Thursday, 29 December 2011

I Call Her B.B.

Some of you might already know that my husband got me a new spinning wheel for Christmas.  When I started spinning earlier this year, I didn't think that I would enjoy it half as much as I do.  This year I spun up 43 skeins of yarn and I only started at the end of May!!  That's a lot of time spent behind the wheel considering that I also work full time.  I got my first wheel in May.  A Lendrum DT (a.k.a Neddie) and I absolutely adore it.  So easy to work with, and she's great for anything from lace-weight to super bulky and funky art yarns. 

What I couldn't understand when I started out spinning is why anyone would want more than one wheel.  Now after having done this for a while I understand that spinning wool and using wheels can be just as addictive as any other fibre activity.  Learning how to spin has deeply immersed me into the fibre world.  What started out as a hobby has turned into an online business that I love and really enjoy.  My new wheel is an Ashford Traveller which I ordered from Joanne Block of Homespun Angoras.  A great lady who makes up some beautiful handspun angora yarns.  Be sure and check out her shop if you get the chance.

The wheel came to me looking like this:

It was all in pieces and unstained, so I stained it a beautiful colour called Bombay Mahogany.  Here she is all stained and put together!

I've named her my Bombay Beauty and call her B.B. for short.  I've already spun and plied 2 skeins of yarn on her and think she's great!!

Now time for me to get back to my spinning!!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

My First Time...

Well, it finally happened...

I got out the clippers, the scissors, the comb and sheared Suzuki for the first time!!  She was a very good bunner throughout the whole process.  We took a short break halfway through because she very politely hopped off the table and onto my lap and was looking anxiously down at the floor.

Then we got back to business.  I think I ended up looking more like a rabbit in the end than she did.  I had rabbit fluff everywhere!!!  I didn't get as much prime fibre as I had hoped.  Lots of second cuts which I'm thinking I'll felt into something nice.  We'll see what I end up making!  I think next time I might let Suzi's wool grow a little longer so that I can have a little more to work with until I get more experienced shearing her.  Here's a picture of her all finished up.  I think she's cute despite having a silly haircut.  I left her ear tufts long because I like them.

I think she was relieved when we were done because she hopped her little bunny self to the litter box as soon as I let her go.  Now, if you'll all excuse me I have a hot date with the angora rabbit owners best wheel!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

And a Partridge in a...hmmm!

Tomorrow morning it is going to be December!  That means that it is getting closer to Christmas time and all the seasonal fun that comes with it.  Most people are decorating and rushing around doing last minute shopping at this time of year.  Personally I plan to start decorating tomorrow beginning with a new tree.  I have a teeny little guy I inherited from a friend many years ago and I think its time to upgrade.  As for the shopping part...I like shopping for fiber to make pretty things for the people I love.  I also love giving fiber goodies to my fiber loving friends!

I was discussing with some great ladies the other day how despite being able to dye/spin/blend just about any fiber or yarn combination that I could dream up, I still really enjoy buying from other fiber artists.  There are so many different color schemes out there and some people just have way different ideas than I do.  In light of all that, I've decided to join a co-operative of some amazing indie dyers who work together to promote each others' shops.  I'm presently a trial member which I think is great for proving that you are motivated and willing to work as part of the group beforehand.  What I'd like to do is introduce you all to the present Fiber Indie eXperience Co-op sellers, or the FIX Chix as they commonly call themselves!

Right now the official members are:

icandyarn (etsy) & icandyarn

yarndemon & yarndemon

fancykitty & fancykitty

littlemonkeysns & LittleMonkeysStitchnSpin

bluemtnhandcrafts & bluemountainhandcrafts






bumblebeeacres & bumblebeeacres

and along with TheWackyWindmill 2 other shops that are currently participating in the next FIX Chix giveaway!  They are:   babester & (MadamFluffy) AKA Ozark Carding Mill

Not only do I get to be in the fine company of these wonderful fiber artists, you can also get in on the fun!!  If you purchase items from any of the shops listed above, you qualify to enter into a draw for a $65 gift certificate which can also be used at any of the participating shops.  The draw date will be at the end of December, just in time for that post Christmas slump when the wallet is all empty and sad looking.  To take part in this all you need to do is purchase from one of the shops mentioned above (The Wacky Windmill is included).  Then if you already aren't a member join The Fiber-Indie-eXperience-Co-op on Ravelry.  Go to the thread listed as ALL: December FIX Drawing Entries and enter the requested info there.  You get one entry per invoice and the more shops you visit the more likely it is that you will win!! 

