I've spun a few new skeins since my back surgery last fall. Some already have dibs on them, but the remainder will be listed in my Shop in the next little bit. I even have a new fibre (!) - Manx Loaghtan which was an interesting spin.
I have also been back full time into teaching classes. I've updated what I know of so far on my Classes page if you are interested in learning new and exciting things this year.
Here is a sneak peek:
We had so much fun last year that we are at it again! I am organising this market with the help of Marjorie, Angela, and Jeremy. 3 amazing partners will be joining us this year including The Wren, Paper Umbrella and The Blue Rooster Cafe. We have 38 vendors bringing you their handmade work from baby items, pottery, jewellery, fibre, paper, art and skin care just to name a few. We also have sellers and 3 vintage shops this year like Burlap Linen & Lace, The Dress Form and Your Aunties Panties. We have 2 vendors travelling from Manitoba (Periwinkle Designs) and Alberta (The Wacky Windmill). You can follow the details on our Facebook event page. I will be bringing some handspun and finished handknit items with me as well as putting on an Etsy Start Selling workshop. I hope you will join me!
I have been very busy the last while spinning up a storm. I am sending off 20 skeins to Wolseley Wool in Winnipeg today. This yarn shop is my LYS away from home and guess what? They just moved into a bigger location which is absolutely gorgeous, you must check it out if you are in or around Winnipeg. They offer lots of really awesome classes and have a great selection of yarn, fibre, notions and more. I gain a lot of inspiration just seeing all of their pattern samples throughout their store.
These are just a few of the skeins I'm sending. Lots of wool types from SW Merino to Wensleydale and BFL and some really amazing blends like Polwarth/Silk. I hope you find a skein that calls to you (they all call to me) haha!
If you are going to Winnipeg this fall to attend the Manitoba Fibre Festival then you are in for a great lineup of workshops! I will be teaching two classes, one on each day. You can see the schedule and list of workshops here, but don't wait too long as they are filling up fast! The festival runs from Friday September 30 (5-9) and Sat October 1 (10-4). I will be judging fleeces and helping with the wool show and auction as well as selling my handspun and other items in the vendor market. I hope to see you there!
FLEECE TO FINISH
In this class you will learn how to choose a fleece with an end project in mind. We will go over the judging card to see what the judge is looking for in a fleece and what the different wool classes entail. Methods of storing and washing will be discussed as well as different ways to process fleeces. This is a hands on class and will involve a few example fleeces to gain greater insight. Bring a fleece if you have questions! Please bring an apron to protect your clothes.
Friday September 30 2:00 – 4:30 pm 2 1/2 hours
Registration fee: $25
No materials fee
HANDSPINNING WITH A DROP SPINDLE
Ever wanted to learn how to make yarn by hand? In this class you will learn the time honoured tradition of spindling. We will be using a top whorl spindle to learn how to create your own leader, manage twist, understand the drafting zone and draft continuously, build a cop and prepare your spun singles for plying. We will also discuss spindle types, fibre preparations, and finishing techniques. Perfect for beginners.
Saturday October 1 9:00am – 12:00 noon 3 hours
Registration fee: $30
Material Cost: $20 (payable to instructor) includes drop spindle and 4 oz of fibre
I have sent off 15 skeins of yarn to Elaine at Field and Fable in Swift Current. Yay Saskatchewan! I have quite a mix of fibres from alpaca, to BFL and Merino, Falkland, Bamboo and even Cashmere. Below are some of the skeins included in the box.
Field and Fable is such a beautiful shop filled with handmade items from local artists. Just take a look at her website (which you can also buy from) and see all the beautiful creations she has in store.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed I have been spinning a lot of skeins lately. I am sending all these beauties to Ram Wools next week. If you are in or around Winnipeg you can stop in and browse their wonderful yarn store and see and feel my skeins without having to worry about shipping - Yay! I am very excited to have my skeins for sale in such an awesome yarn shop.
I haven't forgotten about my shop! I listed 2 new skeins there this week. These are my favourites out of the bunch. Polwarth /Silk and Corriedale.
