This year was yet another wonderful success and as always, the highlight of my year! I was SOOOO busy and exhausted from teaching 5 days and recovering after only 4 weeks after back surgery but it was worth it! I was also able to take a class this year and I chose natural dying taught by Caitlin Ffrench!!
We learned a lot of cool info about natural dyes and she showed us all the colours she can make just by using plants and such from her landshed. We also learned that all the tartan colours for the different clans were made using the dyes they could make from their own surroundings. So if there was a mountain separating 2 clans their landshed could be totally different from one another and the colours that could be made would reflect that. We received some pretty cool samples in silk, wool and cotton and she even gave us a few recipes for botanical inks.
I also loved ash alberg's display with her naturally dyed yarns <3
The socks I designed using Cog Yarns were also in the fashion show at the festival. It was really cool to see all the different designs come together on the stage.
Thank you to everyone who came to visit Jeremy and I at our booth. I always have the best time and was happy that many of my friends from Saskatchewan could make it out as well.
This year I taught both levels 1 & 2 of Wool Judging at the Manitoba Fibre Fest. It was an intensive 3 days of looking at the good and bad in many different breeds and fleeces.
At the end of level 2 there was a written exam as well as a practical judging portion. Every student did exceptional!
Above are examples of some of the very beautiful fleeces which were excellent examples of their breeds.
This fleece on the other hand is a VERY BAD example. It weighs 26 lbs!! This fleece came from a medium breed with the locks well over a foot long. It is a bit hard to see in the pictures but it also show canary stain which is unscorable. This fleece shows bad animal health, bad animal care and it should NOT be supported in any way. Locks WAY too long for breed type is not a luxury. It is animal abuse. This case was different from Shrek in the fact that this sheep did not escape and hide in the mountains, it was living on a farm not getting sheared. Yearly shearing is important for the sheep's health. The sheep that carried this 26 lbs of extra wool would have been very uncomfortable. It's skin would not be able to breath and bacteria grew rampant. Please keep this in mind when you see overgrown fleeces/lock online or in the field.
Most of our 2 classes were here for the certificate award ceremony. Many thanks to Gerry (3rd from left) who coordinated the course as well as sourcing all the fleeces and providing an insight that was immeasurable to class participants. Much thanks also to Wool Growers who provided learning materials, funding and backed the courses and provided the certificates.
If you are ever interested in wool judging keep an eye out for upcoming courses with the Manitoba Fibre Fest.
It has been a very busy start of the year, with 6 classes this month alone I have been very focused on fibre arts. I have updated my class schedule for what I know right now. Keep checking back as new classes are added. Crochet seems very popular lately!
I am currently teaching in 3 different studios and all are such wonderful places. I have been at the Blue Rooster Cafe & Studio in Pilot Butte for several years. They are one of my favourite places to teach as they also have great food and drinks.
I have been with Red Fox Creative Studio for almost a year now but have taught many classes there since they started up. What I really love about them is that they are also a wellness studio so they focus on not only being creative but also your well-being. Check out their classes for a wonderful variety!
As you know my friend Nicole opened up Regina's newest yarn shop a few months ago. The Naked Sheep Yarn & Fibre Emporium has become a regular hangout for me because I can find all I need there. She has fibre, yarn, tools, notions, and more - many from local artisans (and who doesn't love hand dyed yarns?) She has opened up a class schedule this year and I am teaching a few things there. Some 4 week classes and some afternoon workshops. Check in to see other classes she offers for all levels.