If you like free prizes then this is definitely for you!

Happy shopping & I hope you enjoy yourselves!

Oh Yeah!!!  And as promised.......the partridge(s)

These little guys were just hanging out on the front lawn the other day!  So Cute!!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

It's Market Time Again

Hi there everyone.  I just wanted to let you know that I am going to be at the Lethbridge Market again on Nov 19th as well as next Saturday Nov 26th.  The Market runs from 10am - 3pm and is held indoors at the Eagles Hall (lower hall).  The address for those who are interested is: 631 13th Street N.
I am carrying some new yarn and fiber bases if you want to check them out. Also new to the shop is Soak fiber wash products and Drop Spindles from Louet.  I will be bringing a selection of both with me to the market. 
There are lots of other great vendors at the market so if you want to get in some early holiday shopping drop on by.  To check out the vendor listing or for more information just click the link:  Lethbridge Market

Hope to see you there!!

Monday, 7 November 2011

November Club Spoiler & More

Hey there everyone!  It's been a crazy couple days getting stuff ready to ship for the November Fibre Club orders, but now that everything is dyed up, packaged up and shipped out I can take the time to write you a few words.

You guys voted for Lizard, and Lizard is what you got.  To add to the lizardy goodness not only did you all get a fibre batt but you also got the most adorable little polymer clay lizard stitch marker which was custom made by the lovely Anita from Yarndemon Designs.  

In addition to the club fibres going out the new listing is up for the December Big Bangerino Club!  NEW, New, new to the club is a listing for yarn.  You can now choose to get the spinning fibre, yarn, or both in the club colourway!

The theme for this month is called "Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty."

If your heart is saying "YES!!", but your wallet is saying "No Way in Hell" then you have a wonderful opportunity to test out lady luck.  Olof from Knitting with Olof  is having a contest on her blog.  Just click on the link to find out the details so that you can be entered into her draw for a free shipment of my December Big Bangerino Club offering.  For those who already love The Wacky Windmill fibres and yarn, or for those wanting to keep up with shop updates, chatter and showing off your finished projects feel free to join us on Ravelry at The Wacky Windmill Group.  If you're not on Ravelry but want to follow along anyways you can always follow me on Twitter by clicking the link at the top right of this page, or by liking The Wacky Windmill on Facebook.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Market & Sale

Hi there! A few things going on this week that I wanted to let everyone know about.

First of all The Etsy Alberta Street Team  is having a fall sale from October 14th - 21st.  Just click on the link for a full listing of shops taking part in the sale!!   The Wacky Windmill is taking part in this too so feel free to check out the shop and save 15% on all items by entering the coupon code WACKY15 to save!!  

If you prefer to shop live and in person, you will have that chance if you come see me at the Lethbridge Public Market this Saturday (October 22nd) from 10am - 3pm. The market is held indoors at the Eagles Hall (lower hall). The address for those who are interested is: 631 13th Street N, Lethbridge AB.  I will be there selling a full selection of my yarny goods and fibre.  I know that I like to touch and sqeeze fibre before I buy.  I know some people who even like to sniff it!  Regardless of your preference this would be your chance to get your hands on some of the soft buttery fibres I have available in my shop. 

If you haven't been to the Lethbridge Pulic Market before I would encourage you to check it out.  There will be a whole selection of great vendors there.  For a full vendor listing or for more information just check out Lethbridge Public Market.

I look forward to seeing you this weekend!