I have decided to start keeping track of my spinning this year. I found a little notebook and I have been recording all the info about my skeins. I know I can do this on Ravelry, but sometimes I can forget to post yarn info and I was tired of having pieces of paper around my office with yardages. This way everything is in one place. I can also tabulate how many pounds and yards I spin each month. So far (up until the end of March), I have spun:
122 oz which is 7.63 lbs of fibre & 5973 yards which is 3.39 miles!
And I've got more coming so keep watching
I was so excited yesterday as I watched my Cosmic Cozy pattern work its way up the top 20 list on Ravelry's Hot Right Now section in the Patterns tab. I was hoping to make it into the Top 5 and I did!
I wondered why this pattern became popular so suddenly and I saw the front page of Ravelry. In the Community Eye Candy ChristalLittleK's "Nid pour ratous" is featured and what an adorable little rattie peaking out!
This cozy was also featured in an article in Issue 92 (May 2015) of Let’s Knit magazine about knitting for pets (and if you know me you know how much I LOVE animals). The base is crocheted and then you pick up stitches along the sides and decrease quickly to create the shape of the roof which is knit quite densely to hold its shape. Wool yarn is a great choice for this cozy because it has a natural absorbency which will eliminate the smell of urine, wick away moisture and if you use a superwash wool it is easily washable.
The pictures were taken by my sister Nancy and the rats (Isabelle & Grace) in my project pictures belong to a sweet girl named Bryn.
I had been watching my way through The X-Files while making this and its design reminded me of a UFO which was also the inspiration for its name. If you have a small animal why not consider making a Cosmic Cozy for them to snuggle up in. You can find the pattern for FREE in my Patterns section and also on Ravelry.
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??
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 am pleased to announce that I am adding another wonderful product to my business. I am now a proud dealer for Unicorn Products. They are the makers of Power Scour, a professional grade wool wash. This is what I use to wash all my fleeces. Superior washing at lower temperatures (even hard water), helps with reducing mats and tangles and eliminates odors. This product really makes the process of washing raw fibre SO much easier. It is biodegradable and earth friendly. Currently, I am the only supplier in Saskatchewan and will be bringing this to the Manitoba Fibre Festival as well. I will have these products in stock soon.
For the past 2 months I have been knitting like a fiend for designer Dean Renwick's Fall Collection for Sask Fashion Week. I bound off my last item yesterday and now I am eagerly looking forward to Friday May 8th for the big night! Here is a clip that was on the news today with Dean talking about what he will be bringing to the show. He has some wonderful words to say about my work :)
I have a new pattern up on Ravelry called the Cosmic Cozy. I knit it with super bulky yarn and big needles. I have been binge watching X-Files so that could be my inspiration for the shape of this bed. You can find the pattern here, and here is a link to my project page on Ravelry
The rat's used as my models are named Isabella and Grace and they were very cute little girls. I was very happy that Bryn - their "mom" let me come over for a photoshoot with little notice. My sister Nancy Morrison of Landlocked Design took all the photo's and did a wonderful job!
This cozy was listed as a "Fab Freebie" pattern in Issue 92 of Let's Knit Magazine!!
I've updated my logo slightly. I wanted a more natural look, and the colours in the Venn diagram are of actual sheep - including the blackish outline. This also creates a more unisex label to attach to my handknits. The font was and always is the hardest part. After looking through hundreds and hundreds of fonts which start to make "Knit Natural" look misspelled I think this one looks good on all accounts. I was going to use my own handwriting and make it into a font, but who wants to read that chicken scratch?
I originally decided on the Venn Diagram because it encompasses everything I was looking for. By definition, these circles represent a collaboration of ideas or concepts which as a whole can come together or not. I am a spinner, knitter, crocheter, weaver, designer and more and I incorporate parts of these skills in each item I make. It is also a simple and clean image and much like my designs or projects I like to keep the "beauty in simplicity" moto in the back of my mind.
I am very lucky because my sister Nancy is my graphic designer. Her company is called Landlocked Design and she has done all my graphic work from my banners, tags, stamps, stickers and advertising. I am very lucky to have her expertise on my side. She also looks pretty damn good in Knit Natural! If you are looking for some work done from a simple ad to a full blown redesign of your business this is your girl. She can even tolerate my flip-flopping over every little detail, with re-assurance or new ideas.
