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.
The Naked Sheep Yarn & Fibre Emporium is stocked on my paper patterns as well as kits for Straw into Gold, my newest design for the Manitoba Fibre Festival Makers' Challenge. Colleen of Cog Yarns has dyed up many more skeins and there are lots of more kits available. She dyed on two different bases, superwash merino and superwash merino with sparkle! As you can see the day we release them, the sparkle was a big hit. She also has "Peaceful Haze" in her shop if you are looking to get your hands on it.
This pattern is also the June pick for The Naked Sheep's sock KAL
This is the mood board we worked from. Colleen did pretty good eh?
Both Cog Yarns and The Naked Sheep will be at the Biggar Fibre Fair on June 23 so if you are heading there, you should make sure to add them to your list of vendors you won't want to miss. My friend Val Fiddler will also be there teaching classes, doing demos and more. She is a great source of wooly info!
Thanks to all those who have purchased my newest pattern. Remember from now until the festival any pattern you make from the collection is an entry into the MAL. Use this hashtag (#MbFF2018Challenge) to participate and post lots of photos.
Many of you have likely heard of a recent movement called "Slow Fashion October", and if you have been following me on Instagram you may have seen some of my handmade wardrobe projects. A couple of my goals this year was to wear more handmade clothing and wear more of my handknits. I have been learning to sew and make my own clothes with the help of friends, my mom and Jeremy's boss. Even though I know many of my dresses, tunics and shirt have been faaaaarrr from perfect they make me so happy. I feel great in them and I get a lot of compliments which makes me want to continue. I can also pair this with another love of mine - thrift shopping.
When you are a bigger gal like myself, sometimes it is hard to find nice clothing that fits properly. I have been leaning towards a more minimalist style with what I wear, simple designs, neutral-ish colours, something that I can pair in a number of ways etc. I have found peace in a few designs and designers who make it simple for beginners like myself who are looking for something to make them feel good AND look good in (no matter what size you are).
I have gained a lot of inspiration by going through #handmadewardrobe and have been making a list of items I would like to make. The fun part is changing them up with the addition of hand knits; cardigans, shawls, scarves, and more! Here are a couple patterns that I have in my queue that I want to add to my Handmade Wardrobe
These are just a few examples, you can understand now why my queue and unfinished projects list is so large. There are so many hats, skirts, and fingerless mitts you can add, and don't forget all the handknit socks you can wear with each item!
You don't have to be an expert to participate in Slow Fashion October,
@slowfashionoctober writes that it is “A celebration of the small-batch, handmade, second-hand, well-loved, long-worn, known-origins wardrobe.” I have been finding myself going back to the traditional ways of doing things and making my own clothes has been very rewarding. Just one more aspect of my life I am trying to make "handmade". If you need further inspiration you should check out these wonderful women who have really inspired me
Jessica Lewis Stevens
So why not play along? Anything you make this month that you post online, use the hashtag #slowfashionoctober. Challenge yourself, share your work with others and have fun! If you don't have time to play along, there is always #MeMadeMay :)
My goals this month are to sew a few more dresses/tunics, finish my shawls in the works and a pair of socks. What have you got planned?
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.
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!
For those that follow me on Instagram or Facebook, know I was helping Gerry shear her sheep this past weekend. I am working on a blog post about how exciting that was, but in the meantime, I also wanted to share a post I wrote for another site I work on and an initiative Gerry and I have been doing called All Things Wool in which we are trying to promote the value of wool.
When looking for a fleece at a wool show, it is important to read the judging card to get all the important information that will help in your decision. Most of the time, you are just looking at a fleece in its bag, rolled up with the nicest fleece showing, but what's actually inside? This is where the judging card comes in. Usually before the fleeces are on display, they have been opened up one at a time, examined thoroughly and all the comments are recorded on the card. This is a great source of information for both the producer, so they can see what to work on or what's great, and the buyer can see if this fleece will need more TLC then they are prepared for or if the fleece is even more beautiful then first thought. Let's delve into what a judging card is and what each section encompasses.
One reason Gerry and I work so well together because she is a wool producer and I am an artisan. Between the two of us we made our own judging card which works better for both producers and artisans and it is what we use at all the wool shows we co-ordinate. We allotted certain points depending on importance and combined criteria that was similar in nature. Our card is more streamlined (compared to other artisan style cards) and speeds up the judging process.
Ok, let's begin.
Soundness. This is the most important matter on the entire card. This refers to the strength of the fleece. You will often see me pulling out a few locks from different areas of a fleece and putting them up to my ear and pulling them apart, I am listening for tenderness.
Clean Yield: You are looking at a dirty fleece, if a fleece has a high clean yield, it means after washing you will still be left with the majority of the fleece. A low clean yield means you have a very dirty fleece where much of the wool will have to be wasted or you will have to put a lot more work into the process.
Presentation: We combined a few criteria from the Olds judging card to make this section. This is an informative criteria for both producers and artisans. This category lets you know as a buyer what condition the entire fleece is in. Pay close attention to deductions like skin flakes, second cuts, manure and stains as these issues cannot be washed out.
Lustre & Handle: If wool has lustre, it means it has shine. Long wools have amazing lustre whereas fine wools not so much and down wools – not at all. A judge must be fair to the specific breed characteristics. Handle is all about how the wool feels. Is it silky & soft or dry and lack life?
Staple Length & Evenness: Fine and medium wools are at least 2” in length and usually 3” – 5”. Long wools normally start around 6” and can be up to 12” long! This category will let you know if the fleece has the same staple length throughout and if the length is adequate for its breed.
Crimp Style: Fine wools have a very dense crimp, that’s what gives it, its elasticity. Long wools have a wide wavelength present and medium and down breeds sometimes don’t have a clearly defined crimp. Areas around the upper body will have a finer crimp style then the britch.
In all criteria there are deductions or problematic areas. This is good information for the wool producer because they can see which areas they need to work on to improve their fleeces. Deductions are also important for handspinners and fibre workers because it will help you determine how much work you will have to put into the fleece when processing it. As always, if you have any questions you can always ask Gerry or I. We love to talk about wool! If you are a producer and have never entered fleeces into a wool show you should give it a try, you may win ribbons and money! Wool is highly sought after by handspinners, felters and the like. Head on over to the fleece competitions page on our All Things Wool website and find all the information you need. Hope to see you at one or more of the wonderful fibre festivals this year!
I have been really inspired by all the people spinning on their turkish spindles in the past little while. I bought a large Capar spindle at the Manitoba Fibre Festival this past fall and have been wanting to get spinning on it. I have four 1 oz bumps of fibre that I am planning to spin separately and combine into a project (likely a shawl). I really need to work on my winding but these people have given me a push. Starting at top left: Phyberphreak's TDF 2014 project, Allison (ASJKnits) (Bottom) Julie (aelllis) and Joanne Seiff. Seasoned turkish spindle users - please let me know how you got so good with your winding.