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!!
Believe the hype...
Maker: Bristlecone Artisian Heirlooms
Weight: 29 g / 1 oz
Length: 10.5" Shaft
Woods: Hawaiian Koa
My 21 yard sample is BFL wool in the colourway "Lucrezia" by Shadawyn Fibre Arts.
Glindle = glass/spindle, behold its beauty
These one-of-a-kind spindles are highly sought after and for good reason. They are both pretty AND spin like a dream. Each focal is unique and jaw-dropping amazing. The Bristlecone shop is only updated a few times a year and when it is the spindles are sold in seconds. If you are looking for one, you can post an ISO (In Search Of) on Ravelry, which might be your best bet and that was the way I was able to acquire this spindle. My lucky stars must have been shining that day.
This particular focal is very mysterious and was hard to capture with my camera. I find these spindles spin best in a glass or pottery bowl and there is a b s o l u t l e y no wobble with this one. Glindles feel very comfortable in your hands and the sound they produce when the glass is spinning in a bowl makes it sound like its singing
I'm very careful when storing this Glindle and always put it away when not in use and protect the end with a piece of plastic tubing. With that said, I'm not so afraid of breaking this spindle to not use it at any given moment. Its very well made and I have heard the customer support is wonderful in the case of an unfortunate accident. These spindles were made to be used and once you spin with one, you won't want to put it down.
The shaft is completely smooth and makes the grain shine like gold. It is tapered enough to spin off of yet its not so pointy that it may split. Your eyes will be drawn to the detailing near the focal which is the perfect resting place for the gem of the spindle. This focal changes colour depending on the light and I have seen, red, gold, green and orange (it's very warming) The tip is smooth and the roundish shape of the focal helps keep the spindle spinning for a long time. The detail and thought put into these spindles is astounding.
Glindles are the Cadillac of support spindles and heirloom pieces. You can't help but smile while spinning on one and they are the reason many people get into support spindling. They are a huge addition to any collection and if you don't want to take my word for it, just check out their large following on Ravelry and don't forget to add your ISO to the list and don't be offended when others laugh at your request. You are not alone, they too are in search of Glindles themselves.
Length of spin: 22.8 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: Excellent
Overall Rating: 10/10
Fully functional works of art. These are the best of the best. Worth every penny.
These beautiful handmade resin spindles are a pleasure to spin
Weight: 26 g / 7/8 oz
Length: 9" Shaft 2 1/2" Whorl
Style: Top Whorl
I absolutely fell in love with this spindle when I saw it on etsy. Dark woods always sway me and the purple/green colour combo is a favourite of mine. The whorl is filled with Mountain Wild Cat flowers and leaves. The resin is very clear and there is no slippage of the shaft at all. This spindle is mostly balanced but there is a slight wobble. Not enough to worry too much about though.
One aspect of this spindle I'm not happy with is the lack of a notch. Some of her spindles use different shapes with create their own "notches" but because the resin is a shiny surface, I find if I don't wrap my yarn around the hook several times, it slips around and drops to the floor.
The hook is also a bit of a downfall. It's very open and it seems like the curve is too large.
Luckily, much of the cons of this spindle will be washed away when I tell you the price .....
That's right, pretty darn inexpensive.
I bought this spindle in 2011 and this was right about the time when she started turning her shafts. They used to be very plain looking. The shaft on this beauty is lightly turned at the bottom and the top where it meets the hook. I quite like the little detailing.
This spindle doesn't have a particularly long spin time but the whorl isn't rim weighted. You can maximize yardage and spin beautiful laceweight yarn with this spindle. I am very happy with my sample and plan on using this spindle in a larger project.
Sorry I am a day late. I had everything ready in time except for time itself. This week I spun a sample on my Maggie Low Whorl
Maker: Magpie Woodworks
Weight: 24 g / 3/4oz
Length: 11" Shaft 2 1/2" Whorl
Style: Low Whorl
Woods: Red Oak
As mentioned before, this spindle is very well balanced. There is an extra pin to even everything out. I have noticed this in my other Magpie Woodworks spindles (except one and its the only one that wobbles). The length under the whorl is 2".
This is a decent sized spindle, it's not huge and heavy but its not so dainty you'd be afraid to break it. Both ends are nice and smooth so you don't have to worry so much if you spindle drops to the floor.