Monday, 26 September 2011

Batting Practise

So I have been having a lot of fun lately working on my drum carder.  A few folks have gotten fibre batt samplers with their orders, and I am planning to build on the offerings in my shop by creating and selling a variety of batts in addition to my rovings and yarn.  In the meantime I've been experimenting with various fibres to see what I like best.  My most recent batt has BFL, Merino, Bamboo, and Mohair blended into a bright green & navy blend.  I ended up with 3 batts total weighing in at about 4oz.

The plan for this fibre is to spin it up into some really thin singles and then chain ply it and knit it up to make myself a handspun shawl.  I have a couple patterns in mind but haven't officially settled on one just yet.  Right now I am leaning towards The Night Before Lace Shawl by Charlotte Des Roches.  My hope is to get about 400 yards of yarn.  We'll see how I do with that!!

In the meantime I decided to use up some singles that I spun up from fibre that I purchased from Ewe Give Me the Knits.

I ended up with approx. 250 yards of fingering weight yarn.  The fibre is a very soft blend of merino and seacell, and I totally love the Sugar Cookie colorway.  Even though I can dye and blend my own fibres I still love working with fibres/colorways that have been thought up by other fibre artists.  There are so many talented people out there and I find it enjoyable to try out things that they have created just about as much as I like working with my own blends.

In the meantime I am planning to sit and knit this evening and work on a lovely scarf that I have been knitting out of my EGMTK's yarn.  The pattern comes from The Intentional Spinner by Judith MacKenzie-McCuin and is called The Three Cornered Scarf by Ruth Holowell. 

In the meantime I would love to hear some ideas on fibre batt blends and colors that you would like to see offered by The Wacky Windmill!

I look forward to hearing your ideas...

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Big Bangerino!!!

Hey there everyone!!  Just wanted to give you all a heads-up that I am starting a fibre club!  The club selections are going to be themed after the TV series "The Big Bang Theory", and will include a 4oz fibre braid in a merino or merino wool blend and will also include some SWAG related to the theme for the month!!  Memberships for October's colorway are now available in my Etsy Shop.  There are a limited number of memberships available so be sure and get in on the fun while you can!!

October's Theme is "The Killer Robot Instability"

Sunday, 28 August 2011


So in addition to continuing to play around on my grandmother's drumcarder, my husband and I have been hard at work on a shed for my bunny!

This weekend, I finished painting the shed, Kevin finished installing the door, we shingled the shed, and also got the window in.  Wefinished the work on venting and cooling, and also the interior so that bunny can move in.  Just a few more weeks until she's home!!  Here's a picture of the shed as it is now.
Now, it's back to spinning and some time relaxing with a good chick flick.  I've got some really nice alpaca that I'm spinning up for a friend of mine.  It's my first time spinning this fibre and I am enjoying it a lot.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

I Love My Grandma

So I had a phone conversation with my grandmother a few weeks ago which revealed that she had a drumcarder and some wool stashed away on the family farm.  With the help of my grandfather and my mom they searched it out and now I have it!

It even came with a little doffer painted to match.  I'm not sure what brand the drumcarder is or how old it is, but I'm pretty excited to have one.  I cleaned it up & of course I had to try it right away.  I blended together about 2oz. of fibre scraps.

I have the feeling this is going to be lots of fun...and may also result in some new offerings through my etsy shop!  Grandma also had two garbage bags full of natural undyed carded wool.  We'll see what kind of adventure I can have with that!!

All I can say right now is I Love My Grandma!!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Angora Love

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was debating getting myself an angora rabbit.  Well, I have ended the debate and am going to be getting a sweet little french/german hybrid from a lovely local breeder.  I got to go meet my beautiful bunny girl on Tuesday evening and fell instantly in love with her!  Her name is Suzuki and I hope to have her home with me as a part of the family by fall.  She is very soft, very fluffy, and quite adorable! 

In preparation for her to come home, I have been working on fixing up an outdoor hutch for her to get some fresh air & will also be building a shed to help shelter her from the heat and the cold.  Having a natural parka on for most of the year does not help the poor little bun to keep cool! She will also need heat once it gets cold as she needs to be shaved about 4 times a year and I wouldn't want to be outside in my nekids in the middle of an Alberta winter!!

