This year was yet another wonderful success and as always, the highlight of my year! I was SOOOO busy and exhausted from teaching 5 days and recovering after only 4 weeks after back surgery but it was worth it! I was also able to take a class this year and I chose natural dying taught by Caitlin Ffrench!!
We learned a lot of cool info about natural dyes and she showed us all the colours she can make just by using plants and such from her landshed. We also learned that all the tartan colours for the different clans were made using the dyes they could make from their own surroundings. So if there was a mountain separating 2 clans their landshed could be totally different from one another and the colours that could be made would reflect that. We received some pretty cool samples in silk, wool and cotton and she even gave us a few recipes for botanical inks.
I also loved ash alberg's display with her naturally dyed yarns <3
The socks I designed using Cog Yarns were also in the fashion show at the festival. It was really cool to see all the different designs come together on the stage.
Thank you to everyone who came to visit Jeremy and I at our booth. I always have the best time and was happy that many of my friends from Saskatchewan could make it out as well.
Jeremy and I had SUCH a great time at the Manitoba Fibre Festival this past weekend. From meeting new people, teaching fun classes and seeing old friends, Winnipeg was the place to be. Since I was teaching during the set up, Jeremy was in charge of getting my booth up and running. He is my main man when it comes to shows as he supports me in all aspects.
The Flatlands Collection was available for all to see and I was happy to see that Aura was so well represented. Thank you to all who purchased kits and patterns. Ally and I still have a couple more if you are interested!
I was SO looking forward to being able to wear my Aura for the first time at the end of the festival. I have plans to knit another.
I also got lots done on my Liplatus shawl with some of Ally's yarn as well.... just a few more rows to go!
Of course I had to make a stop at Wolseley Wool as well. They have a superb selection
Some knitting time at Baked Expectations (a must see)
Thank you to everyone who came to the festival, supported us all and continue to. You are what make all the difference. I appreciate you all and can’t wait for next year!
My treasures from the festival: Flatlanders Soap, Raiment Resource, Natural Knot Woods, Feet of Clay, Hilori's Magical Yarnorium, Wolseley Wool, Mandyz Moon. There was soooooo much more I wanted <3 SO many amazing artists.
Manitoba Basset Walk 2017
Jeremy and I were invited to attend the Manitoba Basset Walk (#mbw17) as we have been meaning to go for the past few years now. As some of you may know, we have a basset hound named Jenny, and meeting other basset owners and seeing their dogs is something we love to do. They are all so different yet all the same haha. There were even 2 basset puppies that were adorable! We adopted Jenny when she was 2 so we never got to see her extra-long ears hanging from her domed head as a baby. We had a great time petting every dog and soaking up the drool. There are a couple basset rescues that raise funds for other dogs in need. You should have seen the great prizes! We are trying to plan next year to bring Jenny so she can do the walk with her as we really wish she could have been with us. She was sleeping over at the best friend Harley’s house and this is the state she was in while we were away….
That’s our girl, classy all the way but look at that smile. She is always pretty tired out from having fun with Harley but was excited to see us when we got home.
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: email@example.com
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
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
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!
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
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!
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.
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??
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.
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!
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.
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.
Let's be honest, I had been counting down the days until this years' Manitoba Fibre Festival. Last year was so wonderful, I was anticipating another great day and I was not dissapointed. The festival was such a success in its first year that this time, they needed A LOT more space. There were several more vendors and so many interesting workshops that they expanded the location over slightly to include the arena area of St Norbert Community Hall.
I was also excited for the wool show, as I was invited back to judge the fleeces. This year we had 17, so almost double from last year! The more the better and this also makes for a more interesting competition and class set-up. We had 4 classes - Fine, Medium, Long and Specialty. I saw Polypay, Corriedale, Suffolk, Dorset, Romney crosses and Shetland. A nice representation of breeds common in the prairies. It was also nice to see fleeces from producers from both Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Grand Champion and a First Place in the Fine Class was awarded to this Polypay fleece from Manitoba Producer Gerry Oliver with a score of 95.5%. You can see that she takes great pride in her wool and the quality of her fleeces and it shows. After the show, she even told me that she was up into the wee hours the night before, making sure her fleeces were perfectly skirted and looking their best. Well worth the effort. Congrats Gerry!
The Shetland fleeces were also gorgeous, the colour ranges in that breed are lovely and the fleeces themselves were tip top.
Janet from Qu'Appelle was also at the festival, attending workshops and even entered fleeces which placed first and second. It was quite nice to see so many people from Saskatchewan attending the festival this year.