This unique spindle is cute and the workmanship that went into making it is clear
Weight: 42 g / 1 1/2 oz
Length: 12" Shaft 3" Whorl
Style: Top Whorl
Woods: Purpleheart, maple, hickory
Upon closer inspection, you can see that Thomas Forrester really enjoys his work. He pays close attention to detail (he even included lips on the sheep) and the carved lines are smooth and even. He creates neat shaping in both the crown ontop of the spindle and the whorl shapes. This spindle is very smooth with no rough edges.
I have a list of goals this year:
1) knit a sweater for myself
2) crochet a sweater for myself
3) learn to sew
4) make a few projects that have been in my queue for a long time like Wurm, Hitchhiker and Sheep Heid, Morning Surf Scarf with handspun
5) challenge myself each month on something crafty
6) spin 4 oz on a supported spindle
7) Finish as many WIP’s as I can
8) Wear more of my hand knits on a regular basis
I've started working on a few items and cast on for the Hitchhiker shawl this past week. I am using a Merino/Tencel blend which is the Jan 2014 club shipment from Spunky Eclectic. I spun the fibre straight from the braid without splitting it up. I wanted to have longer colour runs which of course "make" this shawl. The other nice thing about this pattern is you knit until your run out of yarn so I can use up every last inch of my precious handspun.
I'm really liking the gradation of colours, looks like a sunset to me. It also makes for great work knitting.
This giant is what Jeremy refers to as "surprisingly photogenic" (hows that for a reason to buy)
Weight: 64 g / 2 1/4 oz
Length: 12" Shaft 4" Whorl
Style: Top Whorl
This spindle was on my "need" list for several years after seeing this on Marihana's stash page. My friend Susan noticed one for destash on Ravelry and I instantly jumped on it.
It is a very large spindle and quite heavy compared to my others. I have mostly been happy with Greensleeves spindles and this one seems... different. Not that its not pretty, its ok to be somewhat plain but the shaft on it seems to be.. ugly to say the least. Not that this plays a huge role but it just looks like a dowel to me. A lot of time and love was spent on the whorl though, its beautiful warm woods are a nice, dark, rich colour. The underbelly has been turned nicely (different from other Mjolinors I've seen online) and its got a nice shallow umbrella shape. There is only a single notch at the back of the hook, but it doesn't seem to be very big/deep to hold the yarns I would use for this type of spindle. And I should also mention that the main reason I wanted this spindle was for plying. I wanted a large spindle that could hold a full skein of yarn so I didn't have to make a couple smaller skeins.
The fibre pictured is my Nov 2013 club shipment from North Bound Knitting. Cheviot wool in the colourway "The Talented Mr. Ripley"
This spindle would be much more suited to spinning long wools where you want less twist in your yarns. One plus for this spindle is the spin time is very long. You won't have to worry about it changing direction on you. This particular spindle has a bit of a wobble.
Length of spin: 46.9 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: VERY good
Overall Rating (as a plying spindle): 7/10
Don't ask me how to pronounce Mjolinor, it is one of Greensleeves Scandinavian style spindles and its design is based off a spindle found in Northern Europe in an archaeological dig. I will give this spindle another try later on when I have some larger skeins to ply. There is a lot of potential in this gentle giant.
**Warning, this post will keep you up!
I have been yearning for a project that has no deadline. Something where I can pick up a spindle, create any yarn and knit a project that I can wear whenever and wherever. One of my goals this year is to actually get around to knitting a few projects this year that have been in my Ravelry queue for a few years. Specifically the ones "made" for handspun. Like the Morning Surf Scarf, Hitchhiker, Wurm, Simple Yet Effective Shawl, and all the amazing handspun fingerless mitt patterns out there (not to mention the million shawl patterns in my queue) Right now the one I'm thinking about is the Helix Scarf by Stephanie Gaustad. My friend Deb knit one of these a few years ago with her handspun. It's simple, beautiful, and just what I'm looking for. I was looking at the projects on Ravelry and this one really caught my eye.
If you are looking for spinning with shawls in mind, just join this group! Looking for crocheting handspun? Here you go :)
And if that's not enough... look at the projects/stash of Marihana
Now you can see what I'm talking about! Add a few projects to your queue now? YEAH! Now you can understand how I feel haha. Which projects are you thinking of starting this weekend?
