I tried to to a lot of spinning for the Tour this year. While I didn't really have a strict goal I had fun. I spun 5 bobbins that still need to be plied and 5 skeins. I was also working on my 2 support spindles which are handmade by local makers. I will focus more on those as soon as I finish my fibre with them.
I also received my NEW wheel!!!! This one replaces the wheel that was stolen in my car earlier this year. I wanted to keep with the same wheel as I loved it and I still have parts for it. This time though I got the walnut stain <3!! I bought it from Jo's Yarn Garden in Stony Plain, Alberta. Joanne was such a pleasure to deal with!! I am smitten with my new Kromski Sonata.
I miss my old spinning wheel bag which was made by Blue Mountain Handcrafts... but when I laid eyes on this Tom Bihn Quarter Packing Cube, I knew it would make the perfect replacement. I will devote a blog post soon to this bag. It really is perfect.
I feel so good to be able to finally replace some of the items lost in Feb. I have been so grateful for friends and my fibre community for lending and supplying me with all the tools I have needed to keep going.
But...... wait there's more!
Look. At. What. I. Won!! This beauty is my newest treasure handmade by an amazing woman named Jenny Noland. She is an AMAZING fibre worker in our community, a friend and a whiz at everything she does. Jenny is truly a Master Crafter, from spinning, knitting, weaving, lampwork, wood turning and more. I am so lucky to know such a talented woman. So, Jenny has been working with her lathe and making spindles. You should check her instagram feed to see all she creates. I was the luckiest of all to win one of her new spindles!! I was looking for a beautiful fibre to start spinning and found some baby camel in my stash. More to come on this!
I know what you're thinking... "didn't she already post about her studio a year ago?" Why yes I did, BUT since then I have moved into a much bigger and better place - the master bedroom :D You see, the closet is MUCH bigger in the master bedroom than in my previous room and I have a lot more fibre than I do clothes and since I was unsupervised one day when Jeremy was at a football game, I switched the two rooms around.
I love this space, I have lots of natural light flowing in and it's very comfortable. I can come into this room and relax, forget about the stresses of the day and hang out and do what I love. This couch is the perfect place to work on projects. I have my laptop on the table and I can work on my website, post to Facebook, check Ravelry and update my Etsy shop all while working on my current project. And if you ever come stay with me, this opens up into a bed as well.
My old dresser, which used to be my mom's then mine, houses all my reference books, my spindle collection and my torso Vivian. It is also a great hiding spot for small balls of yarn, loose fibre, notions, and anything else that I squirrel away.
That handsome guy on the back of the couch is my honey - Rider aka Mr. Eyebrows.
My desk, looks in order during the time this picture was taken, but it doesn't always look that organized. My sewing machine is here, and I really want to get using it. (I'm just learning to sew and working on a quilt top). The drawers hold documents and miscellaneous notions which I can never seem to find when I need them. My ball winder and swift get used daily. If you don't have either of these pieces of equipment I can't recommend them enough. I don't know what I would do without either of them. On my chair, hangs a few project bags.
My yarn cabinet is another love. My husband and I got it at Ikea and it's exactly what I needed. Almost my entire yarn stash fits into this cabinet (with the exception of a few bins in the closet). My handspun skeins usually sit on the top shelf and some of my more luxurious fibres are also kept safe inside. My cats aren't all that interested in my fibre but I don't want to give them any reason to be either. This is Amy, Phoebe and Xena, they are getting ready to sunbathe.
On my door hang many more project bags - yes I love bags ;P The door to the right is the ensuite bathroom which is also a bonus if you happen to stay over. My Pygora Goat and my Corriedale sheep reside atop my cabinet with my niddy noddy's.
The pièce de résistance is what is behind door #1... my wonderful closet <3 I store my fibre stash in here along with a couple spinning wheels, my jack loom, class supplies and... more project bags.
The dresser holds some of my handknits, leftover yarn balls and extra bobbins. This closet was a delightful accident. When a mistake on the blueprints left us with a room within a room, we were happy to let that one go. If you haven't hung out in my studio I would love to have you. I will put the tea on and we can knit/spin the time away.
~This is my happy place~
I am heading off to Olds College on Saturday for my favourite time of the year; Fibre Week. This trip in the past has been filled with classes, wool shows, shopping, relaxing, knitting and spinning. I get to surround myself with everything I love most and spend the week in a dream state. I am on partial business this year as I have been hired a Wool Judge for the Custom Woolen Mills fleece show and sale. I have been wanting to do this since I took the wool judging course at Olds in my first year there. Since that time I have judged fleeces in all 3 prairie provinces. I am very proud of myself for that. I have always been an advocate for education and each fleece is a new learning experience. There is a lot to learn with wool and thats one of the many reasons I love it so much.
In my Tom Bihn Swift I am bringing (from left to right):
- Ball Winder for plying
- Crochet shawl WIP (almost finished)
- Skein of Falkland handspun for a new shawl
- Knitting shawl WIP (almost finished)
- Interchangeable needles
- Notions pouch
- Niddy noddy
- 5 braids of fibre - hoping to spin one skein a day on my wheel (Corriedale, Romney, Merino/Cashmere/Nylon, BFL/Nylon, Shetland
- Spindle WIP - spinning 3 cops on my Malcolm Fielding Interchangeable spindle, to 3 ply and make sock yarn. Fibre is an alpaca/merino/nylon blend from Twisted Sisters (bought at Olds) This is the second cop almost finished.
- Bare spindle for the spin-in - Tabachek Mini
- Bare supported spindle Miss Lucy Tibetan
- Kromski Travel Wheel (not pictured)
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?
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
You know when you buy fibre and it comes in a nice neat braid? Ever wanted to know how to do this? This quick picture tutorial will show you how I braid my fibre. The reason I like braids is because they are nice and compact which makes it easier for me to store (or hide), ship or might even help you dye fibre in a cool way. I will be using 4 oz of Wendsleydale wool in the colourway "Not So Sea Worthy" dyed by Amy King of Spunky Eclectic. Just a note, if you ever want to join a fibre club, I highly recommend this one.
Step 1: Lay out your fibre into a "N" shape
Step 2: Start at one end and just loop the tip around the other two ends
Step 3: Start braiding your three strand together (you will have to untangle the fibre as you go. Continue until you are close to the end
Step 4: Once you reach the end, tuck in the loose end to the loop created by the other 2 strands. Now wasn't that easy?