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.
As some of you may know, I teach knitting at Red Fox Creative Studio which is a great place for combining well-being, art, creativity and support. Today I was featured on their blog as the Maker Monday post. I am also going to be teaching another Learn to Knit Class this fall starting in October. It is a 4 week class where you will learn all the basics of knitting including casting on, binding off, knit and purl stitches, simple decreases and increases as well as reading a pattern and using stitch markers. I hope you will join me :)
Alex Richards of October Evening made a beautiful Lookbook featuring all the artisans involved in this collection, click on the cover photo above to check it out
The Flatlands Collection has officially launched! This inaugural collection includes 13 designers from my local fibershed in and around the Canadian Prairies supporting the Manitoba Fibre Festival. All of these designs have been made using yarn/fibre from vendors at this years Manitoba Fibre Festival.
Join us on Ravelry, Facebook and instagram (using the hashtag #flatlandscollection) for a KAL. Official FO posts can be made on the Manitoba Fibre Festival Forum to qualify for a prize. Join us and purchase your patterns between August 1st and 6th to receive a 30% discount (automatic at checkout)
Thank you to U&i / perspective for modelling. photos by Hilori Thompson, Ash Alberg, and Mandy Furney.
The Flatlands Collection has officially launched! This collection includes 13 designers from my local fibershed in and around the Canadian Prairies. All of these designs have been made using yarn/fibre from vendors at this years Manitoba Fibre Festival. I have been waiting to show you my design and here it is! I love versatile patterns that can be worn in a variety of ways. I wanted a meditative pattern that is also very functional yet still stunning with a nice drape.
Aura is part of the Flatlands Collection featured at the 2017 Manitoba Fibre Festival. Join us on Ravelry, Facebook and instagram (using the hashtag #flatlandscollection) for a KAL. Official FO posts can be made on the Manitoba Fibre Festival Forum to qualify for a prize. Join us and purchase your patterns between August 1st and 6th to receive a 30% discount (automatic at checkout)
This generously sized rectangular shawl will become your new go to accessory. Knit on the bias with 3 different skeins, you can play up colours, maximize yardage and wear it in a number of ways!
Aura: is the ever-changing flow of life energy around one’s body, the essence of an individual, an invisible force surrounding a living creature, a breath of air
The stitch patterns lend themselves well to solid colours, stripes, gradients, speckle dyed, tonal, hand painted yarns and handspun!
I am proud to partner with local prairie artisans with this design, including Ally of Dye for Ewe and Ash of Sunflower Knit, in support of the Manitoba Fibre Festival.
- 3 skeins of fingering weight yarn approximately 465 yards each
Dye for Ewe – Fingerlicious 465 yards (425.2 m) 115g Single Ply 100% Merino
Colour A: Can’t See the Forest for the Trees
Colour B: Fall Shadows
Colour C: Plum Dandy
18 stitches X 24 rows = 4” (10 cm) over stockinette unblocked using size US 9 (5.5mm) needles
Before Blocking: 63” (160 cm) length X 21.5” (55 cm) depth
After Blocking: 69” (175 cm) length X 33” (84 cm) depth
Basic knitting and purling, increases and decreases, slipping stitches
Abbreviations and stitches used:
k – knit
k2tog – knit 2 stitches together
kfb – knit into the front and the back of stitch
p – purl
rs – right side
sl – slipped stitch
ssk – slip, slip, knit
ws – wrong side
yo – yarn over
This year, in support of the Manitoba Fibre Festival, they have come up with the great idea to start a pattern collection using designers, dyers and artisans in the Prairie fibreshed. This is the first year and you are in for a treat. 13 designs will be available for purchase starting Aug 1st and I have been following the sneak peaks and I'm super excited to be a part of this project. It is called the Flatlands Collection and if you knit one of the designs and wear it to the festival you get in for free! All weekend!
I am really looking forward to sharing my design with you and will post more about it after the reveal on Aug 1st but it is called Aura and I teamed up with dyer Ally of Dye for Ewe and just LOVE how it turned out. This pattern uses 3 skeins of fingering weight yarn and Ally will have kits available at the festival for purchase as well. These designs will be available on Ravelry as well as at the festival.
