Friday, January 6, 2017

New Year. New Fun.

There is so much to catch up on, and if I was planning I'd start writing up some preliminary posts (maybe I will...), but I have so many other things I am focused on planning - paid work things - that I'll just see what I get to. I knit a few things in the past while. Just a few.

Today, however, I'm thinking about upcoming fun. I am going to offer a mini skills class on Brioche Knitting at the Norwood Naughty Knitter Fibre Frolic on Sunday, January 15th.  I love brioche.  I probably don't brioche enough. I could brioche more. I did brioche knit the edging of a recent scarf/shawlette instead of the (less interesting) stitch called for.  I've also knit my way through many of Katrin Schuber's hats.  I only own one of the hats, but I've knit a few.

For myself I started with Liguria
 With the same orange handspun yarn I knit my mom Ondadolce.
Later I whipped up a bulky version of Beezee for one of the preschool teachers.

Then a fellow twins-momma / dance-family friend requested a similar hat, so I made her the Frost on Roses.

 I think another hat is in order soon. Or perhaps one of the brioche stitch sweaters in my queue.
Just look at how squishy it is (best seen in the bulky version) and those beautiful lines. Curves? Easy-peasy.
Sure, you can do single-colour brioche, but I like 2 colours. In particular, I like that this is float-less colourwork.
The edging of this scarf in single-yarn brioche, but not a ribbed stitch.

I know I should have some older brioche projects somewhere, but I can't recall what they are. Scarves I suspect. Simpler basic brioche. Or maybe just some stitch samplers.

I look forward to demystifying this technique for folks next weekend.


Monday, November 7, 2016

Manitoba Fibre Festival - shopping

I would be remiss if I didn't share photos of my fibre acquisitions from this year's fibre festival (even if I am late in sharing).


I did not bring home ANY alpaca NOR raw fleece. (It was tempting! I almost did.)
I really don't need more of either right now.
Instead I restocked my pretty-fibres stash so that I have ready-to-spin stuff available between rounds with the raw fibres I have to clean and prep.


Clockwise from the largest batt: my prize of an Icelandic wool blend donated by Tog & Thel, Merino-Silk roving from Wild Wind Naturals, a natural braid of Falkland wool and a dyed braid of Falkland from Generations Fibreworks, Chocolate-Raspberry merino Fluffy Roving from Cloud 9 FibreWorks (2 braids that I claimed before she could even put it on display; good thing because when I walked away to do some organizing stuff I returned to find most of the fibre sold), and a pair of earthy merino-tencel fibre dyed by Manjusha Fibres.

I was also deeply compelled to support Wayne of Natural Knot Wood designs as he added Tibetan style support spindles to his collection. Last year I was admiring (and helping others shop for) his Turkish spindles, but I have a decent collection of those already.  I haven't bought a new spindle in years and I really love my other Tibetan style spindle. This one is a beauty.

As you can see from the photo above, I started spinning some new fibre on the new spindle immediately.  Later, at home, I took a break from my super-fine spinning on the wheel to whip up that prize batt in a chunky 3-ply.

Plying "ball" of 3 strands.

Filling my bulky quill attachment, with a bobbin for comparison.
With 92 meters of bulky yarn, I'm thinking.... hat. Or mitts. Or cowl.
Hmmmm.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Manitoba Fibre Festival - Handspinning

After much planning and a gorgeous weekend, the Manitoba Fibre Festival has wrapped up its fourth year.  There is much I could write about, but I will focus on the Handspun Skeins competition because I was the co-organizer of this event.  Last year was the first competition on a smaller scale.  As a lace-spinner, I wasn't satisfied by the requirement last year that yarns be of a medium weight, so I mentioned to the fabulous Festival organizers that I would love to see more categories and - as one has to expect when one asks for a volunteer-run event to develop an area - I found myself co-organizing this larger competition. Joanne Seiff was my fellow co-organizer.

All of our organization would have been for naught without a judge.  We were fortunate enough to have local Master Spinner Jo-Anne Tabachek as our judge. She carefully assessed each skein backstage at the Festival before they went on display.