I am happy to see my business progressing forward and this updated look feels fresh and more centred around a natural theme.
I am excited to be planning an Etsy Made in Canada Sale this year in Regina on Saturday Sept 26th. This is a day where there are many pop-up markets happening in cities all across Canada. Etsy is making a name for itself in Canada and it has been helping many people in the handmade business for quite some time. There are two markets in Saskatchewan this year - Saskatoon & Regina.
This sale is open to all Canadian residents who have an Etsy Shop. If you would like to attend as a vendor, the applications will be going out in the spring. Please sign up for this mailing list to be notified when the applications go out. If you are in Saskatchewan, you can join our Etsy Team Saskatchewan group and get in on the discussion and support. If you don't have an Etsy shop and have been thinking about it, this is a great time to open one up! You can really get your creative works out to the entire world. (here is a link to help you get free listings). Participating in this sale will also let your community know about your Etsy shop and give you an opportunity to sell face to face with your customers. I had a table at the market last year in Saskatoon and that sale was very well received. We had over 800 people though the doors and many lined up down the street waiting to get in before the doors even opened.
I will be flying to Toronto with Etsy at the end of this month to attend their Leadership Summit and obtain lots of insight into making this sale as successful for the participants as possible. My sister is coming with me to hold my hand on the plane as I am terrified of flying. There will be sight seeing and maybe a yarn shop or two ;P
It was a bit difficult to find a venue as I was looking for a classy place with lots of natural light. I have found what I was looking for in the Research and Innovation Centre at the University of Regina. Their Atrium is nice and open, and has character. Another interesting thing is, Christie Mechanical (where I work during the day) did all the mechanical for this building. I still have a lot of work to do, but I am happy to have found such a lovely place to hold this sale.
If you don't have an Etsy shop, you should still mark this date down on your calendar. You will be able to shop local while buying fine craft, and supporting your community and handmade businesses.
This will only keep getting bigger and better.
First of all Happy New Year!
Now before I talk too much about that, there are several things that I meant to say already but never got the time to do so.
I wanted to talk about the Markerspace Conference that happened late last November. It was held at the library and there was SO much to both see and do there. Everything from 3D printers, animation, trades, programming, and so much more I didn't think half the stuff even existed in Regina. I talked to some women about their trades and signed up for a course I will be taking starting this month for Women in Trades. I was there with the Guild and we were showing how we make stuff; from yarn to cloth and by using primitive and advanced equipment to do so. There was one person that really sticks out in my mind. She was there with her daughter and they had come to Canada from Nepal. Her mom used to weave and hadn't seen anything like it since they moved here. She was so excited to see the loom and the spindles and wheels she couldn't stop smiling and talking about what she used to make and the intricate designs and what they meant etc. Her daughter tried weaving and got quite a bit done and took home her sample to show her teacher. The staff at the library, who see them on a regular basis said they have never heard the woman talk nor seen her smile and they were excited that they had come in that day. In the survey the library took about the conference, it was asked which booth was the most interesting and the majority of people said ours was the best!. I thought that was pretty cool because there was SO much cool things there and I didn't expect the people who make string and cloth to come out on top :)
December was a very busy month as I had a lot to finish up along the lines of Christmas gifts and we went away this year (which was a first). I did not get done all that I needed and I'm beating myself up over that, but I have also been sick - as this time of year always brings for me.
I worked on my quilt which I started early last year and have all the 1 foot squares sewn together. I just need to press them and start piecing them together. This is new for me. I am learning how to sew. I'm not going to talk a lot about it on this blog but the quilt has been a big project for me this year that always seems to get placed on the back burner.
A major, major project I did last year which carried into 2014 was a temperature scarf for my Great Uncle Art. I started this in Jan of 2013. I recorded the high's in Weyburn Saskatchewan (where he lives) everyday. Each day I crocheted a line corresponding to a particular temperature and colour. At the end of it all the scarf measured over 7' long! There was only one day in the entire year where the high was -25C. The summer was very nice with many days obove 30C and even some over 35C! (which I didn't have a specific colour for) I seperated the months with a line of white and embroidered the year at the top of the scarf. My Great Uncle is 89 and I knew he would love this gift.