Are you interested in learning more about wool fleeces and how to choose a fleece at an auction or wool show?
In this workshop you will learn how to choose a fleece with an end project in mind. We will go over the judging card to see what the judge is looking for in a fleece and what the different wool classes entail. Methods of storing and washing will be discussed as well as different ways to process fleeces. This is a hands on class and will involve a few example fleeces to gain greater insight. Bring a fleece if you have questions! Please bring an apron to protect your clothes.
Cost to register: $35/person
Payable in advance by paypal to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: Golden Willow Alpaca Farm. Thank you to Sharon for providing the perfect backdrop ♥
Time: 1 - 4pm
Class size will be up to 15 people
Join in on the Facebook Event Page
This design is part of Hilori’s Magical Yarnorium Cross Country Canada KAL July 2017 #xccroadtripkal. Head on over to her group to sign up and join in on the fun
From now until my birthday (July 20th) please use coupon code LANDOFLIVINGSKIES for 30% off of this design
This 6 layered cowl is a map of sorts taking you across my province of Saskatchewan. Knit your way along grid roads, passing canola and flax fields, and dipping your toes in one of our abundant freshwater lakes. Travel through the glacier carved valleys and up through the Canadian Shield nestled amongst the trees in the boreal forest up north. The scenery wouldn’t be complete without chasing the never ending horizon and the wide open skies watching the weather roll in.
Hilori’s Magical Yarnorium has dyed up a special colourway for this road trip. This cowl is kit in the round using 6 different stitch patterns to keep your interest, but simple enough to make the perfect travel project.
I finished a crocheted shawl this week that I wanted to share with you. The pattern is Doris Shawl by Kat Goldin. I had started with a G hook and felt the shawl was going to be too small... that's when I actually did a gauge swatch and realized I needed to go up to a J hook. I also didn't work in the back loop of the stitch as I wanted to make this shawl slightly larger without going through too much yarn. I used The Wacky Windmill Tough Stuff Sock yarn in the colourway "Remnants" and Knit Picks Stroll in Butternut. I was working on this with two friends of mine; Donna and Kim, who's shawls are beautiful.
My next project is the Degreenify Shawl by Josh Ryks using Knit Picks Hawthorne Sock yarn in these colours <3
I am also heading to Carberry, Manitoba next weekend for the Blue Hills Fibre Festival. I will be judging the wool show and selling some of my handspun, and other goodies. If you see me, say hi!
I have restocked on Unicorn Power Scour in my Etsy shop - Professional Grade Wool Wash for cleaning your fleeces & raw fibre. 16 oz bottles
Use Power Scour for wool washing and wool cleaning fiber with heavier burdens of grease, wax, suint, dirt and clay, typically found in sheep, goat and bison fibers.
Use lower temperatures, 40°-50°C (104-122°F), for fibers such as Cashmere, Alpaca, Bison ,etc. Use higher temperatures, 50°-55°C (122-131°F), for fibers with more oil/wax or oils (sheep, etc.)
This is the product I use to wash all my fleeces because it is the BEST!
I will be bringing it with me to Blue Hills Fibre Festival next weekend
May 5 - 7 was the Regina Weavers & Spinners Guild Fibre Shindig. It was full of fibre enthusiasts, vendors and a great line up of workshops. I was lucky enough to teach my Fleece to Finish class to a group of fellow members. Some participants had sheep of their own while others wanted to learn more about processing fleeces and what to look for when buying wool at an auction. We went over both judging cars and 3 breeds together and then students judged their own fleeces. It was a great afternoon that just flew by. Thanks to everyone who came out, I love talking about wool and was happy to share my knowledge.
Here are a few more pics taken by Sparkling Medusa Creative Services
After taking a much needed break due to my chronic pain which has been keeping me from doing what I enjoy, I have listed some handspun skeins into my Etsy shop this weekend.