After you finish spinning a skein of yarn, it's important to set the twist. This helps the energy in your yarn relax and it also helps the yarn bloom which shows you how a finished object made with your yarn will behave after it is washed. You don't want any surprises to show up.
I started out with these 3 skeins. As you can see they still full of twist energy. I always overply my yarns and this is the result I end up with. (My very first skein of handspun yarn which I spindle spun and plied on a wheel was very "balanced looking" when I was finished, but when I went to knit with it, it was very underplyed = lesson learned).
My samples are: Humbug Finnish, Merino/Silk and Finn wool.
**Its very important to tie your skeins in at least 3 places. This prevents tangles and tears
Fill your basin/sink with warm water and a bit of Soak wash. Place your skeins in the water and gently submerge them to release any air bubbles. Make sure the skeins are completely wet. Let the water & wool wash flow through your fibres for at least 15 - 20 minutes.
Now for the fun part - thwacking! I find this really helps my skeins relax and it releases a ton of built up energy. Take the damp skein out of the salad spinner and hold it with your arms outstretched. Bring your hands close together and then very quickly open your arms wide and your skein will make a slapping sound. I have demonstrated this step in this quick video:
You can also hit your skein along the side of your tub or another hard surface.
Hang your skeins in a warm place to dry. *This step goes really fast if its nice and hot and you can hang these outside. You can see how much they have relaxed compared to the first photo.
Now after all of this, I should also say, that your don't HAVE to do this. There are no spinning police. If you don't want to set the twist, that's fine, just keep in mind that your yarn will behave differently when working with it. If you want an energized yarn then perfect :)
Let me know if you have any questions and happy spinning!
This is a wonderful spindle that won't give up!
Weight: 16 g / 5/8 oz
Length: 8 1/4"
Style: Top Whorl
Woods: English Bog Oak/Elm & an Ash Shaft
I fell in love with IST spindles a few years ago when I tried one out in my LYS. With just one flick these spindles will make it seem like your fibre is spinning on its own. They are nice and light and spin forever. I spun this textured batt sample on it and got about 14 yards. (I should also mention that each of the samples I spin for these reviews will be available for purchase in my Mini Skein section in the shop.)
I really prefer rim weighted spindles because they have a much longer spin time and you don't have to worry about your spindle changing directions on you. Many IST spindles (like this one) have a brass/epoxy resin band around the whorl to give them some weight. It not only a beautiful feature but also a benefit in my opinion.
Length of spin: 23.3 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: Good
Overall Rating: 9.5/10
I have many IST's in my collection and I haven't had any issues with any of them. If you are looking for a quality top whorl spindle ... look no further.
Sturdy and hardworking are great words to describe this week's spindle
Maker: Miss Lucy
Weight: 37 g / 1 1/4 oz
Length: 9 3/4"
Woods: Zapote & Cherry
I bought this beauty in a destash on Ravelry and was first drawn to it because of its design and gorgeous woods. I really appreciate when a spindle maker adds their special touch and the detailing on the shaft is stunning. Once I started spinning with it I couldn't stop, it has such a long spin because of its shaping (it's rim weighted) and its perfectly balanced. The length also made it very comfortable to use.
Length of spin: 29.1 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: Good
Overall Rating: 9/10
When you look at the spin time with this spindle compared to the Russian style spindle last week (29.1 seconds compared to 9.6 seconds), you can see how the extra weight and the shape of the base really makes a difference.
If you get your hands on a Miss Lucy spindle, you won't regret it
Believe it or not, this is my favorite supported spindle. I am not sure on the maker as it was given to me in a destash. I have seen similar ones on Ravelry but if you know the maker of this spindle please let me know. I am going to call it "Turnip".
Weight: 9 g / 3/8 oz
Length: 7 1/2"
I started spinning a sample from one of my Phat Fibre boxes on it and I fell in love. It is my smallest spindle and some might refer to it as a pocket spindle or purse spindle. Because its so lightweight, I can flick it really well and find that it spins better and faster than any of my other Russians. I use my pottery lap bowl for this spindle because I get less friction than I would with my wooden one. I found that my yarn was very fine and I could add a lot of twist quickly because of its fast spin.