I crocheted this scarf using Knit Picks Andean Wool and used 15 colours. And if you think that was a lot of work - what took me the longest was weaving in almost 700 ends! Unfortunately he didn't receive this gift until March. He even wears it all the time. My dad told me he wore it to church one day and the Minister asked him to come up and explain the scarf to the congregation. This Christmas he told me dad it's his most prized possession. I know this all sounds like I am bragging but if you knew my Uncle that is just the best compliment I could receive. I love making stuff for him because he really appreciates it. He would rather have something handmade than a million dollars.
Now, to recap this past year; I started off pretty good with my spindle reviews. I have a backlog of those at the moment so - I'm not done yet! I didn't get any further on my sheep studies but again I will try. It was a busy year for me with Wool Judging as I was able to judge in all 3 prairie provinces! I was able to help shear alpacas and sort their fibre and check out a couple farms and spend the day which I loved. I taught classes all year and kept very busy with several sales and events that occurred in and outside of Saskatchewan. I wrote up a couple patterns for hats - with a few more to come and I spun over 100 skeins of yarn!
2015 is the Year of the Sheep and I have more in store - at the beginning, I am taking a weaving course which is offered by a fellow guild member and a fantastic weaver. I am helping promote the wool industry with All Things Wool and the Manitoba Fibre Festival and I have my Perfection Found in Nature art exhibit at the Shervin Smith Gallery.
This is just the tip of the iceberg - I have more secrets to share - but not yet ;)
Some of my resolutions last year were completed, some were not. I'm not going to stress over it. This year, I am just going to live by my favorite quote from Connaught School
"Work hard and be nice"
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.
I have updated the shop with some more handspun as well as different Spinner Starter Kit Fibres. I will be taking everything with me to Saskatoon next weekend for the first Etsy Made in Canada Day. Its a really cool idea for people who have Etsy shops. On Saturday Sept 27th, there will be pop-up shops happenening all over Canada and I will be participating. If you are in the Saskatoon area, come see my yarns and handmade items up close. I will be at Le Relais (103 - 308 4th Ave N) from 10 - 5. Hope to see you there!
I am spinning for Ed Tabachek on one of his wonderful Tibetans. He was a superb person and I am very happy to have met him and his wife. I'm very proud to have all of his spindle types in my collection. They are prized and extremely well made. He was a true craftsman and a very friendly, easy going man. In his honor I am spinning "Golden Treasure" and thinking about the hardwork and dedication that went into his work and life surrounding fibre arts.
Remember these sweaters from Sask Fashion Week 2013?
Here is how it all started....
A question was asked on Facebook inquiring about someone who could knit a few pieces for Sask Fashion Week and a friend/co-worker of my husband's
recommended me (thanks Kelcey Harasen!). I was contacted in Feb 2013 by Fashion Designer Riley Lawson to knit a couple of her designs for her fall/winter collection. We met and she showed me her drawings that she had made of two sweaters; one pullover and one cardigan, and we discussed details right down to the fibres. I had brought with me a couple swatches I knit in a few different yarns, and she decided that the pullover would be best knit with Baby Alpaca Glimmer from Diamond Yarns Luxury Collection. This amazingly soft yarn has a silver thread in it that really added to the awesomeness this sweater would become. Riley told me her favourite colour is shiny so we had a winner :P For the cardigan she chose Rowan's Creative Focus (Wool/Alpaca blend). This was beautiful yarn to work with and I loved every moment knitting with it. I was happy with both these yarn choices, as it showed that Riley had high standards in the quality of her designs and I was very happy that she wanted to include me in her ensemble. I was also humbled that she included me in her decision making process.
I got started right away as she needed both sweaters done before the photoshoot in early April. I started with the cardigan as I knew it would take me longer. I made all the pieces separately and blocked them with Soak Wash (Lacey scent). I knew I was really going to cut it close on time and I asked my very good friend Sara Yip if she could do the seaming for me. She was one of the only people I trusted, who I knew would do a professional job. I am so thankful for her as she didn't hesitate to help me out and not only did she do a professional job with the seaming she did it absolutely perfect! I don't know if I can thank you enough.