I am also heading back to Toronto this month for my 3rd Etsy Captains Summit with Erin and Elaine. We came home with a lot of new ideas last year so I'm excited to see what this year brings.
My shop was featured on the Etsy SK blog this month! You can read my interview here.
I hope to share some exciting news with you soon regarding some upcoming projects this year so stay tuned for more.
My monthly newsletter will start to show up again in your inboxes soon, thanks for your patience!
I finished my crocheted shawl this week and after blocking took pictures. It turned out just as I had hopped. I wanted a relaxing project, crescent shaped that could be adjustable, using a skein of sock yarn. The pattern is currently in the testing phase and I hope to have it out near the end of September, just in time for fall weather. The pattern will be both charted and written out.
I used Hilori's Magical Yarnorium Cosmic yarn (which has sparkles!) in the colourway "You Remind Me of the Babe". Such a gorgeous gradient! I picked this yarn up at the Manitoba Fibre Festival last year and plan on getting more this year. I am making another and started it last week as soon as I finished this one. I am using a tonal sock yarn (Tough Stuff Sock) dyed by Kim from The Wacky Windmill in a beautiful blend of pinks. It has a bit more yardage so I shouldn't have to worry about playing yarn chicken this time around.
We had so much fun last year that we are at it again! I am organising this market with the help of Marjorie, Angela, and Jeremy. 3 amazing partners will be joining us this year including The Wren, Paper Umbrella and The Blue Rooster Cafe. We have 38 vendors bringing you their handmade work from baby items, pottery, jewellery, fibre, paper, art and skin care just to name a few. We also have sellers and 3 vintage shops this year like Burlap Linen & Lace, The Dress Form and Your Aunties Panties. We have 2 vendors travelling from Manitoba (Periwinkle Designs) and Alberta (The Wacky Windmill). You can follow the details on our Facebook event page. I will be bringing some handspun and finished handknit items with me as well as putting on an Etsy Start Selling workshop. I hope you will join me!
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?
If you are going to Winnipeg this fall to attend the Manitoba Fibre Festival then you are in for a great lineup of workshops! I will be teaching two classes, one on each day. You can see the schedule and list of workshops here, but don't wait too long as they are filling up fast! The festival runs from Friday September 30 (5-9) and Sat October 1 (10-4). I will be judging fleeces and helping with the wool show and auction as well as selling my handspun and other items in the vendor market. I hope to see you there!
FLEECE TO FINISH
In this class you will learn how to choose a fleece with an end project in mind. We will go over the judging card to see what the judge is looking for in a fleece and what the different wool classes entail. Methods of storing and washing will be discussed as well as different ways to process fleeces. This is a hands on class and will involve a few example fleeces to gain greater insight. Bring a fleece if you have questions! Please bring an apron to protect your clothes.
Friday September 30 2:00 – 4:30 pm 2 1/2 hours
Registration fee: $25
No materials fee
HANDSPINNING WITH A DROP SPINDLE
Ever wanted to learn how to make yarn by hand? In this class you will learn the time honoured tradition of spindling. We will be using a top whorl spindle to learn how to create your own leader, manage twist, understand the drafting zone and draft continuously, build a cop and prepare your spun singles for plying. We will also discuss spindle types, fibre preparations, and finishing techniques. Perfect for beginners.
Saturday October 1 9:00am – 12:00 noon 3 hours
Registration fee: $30
Material Cost: $20 (payable to instructor) includes drop spindle and 4 oz of fibre
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!
Every year at the time of the Tour de France, spinners around the world spin their wheels and spindles in a challenge to accomplish a goal or goals. If you like there are teams you can join to help support you along your way and often there are prizes to go along with it. This years' tour began on July 2 and runs until July 24th. My goal this year is to spin 4 oz on some support spindles as I have really enjoyed the slow process of support spindle spinning in the last year or so.
The fibre I chose is Corriedale, dyed by Amy of Spunky Eclectic. It was the club fibre for Sept 2016. The spindles I chose for this project were merely on the fact they haven't been used too much and deserve more love. From left to right you have; Antique hybrid, Gripping Yarns Thorn, Bristlecone Glindle, and an antique Russian. I am spinning with my guild in Team RWSG.
