Always exciting in Edmonton are the constant farmer’s, artisans, pop-up and handmade markets throughout the city. I feel very fortunate to be able to take part in these events to be able to showcase my handmade products to locals. I have had much more luck selling items in person than online with Etsy.com
I love that at markets customers can come up and feel my yarns, rovings, batts, scarves and bags. When I have stuff for sale, I know that touching an item is a big part of wanting to purchase it.
Needless to say I’m in full gear for the upcoming Handmade Mafia Market on June 2, 2012. As always, I will have varied selection of hand spun yarns, uniquely dyed roving, crazy blended batts, squiggly scarves and a wonderful project bag.
Here are two Shetland rovings dyed with the season in mind. Bright green spring and late, lovely fall.
Newest from my studio are beautiful blended batts. Ranging from 40g to 75g in weight, these batts contain wool, silk, firestar, locks and sari silk.
Is has become very apparent to me that too much of a good thing can be painful… Which is sad because I love crafting. But crafting too much and too long has forced me to slow down and enjoy the skeins, so to speak.
In the last month I have given myself a painful case of tendinitis… This has come to severely interfere in my knitting, spinning and overall craftiness. My Physiotherapist has told me I should stop knitting, spinning or doing anything involving my wrist & thumb.
As of this post, I have not knit in over 60 hours. I have no knitting or spindles in my purse, backpack, car as to avoid the temptation to pick up a UFO or to start a new project.
On the other hand, I have been able to organise my hand-dyed and hand-spun yarns for sale over the next couple of weeks. That is something that I have put off to complete time-sensitive projects. It feels very good to re-skein, label and track all my yarns, rovings and spindles.
Next weekend, I will likely turn sharply from my Physio’s advice as I will be joining a group of fibre freaks in the Mountains for a bi-annual crafting get-away. I plan on bringing a large amount of spinning to work on, and to show off Walter, my handsome, German spinning wheel.
Organising my sale yarns has become my evening activity that brings me inner peace. I have been able to measure, weigh and label all of my completely skeins, a chore unto itself.
Thankfully, my Hubby and I are setting up my AFHandcrafts website where I planning on blogging, updating local events and selling my fun handspun yarn. I also plan on making tutorial videos as my skill level allows, I’ve very excited to be able to show people how I dye my yarns & fibres.
Hooray for technology!
This spring I have decided to build my skills by learning how to take wonderful rovings, locks, fleeces and dyeing them with wonderful Dharma Acid dyes. This past week, with wonderful weather, I was able to set up a preliminary dyeing station on the deck to try my first roving with the new dyes. I am very, very happy with the results:
Aurora, Merino/Silk roving dyed with Dark Navy, Peacock Blue, Teddy Bear Brown and Brilliant Orange.
Aurora Braid, Merino/Silk
Once the dye was used up, I put in some BFL roving and tried something a little different, Brilliant Yellow, Fire Engine Red and after a few minutes, a touch of True Black.
Zombie, BFL roving
Because not all of the blue had full exhausted and because I did not change the colour, the Brilliant Yellow became lime green. I can’t help but to think of all the fun zombie movies I love to watch with my husband.
These are currently for sale on my Facebook Page, seach: AFHandcrafts, or in my Ravelry stash page, search: nomadalli.
Now that my Xmas and winter weather knitting rush has quieted, I can get back to blogging and building my Etsy store! I was very happy to receive an email from the customer who purchased the 10 toques from my Great Toque Marathon Part 1 & Part 2. The toques were enjoyed by all over Christmas as well as out in Banff and Lake Louise, AB.
I was very pleased that the toques helped the family to bond and keep warm in the cool weather. I can only imagine they bewildered looks wherever they travelled. According to my customer, they were helpful in spotting each other on the busy Banff sidewalks!
I’m very proud and happy that I was able to help welcome French visitors to Canada in style. Bienvenue!
Christmas with warm ears!
Thank you to Jan & her family for sharing their Christmas photos.
The second parcel, which I alluded to in my previous post, was from another Canadian fibre producer. Val, from Wooly Wool of the West contacted me via Ravelry when she saw my ISO (in search of) postings on various forums.