The length of the shaft might pose a problem to some. I usually prefer longer supported spindles but this one is an exception to the rule for me. The wood used is quite lightweight as well and I bet if the wood was a little stronger and more dense this little spindle could be even better. There is no finish to this wood either, it looks like it was carved/turned and left as is. Not a big deal but pretty spindles get more points.
Length of spin: 9.6 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: Fair
Overall Rating: 7/10
This spindle spins fast and despite its looks it is one of my favourites for travel and sample spinning
Spindles are wonderful tools to have. Not only for spinning, but also for collecting! Part 1 in my spindles series, will be a quick overview of supported spindles. I am also going to give more detailed reviews on each of my spindles over the course of the year(s) and plan on doing giveaways with some. So lets get started.
The nature of supported spindles is that - you spin them in a bowl, or on a surface where the bottom tip is being supported. You can spin very fine yarns with spindles like these because you are not adding the weight of the spindle to your fibre. This makes spinning fibres with short staple lengths such as cotton, cashmere or angora easier. Long draw spinning is common and many people prefer supported spinning because you don't need to take up a lot of room. You can sit comfortably and don't have to strain your arms. You then use your fingers to flick the top of the spindle and you spin your yarn off the point (tip) of the spindle. The hand you use to flick the spindle is also used to cup it as it spins. It takes a bit of practice but once you get the rhythm down, you can spin to your hearts content.
These are my Tibetan spindles (from left to right: Tabachek, Neal Brand, Texas Jeans, Miss Lucy). The are really great spinners because each of their bases add weight which keep them spinning for a lot longer than you would expect. As you can see by their shapes, each designer adds his/her own special touch. Each of these spindles is rim weighted (which I love). You can pack a lot of fibre on these babies.
My Russian style spindles (from left to right: Jim Leslie, Tabachek, Phil Powell, unknown maker). These spindles don't spin nearly as long as the Tibetans above, but they are fast and I can spin very fine yarns on them. They usually have the bulb type shape but in the case of the Phil Powell spindle, they don't always.
There are several ways to store your spindles. I store mine on one of these boxes from the dollarstore (believe it or not). My friend Susan mentioned these to some of us at one of our Fibre Nights and they are great! How do you store your spindles?
For Day 3, I have another great deal to offer. I have a couple of Spinner Starter Kits with Corriedale or Southdown wool. If you or someone you know is looking to learn how to spin and would like a great starter spindle and 4 oz of fibre to practice on these kits are exactly what you are looking for. Corriedale is a
great wool for both the beginner and advanced spinner. I really like
it because its a nice soft fibre, not slippery and the staple length is
nice and average. Southdown is a medium/down breed sheep and their
fibre provides bulk without the weight. This wool is lofty and springy. Great for
socks, hats, mitts and sweaters. It is a very versatile wool with
a medium-soft feel. The top whorl spindles are made from maple. These kits went like crazy at the Manitoba Fibre Festival and you can get your hands on one too but only until Dec 7th. These usually sell for $25 each but....
Today's Deal ~ $15.00 each
(That's a 40% discount!)
*I have 3 Corriedale kits and 1 Southdown kit available*
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.
I have been combing my Polypay sample which will be this months sheep breed in our study. I have also washed some Dorset which I will be working on while in Drake at the Grasslands Sheep and Wool Exhibition this weekend. I will have a booth set up in support of the wool industry and I will be judging the fleece show.
Vegetables from my garden
I have also had a lot of success with my garden this year. I am trying square foot gardening and my friend Michele gave me a head start by giving me her raised beds and the perfectly mixed soil to go in
Time for another giveaway, and just in time for Tour de Fleece! The prize this time is a top whorl spindle made by Jill Holbrook and some merino & merino/silk fibres. This is a great little starter kit for someone who wants to learn how to spin or another great addition to your spindle collection. So now for the catch, to win this you must answer a skill testing question:
"What is the difference between top and roving?"
