I have been working hard the last month or so on a project involving wool. Well of course :) BUT this project spans the country. I have been working with a couple Sheep Producers, Rare Breeds Canada and Wool Growers Co-op to bring the wool industry into the light. I have seen first hand how wool has be pushed aside and it has come to the point that many sheep producers don't even realize that there is a value in their wool. I've talked to people who are genuinely interested in the wool show but then say "that wool is nice but I only have Suffolk wool and its not good for anything." SO not true!! All wool has a value.
Sheep need to be sheared at least once a year, so not only is wool a natural, renewable resource it is self sustaining as well. With a little bit of work and breeding for good fibre, producers can make money on their wonderful fibre. Entering fleeces into wool shows is a great start. Producers receive the judging card back, so they can see areas they did well on and possibly areas that they can improve on for next time. Depending on the show, there is a good chance of their wool selling to an artisan who is looking for their product. They can also send their wool off to a mill for production and those who can't spin can buy the yarn spun from their flock. I often get asked about sources for local wool, yarns and wool products.
If I went into the many benefits wool provides, I may be here all night. It is hypoallergenic, wrinkle resistant and fire-resistant and it makes a wonderful insulator - both in the cold and heat. Wool is elastic and extremely versatile. It really is perfection found in nature. Each month leading up to the show, we will be profiling a different breed so you can see how vast the sheep world is. We are planning a lot of great events which we will be showcasing at the All Canadian Classic Sheep Show in Winnipeg on June 24 - 27, 2015. With the Campaign for Wool in full swing all around the world, I'm excited to share this experience with you. You can keep up with all our plans on ourwebsite at www.all-things-wool.ca, Facebook, Twitter andPinterest.
I did get some knitting done this weekend. I finished my chevron cowl which I knit with 8 oz of Merino. Its got some weight to it and is super cozy! I need to take pictures in the daylight, (which can be hard this time of year) it's much more vibrant than it looks.
I knit this hat for my sister last year and wrote down my pattern. I tested it this weekend and I will be publishing the pattern here and on Ravelry ASAP. It's quite nice because its double thick, especially with the super bulky wool and its almost impenetrable. Perfect for the Canadian winter - and according to the Farmers Almanac, we could be in for another doozy again this year. I promise - writing out my hat patterns are next on my list. I have 3 to share with you.
I have some wool on my wheel right now, and I am hoping to finish that off this week. I've been itching to get a whole bunch more skeins done. I've been working on a lot of projects in my head, I need to get them out and in wooly form.
Weight: 24 g / 3/4 oz
Length: 10 1/2" Shaft
Style: Support Spindle
Wood: Unknown - looks like Cherry
The Bristlecone spindles are hard to obtain - although at the moment in the Spindle Candy group they seem to be popping up.
My sample is spun with a Merino/ Bamboo/Firestar batt from Luthvarian Fiber Arts in the colourway "Danae". I LOVED this batt and I have already favourited this shop on etsy. Since this is a Sherlock spindle, I needed to find a "manly" fibre to spin. I thought this colourway was perfect and It seemed the spindle agreed. I often hear that fibre spun on a support spindle referred to as the "spindles' dress". Well this my friends, is Sherlock's suit.
Phang spindles are a type of support spindle, with no whorl, often a bulge in the middle or two points and a low centre of gravity. The Bristlecone versions have a Goddess shape - thus the name. The grain of the wood, really accentuates the curves of the Goddess and create a very well balanced spindle. I used the "waist" to wrap my spun singles around.
I found this spindle to be a very good spinner. Without fibre on it, it spun smoothly in my hand and pretty much stood straight up. The wood is nice and smooth, lightweight yet dense. I was able to spin lace weight yarn no problem.
I am happy with the wood burnt detail of the characteristic Sherlock pose on the base of the phang. The colour reminds me exactly of what I have in my mind of the wood used in Sherlock's pipe. A nice rich, purple-y brown, tobacco stained colour. The carving is a nice depth and size and is in proportion to the rest of the spindle.
Now, there is one detail that was overlooked - and this may just be me being anal BUT the tip at the top of the spindle is off centre. I know, I know but it bugs me like crazy!! When I hold the spindle with Sherlock centred, the seam of the bead used as the spinning point is staring right at me. Was this attached before adding the Sherlock picture or was this just a simple oversight?
Length of spin: 4.2 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: Good
Looks: A very handsome looking spindle
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
The fibre/spindle combination was a win/win. I enjoyed spinning on this Goddess. This is my first phang and I have to say I was quite impressed. I have lusted over some of the other Bristlecone Goddesses but I am head over heels in love with this one. Much like all of the work done by Bristlecone, you can be sure you are getting a quality tool with stunning detail and thought put into it. Add one to your Christmas wish list and keep your fingers crossed :)
My friend Michele shared this video on Facebook today and I loved it so much I thought I would show you as well. It shows the journey wool takes from fleece to finish made by The Woolmark Company. They did a lovely job.