Merino on Hackle with comb, Diz and Diz Threader.
I spent numerous hours playing with it once I had it secured to a sturdy table. Firstly, to get the motion down, I combed through a couple ounces of merino roving that I purchased a while ago that was full of little pieces of hay and grass aka “VM”.
Because Merino does not have a long staple, I found it difficult to use the comb and hackle, but managed to get a small bag of wonderfully soft and nearly vm-free fibre. I spun a small amount of it and am very happy with the results.
My second attempt, this time with cotswold locks also purchased from Wooly Wool of the West, stashed Firestar & Silk, as well as Lincoln Locks from Neauveau Fiber Arts . Long, curly locks comb very nicely on my new tools.
Layer 1, Cotswold locks
Cotswold locks, silk & Lincoln locks on Hackle
After two passes, I found that I had made beautifully blended and lofty fibre.
Twice combed locks on Hackle, ready to Diz.
I dizzed off two lengths of wonderful green and sparkly top, which I spun up on a home made top-whorl drop spindle, then plied it together from a centre pull ball.
Combed top, featuring Cotswold, Lincoln, silk & Firestar
Making a wonderful skein of dk weight yarn with lots of halo.
In our home, packages are a common occurrence as we all have busy hobbies and crafts that require items that we sometimes can’t get in Edmonton. The best kind of mail that arrives, in my opinion, is the fluffy kind!
A couple of nights ago I was handed 2 parcels. One was a small bag from Ontario, it was my first in a 3-month Superwash Fibre club. It contained a 4 ounces of beautifully dyed Superwash Merino in a braid.
Wool wash, Braid & Cat shadow
It was immediately squished by the women and was claimed by my fibre-addicted Cat, Bubba.
Bubba claims his prize.
When I started searching for a club to join for a monthly fibre fix, I had two conditions:
1. Superwash fibre, so I could spin the yarn and knit it into an easy-to-wash item for sale in my Etsy store.
2. Canadian supplier/producer.
I was very happy to find both of these criteria in one place, The Sweet Sheep, with their ‘Nothin but Superwash Fibre Club‘. I joined the club, 1 – 4oz braid for 3 months, $80 CAD including shipping. Needless to say I am happy with the first one, and can’t wait to get the next two!
The Sweet Sheep also has a Ravelry group, so I was able to see the spoilers and get quick updates on when the next shipment will take place. Note: You will need a Ravelry account to see their group page.
Unfortunately I know I will have to wait to spin this braid as I am still knitting away on the Great Canadian Toques (90% complete, hooray!), and because of package #2, Fluffy and Spikey Mail!
K2, P2, K2, P2 has been my thought train for over a week now. Whenever I am not working, driving, cooking or sleeping, I have been knitting the Great Canadian toques.
I can say with great joy, that I have started on my 9th toque in 16 days! I am also very happy to say that my current speed will, in fact, allow me to complete my Xmas knitting in time for the big family get-togethers.
I have not changed the pattern, but I have had to change how I build the toques:
Firstly, I discovered that the balls of Bernat that I purchased, from different stores and different batches, have been plagued with knots and unusual colour changes. I would suggest to anyone who is going to take on a colour-sensitive project with a variegated yarn to pull out a ball winder or nostepinne to re-wind and ensure that the ball of yarn is worth using.
Secondly, I have started putting on stitch markers from the beginning so I have an easy view of all my stitches and can make sure that I don’t accidentally drop or knit/purl two stitches together. This was a suggestion from my Mum-in-Law who is a wealth of information and a very talented artist!
Be sure to check back for the final details on the project and the free pattern I will be posting. Happy knitting!
As Christmas approaches, my knitting has gone from leisurely and experimental to feverishly quick. I was hired to knit 3 Canadian style toques to give to foreign visitors on their first trip to the Great White North.
But, as abundance seems to follow me everywhere now, I received an email asking if the order could be changed. To 10 toques.
I am very excited to get to email my client a photo of the first completed toque. One down, 9 to go. Wish me luck!
Toque 1 of 10
This toque was knit with Bernat Mosaic Yarn in the colour ‘Calypso’.