked a lot. She always told me about her kids; Matt and Alicia and man, was she ever proud of them. Matt is an AMAZING musician and she was always promoting his shows and travelling across provinces to see him perform. We went to see him play this year in a Battle of the Bands contest, and as our jaws were on the floor over his talent, Deb's face just had a look like *I told you so*. She was just beaming. Her daughter Alicia has a huge heart and soul. Deb often told me about how she was always helping those in need and how she is a HUGE animal lover taking care of feral cats and doing everything she could whenever and however. She told me how happy she was that Alicia was her own person and how she was doing right in this world. She smiled so much when she talked of her family. I confided in Deb a lot too, as I looked up to her so much and felt a motherly sense coming out of her as she gave me advice and listened to me when I needed an ear. She always had time and never made me feel like she wasn't interested. She was also a big supporter of my accomplishments and that always meant so much to me. She even came to the Etsy sale I organized in Sept even though she wasn't feeling well.
Her and I often went out and did our Random Acts of Knitting (RAK) as she called it, and we placed our handknits around the city for people to find and hopefully bring a smile or some comfort to those who did. She wouldn't admit to her being one of the people doing this but she was so humble. She would wrap up a project knit from handspun (cashmere, silk, angora, wool) along with a encouraging note and a granola bar in packages, she was so, so generous. I would even joke and tell my husband to follow close by so he could snatch us these bundle so I could keep them ;P
She has shared several of her patterns on Ravelry, and I am casting on the Prairie Sunset Shawl with some spindle spun yarn.
Last year I had told her I wanted to grow a lemon tree from seeds and how I read that organic lemon seeds have the best luck. She started saving me seeds from the lemons she would add to her water and gave me a bag of them the next time she saw me. I planted those seeds a few months ago when I had heard she was sick again in hopes that as the seeds grew and became healthy, she would as well. My seeds sprouted slowly but surely and now I have 6 seeds growing and can't wait to see what fruit they bear all thanks to Deb.
I could really continue this blog post forever and ever, it doesn't even scratch the surface of how Deb has touched my life. She is the reason I am where I am with Knit Natural and she is the reason I fell so hard for fibre. She did so much for the fibre community and inspired everyone, everywhere she went and those who have been lucky enough to know her are nodding in agreement. I wish I could put into words how much she means to me, I am SO proud of her and will miss her terribly. As I sit in my studio, I look around and see all the fibre, spindles, books, magazines, bags and yarn that she has gifted me and I feel comforted that I am still surrounded by Deb.
I have been "away" for a bit, mentally and physically. In the last few months I have been so burnt out and exhausted I haven't felt like doing much of anything. I have suffered from depression and anxiety for over 15 years and it has hit me pretty strong recently. I have also been fighting an infection of some sort. It was pneumonia in September which I thought went away and came back even stronger in October. I needed to make sure I wasn't sick because I was scheduled to have my gall bladder removed and already had to reschedule once and I had been waiting years for the surgery. I finally had it removed on the 12th and everything seemed to go pretty smoothly but a couple days later when I was just relaxing on the couch, I had the most intense pain I ever felt in my abdomen. It was so bad I was crying in pain and couldn't catch my breath. This scared me because I have asthma and I started hyperventilating. My husband called EMS and they took me to the hospital. I was told that maybe a clamp came off and bile was leaking into my system or a stone escaped during surgery. We spent the night and most of the next day in the ER waiting for an ultrasound to see what was going on. The ultrasound was excruciating because the technician had to press down hard on my fresh incisions. Good news is, there was nothing out of the ordinary. They surgeon told me that it was likely some bile that leaked into my system and it wouldn't happen again but unfortunately my white blood cell count was 190000. I spent the next 4 days in the hospital while they tried to get my infection down. Leave it to me an my luck to have complications in a surgery that is performed on millions of people (lol). I have been recovering at home and feeling useless as I am used to keeping busy. My mind has been very active but my body has been telling me to rest. I am learning that I'm not invincible and I need to slow down a bit. I had to miss out on Fibre & Finery and a few classes I was supposed to teach. I am very lucky to have such amazing friends like Marjorie who took over my knitting class while I was in the hospital. I am hoping to get back on my wheel soon and update my Etsy shop.
It's my dad's birthday next week and he is always so hard to buy for because he has everything he needs. I try to knit him something each year because he appreciates the work and time involved. This year I made him a pair of socks. The pattern is Jenny Socks my Cynthia Guggemos. I used 2 balls of Knit Picks Stroll in the colourway Agate Heather. I am really happy with how they turned out.
I wanted to wrap them nicely so I put some cardstock around them with my business card stamp and fibre content stamp and used some festive washi tape I had.