I have also been spinning for another great shop which I will post about soon. At the end of the first week I had 5 bobbins spun. Plying will come next so I can free up some room for more spinning. Are you spinning in the Tour this year?
As some of you may know, I am one of the Team Leaders for Etsy SK and i the month of June we decided to try an Instagram challenge. I came up with these topics of the month and played along for each day. If you don't follow me on Instagram, you can see my story below. If you want to check out others' posts be sure to look up #EtsySKTellYourStory to see more.
Click on the pictures for descriptions :)
To start the day off here are a couple pics of me during the last 4 years of judging wool shows at fibre festivals across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. It's one part of my business that doesn't get shown on Etsy. I took the wool judging course at Olds College in 2012 and have enjoyed learning about wool as I go. I've judged 100's of fleeces using both the commercial and artisan styles.
Day 2 of #etsysktellyourstory this is my studio. It used to be the master bedroom of our house until my husband went to a football game and I switched rooms. My office is in the walk in closet (top). I was hoping to use this challenge to make me clean up and organize my studio but that didn't happen lol. Selective pictures. The ensuite is where I wash my skeins and hang them to dry. I store my yarn stash in the cupboard but of course this explodes out into the house. My fibre stash is not pictured (it's like an iceberg). The couch is where I knit or crochet (usually with a cat) and this is my main spinning wheel.
Day 6 of #etsysktellyourstory these are my tools/equipment that help me be productive. The top left are a few of my support spindles. I have quite a collection of spindles in general (probably over 100). My Kessinich Jack Loom and the majority of my spinning wheels. My Kromski is my production wheel and I also have a country spinner and Spin well wheel which aren't pictured here
Day 8 of #etsysktellyourstory a video of my process. I was trying to think of what to show in 20 seconds and I thought to show a bit of spinning on my tiny Capar Turkish spindle and winding on the arms. Usually I will spin for longer before winding but I wanted to show all the steps including the half hitch #spindlespinning
Day 10 of #etsysktellyourstory. The prompt for today is orange. I wanted to share about one of my cats - Watson. Our only ginger kitty. Her mom (Mrs Hudson), her brother (Sherlock) and her showed up one day a few years ago and started living under our front porch. We took care of them and I raised money from my sales at the first ever Made in Canada sale in Saskatoon that @glassyeyed organized to pay for them all to be spayed/neutered. Mrs Hudson has moved on and Sherlock still lives around the neighbourhood and we have a shelter and leave food out for him on our porch. We adopted Watson as she wanted our affection and we were able to get her inside. She is a wonderful cat and is getting along with our other cats and dog. We had help from Regina Cat Rescue and I volunteer for them. We love Watson □ and as you can see she's quite relaxed with us #feralcat
For day 11 of #etsysktellyourstory it was very hard but these are some of my Etsy SK favs: @entirelycraftylindsay who makes the best project bags and needle cases as well as my supplier of knitting needles, @mytrueluminosity who makes super one of a kind and really cool jewelry using old clock parts and other vintage collectables, @moirannsu who's thoughtful cards are SO BEAUTIFUL and the care put into each one is obvious and @tooaquarius who is like Michelangelo to me. I can't get enough of her polymer clay creations and the detail in each bead is like - woah. You all inspire me
For day 13 of #etsysktellyourstory most of my works in progress are gifts for others so I don't want to spoil the surprise but this is a wip for me I started a couple years ago and have a lot of help with it from my friend @entirelycraftylindsay. It is a chain reaction quilt using moda fabric this is just the quilt top, I still need to learn how to finish it.
Here are a few of my "helpers" for day 14 of #etsysktellyourstory. Rider, Xena and Watson share a room together and I often find Watson rubbing her face on my wool judging bag and Rider is usually in my office sleeping with a tufft of fibre and Xena just likes to grab yarn and generally be with me as much as she can. These are old pics of Rider and Xena but they haven't changed. FYI the fibre both Rider & Xena are on is fibre I spun for myself. I keep my cats away from anything not for me.