I was in the perfect location to snag a beautiful Capar tiny turkish spindle that was calling my name! It's made from Olivewood and Walnut. I must be crazy because I'm not a big turkish fan, and the little, teeny tiny ones just make no sense to me yet, I couldn't stop looking at it. They have an Etsy shop, I don't think this will be my only purchase from them. Keep an eye out for a spindle review on this one in the future.
There were also lots of demonstrations in weaving, machine knitting, spinning, and net making. You could have also brought your wheel and joined in with the spin-a-long that was happening. There was a book signing with Carol James - who is well known in the art of Sprang and finger weaving. I purchased a couple of her books at Olds a couple years ago. Her personality is so addictive, I promise that you will be so amazed with both her and her work, you will want her to come teach a workshop in your area.
Joanne Seiff, who is also one of the coordinators of the Manitoba Fibre Festival, had a couple books that I was very interested in; Knit Green and Fiber Gathering. She signed both for me and I have already delved into them and flagged several of the projects to knit for myself. I also love how both are somewhat reference books in the fact that they are chalk full of useful information and you can tell she has done her research. I highly recommend both, they would be a wonderful addition to your library.
I appreciated that Jeremy ran my booth for me during the entire day. He even said that he had a great time talking to people and sharing all the enthusiasm and passion for fibre arts that everyone bonded over. Congrats to both Margaret and Joanne for another successful festival! Can't wait to see everyone again in 2015 and thanks so much for those who came out!
This was my third year attending the Grasslands Sheep & Wool Show in Drake, SK. I always have a really great time because the weather is always nice, the drive up is scenic, the pie and the sausage are worth the trip and the sheep are just too cute to miss. I enjoy seeing my friend Val Fiddler each year as she usually heads up the "Wool" portion of the show and I have been helping her out with both the wool show and promoting wool and its benefits to the sheep producers and the other people attending for the weekend.
Val was the wool judge this year and I was helping as her scribe and Wool Show Coordinator. We had 9 fleeces entered and saw several cross breeds and medium breeds common to Saskatchewan. My friend Janet whose farm I was at earlier this year had one of her Corriedale fleeces entered and won a second place ribbon! Click on the gallery below to see some pictures from the show.
There is a lot to see an do in Drake besides the wool show, there is Sheep judging as well and you can purchase sheep on the last day of the exhibition. There is a Wine and Cheese on Friday night and a wonderful banquet on Saturday night. There are several vendors there as well and one particular fibre artist caught my attention. Arlette Seib from Watrous is a superb felter and her work was just - wow. The details she provides in her skies, the shading in a sheep's face and the colours are really quite eye catching.
Jeremy and I met this handsome fellow when we arrived. Hamish is a Lincoln sheep and he was going home with Val. He was probably the most affectionate sheep I have encountered. He quite enjoyed the chin scratches, neck rubs and all the attention we were giving him.
You should mark the Grasslands Sheep show on your calendar for next year. It's a great way to spend a weekend.
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!!
Looking for your daily dose of fibre? I know exactly where to turn. Kim from The Wacky Windmill was in Regina for the Regina Weavers & Spinners Guild monthly Fibre night (we are SO lucky). She brought with her a wonderful collection of hand-dyed yarns, fibre, notions, project bags and everything else a fibre artist needs. As I was helping put product on the tables I couldn't resist wanting to keep it all! Kim's good friend and awesome knitter Donna was there to enable (I mean answer questions) and she displayed some of her beautiful hand knit items made with Kim's yarn.
I managed to snag a few things that I couldn't live without. The yarn is destined to become a shawl, it's SW Merino/Stellina so it has a beautiful shimmer and all the best colours rolled into one. The two braids at the front are SW BFL in hot pink/black and white. The braid at the top left is Merino/Silk and apparently I bought fibre just like this a few years ago (obviously it's wonderful). The last two on the table are a past club colourway and my all time favourite in the luxurious blend of SW Merino/Sea Cell *sigh*. I <3 The Wacky Windmill. The project bag at the top of the photo is the perfect size and how could I not love:
a) a bag
b) a bag with sheep
c) a bag with sheep that holds fibre?!
I spun this Falkland in the "Pot of Gold" colourway for Kim's SAL (Spin-a-long). This was the softest Falkland I have ever worked with. She is hosting another challenge this month and you can check her Ravelry group for more info The prizes are gorgeous!
