Soak items have been updated in the shop. There are 2 new scents in the line-up; Fig and Yuzu and I am having trouble picking my favourite. The fig is a delightful blend of fig, lychee and dandelions. It smells wonderful! The Yuzu is a mix of citrus and eucalyptus, nice and light. I really appreciate how the SOAK scents are subtle, and not overpowering at all. Not only do they smell good they also have so many other great benefits. They are dye-free, non toxic, phosphate free, made with plant-derived ingredients, and biodegradable. And that's just on the inside. The bottle itself is recyclable and the inks are water soluble. You can feel good about using this non-rinse wash on all your fine fibres from handknits, baby items, swim suits, gym wear, lingerie, and quilts and so much more (including pets). You can even use it in your HE washing machine. If you haven't tried SOAK now is your chance. I have a couple 3 oz bottles left in stock as well as 2 - 14 oz bottles of Aquae (discontinued) left and you can snag them for $12 each which is a 25% discount.
The fun doesn't stop there. You can also try out the Handmaid luxury hand creme which is non-greasy and a great size for your purse or while traveling. No more snagging your project with rough hands.
Are you a sock knitter, or have a sock knitter in your life? Heel is a wonderful product for - you guessed it, your feet. It comes in 3 soothing scents; Peppermint, Spearmint and Cucumber and unscented as well. These also make great gifts - for feet worthy of handknit socks.
If you are curious about a certain scent, let me know, or come see me at any of my upcoming sales. I can't rave about this product enough. All my handspun skeins are washed in SOAK to set the twist and I trust this product with my most delicate fibres. And yes, I have washed our dog Jenny in it :)
For the past several weeks I have been doing a "Daily Inspiration" segment on my Facebook page. These are pictures of projects, patterns, cute animals, or really neat things I come across on a daily basis that have given me inspiration. You should check them out if you haven't yet. I may have included something of yours that has inspired me. I also add them to my Daily Inspiration Pinterest board, which you can follow as well. Keep up the good work people, there are so many cool and creative things all around us!
I know what you're thinking... "didn't she already post about her studio a year ago?" Why yes I did, BUT since then I have moved into a much bigger and better place - the master bedroom :D You see, the closet is MUCH bigger in the master bedroom than in my previous room and I have a lot more fibre than I do clothes and since I was unsupervised one day when Jeremy was at a football game, I switched the two rooms around.
I love this space, I have lots of natural light flowing in and it's very comfortable. I can come into this room and relax, forget about the stresses of the day and hang out and do what I love. This couch is the perfect place to work on projects. I have my laptop on the table and I can work on my website, post to Facebook, check Ravelry and update my Etsy shop all while working on my current project. And if you ever come stay with me, this opens up into a bed as well.
My old dresser, which used to be my mom's then mine, houses all my reference books, my spindle collection and my torso Vivian. It is also a great hiding spot for small balls of yarn, loose fibre, notions, and anything else that I squirrel away.
That handsome guy on the back of the couch is my honey - Rider aka Mr. Eyebrows.
My desk, looks in order during the time this picture was taken, but it doesn't always look that organized. My sewing machine is here, and I really want to get using it. (I'm just learning to sew and working on a quilt top). The drawers hold documents and miscellaneous notions which I can never seem to find when I need them. My ball winder and swift get used daily. If you don't have either of these pieces of equipment I can't recommend them enough. I don't know what I would do without either of them. On my chair, hangs a few project bags.
My yarn cabinet is another love. My husband and I got it at Ikea and it's exactly what I needed. Almost my entire yarn stash fits into this cabinet (with the exception of a few bins in the closet). My handspun skeins usually sit on the top shelf and some of my more luxurious fibres are also kept safe inside. My cats aren't all that interested in my fibre but I don't want to give them any reason to be either. This is Amy, Phoebe and Xena, they are getting ready to sunbathe.
On my door hang many more project bags - yes I love bags ;P The door to the right is the ensuite bathroom which is also a bonus if you happen to stay over. My Pygora Goat and my Corriedale sheep reside atop my cabinet with my niddy noddy's.
The pièce de résistance is what is behind door #1... my wonderful closet <3 I store my fibre stash in here along with a couple spinning wheels, my jack loom, class supplies and... more project bags.
The dresser holds some of my handknits, leftover yarn balls and extra bobbins. This closet was a delightful accident. When a mistake on the blueprints left us with a room within a room, we were happy to let that one go. If you haven't hung out in my studio I would love to have you. I will put the tea on and we can knit/spin the time away.