I have also tweeked Bankhead once again after knitting one for my nephew Angus. I wanted to keep my pattern format similar so I changed the file. I also took it out of Canva and onto word so I could make a MUCH smaller PDF as I heard from some that the download size was on the big side. I was also talking to a friend who knit Bankhead in Noro and said the K3tog were cumbersome and I agreed. I changed the decreases yet again. I have updated the pattern on Ravelry and my pattern page on this site as well. If you want a quick reference, the decreases are as follows:
Round 1: *k1, k2tog, k1, p1* repeat from * to * until end of round
48 (56, 64, 72, 80, 88) stitches remaining
Round 2: knit across all stitches
Round 3: *k3, p1* until end of round 48 (56, 64, 72, 80, 88)
Round 4: knit across all stitches
Round 5: *sl2kpsso, p1* 24 (28, 32, 36, 40, 44)
Round 6: knit across all stitches
Round 7: *k2tog* until end of round 12 (14, 16, 18, 20, 22)
Round 8: *k2tog* until end of round 6 (7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
For Adult M & XL sizes ONLY:
Round 9: k1, *k2tog* until end - (-, -, 5, -, 6)
I have also restocked on 16 oz bottles of Power Scour. This amazing wool wash is THE cats pyjamas if you are processing your own fleeces. I also use it to clean my carpets in our Bissel as well as washing our dog when she has been through the muck and dirt at the dog park.
Use Power Scour for wool washing and wool cleaning fiber with heavier burdens of grease, wax, suint, dirt and clay, typically found in sheep, goat and bison fibers.
Use lower temperatures, 40°-50°C (104-122°F), for fibers such as Cashmere, Alpaca, Bison ,etc. Use higher temperatures, 50°-55°C (122-131°F), for fibers with more oil/wax or oils (sheep, etc.)
- Optimize cleaning at lower temperatures
- Incredible STAIN REMOVER - even Red Wine!
- Eliminates build–up of cleaning agents
- Cost effective –– use significantly less to scour
- Reduces mats and tangles
- Eliminates ODORS – Non–yellowing -
- Leaves fiber with a clean, fresh aroma
- Biodegradable – Earth Friendly – no Fillers- no Bleach
I have also been accepted to go to the 5th Etsy Captains' Summit in Toronto this spring. I will be mingling with other Etsy Leaders and Captains from all over Canada to discuss this year. I hope to learn more amazing things Etsy has planned and will share them with you when I come home. This will be my 4th year going. The Etsy SK team has also booked for 2 spring Made in Canada Sales (one in Saskatoon - May 12 & one in Regina - May 5) as well as two fall Made in Canada Sales on Sept 29th. Watch our Facebook page and our website for more info on those.
As some of you may know, I teach knitting at Red Fox Creative Studio which is a great place for combining well-being, art, creativity and support. Today I was featured on their blog as the Maker Monday post. I am also going to be teaching another Learn to Knit Class this fall starting in October. It is a 4 week class where you will learn all the basics of knitting including casting on, binding off, knit and purl stitches, simple decreases and increases as well as reading a pattern and using stitch markers. I hope you will join me :)
Are you interested in learning more about wool fleeces and how to choose a fleece at an auction or wool show?
In this workshop you will learn how to choose a fleece with an end project in mind. We will go over the judging card to see what the judge is looking for in a fleece and what the different wool classes entail. Methods of storing and washing will be discussed as well as different ways to process fleeces. This is a hands on class and will involve a few example fleeces to gain greater insight. Bring a fleece if you have questions! Please bring an apron to protect your clothes.
Cost to register: $35/person
Payable in advance by paypal to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: Golden Willow Alpaca Farm. Thank you to Sharon for providing the perfect backdrop ♥
Time: 1 - 4pm
Class size will be up to 15 people
Join in on the Facebook Event Page
May 5 - 7 was the Regina Weavers & Spinners Guild Fibre Shindig. It was full of fibre enthusiasts, vendors and a great line up of workshops. I was lucky enough to teach my Fleece to Finish class to a group of fellow members. Some participants had sheep of their own while others wanted to learn more about processing fleeces and what to look for when buying wool at an auction. We went over both judging cars and 3 breeds together and then students judged their own fleeces. It was a great afternoon that just flew by. Thanks to everyone who came out, I love talking about wool and was happy to share my knowledge.