The hutch is still a work in progress as I want to redo the wire mesh on it and add a door to the bottom level.

Suzuki comes from a very loving home, and I hope to continue giving her the love and care she has become accustomed to. 

Her owner Joann Block is currently having a contest on her facebook page Homespun Angoras Studio.  If you "like" her page before the numbers get to 50, you will be entered into a draw for some of her wonderful handspun yarn.  Check out the photo below to see a sampling of her angora lace!

I will continue to post photos as I get ready for Suzuki to come home.  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Rhubarb Thievery

Hi there everybody.  I've been having a busy week this past week, but am hoping to get back to work dyeing more fibre and yarn in the next 2 weeks.  If all goes according to plan I should have some new items to add to my shop on Tuesday!!

My little garden seems to be growing well.  The peas are filling out, the raspberries are turning red, little cucumbers are making an appearance, and the tomatoes get closer to being eaten up every day!  My soft spot is for my little pepper plant. It is popping out peppers all over the place & for some reason I think it looks cute!

The other day I noticed that my rhubarb was ready to pick.  I plucked up as much as I could, and brought it in to chop it up to make Rhubarb Crumble.  Unfortunately I didn't have just between you and me I snuck across the alley to a place currently awaiting renters and plucked some of their overgrown rhubarb.  Only 3 stalks...but enough to feel like a big honkin' rhubarb thief!  Despite my guilt over my criminal ways I decided that a neighbour who would begrudge me a little rhubarb was a sourpuss indeed!!  Took it home, washed it and chopped it up with the rest.

I took the recipe from a family cookbook and decided to include it for you all in case you are tempted to go on a rhubarb raid and make some of your own.

Rhubarb Crumble

1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup oatmeal
1 tsp cinnamon
Mix until crumbly and press 1/2 into bottom and up the sides of a 9"x13" pan.

4 cups chopped rhubarb (sprinkle over oatmeal base)
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
Combine the above 4 ingredients in a saucepan.  Heat to boiling.  Stir until thickened.
pour over the rhubarb.  Place remaining crumble on top.  Bake at 350F for 45-60 min.

I like to serve mine up with some yummy vanilla ice cream.  If you raided your neighbours yard and have a guilty conscience...fresh rhubarb crumble might be considered an acceptable apology!


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Birthday Weekend Celebration!!

Total celebration weekend!!  My birthday is on the same day that the Tour de Fleece finishes so to celebrate I am having a sale in my shop for 15% off of all items!!!  Sale will run from July 22nd - July 25th, so if there's something you had your eye on be sure and stop by this weekend!!!  Just click on any shop item on the right to take you there.  Coupon Code is WACKY15.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Shop Update & TDF

Had a fun day yesterday hanging out with friends and dying up a bunch of fibre.  Dying up fibre yesterday means a shop update today.  Check out my etsy shop for some new fibre colours!!  I've got some Superwash Merino, Polwarth and Tasmanian Merino for you!

I've also been busy getting in my daily spinning quota for TDF.  I have two more yarns plied up.  The first one is a Polwarth sampler I recieved with a fibre order from Gale's Art.  If you haven't worked with Polwarth I recommend giving it a try.  It is a nice soft fibre.  This yarn was navajo plied to make a 3 ply yarn.  It came out at 16wpi and I got 130 yards.

The second yarn is from a sampler batt that I received from Nunnaba, also on etsy.  It had merino, silk, seacell and angelina in it for a bit of sparkle.  I wasn't sure I liked it while I was spinning it up, but I love the finished product.  This is a very soft yarn, and I think the colors turned out well too! This one is a two ply yarn, at 13 wpi and 79 yards.

Thanks for checking out my spin progress!  Now, time to get back to my wheel!  :)

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Minimal Progress

Today was not a big spinning day.  I have to admit I was slacking off.  The fibre I'm working with right now is a 2 oz. sampler that I got from GalesArt off of etsy.  I got about a 1 oz spun up, but only got about 1/2 of that done today.  The rest was spun up a week or two ago.  I do want to meet my TDF goal of a n-ply fingering weight so will continue to work on it...slow going though!  I've told myself I need to finish this up before I move onto my next project so I need to get crack-a-lackin'.