We were impressed by the many beautiful entries and all the wonderful prize donations.  I have linked to the websites that exist for the donations, but a few of them do not have websites. However, they are all local (to the Winnipeg area) and can likely be found again this January at the Norwood Naughty Knitters fibre event. Stay tuned for that announcement and if you want a direct update you should join the NNK on Facebook. NNK will also cross-post in the Yarn Over Manitoba group if you are there.

Back to our competition update.
In the Singles category, this bright green skein of squishiness
 won this fluffy delight of a batt from Wild Wind Naturals.
Note that we did not have many singles submitted, so if you are a singles-spinner, send in a skein for next year's competition!

In the 2-ply category, this jewel-toned yarn
 won a delightful braid of wool top from The Wacky Windmill.

Also from the 2-ply category, this soft brown yarn
 won some squishy roving from Spin It.

In the multi-ply (3 or more) category, this much-admired skein of local shetland
 won this soft roving from Turtle Mountain Alpacas.

In the heavier weight of multi-ply yarns, this chunky 3-ply spun from local Shetland
full disclosure - this one is mine
won a gorgeous batt of Shetland and other goodies from Tog & Thel
Also mine now; I'm a wee bit excited. Prizes were assigned to categories in advance of judging.
For novelty yarns, much to our surprise there were only two entries and both were gorgeous. The winner was this corespun yarn.
 The spinner received this fantastic blend of top from Manjusha Fibres

Our final category was yarn spun from a raw, animal source. The spinner had to start with the raw material. There were three categories - wool, camelid, and "other" (for angora, silk, chiengora, etc.) We had 5 submissions of wool, but quite surprisingly only one of alpaca. We were not surprised by the lack of submissions outside of the wool or camelid category, but perhaps that will be an incentive to spinners - you could win in this category by default. Heads up you bunny-keepers.

Back to the winners.  For the wool category,  this gorgeous orange yarn was not only cleaned, prepared, and spun by the contestant, but she also dyed it. I love orange.
 She won a wonderful selection of Shetland and Mohair from Prairie's Edge Wool Farm

Our lone alpaca yarn (come on alpaca-spinners, regale us next year!), was this soft beauty
that won some very soft alpaca roving from Penny Lee Alpacas.


All the submissions were lovely and received much admiration from the public.  Here they are.

My singles submission using merino dyed by Cloud 9 Fibreworks


merino-silk. gorgeous.




I managed to take a terrible photo of my own yarn. It is much prettier in person.






My cable-plied yarn. Now I can finally knit it!


My submission spun from "All the Wool Fleeces", the brown fleece. 


I look forward to next year's competition and all the beautiful submissions!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Tour De Fleece - days 1&2

It's my first year participating in the Ravelry Tour de Fleece.  For those unaware, spinners commit to spinning every day during the Tour de France, resting on the Tour rest days, and giving themselves an extra challenge on the more challenging days of the bike tour.

I prepared some fibre in advance.

 My starting plan is to 1) spin a 2-ply rainbow gradient yarn dyed by Waterloo Wools, 2) spin up the remainder of the jewel toned superwash merino that I carded with a little bit of white alpaca for fun, 3) make progress on the support spindle project, 4) spin up the locks as an art yarn for one of the challenges, and 5) spin my two braids of browns Falkland.  For the latter, I carded one braid with some yak and angora (for fun) and blended the colours in the process. I'm going to spin the other braid as-is (with some fluffing up of course) and ply them together.
If I get through that, there's more fibre. Not a ton of fibre (excepting All The Fleeces that are not ready to spin) like some of the stashes I've seen featured on the TDF discussions, but a couple more braids and a couple bags of alpaca-silk.  When I'm done, I can fully justify buying more fibre at the Manitoba Fibre Fest this year.

For the first two days I was camping, but that wasn't going to stop me from spinning. I packed up fibre and spindles. I was spinning while kids ran around. I was spinning at the playground. I was spinning in the middle of the night around a camp fire. On the way home we stopped at the "Bison Day" event in Birds Hill Park where we were camping and I enjoyed spinning with some bannock (just to say I did spin there).


When I got home I gleefully started on my rainbow gradient.

(I also have a new phone and am playing with a collage app for the first time.)