You can post your answer in the comments and also post why you love spinning or why you want to learn how to spin. I will pick a winner based on the correct answer via a draw on Sat June 29th in time to kick off the tour. If you aren't aware, Tour de Fleece runs along with the Tour de France. People pick goals or challenges and spin during the entire tour. You can make this as simple or difficult as you like. My friends and I are a little more easy going than others during the tour and people will be spinning all around the globe during this time. Did I mention you can win a lot of great prizes? Another little tid bit of info; this year is the 100th year of the Tour de France, so if you haven't tried it yet this would be a great year to start.
What a great day today, even though it POURED for a bit, the sun did come out and I spent the whole day spinning <3. In my spindle class we started off with supported spindles, I haven't had too much experience with these as I only bought my first supported spindle last year here at Olds. Our instructor gave us this cute little bead spindle and a bag of fibre to practice with. After a few false starts I got the feel for it and away I went. By lunch time I spun 4 punis and about 1 foot of pima cotton on this little bead spindle (I'm pretty proud of myself :). After lunch we focused on top whorl spindles and plying.
I also learned a few tricks, if you wind your yarn onto your spindle up and down kinda making a criss-cross pattern its faster. I also learned that making your cop football shaped you can pack more yarn onto the spindle while still keeping it balanced. If your yarn isn't all plugged up at the top under the whorl you can spin until your spindle gets too heavy. Hey Jeremy, see spinning and football DO co-ordinate :P
I was lucky enough to have one of my favourite spindle makers in my class; Ed Tabachek. He was very humble and most of the people in the class who thought themselves "experts" on spindles had no idea who they were sitting beside. I did get to have a nice chat with
him during lunch. He was plying some corriedale he had spun on one of this spindles. We talked about different woods, which spindle makers he likes and how he has always been a wood turner but just took up spinning because it was of interest to his wife (who has also graduated from the
Masters Spinners courses at Olds) He and her would go on winter trips and he found spindles were a great, portable tool and he could get a lot done even just sitting around.
The market mall here never disappoints. This year it is even bigger than it was last year! I was really excited, not only because there is so much fibre packed into one area but I got to meet my favourite dyer/fibre supplier; Kim from The Wacky Windmill. She has a very good selection of hand dyed fibres, handspun yarns, tools and everything I love. I snagged a couple braids that were calling my name. Kim also surprised me with a little gift from her angora bunny "Suzie"! Did I ever tell you how much I love The Wacky Windmill?! Its such a thoughtful
gift. I am going to try and spindle spin it and make something special. Thanks Kim :D
I also purchased some green Easy Spin cotton because first of all I had a coupon and secondly my spindle teacher runs the Easy Spin cotton business.
After leaving the college for the day, Jeremy and I had a GREAT supper at the Stonewood Grill and we picked up some wine and now we are just unwinding listening to the thunderstorm outside. Sigh, what a wonderful day. Tomorrow we are going to check out the Summer Solstice fair and watch some fireworks.
Well back for another year, and if you've ever been to Olds College for their Fibre Week you wouldn't miss it either. This is a very special year because not only are the Handweavers, Spinners and Dyers of Alberta holding their conference here but it is also the centennial year for the college. I have registered for the Spindles class and although it was hard to chose which spindles I was going to bring I did make my choices. (From right to left: Magpie Woodworks Mid Whorl, KCL Modular Travel Spindle, Tabachek Compact, Kundert, and my favourite IST). I heard that Ed Tabachek will be in my spindle class tomorrow and I'm excited to meet him! He makes wonderful spindles and I am happy to say I have one of each of his designs. If you EVER get a chance at one of his spindles, jump on it, you won't be sorry.
It has been a strange season with weather (as every year is) but apparently there is a state of emergency in the Calgary/Canmore/High River area because of flooding and mudslides. I have seen a couple pictures from Twitter and some streets have water that covers parked cars. I hope everyone stays safe. Sundre, which is the town right near Olds has had many people evacuated and they are staying at the college because it is the Emergency Response Headquarters. I hope the people here don't mind us fibre people. We may convert a few, you never know. Unfortunately, I heard that my instructor for the Spindles class was turned away on her way to Olds. I hope she is able to make it because it is my only class this year and this will be my second try at this class as last year it was cancelled too.
I am excited to help with the wool show this year, I will post more on that event later this weekend.
