Saturday, 10 November 2012

Flax Spinning Workshop

Some of you may or may not know that this past year I joined a local spinning guild called  The Crocus Country Fibre Arts Guild.  It has been an incredible experience for me in that I have found so many liked minded individuals who just love working with fibre.  Guilds are great for offering combined experience, access to resources, courses to help with growth and learning as well as comraderie!

Last weekend I had the opportunity to take part in a flax spinning workshop. Our instructor was Ruth Blazenko who is also an instructor for the Master Spinner Program at Fibre Week at Old College. For those of you who don't know, flax is the plant that is used to make the textile linen.  Linen is one of the oldest textiles in the world, and has been used to make aprons, bags, towels, napkins, bed linens, tablecloths, and clothing.  It is know for its coolness and freshness. 

In our course we learned how flax is taken from the plant form and transformed to create the fibres used for spinning.  Below I have a picture of a hank of strick which is a sample of flax that has been processed and is ready to spin.  The colour of the strick below is natural.  For those of you who are accustomed to thinking of linen as being white, this is done through a bleaching process which removes the natural colour.

We received information on flax fibres and their lengths.  In the photo to the right you can see several different forms of flax fibre.  To the far right is the hank of strick pictured above.  To the left of that is some line sliver which has been bleached to a nice white, and below is a sliver of tow which has been dyed in a light blue.  The fibres in the strick are the longest of the three and can vary in length from 18-55 inches. The line fibres tend to be shorter and tow is the shortest.  The longer the fibre is the finer the fabric created.

We started off working with the blue tow.  We hand carded it with some wool and then spun a sample 2 ply of Linsey/Woolsey.  I use this term loosley since traditional Linsey/Woolsey is woven, and typically was made up of a linen warp and a woollen weft.

Next up we tried spinning some of the tow by itself, and then proceeded to work up a mini skein of line as well.  I spun the last three skeins wetting the fibres as I went.  Flax is spun wet to create a smoother yarn.  The water helps tuck all the little ends in as you go. 

We had a lovely time, and a lot of fun playing with flax.  Below are some of the wonderful ladies in my guild having a little adventure untangling some flax that got out of hand.

Our next workshop is going to be on Silk Fusion!  I'm really looking forward to that one and will try to post some photos and details after the workshop!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


Hurry Scurry!!!  Only 7 Days Left to Order!!!

Hey there everyone!! 

I just wanted to give you all a little write up on The Big Bangerino Fibre Club.  First of all I want to say how absolutely excited I am about club this year!!  I have lots of great ideas churning around in my head and can't wait to translate them into yarn and fibre and various goodies for everyone who is taking part this year. 

Last year folks got to pick club orders on a month by month basis. Each month a new theme, yarn, and fibre choice was offered.  In addition to your yarn or fibre I always include a little piece of swag that fits the theme for the month too.  Last year we had all kinds of little extra goodies, and I had so much fun picking them out.  This year however, I am only offering club in four or eight month sign up options.  Another new option is to double up on your yarn or fibre which is great if you are planning a bigger project!

While I still want to keep a bit of mystery around the themes, I also wanted to at least let you all know what the selection of base yarns and fibres would include.   The choices are listed in the order that they will be shipped.   If you got a 4 month subscription the bases you want to look at are those in bold print.

Yarns choices will include the following:

Sock/Fingering - 75% Merino / 20% Nylon / 5% Stellina
Lace - 80% Merino / 20% Silk
Sock/Fingering -  80% Superwash Merino / 10% Cashmere / 10% Nylon
Sock/Fingering - 60% Superwash Merino / 30% Bamboo / 10% Nylon
DK - 50% Alpaca / 35% Merino / 15% silk
Sock/Fingering - 70% Superwash Merino / 30% Seacell
Lace - 80% Superwash Merino / 20% Bamboo
Sock/Fingering - 50% Superwash Merino / 50% Tencel

Fibre Choices will include the following:

85% Merino/ 10% Firestar / 5% Angelina Batt
80% Merino / 20% Silk
80% Superwash Merino / 10% Cashmere / 10% Nylon
60% Superwash Merino / 30% Bamboo / 10% Nylon
50% Alpaca / 30% Merino / 20% Silk
70% Superwash Merino / 30% Seacell
60% Merino / 40% Bamboo
50% Superwash Merino / 50% Tencel

Don't forget to order soon!  Deadline for orders is September 27, 2012.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Alberta Team Spring Bling Sale

The Alberta Etsy Team is having a SPRING BLING sale!  There are loads of savings to be had on all kinds of merchandise.  You can check out our Alberta Street Team Blog for a list of all participating shops.  Sale runs from April 27th - May 3rd 2012.  The Wacky Windmill is taking part and offering 15% off all items in the shop.  Enter coupon code WACKY15 to save!!

Saturday, 31 March 2012

What's the Buzz?

Well, I know I have been an absentee blogger the past couple of months, but I am going to do my best to share a little more often!  Some exciting news in my world is that a small selection of my yarns are now available at a retail location in Medicine Hat called The Hive.

I'm not sure if I have any readers from the Medicine Hat area but I thought I would share with you about a really wonderful artists collective down there called The Hive.  I was approached a while ago by resident artist Kim Wilson of Arte Viviente to see if I would be interested in selling some of my yarns in The Hive's retail shop.  Feel free to check out her Indie Love page to see some of the other artists selling goods at The Hive.  I got the yarns all delivered to Medicine Hat on Tuesday and got to check out the place!  It is really a cool idea that they have.  All the items in their shop are handcrafted!  They had everything from wonderful jewellry from various artisans, to hand made harps and didgeridoos!  They have stuffed sock monkeys, unique paintings & drawings, pottery, felted items by artists like La Tatine & Enrapt, upcycled birdhouses...I'm sure I'm missing a bit but it was all so beautiful and nice to meet some of the artists behind it all.  The artist who makes the didgeridoos (Kevin Werre) was there and even played a couple of them for us (a few friends took the trip down with me), and we totally enjoyed the entertainment!!  There are several studios on the premises where you can watch the in house artists at work and talk to them about their craft.  I feel like my yarns will be in good hands.  Now I just have to wait and see if they sell! If you are in Medicine Hat, I would highly recommend checking it out!!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Join in on Crafting Resolutions for 2012!!

Hi there everyone!  Happy New Year!!!!

I have been busy today taking photos, making labels, and listing over 25 new items in the shop!

Tomorrow I plan to dye up some yarn and spend some time relaxing in front of the television and contemplating my crafting goals for 2012.  Do you have a 2012 to do list?  If so, I would love to hear what you have planned.  Want someone to help cheer you on and motivate you to get through all of it?  Check out my new thread in the Wacky Windmill group on Ravelry where you can join me along with anyone else who wants to participate in setting some Crafting Resolutions for 2012!  The winner of this event will get $75 worth of merchandise from my shop! (Winners Choice!!!)

Come on by and share your plans!  I look forward to playing along with you.