What got me excited today was getting the mail and receiving these batts of fibre that I ordered from nunnaba off of etsy!  I love the colours and the sparkle!!! The colourway is called Firecracker and the fibre contains merino, seacell, mulberry silk and angelina.  I've taken it out of the bag at least 5 times today just to squeeze it and absorb its yummy goodness.

What do you think?  I'm still not sure how I want to spin this up but I can hardly wait to get my hands on it.

She also included a mini batt for me 1.3 oz of fibre goodness in shades of peach and blue!

Hopefully I end up being more productive tomorrow!  Wish me luck!!!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Days 3 & 4

Well, I got my 2 ply all done up yesterday morning and got my thread ply done today.  Still taking care of my sister's three children.  Today was a day to play outside in the sun, tan and run in the sprinkler!  While they did all that I sat out in the sun to relax and spin!  I loved it.  Here are my yarns from yesterday and today!!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

TDF Day 2 & Ducks

I have been taking care of my sister's kids for the past few days and they are with me for a few days more.  Today we went to visit the Birds of Prey Centre in Southern Alberta.  What a great way to spend a sunny day!!  We all got to see a variety of owls, hawks, eagles and an assortment of other birds.  We even saw a Turkey Vulture!  We all got the chance to hold an owl, and had loads of fun feeding the ducks!  If you ever get a chance I recommend you go to this great facility and see the good work they do caring for these wild birds.

Here is a picture of us playing with the ducks:

And Mr. Ugly

A sweet cutie patootie

In addition to spending time with the kids and the birds, I did get my daily spinning done for TDF today.  Here are two bobbins all filled up.  One from yesterday, and the other completed today.
Just need to get it all plied up tomorrow!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

TDF 2011

Alright, so a little late to close to midnight last night, but I've decided to participate in the Tour de Fleece on Ravelry this year.  Neddie and I are going to be spinning our butts of for the next couple weeks over the course of the Tour de France.  The Tour de Fleece follows the same schedule as the bike race, and I am exicted to note that it finishes on my Birthday!  I might have to plan something extra special for the etsy shop that weekend!!!

I have a few fibre goals that I would like to meet. 

1) I have a skein of my fibre that I plan to finish spinning by Monday as it is going to the winner of my Facebook page draw.  The winner of the the draw was Laura ZadarliK Slye!! 

2) I would like to complete my first skein of navajo ply.

3) I want to make a sock yarn.  Hopefully this goal & goal #2 can be combined.

4) If it gets here in time, I have a beautiful batt coming to me from nunnaba on etsy.  It has seacell in it which I haven't worked with yet, and I am totally looking forward to spinning it up!

I think these are manageable goals!!  Wish me luck!

Here is a photo of my spinning efforts from today:

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Dreaming vs. Doing

I have all these dreams of things I would like to accomplish.  I went to a session at the local university last night to get some information on what would be involved if I wanted to get my master's degree.  I really enjoy learning new things.  I think that is why I enjoy fibre arts so much, because I am always learning something new and building on my skills.  Today I did some yard work, and took a look around and again started dreaming.  I saw the spot where I would eventually like to build a studio for myself that I could dedicate to my fibre arts...

Can't you just envision it there in the back corner of the yard...a little veranda out front for knitting or spinning in the sunshine on a gorgeous summer day?  Then I looked across to the other side of the yard, and got distracted by my iris flowers that were blooming.  I get distracted easily so I paused on them for a moment.

Thanks for pausing with me.

In the opposite corner of the yard is the little bunny hutch that came with the house.  Most recently I have been dreaming of updating it and making it into a lovely little suite for an angora rabbit.

 Don't you just love angora fibre?  It is so very soft and warm, and I can't stop myself from touching it any time it crosses my path.  If you haven't ever handled it, I encourage you to give it a touch, a snuggle, a hug!  I am still debating whether or not to get the rabbit, they require a fair amount of care, and time and attention, but I have been told they make wonderful pets, and again....their fibre is sooooo soft!! Dilemma, dilemma, I am in a dilemma!