The pullover went much better, with the bulkier yarn and a looming deadline, I pondered which stitch pattern I could use that would give me the crosshatch pattern used in Riley's drawing. I knit up a swatch and sent it to Riley.
The photoshoot was April 13th at Kiriako Iatridis' studio. This was a new experience for me as I've never been to something like this before. It was very emotional to see the sweaters I had worked so hard on worn by professional models and seeing the pictures on the photographer's big screen was really remarkable and I don't have words to describe it.
The days leading up to Sask Fashion Week were very exciting. Riley showcased the pullover on Global News along with one of her eco-dyed blouses. I was itching to see everything come together on the runway and I brought Jeremy, my sister Nancy and Sara with me so we could experience it together. It was put on SO well, inside the tent it felt like we had entered another world, in a fancier city but this was all happening in Regina! Riley's collection was going to be later on in the evening but it was worth the wait! All the designers that night put out great collections and the collaboration of so many talented Saskatchewan people was really mind blowing. I know we have really creative people in this province but so many of them in one place was really cool. Here are a couple shots from that night:
The knee high socks in the centre were also knit by me. They have a really cool dropped stitch pattern with a hem at the top enclosed over an elastic. The yarn I used was Shibui Staccato (Merino/Silk) that was supplied to me by Riley. I used every last inch and finished them in 6 days.
As you may have heard, Riley won the award for Best Emerging New Designer for Sask Fashion Week 2013 for her designs and her wonderful collection. She received a standing ovation and I was so happy for her! She really deserved to win for designing items that can be worn to work as a professional in the city or her items are really adaptable for pairing with other items already in your wardrobe. My favourite piece in her collection were the eco dyed silk blouses. She used berries to naturally dye silk which not only makes these blouses one-of-a-kind but it also she created wonderful splashes of colour and a cool story for people who own the tops. On that note I also wanted to tell you that her collection is available at Stella and Sway downtown on Scarth street! You can see her designs up close and become the proud owner of a Riley Lawson design. You should check out her facebook page and her website, and this article on her award. She will be one to look out for in the city. She does fashion styling for the Cornwall Centre, morning segments on Global News, writes a column for Pink Magazine and so much more. Such a talented woman and I consider myself lucky to have had met/worked with her. Finally check out Sask Fashion week this year, you will love it!
Happy New Year!
2014? Hard to type that number at the moment but I'm sure I will be used to it by the end of the month. Happy New Year to each of you :) I wanted to take this time to go over the many great experiences I had this past year and my plans for 2014.
I taught several classes a month at Cindy-Rellas and met a lot of great people who I see have continued with the skill they learned from me. I was glad to see many of them share a passion for fibre and were truly interested in learning all they could about the subject at
hand. Its fun to share my love for fibre and especially when I make friends along the way. I am currently working on my class schedule for this year and it will be listed on the site in my Classes & Workshops section shortly.
As always, if there is a class you are interested in or would like private lessons or assistance in anyway you can always contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to help. I'd love for you to come
to relax in my studio and knit/crochet or spin with me :)
I had started to play with the idea of designing. I know what I like, I see what I like and I like to make what I like. I love how
wool is so versatile and how handspun yarn can make a project really one of a kind. I had knit a couple designs this past year (both free) and they have really taken off. Bankhead has
been my most popular design so far with over 235 hats knit on Ravelry and in over 180 queues with hundreds of downloads a month and a 4.5/5 star rating. It fulfills one niche that is sometimes hard to find with knitting in that its a favourite among men. With it being comprised of ribbing, it fits a wide variety of head sizes and is easily customizable.
A couple testimonials from Ravelry:
"This is my favorite hat I’ve ever made. Ever."
"This turned out so well I’m tempted to tell the birthday person I have no present to give"
"Super easy pattern. Quick, satisfying knit"
"A wonderful pattern. In fact I am going to knit another one"
"Simple, quick, and manly"
"This is going to be my go-to hat pattern from now on"
"One of my favorite patterns!!!"
