2018 Spinning at the Winery


The Northern California Spinning Guild, Treadles to Threads’ big event of the year is just around the corner. Hope you all have the date on your calendar and will be able to come help, and enjoy a great day outdoors with other fiber enthusiasts.

May 19, 2018, 10 am to 4 pm

Retzlaff Winery, 1356 Livermore Ave, Livermore

Bring your wheel and a pot luck dish to share for lunch. Water and soda can be purchased from the Winery, and of course, wine by the glass or bottle.

Entry is $5 per person. There’s a bit of shopping, a bit of visiting and of course lots of spinning and wine!

Manteca Handcrafter’s Boutique

Local artisan craft show

Come join me on Saturday, March 17th from 10am until 4pm in Manteca for an crafters Boutique!

I haven’t been to this particular one before and was thrilled to be accepted! Over 70 vendors and every single one selling hand crafted items. A Central Valley Fair for local artisans with nothing “mass market”

I hope I have a little time to shop as well!

The vendor proceeds and raffle drawing go to support outreach efforts by First Christian Church of Manteca.

Located at 1125 North Union Road in Manteca

Countdown to Stitches West!

Knitting universe’s Stitches West starts in only a few days in Santa Clara. Although usually I head to a fiber event with a list of specific things to look for, this time I’m rather “winging” it. Usually I tend to spend more time spinning than crocheting, I’ve been on quite the crochet kick lately. So Stitches West happens to be coming at a perfect time.

The following week, I’ll be spending time in an airport, and a week up helping family, so a To-Do list of crochet will fit in well.

Last year at Sitches West I took a great wet felting class with Cecilia Ho. It was a great hands-on class and with a little more practice I’d like to try a few more wet felting projects. I also took a product photography class with Shannon & Jason Mullett-Bowlsby. The information was good, and it was a very interactive and entertaining class.

This year I’m excited to be taking Easy Embellishing by Laura Bryant. As much as I crochet and weave, I’m really looking forward to getting some tips and techniques to add to items. I have a few more purses, coin purses, book covers, and bags that I’m creaing that this technique would really enhance. And that’s just a few items I can think of off the top of my head. I do need to come prepared with a couple of 6″ swatches. I guess I better get to that! I’d like to bring one crochet and one woven to see what the techniques look like on different types of fabric. But again, I better get started.

The second class I’m taking is Edie Eckman’s Understanding Symbol Crochet. I met her a couple of years ago and, I’m embarressed to admit, at that time I really didn’t know who she was during our conversation. Although she was very nice and even signed a book for me…yep, I STILL didn’t grasp who she was. But, since many of the patterns that I use are chart based, I have to admit that I end up referring to the written pattern far too much. I just don’t always trust myself to “see” what the pattern is telling me. I’m running across more and more charts that I want to try, but the directions aren’t in English. So, I need to get much more comfortable with reading the symbols.

There’s some new vendors that I’m looking forward to seeing and some of my regular favorites. Greenwood Fiberworks will be there and I don’t think I’ve ever gone to an event and resisted something from her booth. I picked up some adorable earings from A Needle Runs Through It last year, I’m looking forward to seeing “Buttons” I’m on a button kick lately and honestly, you really can’t have to many buttons. Clemes & Clemes is there. And aside from being some of the nicest people ever, they have the most wonderful products. I LOVE my little Clemes & Clemes drum carder and I always find something from their booth that needs to come home with me. Of course the “big boys” are there; Clover, Craftsy, Knit Picks, etc. I’m secretly hoping that Craftsy has a good deal on a class or two. Between Craftsy and Interweave, there are some fantastic online classes out there! Okay, the vendor list could go on and on. But there’s a full listing here that I plan to print out to make sure I don’t miss something.

February 22-25, 2018…only a few more days!

Black Sheep Gathering

Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, Oregon was just a few weeks ago. I have to say, it was worth every penny and every bit of time. Not only was the fiber festival great, the scenery in Western Oregon can’t be beat. 

The drive up wasn’t too bad from the California Bay Area. (the drive home seemed much longer).

Friday morning started with a workshop on spinning silk with Shelia January. Not only was she very knowledgeable, it was a fun class. It was nicely structured with a good balance of time to experiment and try the different silk types, information about the types of silk, and hands on help. A very well done class. I was a little intimidated by silk and wasn’t sure my little Kiwi wheel could go quick enough to make it happen (I’m a slow treadler) But it, and I, did just fine. Of course I picked up a few silk hankies at the marketplace afterwards to play with when I got home.

Saturday afternoon was more of an art yarn spinning class from Laurie Weinsoft. It was a much less structured class. I wish there had been more structure, help, and demonstration. It was certainly a free-form time for experimentation. And, as much as I wished it had been more informative, I’ve have used the techniques since I’ve been home.

Sunday morning was Judith MacKenzie’s spinning Shetland. I was excited not only because Shetland is one of the breeds that I’m considering keeping, but because…well…because it’s Judith MacKenzie. In actuality I was expecting to be a little disappointed. After all, who could possibly live up to all of that hype. As it turns out Judith MacKenzie can, that’s who. Being an introvert there are few people, that I don’t know well personally, that I would want to spend a lot of time with. She is definitely an exception. The amount of knowledge she has on sheep, spinning, history, etc. is mind-blowing. Watching her spin fine yarn was stunning. And the techniques that she showed, just as afterthoughts from spinning, to hand carding, to skirting was the type of information that you spend years trying to find. Her class was well organized with hands-on, instruction, and her insights alone were worth the drive. I have no doubt that I’ll sign up for any class that she offers.