While we were hanging out and spinning, I asked Kim a few questions (as an adoring fan) and thought others might be wondering some of the same things I was.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find it all over the place; photos, nature, other dyers. I’ll notice color ideas on my way home from work or when I go snow boarding – there are lots of nice colour combos on the slopes. Sometimes I will also randomly grab containers and see what happens.
How do you come up with colourway names?
I sometimes ask other people around what they think the yarn or fibre looks like. We bounce ideas back and fourth. My husband doesn’t offer a whole lot but when he comes up with something it works well – like “Charred Oak”. Sometimes the names revolve around themes such as my silk yarn which is named after characters from the game Clue. “Tea Cup Elephant” was based on a dream I had. “Stow Away” was named because I found that braid among other fibre it didn’t belong with.
What is your favourite colour?
My favourite colour is green which may be why there is so much of it in the shop all the time.
What other artistic hobbies do you do?
I spin, knit, crochet, I’ve dabbled in weaving, I like to sew and quilt. I make soap, lotion and lip balm. I also like gardening, although I sometimes forget to water. I really enjoy renovating too.
How has your work evolved since you started?
When I first started dyeing I used Wilton dyes but they kept breaking and the colours sometimes ended up looking like mud. I was afraid of acid dyes – the name "acid" scared me, but when I used them for the first time and my hands didn’t burn off I realized how great they are. I have done a lot of research and looked into different fibres and how they appeal to people and take on colour. I have taught myself a lot about different ways to dye and have tried kettle dyeing, hand painting, dip dyeing, sprinkle dyeing and infusion. I like experimenting to try and get different effects. I am more adventurous than I used to be, and I will try mixing dyes to see how they turn out and will also try colour combinations that may not appeal to me but they do to others. I love seeing how each fibre artist adds their own techniques to my fibres, like in the club shipments, everyone comes up with a different way to spin or ply their yarns and come up with a unique end result.
What are your favourite fibres?
To dye? I love the way Superwash Merino and Falkland take colour, but SW Merino is slippery when you rinse.
To spin: BFL hands down. BFL and Merino plyed work really well together, the combination makes the yarn softer.
What does your studio look like?
Unfinished drywall, cement floors and poor lighting. I used to work in the kitchen but I have now moved downstairs. I have tables and a sink and stove down there, I need to work on the lighting but I have my own space now and it’s wooly. My rabbit Sunny is my dye buddy.
Tell me about your pets:
When I learned you can spin angora I found my first rabbit; Suzuki (Suzi) (3yrs) from a breeder in Vulcan. She is a French German Angora cross Red Eye White (REW). Gremlin is an English Angora Lop Cross rescue (received from the same breeder). We have fostered him for 2 years. His original owner passed away which caused him some health related stress issues, but he is a sweet boy. Sunny, which is short for Sunflower (1yr) is a French Lop Cross. She was a Christmas present and she is my biggest bunny. She loves to be held, pet and cuddled and really doesn’t like when she’s on my lap and I'm playing on my cell phone.
I also have 2 dogs; Boo who is 11 and Gracie who is 7. They are Maltese / Shih Tzu X's and are my sweethearts. I've had them both since they were puppies.
Where can we see your work this year?
May 3rd – Regina Weavers & Spinners Mini Retreat
May 30th – Kings College HWSDA Conference
June 13 & 14 – Fibre Arts Week in Pincher Creek
June 23 – 27th – Olds Fibre Week
Oct 4th & 5th – Knit City in Vancouver
Watch for more updates throughout the year!
Where can we find you online?
~ The Wacky Windmill group on Ravelry
~ Twitter @TheWackyWindmill
~ Email Kim
~ The Wacky Windmill Website and Blog
I want to share my Wacky Windmill love with you too - I have a skein of TWW Getting Heavy in the colourway "Seriously Disturbed" to give one of you! It is 250 yards of soft, fluffy wool and one of my favourite yarn bases.
To win, you must comment on this entry with shawl pattern recommendations - just kidding ;P just let me know what you would like to make with this yarn and what you love about Kim and The Wacky Windmill.
This giveaway will end on April 19th
Congrats to Linda! Thanks to everyone who entered. Stay tuned for more giveaways.
The first annual Manitoba Fibre Festival was a huge success! There was so much to see and do that even though it was pouring all day the festival was a buzz of activity from beginning to end. You could come check out the demonstrations, shop in the marketplace, take a workshop, or listen in on the wool show and buy fleeces. No matter what area of interest, there was something for everyone here. People started lining up before the door even opened and we were met with so many friendly faces and all the fibre you could want. There were spindles, yarn, finished items, fleeces and so much more to pick through and I saw a few people who attend Olds Fibre Week as well and got to chat.