I have made a few more designs which I just need to type up "Speargrass", "Wally", "Network" Pisces Shawl and my sock design class socks (which obviously don't have a name yet and I wrote the pattern 2 years ago) need to be tested again and will be available soon. SO much more to come. I also have a crocheted hat pattern for sale at Cindy-Rellas called "Hatkuna Matata". My mind has been racing with ideas that I need to put on paper and create with fibre, so you will have lots to look forward to from Knit Natural this year. I'm 100% focusing on showcasing handspun and designs with handspun in mind, designs with wool in mind and how to take advantage of the many benefits and special powers of wool and other natural fibres. This will be an exciting year :)
Feb-May was busy for me as I spent every moment I had knitting a couple
sweaters for fashion designer Riley Lawson's Fall Collection. She showed me pictures of her designs and we discussed what sorts of details she wanted included. I went off her wonderful ideas and knit her a pullover and a cardigan which were featured on the runway at Sask Fashion Week AND she won the Emerging Designer award that weekend. I also knit her a pair of knee high socks in 6 days that were a nice accessory paired with a gorgeous wool jacket. The pullover was featured on Global News and both items are available for purchase (I will be writing a post on this experience in the next week or so).
I attended 3 wool shows in 2013 in all 3 prairie provinces and judged/scribed at each one. I love wool judging more than I expected. I'm always interested in learning as much as I can about fibre and wool in general and with all the breeds out there and all the cross breeds, wool judging lets me continue to learn with each fleece and I can literally immerse myself in greasy wool and breathe in all it has to offer. I am hoping to continue judging for as long as I can and I am going to really try hard this year with my Sheep Study on my site here. I have many samples washed and I had fallen behind in 2013.
My website stats hit an all time high this past year with over 26,500 page views and my facebook page went from 30 to 111 likes. My Etsy shop with almost 2000 views, and items included in several treasuries has started to take off. I even sold the original Bankhead hat from there last month. I am going to try and post more blog updates this year. I have a lot going on in real life and my mind that I want to share but finding the time proved difficult. I also plan on listing MANY more skeins of handspun in my shop on this site. Weebly has made it even easier to list items for sale and I'm going to have to re-organize that section a little bit. I was a featured artist on the Handmade Sask website and was also included in one of the giveaway's offered
When Kim from The Wacky Windmill came for a Trunk Show this October I
really saw how crazy... I mean, how awesome the fibre community in Regina is. I think every member of the Regina Weavers and Spinners attended and many new faces who were likely as overwhelmed as I at the wonderful selection of hand-dyed fibre, yarns, notions and more Kim brought with her. It was also exciting to host this all in my brand new house! To finally invite people over and surround myself in good friends, my favourite dyer, fibre galore and food. I was able to open my studio (which has since been moved but more on that later) and not look some kind of weird hoarder of animal hair (well at least they didn't think so).
These memories only scratch the surface of all that went on in 2013. I hope that you will continue to follow me as I share and write my experiences, designs, challenges, travels, reviews, giveaways & contests, sales etc in 2014. Thank YOU for helping me get here <3
OH and (for Jeremy) the Riders won the Grey Cup :D
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
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.
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
Well it's official! I received my enrollment confirmation, I'm registered for this years' Fibre Week at Olds College in Alberta. I am SO excited. This is their 100 year celebration and the Hand Weavers, Spinners & Dyers of Alberta will be holding their annual conference at the same time. Jeremy and I booked our hotel room in December and got the last room just to show how big of an event it will be! I will be taking a Hand Spindles workshop which I really wanted to take last year (from Stephanie Gaustad) but it was sadly cancelled. I have also volunteered again to help out with the fleece auction so you will definitely see me in the marketplace if not all over their beautiful grounds. I will also be visiting the horses and barns :) I am also excited because one of my favourite dyers will be one of the vendors this year; The Wacky Windmill. I already know I won't have enough money :P If you are at all interested in fibre I can't recommend Fibre Week enough. The campus is not only gorgeous, it is so refreshing being surrounded by like-minded people with varying degrees of expertise. I am also very happy from my good friend Deb Behm who will be teaching one of the Master Spinners levels this year! Last year I took a sock design class and the two levels of the Wool Judging course. There are so many classes I am interested in this year, check it out! The countdown begins.