~This is my happy place~
When my friend Susie asked me to do a review of Turkish spindles, I wasn't sure what I was going to write about because there are so many good things about them. We narrowed it down to pros and cons, and why I chose the ones I did, so here we go.
I have to say that out of all my drop spindles I tend to reach for my Turkish spindles first.
Pro: The reason being is their portability when traveling in and around the city, I can easily stash one in my purse, or in my knitting bag to spin with when I get the chance.
Con: My other spindles get left at home and ignored.
I have traveled with my spindles as well, further then the city limits of course, in the car, and by plane, and my Turkish spindles were what I took with me.
Pro: When they do not have a cop on them, they come apart easily for storage in a small space.
Con: those little pieces, when the spindle is taken apart can be misplaced or lost in transit
Pro: Because of the half hitch you use to hold your yarn you have just spun to the spindle, there is less of a chance of your spindle dropping and rolling under your seat.
Con: some people find it hard to produce a half hitch.
Pro: they are their own fiber storage tool
Con: occasionally, depend on the fiber, it does get caught if you wrap it to tight.
Before I get into which spindles I have, I will say that I am not affiliated with either of the companies that I chose to by my spindles from. I am just a happy customer.
I have 3 different sizes of Turkish spindles, tiny, small and medium, as compared to other spindles not only in the market but also in the vendors I chose to purchase from. My Tiny Turkish is from Jenkins; it’s called a Kuchulu. I picked it up second hand from one of my friends who had bought it and decided it was too small for her. The reason I picked it was because of its size, and because it was cute, it is easy to spin lace or cobweb yarn with this size, and I can fit quite a lot on it when it’s wrapped properly. My other Jenkins Turkish is called a Delight, and it is 3rd in their scale of smallest to largest. I picked this size because any larger, and my hands would get fatigued easier, and I wanted to be able to spin for longer periods of time. Jenkins spindles come in 7 different sizes/weights, all of which have a name for their size.
My other 2 Turkish spindles are from Threads Thru Time. They have beautiful color combos for their spindles, and their spindles come in small, medium and large. I chose a small, and a medium, for weight and portability.
I probably use my Medium TTT Turkish the most, as it fits about 2oz of fiber on it when its spun and wrapped nicely, which is great for spinning a larger amount of fiber because you have fewer cops to deal with at the end if your going to ply them This one travels with me to my husband’s soccer games.
Overall the spindles that I have chosen make me happy. I can spin on them all, they are easy to use, and when it comes time to ply, you have wonderful center-pulled balls/cops ready for you to ply from!
Lindsay is a crafting fanatic. She is very creative and does amazing work in all aspects of her art.
You can find more about her and what shes working on at her
Blog: Entirely Crafty
She is hosting a Giveaway for one of her awesome project bags at the moment, so be sure to "Like" her facebook page
or you can check out her wonderful handmade items in her
Shops: Sewn By Lindsay
Sway Tree Soaps
Behold the Twisty Stick
Maker: Cats Paw Fibres
Weight: 0 g / 1/8 oz
Length: 9" Shaft
Woods: Ancient Kelethin Wood
Hey! Keep reading, you may surprise yourself with this one...
Not only is this a wonderful way to teach a new spinner the concept of spinning but you can practice both drafting and twisting without worrying about:
- Dropping your spindle
- Adding too much twist too quickly
- Letting your twist enter your fibre supply
and really just getting to see the processes involved with making yarn.
First grab a bit of fibre and hook your twisty stick onto it. Start turning the stick in your hands which will in turn add twist to your fibre. Pull your hands apart slowly and draft out a small amount while still turning your twisty sick in your other hand. As you watch, you can see the twist entering your fibre supply and your yarn getting stronger. The more twist you add the stronger your yarn (but don't add too much)
The wood on the shaft of this spindle is a little rough but that is perfect for this particular tool because you want the wood to have some grip when you are turning it in your hands. If the wood was too smooth, your yarn will slide around (to start) and you may not get as many rotations in as a less smooth shaft would provide.
My favourite of this spindle is the bottom of the shaft. It is a beautiful shade of royal blue. It was obviously put there by the detailed hand of a painter. I believe it is an oil paint made with Lazurite used during the Renaissance. Ok, maybe not.