The wool show had 9 fleeces which also included 1 Angora Goat fleece. My cousin Susan helped me and we organized the fleeces into categories; fine, medium, long, speciality wools (Shetland) and then Mohair. There was quite an audience as I judged each fleece and lots of questions. I had to admit I didn't know much about Angora Goats as my studies have been predominantly in wool but overall every fleece there was in remarkable condition. They were well skirted and relatively free from vegetable matter. I awarded ribbons and got to talk to a few of the sheep producers. The woman who had entered the goat fleece told me she plans on doing the same next year so I'm going to have to read up on Angora goats. I highly recommend this festival. It was very well co-ordinated and there were lots of activities and demos and classes to keep everyone interested. Keep you eyes peeled for the dates on this for next year.
The following weekend I was at the Cream of the Crop Craft Sale. This one has always been my favourite, because it is the kick off to all the holiday craft sales. I got to talk to a lot of other vendors and see some really nice handmade items. Thanks to Jeremy and Lindsay for helping me in my booth and thanks to everyone who stopped by to heck out my items and talk with me about wool, knitting and fibre in general!
My next sale will be Oct 26th and 27th at the Senior Centre in the Neil Balkwill parking lot. This is the annual Regina Weavers & Spinners Guild sale. I'd recommend coming to just check out the talent the guild offers, and we will be having coffee & cookies as well. This sale is well known by many as a very good place to pick up quality, one of a kind items. Most items here will be handspun, or handwoven.
Also don't forget that if you are interested in learning a fibre skill, I have my class schedule up here. If you see a class you like which doesn't fit in your schedule or you have something specific in mind, email me and I can do private lessons as well.
And last but definitely not least, Knit Natural is hosting Kim from the Wacky Windmill in a fibre-y trunk show on Oct 17th. She is my favourite indie dyer, and I'm likely her biggest customer. The majority of my handspun yarn is from fibre that she has dyed. No only will she be loaded with fibre but she also dyes yarn, sells knitting needle and crochet hooks, SOAK wash, notions, spindles and everything you need to make a beautiful project. You can find out more about The Wacky Windmill on her website www.thewackywindmill.com, or you can check out her groups on Ravelry and Facebook. This is also your chance to buy her items before she heads to Knit City in Vancouver. If you are interested in attending, email me and I will send you directions.
Well Jeremy and I have moved into our new home and have been here a couple weeks now. We enjoy our large kitchen and making meals together. I have been trying a few new things, like soup; which didn't turn out too bad. It needs work but it was only my first attempt. I'm happy with how my garden is growing and we have harvested a lot of food out of it. Pumpkins will be next ;) Even though our move was bittersweet as we left our first house we aren't looking back as this new house is a huge upgrade for us. We actually have a bathtub now, and closets!
I have my own studio space as well. It feels nice to spread all my stuff out and to work in my own quiet space. My cats like to hang out with me and watch me spin, or they sleep in the sun and relax. They are
very happy here. Jenny has a bit more trouble dealing with change but she has slowly been adjusting.
This is my workspace. Here sits my sewing machine, which I also need to learn more about. I made a dress for my nieces 3rd birthday but had a lot of help from my mom. This area also houses my ball winder and swift which get used fairly often. I have all my needles and hooks stored in the drawers, this way I will finally know where they are when I need them. I also have an old radio in here where I can listen to music when I'm working. Its a shortwave radio so sometimes I can find some interesting stations from around the world.
This is my yarn cabinet. All my yarn is in here. My stash is a lot smaller now than it was when I started knitting. Since learning to spin, I find I don't really buy yarn anymore. I mean I do if its a good price or from A to Z Alpacas or bought as souvenir yarn (yes there is such thing). But 99% of the time I work with mostly handspun now.
I have made up a bunch of spinner started kits to stock in my shop and at sales. If you want to learn how to spindle spin, these kits come with a quality top whorl spindle and your choice of fibre in 4 oz quantities. BFL (white and brown), Merino, Corriedale, and Organic Merino. They will be available to purchase soon. Once I get some instructions written, I will add these to the package and make them Learn to Spin Kits. Speaking of sales, I will be at the first annual Manitoba Fibre Festival on Sept 28th. It sounds like a really good day for fibre people. I will be there judging the wool show and Jeremy will be working in the Knit Natural booth. We made a bunch of felted soap tonight, and I have a few more items to work on before then. The following weekend on Oct 4th and 5th I will be participating in the Cream of the Crop craft sale. Also in October the Regina Weavers and Spinners Guild will be holding their annual sale. Come out and see the fine work that our members produce. I've got two sales in November as well and believe it or not they are both on the same day. Saturday Nov 9th, I will be with a few of the guild members in a side project called Fibre and Finery, and Jeremy (who I appreciate immensely) will be at the U of R working in the Knit Natural booth at the 8th True Knit Art Show "Crafternoon Delight". You don't want to miss out on any of these sales, there are lots of great handmade items, from many talented people in our community. Come say hi and if you want to keep tabs on sales and events you can always check my schedule.