I was a guest co-host on the Entirely Crafty podcast this week. You can check it out here if you are interested. It was a lot of fun!
If you are on Ravelry, you can join her group and keep up with new episodes :)
Maker:The Clay Sheep
Weight: 43 g / 1.56 oz
Length: 2 1/2" Whorl, 10 1/2" Shaft
Style: Top Whorl
Wood: Polymer Clay Whorl set atop a Red Oak Base and Shaft
Anita from The Clay Sheep has been well known for her amazing polymer clay stitch markers, diz's and orifice hooks. She puts wonderful detail into each item she makes. A few months ago I saw on her Facebook page that she had made a couple spindle prototypes and knew that once they became available I had to give them a try. My spun skein is a rolag from Naturally Knitty.
Currently, these spindles come in 3 sizes; small, medium and large (1 oz, 1.5 oz, 2 oz). I decided on the medium spindle, mostly because its the middle ground and I tend to gravitate towards sport - worsted weight yarns. I also instantly fell in love with the design of the whorl - who wouldn't? The detail is evident right down to the little feet and the curls in the sheep's wool. I also like that because each of these polymer clay whorls are handmade they are also truly one of a kind. If you look at the other spindles with this design, no two are a like. There are different flower colours and different sheep combinations. I also quite like the sky and the colours she used are so vibrant.
The frame around the picture is sterling silver filled wire, and this distributes the weight to the outer rim of the spindle. She has added 2 notches; at 12:00 and 6:00 and they are of a decent depth. The hook is made of Argentium Silver hard tempered wire and it suits the personality of the spindle very well. Its not too thick, or too thin and it lined up my spun yarn exactly in-line with the shaft. The neck is long enough that I can wrap some of the singles around the hook without anything getting in the way. I also found that it is closed enough that when things got a little out of control (on my part not paying attention to the fact that my arms aren't long enough when the spindle reaches the floor) the hook held the yarn securely as I fumbled to grab the flying spindle. This also goes to show the spin time. I am able to spin quite a length of yarn before the spin even slows down. (This is the 3rd place for the longest spinning spindle I have reviewed so far) All in all, with the combination of all the thought and detail that went into the top portion of this spindle, it is VERY well balanced. While spinning, it danced smoothly and effortlessly.
And that's just the top side of the whorl! Underneath, she has engraved the spindle's weight and its number. Mine is already #30. She has also etched her initials. Yet, more detail she hasn't overlooked. I think it's really cool to have numbered spindles, they are works of art. I'm also glad she burnt this information into the wood and didn't use a sharpie.
If you are looking for a really unique, really well handcrafted spindle, then check out what Anita from The Clay Sheep has to offer. Fully functional works of art, and not a single detail overlooked. I can see this spindle becoming one of my favourite, go-to spindles. I am searching through my stash to start a new spinning project on it ASAP. I am SO happy that this spindle is in my collection, I think I may need the other 2 sizes as well :)
You can see how soft this yarn is! Merino/Angora - a super luxurious blend perfect for heartfelt gifts or something amazingly special for you <3
Etsy hosted their first Canadian event on Sept 27th across the country. It included Pop-up shops in 23 cities. I am part of the Team Etsy Saskatchewan and I was very happy to have been able to participate in Saskatoon. It was very well advertised and there were hundreds of eager shoppers lined up at the door and down the street before we opened.
There were about 20 vendors that had quality handmade items from metalsmiths, glass artists, fibre artists, paper artists and everything in between. It was a very busy day and we had close to 800 people through the door. I depleted my stock of handspun and sold some finished items as well. SOAK was a big seller, especially the 2 new scents; Fig & Yuzu.
I wasn't able to leave my booth for long, but I did purchase a couple pairs of earrings and a really unique shawl pin.
I want to send out a HUGE thank you to everyone who bought something from me. As you may know, Jeremy and I have been taking care of a feral cat family who has been sheltering under our front porch for the last few months. Regina Cat Rescue has given us a shelter for them and will be helping us trap them so they can be spayed/neutered and adopted out. Their names are Mrs. Hudson (Mom), Sherlock and Watson. I was donating 15% of my sales from the Etsy Made in Canada day to fund the spay/neuter of these cats. Thanks to you, we raised $134.00, enough to neuter and tattoo both Sherlock and Watson!
If you weren't able to make it out but wanted to shop at some of the great vendors, you can find their Etsy shops here. It was a huge hit in every city and I hope to attend next year as well. Thanks to everyone who came by and now I must get back to spinning so I can re-stock my shop with more yarn :D