My biggest helper for #etsysktellyourstory is my husband Jeremy @riderpride75. We do everything together which means he runs my booths at shows, he shears sheep with me, he comes up with my colourway names and drives me all over and attends everything I do. He is my biggest supporter and I couldn't do it without him. He is the other half of Knit Natural
For day 15 of #etsysktellyourstory the prompt is texture. I wanted to share a few pictures. At the top left is a very perfect example of the crimp in a fine wool (Cormo) which you can see will have a lot of elasticity. Under it are some Lincoln locks which show the typical long wool waves. Under that I have some handspun that is woven, knit and crocheted. To the right I have a sweater I knit in brioche for Dean Renwick for Saskatchewan Fashion Week and my favorite - garter stitch
Found a treasure trove of postcards - thanks Moose Jaw. I joined a community called postcrossing where I send postcards to people all over the world and I also get just as many back. It's a nice surprise in my mailbox every week. I like to share pictures of Saskatchewan as we have quite a nice landscape and people in more conjested parts of the globe don't usually see as far and wide as we do. I'm also learning how to say hi in several different languages. It's a fun pastime. #postcrossing #etsysktellyourstory #saskatchewan
Day 20 of #etsysktellyourstory hands... □ well my hands cause me a lot of pain but it's mostly self inflicted. The first picture in the top left is the hole I dug into my finger after a month of non-stop knitting (I had to wear tape around it to continue - the things you do for a deadline lol) I have a knitting callous on my right ring finger and I am also a nail chewer/ripper and do both of these quite constantly when anxious. I also have cats so there is usually a scratch h or two (or three) present as well lol
Day 21 of #etsysktellyourstory my mentor. I was waiting for this day to tell you all about my dear friend and mentor Deb Behm. This is her on the cover of Western People in 1983. She was a bit younger in this picture than I am now and she was collecting stories about spinning and fibre work from people around the prairies and she even published a book about the memories people shared with her. She was the artist in residence at the Neil Balkwell for many years and had people traveling from the states to take her fibre arts classes. She taught me everything I know and shared her love of spinning and spindles with me. She was a master knitter and taught in the master spinners program at Olds College. She is widely published for her work in tapestry weaving, spinning, knitting and more. She passed away on Dec 10th last year and has left a huge hole in the fibre community and all the hearts she entered. □
Day 23 of #etsysktellyourstory Inspiration. I find I get a lot of inspiration from Piecework Magazine. It's combines tradional fibre art (knitting, crochet, tatting, embroidery, quilting, and beadwork just to name a few), history patterns and interesting stories. I remember one where after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle passed away, his wife couldn't stand the thought of him going to his grave wearing cheap socks so she ripped them off his feet as he lay on the funeral bed and replaced them with handknit socks to keep him warm. Now that's love! Lol (Pic from google)
Day 24 of #etsysktellyourstory my first listing sale was this handspun hat I knit in the best colourway ever called Whiskey & Whiskers. This is a song by Thom Dudley who is a good friend of Jeremy's birthdad who is a musician in Portland. We visited him in 2011 and went to every gig. He was playing fiddle in Thom's Scottish band and it was such a fun time. My sister was my first customer on Etsy lol. She bought this hat Pattern is "Anchors and Ropes" by my friend Síle
For day 25 of #etsysktellyourstory I wanted to share with you about my business name and logo. My husband @riderpride75 actually came up with the name (as he does with my colourways) and he said it sounded like a call to arms "Knit Natural". It is also simple enough, I don't have to worry about spelling it out and it was available. I wanted to use a venn diagram as the logo because I am combining ideas and concepts to come up with different variations of finished objects. Like combining spinning and knitting, weaving and crochet, warmth and strength, wool prep and fashion etc and making a quality product. The colours used are taken from pictures of sheep - so they are actual natural sheep colours! My sister @nancy_morrison came up with that nugget. I am quite happy with my business name as I feel it defines me. #knitnatural
Day 26 of #etsysktellyourstory display. This was my table setup at the EtsySk Bring on Spring market earlier this year. I have an old truck for my handspun that I was able to convince my mom that I needed it more haha and I use wooden crates to fit into the natural theme. My table cloth I got at Fabricland. It's just a length of upholstery fabric so it's nice and heavy. I brought part of a spinning wheel with me this time and liked it. I also use baskets, glass heads and try to put lots of images of my successes around (wool judging, Sask Fashion Week and magazines I've been published in). My husband usually runs my booth for me because I am most often doing other jobs at shows but my setup usually stays the same.