As a final note, I just wanted to mention that Jeremy and I celebrated out 5th anniversary on Sept 13th. I am very lucky to have found my soul mate. He is unbelievably supportive in everything I do, not only with coming up with all my colourway names, helping me felt soap and working with me at my sales, but he really is the other half of Knit Natural. I wrote a hat pattern, which is for sale at Cindy-Rella's and I asked Jeremy what I should call it. I wanted something to describe a relaxed casual hat... he of course came up with the perfect name "Hatkuna Matata" LOL!!! <3
This year was a big success for both the sheep and wool shows in Drake Sk. The event kicked off with a wine and cheese sponsored by Granite Quarry Farms with sheep cheese from the Cheesery in Kitscoty. I have to say the maple/chive spreadable sheep cheese was the best I have ever tasted. It didn't hurt that the wine was my favourite too :P
I spent the whole weekend surrounded by sheep many of which are common in this province and the prairie provinces in general. Down breeds such as Dorset, Suffolk, N. Country Cheviot and Arcotts are known for their superior meat but I like them more for their wool. Down/Medium breeds have wool that has bulk without the weight. Their staple lengths average 3-5 inches and the fleeces can be quite large. To many of the producers in the sheep industry, the meat is the main focus and their wool takes a back burner, even though it also has a value. The point of the wool show is to show producers that there is another side to their industry and wool DOES have a value and as a renewable resource it can be productive over and over. Rambouillet sheep are also common in this province and their fleeces can be gorgeous. I bid on one that was entered into the wool show and won. Their fleeces fall into the fine category and can weigh between 9 - 14 lbs! Next year we are promised a Targhee fleece :P I am still learning and seeing more breeds this year was great. We had double the amount of fleeces entered this year compared to last and we even had an audience. We had the fleeces categorized by fine, medium (down) and coarse (longwools). Winners were awarded ribbons at the end of the show and I chose a coloured BFL X Corriedale to win the "Judges Choice" Ribbon. Prizes were awarded at the banquet on Saturday night. Special thanks to my friend Lindsay of Wired WhimZee for helping Val and I make everything go smoothly.
My friend Val Fiddler from Wooly Wool of the West co-ordinated the show and is a big supporter of the wool industry. She has a lovely flock of sheep and brought a few for the breed display; a Corriedale ewe and her lamb (so cute!), a big, beautiful Blue Faced Leicester and a handsome Black Welsh.
I also had a booth set up with all my wool items. I sold lots of SOAK, t-shirts, yarn and all my buttons :) I even had one customer say "It's SO nice to see wool at a sheep show!". Thanks to everyone who came out, I can't wait for next year.
Wow, what a great weekend! I planned to post everyday but by the end of the day I was so tired I fell asleep as soon as I sat down. This will be mostly a picture post with a little bit of commentary.
As you can see the grounds are beautiful. Although there has been terrible flooding in Alberta during this time, the rain helped make these grounds even more lush (although the mosquitoes were relentless).
Jeremy found a really cool wetland area on the college grounds that has a great walking path that lead up to a gazebo that would be a great spot to relax and read a book (or knit).
There are also barns on campus, we visited the horses and their babies <3
One thing that could be good or bad depending on how strong your will power is... there are always items for sale, at really great prices and available everywhere you look. This spinning wheel was for sale and looked very interesting.
I helped out with the wool show again this year. I had fun scribing, laying out the fleeces into sheep shape and filling out the judging cards. We had over 50 fleeces this year. The wool judge, although a tough marker, showed a lot of knowledge and kept the audience - yes we had an audience, interested. The whole point of the wool show is to educate and I believe we achieved that. We spent the day laughing and making friends. The following day was the wool auction. People could bid on fleeces based on the judges marks/comments or by feeling the fleeces themselves. As usual the auction was a big success, people went a little crazy when it came down to crunch time but that's part of the fun ;P
There is also another auction which creates a lot of excitement and wow there were so many great items to chose from. I bid on a couple things and won a couple bags of cotton. There was fibre of all kinds, fibre tools, a spinning wheel, an antique sock knitting machine (!) bags, books, clothing and SO much more.