After all my lawn mowing, weeding, watering and outdoor contemplation I decided to take things inside where I got all involved in dying up about 2lbs of fibre.  As I puttered around, picking out colors, and dying up all that lovely wool goodness...
Just a peek in case you were curious!
 I took a step back and said "Do I really want to go for my master's?  When would I have time to dye, or spin or knit?  When would I have time for my potential future rabbit full of floofy goodness?  When would I have the chance to build my studio?"  Keep in mind that I did not say these things out loud, as that might hint at a smidge of crazy setting in...but I did have these things cross my mind.  In the end, I decided that I enjoy my craft too much to give it up, my present job brings me challenges and joy, and really I just want to enjoy my life as it is.  So ultimately it came down to no master's at this point in my lifetime...still undecided about that bunny though!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Free Handspun Draw

The following people have been entered into the draw for free handspun on July 1st.  The winner of the draw will receive one skein of handspun 2 ply yarn courtesy of The Wacky Windmill.  Keep your fingers crossed!!

*Laura Zadarlik Slye
*Knit Knit Rebels
*Joann Matvichuk
*Brittany Tuff-Kanashiro
*Amy Gallant
*Courtney Graves
*Phenixx Darling
*Sara Ford
*Sue Owen
*Deena Ryan
*Arron K-w
*Melissa Scullen

The winner will be contacted for mailing information after the draw. 
Thank you to everyone who entered!!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Fibre Colours

Well, I anticipate the next few weeks are going to be pretty busy.  I have a lot going on, but am still hoping to fit my fibre arts in there.  I have been polling people on my facebook page to see what kind of colour ideas they have for fibres.  I'm hoping to give them a try in the next few weeks and list them on my shop by the end of the month.  I also have a few custom spinning orders to fill, so over all should not have room for boredom!

Despite gardening and my full time job, I have also finished up another skein of handspun.  Here is a picture of my latest work.  I call it Fool's Gold.  It is Superwash BFL dyed by Sweet Georgia out of Vancouver, BC.  It's a 2 ply yarn at about 145yard/111g and approx 10-11wpi.

Well, I need to hit the road.  Hope to check back in soon.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Fruits of my labour

Well, I have been busy in the yard planting a whole variety of things this spring.  I decided I wanted to try growing some fruit so have gotten some lovely strawberry plants, a rhubarb plant, some raspberry bushes, a blueberry and a blackberry bush too.  The strawberries are flowering so I should get some fresh berries this summer, and the rhubarb is also producing.  Can't wait until I can make some strawberry/rhubarb crumble.  Yum, yum!  Here is a pic of my strawberries in the making:

This year I was feeling ambitious and even though I don't have much garden space I have also planted some tomato plants, peas, cucumbers, spinach and onions.  I am hoping to be able to make a few quarts of pickles for myself & hubby, as well as some home made salsa.  I've set up a little plot of soil along with some bigger planter pots to host my mini garden.

Also planted some lavender to harvest this year for scent sachets.

In addition to all this, of course I have also been working on my spinning and dying.  I just posted a new yarn to my shop with a colorway that I really love called No Mercy.

Also have a work in progress that I am spinning called Fool's Gold which I hope to post soon in my shop.  Here's a little preview!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Up and Running

Well I have been working hard the past couple of weeks getting things ready to launch my new Etsy shop.  I've decided that I enjoy dying and creating handspun fibres so much that I wanted to sell them for others to enjoy.  Things have been a little crazy here since my studio is in my kitchen.  This is what I have been dodging around in my kitchen as my fibres have been drying:

In addition to dying fibres I have been spinning away on Neddie, and have come up with two yarns to list on my shop.

Dreaming of Dragons which started out as this fibre:

and got transformed into this lovely 3 ply.

 I also had this Merino Fibre - Marigold

which then got spun into 185 yard of this bright and cheery 3-ply

I have created a virtual link to my Etsy shop here on my blog where you can purchase any of my yarns or fibres using Paypal. 

Thanks for checking out the new blog & shop!