Day 28 of #etsysktellyourstory tunes. I normally prefer peace and quiet but when I am in my studio I usually listen to Tonic on CBC (jazz) my cats like it and they like to relax listening to it. I also really like The Conspiracy Show. Richard Syrett's voice is soothing and even though some of his guests are a bit on the wacko side he let's them have their say. Other than that I might listen to Chill on Spotify. But my main music choice is 90's alternative otherwise.
Day 29 of #etsysktellyourstory collection. This is a portion of my support spindle collection. I love each one and some are limited edition or one of a kind or the spindle makers have passed on. It's a very relaxing way to spin yarn, very portable and fun! You can even do it while traveling in a car. For this year's Tour de Fleece I will be spinning a 4 Oz skein on my support spindles. The TdF is a yearly challenge for spinners which coincides with the Tour de France. I will be spinning with friends and fellow guild members starting this weekend □
Final day of #etsysktellyourstory why do I love handmade and fibrework? Well I have several reasons. It ties me to the past and to many many cultures around the world. It really is better than commercially made items. I can use knitting/spinning/crochet etc to relieve stress and relax while being productive. By spending time to handmake items for my family and friends I am giving them a portion of my life in everything I make. I am promoting the craft for others to keep it alive. I can make anything I want and it is very rewarding to start with animal fibre and end up with a usable garment that will serve a specific purpose for a very long time. I can use it to send a form of love to those I care about. I have met so many amazing people though fibre and made lifelong friends. I can take it anywhere and it's fun! Thank you to all the EtsySk members who posted throughout this challenge. It was nice to read all about what you do and connect with you all on a more personal level. You are all an inspiration. Why do you love handmade?
Thank you to everyone who came out to Carberry this past weekend and shared in the day surrounded by the wonderful people in the Manitoba fibre community. There were lots of great vendors, workshops, a spinning circle, demonstrations and of course a nice number of fleeces up for grabs in the wool show.
I judged the wool show again this year and we had 12 fleeces entered including a silky angora fleece from one of Barb Mulock's Mohair goats! Congrats to the winners were: Brian Greaves - Polypay/Ille de France, Gail Kasprick - Dorset, Gerry Oliver - Costwold X, Barb Mulock - Shetland and the Angora. Thank to the Wool Growers for sponsoring the show and donating prize money to the winners.
Follow Blue Hills on Facebook so you can keep up with their plans for next year. You really want to add this one on to your schedule. I'll be back in Manitoba this fall and look forward to seeing everyone again!
I have been practicing more using my turkish spindles - mainly my tiny Capar spindle and have really been enjoying it. It is quite soothing to slow down after a busy day and watch how the colour changes in the fibre work their way through when building up the cop. I've learned now how to wind the spun yarn properly on the arms to make my centre pull ball. I spun a bunch of this blue while in the Regina Weavers & Spinners Guild booth at the Cathedral Village Arts Festival last month (you can see more about our fall sale in the flyer!)
I created an Instagram challenge with Etsy SK and one day we were to post a video of our process and decided to do this quick video showing the steps involved with spinning on a turkish spindle. I normally spin for a longer period of time but wanted to show it all in a short period of time.
Wayne Capar of Natural Knot Wood was at the Blue Hills Fibre Festival this past weekend and I was looking at his spindles some more. I also have one of his large sized turkish spindles that I am spinning on as well.
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!