There are social events put on by the college every night during the weekend. I went to see a fellow guild member talk about how spinning changed her life. Colleen Nimetz is a master spinner and is a silk expert. She talked about her time spent at a silk farm in Laos and all the work that's goes into reeling silk. The most impressive part about her presentation is at the end she showed a picture of her sitting with a live tiger and spinning tiger fibre on her Tabachek spindle... now that's cool!! We also went to a pub night in honour of Shuttleworks who became a Titanium sponsor this year. There is also the fashion show on the last night, you can see all the wonderful work people do and all the talent that surrounds you during Fibre Week.
Saturday we stayed up late to watch the fireworks put on by the college to celebrate their 100th year. I have to say the show was VERY well done! A lot of thought and effort was put into it. They shot off fireworks to music and they were perfectly timed. They even had fireworks that when they exploded they made hearts and the number 100. Well worth the wait!
Olds is a beautiful town and had lots to offer during our visit. We also checked out the Summer Oldstice street fair and car show and ate at the BEST restaurant ever called Stonewood Grill. Can't wait for next year.
The Cathedral Village Arts Festival is coming up next weekend (May 25th) and I have one week to get ready. I plan on spinning as many skeins as I can and working on some odds and ends. I need to finish making some felted soap, market bags, food baskets and mandalas.
I have been knitting the Stripe Study Shawl with some handspun Masham wool and alpaca yarn. I'm loving the contrast.
I have been crocheting some wash cloth gift sets. They are a nice take along project. Great to work on during breaks and when I'm stuck waiting for a train
I have been spinning up club fibres as they arrive. I of course have more fibre than I can spin in a lifetime but it's what makes me happy. I am having a bit of a destash as well, my loss is your gain.
Here is a picture of my sister Nancy of Landlocked Design and I taken by the QC photographer at Sask Fashion Week last weekend. More to come on that later ;)
Knit Natural has had a great year so far and there is so much more coming! I have been working very hard in the past month and a half making one of a kind items for designer Riley Lawson for Sask Fashion Week. I attended her photoshoot on Sunday and saw my items in action. It was very emotional for me because all my hard work paid off and everyone had such nice things to say about me and my knitwear. I can't wait to show you the amazing photos of her collection but you will have to wait until after May 11th when she showcases her work on the runway! Its a surprise :D You can still get tickets at the Cornwall Centre or through the Sask Fashion Week website.
The Cathedral Village Arts Festival is fast approaching (Sat May 25th) you will find me there on Retallack Street with most of my stuff along with some new items that I will be adding to the shop shortly. I have been making crocheted mandalas (pictured above) as a way to use up bits of handspun. They are also fun to make and look really nice. They are just another project that can be made with my mini skeins I have for sale.
I am going to be taking a spindle class at Olds fibre week this June and will be helping out with the wool show along with my friend Val from Newland Ranch. I can't wait!
I have also been invited back to judge the wool show at the Grassland Sheep and Wool Exhibition in Drake Sask this summer. I will be promoting the wool industry as a vendor as well. I will have lots of items available as well as SOAK products which work wonders on wool. I'm really looking forward to attending this year and I can fully immerse myself in all there is to see and do. I'm interested in watching the sheep shearing, and would like to take a course one of these days.
Classes at Cindy-Rella's have been a big hit! I am usually there every weekend and it makes me very happy to see such an interest in fibre arts. If there is anything you may be interested in learning or would like a one on one lesson just drop me a line and I will add the class to my line up. If you haven't already been to Cindy's it is well worth a look. She has some very unique items and a great selection of yarns. She stocks everything from sewing and quilting to scrapbooking supplies and embroidery and everything in between. She has a beautiful store and you won't be able to leave without feeling crafty or inspired in one way or another.
I hope to see many of you at the upcoming events. Stop and say hi and tell me what projects you're working on, and don't forget you can find me on Facebook and Twitter
Thanks to everyone who came out to The True Knit Art Show today! I had loads of fun and talked to a lot of great people! It's so amazing to see how creative people are in our city. I will see you at the next one :)
I also made this gift set for my moms birthday; 4 spa cloths and some olive oil soap my friend Michelle helped me make. I'm loving simple patterns lately, you can do so much with them. These are totally my moms colours. I will have some gift sets like these for sale at the Cathedral Village Arts Festival on May 25th.