This is a very light spindle, so I can spin very fine yarns with it. If I wanted to make thicker yarns, no problem, I just don't draft as much. If your arm gets tired, you can switch to rolling the spindle on your leg. These is evidence of these types of spindles used in Scandinavia and in "The Big Book of Handspinning" by Alden Amos, he gives instructions on how to make a couple different versions of the Twisty Stick. These are great tools which can be made very inexpensively and you might even find a twisty stick in your neighborhood.
Length of spin: Indeterminate
Fibre storage ability: Unbelievably good!
Overall Rating: 7.5/10
This would make a very nice gift to anyone who wants to learn how to spin or those who like to sit down while spinning. I am very proud to have this wonderful tool in my collection.
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!!
Maker: Phil Powell
Weight: 17 g / 5/8 oz
Length: 9 7/8" Shaft
Style: Russian Support Spindle
Woods: Asian Tiger Stripe Satin Wood
Interesting looking spindle, with quirky personality.
For this week's review, I used a small batt sample of BFL, Punta Silk, Firestar and mohair from Sheepy Kitty. I spun this yarn straight from the batt outside in the wind so it is full of air and truly woolen. I used this sample as my kick off to TdF. I also used my stAR pottery lap bowl (which I absolutely love!)
The first thing that you might notice about this spindle is its weird shape. It is definitely unique and reminds me of an insect leg; which may be the reason why I haven't warmed up to it all that much. To be honest, this is the first time I have spun on this spindle. I acquired it through a destash and added it to my collection.
The wood used is a huge bonus though. I'm usually a fan of darker woods but this one glows. You can see its beauty shining like gold in the sunlight. I've never heard of Asian Tiger Satin wood but it sure looks as nice as it sounds.
The lower portion of the shaft has very unique shaping, I haven't seen other russians quite like this. I would have expected that there would be more weight distributed but this spindle is so light, I didn't seem to get that feeling. I found this spindle slow going until I had a bit more weight packed on it.
The craftsmanship is visable in this spindle, and you can see that there was great care put into polishing the wood and making sure it was balanced.
I was able to spin a lace weight 2 ply yarn which is the category of yarns that russian spindles are best known for.
The tip in which you spin off is very delicate on this spindle. It is so pointy it has chipped off a bit and just like a knitting needle that has split, there seems to be no way to help this but to sand it down a bit. Now I know this spindle was well taken care of before I owned it. It has a piece of rubber tubing to protect the end when not in use, but this tip damage has occurred as a result of spinning and with a little TLC, it could be good as new again. It looks not bad in this picture but upon closer inspection, it looks like a teensy tiny bit has broken off.
I also find it nice when the spindle maker signs his spindles and this one isn't too bad. "Powell 2013". At least it's not written with a sharpie marker but unfortunately I don't think this signature will last as long as one that has been engraved in the wood.
Length of spin: 5.72 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: quite good
Looks: If you can get over the insect leg part and look at the beautiful wood it's gorgeous
Overall Rating: 6.5/10
If you are looking to try out a russian spindle that is a little slow to start, but has a unique profile then you might look towards this type. I see these for sale sometimes in the Spindle Candy group on Ravelry and some people love them while others aren't as enamored but I think they are worth a try!
And the winner is .....
Congratulations! And good luck on the Tour everyone!
Time for another Tour de Fleece! For those who don't know what the TdF is, it's an annual spin-a-long, that happens at the same time as the Tour de France. Many people set goals for themselves (or sometimes not) and its a fun time to get some spinning done, learn new techniques and of course, win prizes! As usual, I am part of Team Golden Willow and our group is quite laid back, there is no pressure and its all for fun. There are many groups on Ravelry for specific spinning goals, like for example, you want to spin 15 mins a day, or if you plan on using support spindles exclusively, or you use an Ashford wheel, or you only want to spin batts etc. You can find all the groups in the TdF Ravelry page here. This year the tour runs from Saturday July 5 - Sunday July 27. My goal this year is to try and spin as much as I can everyday and I will be posting my progress on my Facebook page and a final recap at the end here on my blog.
For my annual TdF giveaway I am offering a travel sample size niddy noddy (that comes apart for easy transport), a bunch of rolags I made with my handcards (wool and angelina) and a handmade spindle that can be used as both a support or suspended spindle.
There are several ways to win and you can enter as many times as you want. The prize will be awarded on Sat July 5th. Good luck!
(I am just trying out this new giveaway feature, let me know if you have issues FYI I will not send you emails unless you are the winner and also the "rules" don't apply at all. This giveaway is open to everyone and anyone)