As for travel projects I brought sock yarn to knit socks for the shop and my nephew Connor. I have also brought a few spinning projects; one on my Magpie Mid Whorl and the other on my KCL Modular. I bought some merino/alpaca/nylon fibre here last year and I have split it into 3 so I can spin each portion on each of the 3 shafts for the KCL. I plan on plying them to make a nice fingering 3-ply and then dyeing the yarn and knitting socks. I have really wanted to do a full spindle project for quite sometime and I think this trip will be a big boost for me to complete it. I also brought a simple yet effective crochet granny shawl.
Only problem about travelling is I miss my animals. Our hound Jenny, is at Grandma & Grandpa's house and she gets spoiled rotten. Our cats enjoy the dog-free house but they really do miss us and much as we miss them. Xena and Rider weren't very happy last night when we brought out the suitcases.
Lots to do this weekend as the hours fill up with work that I've got planned in my mind and the need to create takes over. I'm sure you know what I mean ;P
I am teaching my Learn to Knit class which lasts two weeks. I
teach students two common cast on's, the knit and purl stitches, simple lace knitting and two bind off's. Students get to try out different needle types (circular, straight, wooden, metal etc) to see what they prefer. It never hurts to try before you buy and many new-comers to knitting are overwhelmed with the choices. I will also go over important tools/notions, how to read simple patterns, blocking and even laundering advice. I find it to be a very relaxing class, as we have fun chatting while practicing each stitch and isn't that what knitting is all about? Creating while having fun. If you are interested in taking this class, I will be offering more throughout the year. You can check the "Classes & Workshops" tab to see the schedule and if there is something you would like to learn that isn't on the list, please let me know. I am very accommodating and will offer private lessons as well.
I have been working on a lace collar from May's Piecework Magazine. It is based on a great story called "Of Heros, Hooks, and Heirlooms” by Faye Silton, about a girl who learns to crochet to share a portion of her family's history. Children in her class are asked to bring in a family heirloom and discuss it. The girl in the book's family was in WWII and had to leave all their belongings behind. She did have a photo though and decided to make the lace collar her mother was wearing and bring that to class as her heirloom piece. I'm still looking for the book so I can read it in more depth.
I have also been crocheting buttons, they add a unique finishing touch to many projects. I have also been making buttons from polymer clay and find them so much fun!
I have been spinning a Romney sample for June's Sheep Study on my Forrester sheep spindle (how fitting!). I have processed it from its raw, dirty form to this shimmery beautiful form.
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 ;)
I received this gorgeous wheel this past weekend... (Thank you to Brenda!) stunningly gorgeous and I have always wanted a dark wood wheel. It is a Haldane, made in Scotland. To be honest I have never heard of this wheel maker before. They are not very common and stopped making wheels in the 80's to focus more on staircases. They had a few different styles; Orkney, Shetland, Hebridean and the updated Lewis. The wood is a kiln-dried European Beech with a dark oak stain. The bobbin capacity is about 2.5 oz, maybe 3 if you pack it on tight. The wheel is actually smaller than it looks in the pictures, the diameter of the wheel itself is probably just over a foot. It is a double drive and after putting on a new drive band I spun on it instantly without any trouble. It is soon to become one of my favourites. I have 4 wheels now and they have all been previously owned. They originate from New Zealand, Poland, Scotland and Vermont. Not a squeak can be heard from this beauty, and it even comes apart for easy portability win, win, win. :D I have spun some BFL/baby camel fibre on it and loving every minute.
I decided a while ago that I love handspun more than commercial yarn. I love the process, the uniqueness, the surprise and the finished product. I love how the yarn when spun can/will look a lof different from the fibre sometimes and other times it looks pretty much the same. I love the handmade look of handspun items and I especially love how much better the item feels on. I even told Jeremy that if he was choosing between fibre and yarn for me, always choose the fibre.
I have made a new years resolution to spin at least 4 oz of fibre a month.... on a spindle and try to make a pair of socks a month. I have been doing well so far in this first week of the year. I am going through one of my Phat Fiber boxes and I am going to spin every sample with my little sweetheart golding
I also received this gorgeous "Sheep to Shoe" kit from my friend Hilary and I spun it up into 2 ply yarn and I am making plain socks. I love them. It is so rewarding to finally make handspun socks. I specifically learned toe up socks for this, and only this. Thanks Hilary <3 such a thoughtful gift
So this is all I worked on today