Here are a few more pics taken by Sparkling Medusa Creative Services
For the last 2 months, I have been taking a weaving class put on by a fellow Regina Weavers & Spinners Guild member. I have woven before on my Kessinich Jack loom - but only plain weave. My other handwoven scarves I have done on my rigid heddle loom, but I wanted to learn more in depth about drafts, warping a loom, and designing projects. Our instructor is an amazing weaver and she has woven some wonderful pieces. I was excited for the experience.
There were 8 of us in the class and we met at our instructors home for the first 4 classes. When you walk into her living room, she has a beautiful loom set up and we all gravitated towards it. She had her loom warped and was midway through a shawl. Our first class was an intro - parts of the loom, terms etc.
Our second class was about yarn and how to design a project. We were shown how to pair yarns to achieve the result we were looking for and which yarns make good warps etc. We were also asked what kind of project we wanted to to. I had no idea. At this point I was thinking tea towels.
Our instructor showed us how she organizes her stash by colour. This is the easiest way for her to plan a project. She also lumps fibre types together, but keeps in mind the materials when choosing the right fibres for her design.
The most in depth class was on colour. We did this on a weekend so we had decent light. I found this class very hard. There is a lot involved with colour and I felt overwhelmed. We learned about a ruby beholder which helps you pick out colour values. We were able to look through inspiration pictures, magazines, stashes of embroidery thread and books on colour to seek out what we were looking for.
She showed us how she wraps yarn or embroidery thread around a card to help visualize her project. I found this picture because I liked the colours. This was WAY too many colour choices and our instructor helped me narrow things down a bit. When I was picking these threads and wrapping them, I was feeling a bit defeated. I still had no concrete idea what I was going to make - at this point I was thinking a scarf maybe, hand towels?
Next was our lesson on drafting. I enjoyed this night. I think it's really cool how a draft is made and how there is so much info in one little table. It was fun because it felt like we were solving a puzzle. I was thinking about using a herringbone twill pattern - maybe I should weave a shawl!
So many projects were swirling around in my mind. I knew for sure I wanted to include handspun. I spun this Corriedale into yarn and went through my stash to find something suitable for weft.
My bud Marjorie came over and she helped me make my warp. I miscalculated somewhere because I was only half down my warp when I ran out of yarn. I then found this purpleish, blue wool in my stash that went pretty good so by letting the yarn speak for itself, this project was going to be a scarf. A very long scarf with 4 yards of warp haha.
I chose some grey alpaca as my weft to soften up the scarf a bit.
I borrowed a table loom from the guild library and we set up to wind our warps on Saturday. It took all day, but I got my loom warped and threaded to weave a herringbone scarf the next day.
And then, I changed my mind again. Maybe the grey wasn't the best choice... it would dull the nice colours in my warp. When I went home that day I checked my stash again to see what would be more suitable.
After weaving a small bit, and trying out the yellow and grey, it was obvious, which route would show the pattern best. I went with the golden yellow.
Things were going too well. My threading was perfect, not a mistake in the pattern. I was weaving along loving every minute of it until I realized that the reed on the beater was shearing my handspun :( We were shown how to fix a broken thread and on I continued. Until it happened again. My beautiful scarf was destined to become a mouse pad.
I didn't want to keep going on, replacing threads every few inches so, I cut off my warp. I have the rest of it saved for a different loom - one with a bigger dent. It was still pretty devastating though, after all the work of making the yarn, winding the warp, threading the heddles, sleying the reed and tying everything up.
I am not a technical person when it comes to anything. I would rather just jump right in a create. This class was good for me because I learned the ins and outs of weaving, stuff I knew little about and now know more. I was happy to learn different ways of doing things like warping and how every problem has a solution. I enjoyed seeing what other people dreamt up for projects and their colour choices. It was a great experience and I am grateful to our instructor who took on 8 beginner weavers and had us working together making cloth. I will try again, and use the time honored skills I have learned to create something beautiful.