Sunday afternoon was Sarah Anderson’s success in Plying. Admittedly, it was hard for any class to both follow Judith’s class, and be at the tail end of a long three day weekend. But I was looking forward to taking a class from her. Sarah was definitely knowledgeable, talented, and had a wonderful way of explaining the energy in yarn. We had lots of hands-on and she certainly seemed like one of the nicest people that you could meet. Honestly, I don’t know if my plying is any better. But her instruction was really very good. I would love to take another class from her. I have no doubt that a technique class on something along the lines of core spinning or boucle would be fantastic from her!

The marketplace was addictive…perhaps too addictive. I had headed up with a list of things to buy, and of course picked up a few extras. I was happy to find some Santa Cruz sheep fiber. I’ve been wanting to try this since Wendy from Shaggy Bear mentioned that she would have some.

I not only picked more fiber than I really needed, but broke down and bought a spindle. And although I have resisted the drop spindle, I have to admit, I’m having a lot of fun with it. 

My marketplace highlight was picking up my Clemes and Clemes mini drum carder. I absolutely love it! Sweet and funny Gynna helped me play with it while the guys were busy teaching a class and I was thrilled to leave Black Sheep with it. The first thing I carded when I got home was a mix of my German Angora and Merino. It did a fantastic job with it. I’m having a great time spinning it up during Tour de’ Fleece. The carder is the perfect size to fit in my fiber studio/rabbitry.

My unexpected surprise was being able to show one of Robin’s Meridian Jacobs sheep! I was pretty nervous, convinced that she (the sheep, not Robin. 😉 ) was going to get away from me in the ring. But Robin did a great job of showing us how to handle them in the ring and my cooperative sheep did a lovely job of showing herself and even won first place. Honestly, I still have no idea what I was doing…but I certainly had a GREAT time doing it! Meridian Jacobs took first in a couple of divisions. I’m really not surprised though. Robin really is a remarkable shepardess and her sheep and their fleeces reflect it. I certainly have a ton of respect for both her kindness and abilities….and her sweet sheep!

The last surprise was the wonderful people. I was shocked at how many Bay Area people were there. It seems like half of the Treadles to Threads spinning guild was there. I ran into a fellow student from our Wool Classing School, a few people from farm club, and made a few new friends. It really was a nice reminder of what a great group of people the fiber world is made up of.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s Black Sheep Gathering!

Spinning at the Winery

What is more fun than getting together and spinning fiber into yarn…getting together and spinning fiber into yarn at a winery of course!

If you are anywhere near Livermore, you’ll definitely want to stop by Retzlaff Vineyards on Saturday, June 3rd from 10am until 4pm when the Treadles to Threads Spinners Guild holds their 20th annual “Spinning at the Winery.” A day of spinning and wine tasting is a great combination!

If you’re a spinner, bring your wheel and a potluck dish you’d like to share. There’s a great raffle and enjoy the entire day for only $5 per person.

A great way to free up room in the fiber studio in preparation for Black Sheep gathering! “Shoot, I’m almost out of fiber, I have no choice but to buy more” (Okay, it’s a stretch…but I’m going with it!)

Fleeces, Fiber, Yarn, Wine & More!

Dublin Craft Fair

The Dublin craft fair was this weekend and what fun! It was geared towards kids and they had a wonderful time learning to spin…although some of the younger ones just had fun making the spinning wheel go around.

I managed to get quite a few samples of different types of fiber displayed and there was a lot of interest at feeling all of the different fibers that can be made into yarn. I think the most popular were the yak, angora and bamboo. Even the adults enjoyed touching all of the different fibers.

I did learn that selling at a busy fair and a spinning demo/teaching doesn’t play well together. If it wasn’t for help in the booth there is no way I could have managed both. Many times there was a line of kids that wanted to try spinning. This left very little time to help customers and answer questions. But I can’t help but feel it’s worth it. Its wonderful to see people (kids and adults) connect the dots from wool to a spun yarn. Being in the fiber world so much I tend to forget that not everyone understands the process.

It was an exhausting…but fun processes. Now to get everything posted on Etsy and figure out the next show.

Wool day in San Ramon!

Iimg_2836If you have some time today, March 4th, stop by and visit the sheep at Forest Home Farm, clean and card some of their wool and make a sheep craft too!

A few of us will be there giving weaving and spinning demonstrations from 11am until 2pm!

See you there!

19953 San Ramon Valley Blvd, San Ramon, CA 94583

#spinningwool #spinningdemo   #wool #sanramon

 

 

 

Stitches West 2017

While I was only able to go for one day, I packed as much as I could into that one day. 

The traffic was…well, Bay Area Traffic on a Friday….grueling. So, that did add four hours to the day. 

But worth it!

The class “Stitch & Click: Photographing your Fibers by Shannon & Jason Mullett-Bowlsby was fantastic. I really didn’t know what to expect….but they exceeded whatever it was. The amount of tips and tricks was worth it alone. But, they also took the time to help each of us get the best pictures of our projects. 

I even played with the very close lense that I had…Fun!


Cecilia Ho’s Welt Felt Soap & Pod Vessel was at the end of the day. So admittedly we were all tired, but we  learned how to wet felt and although I had tried it before, with her help it was a success! I’m planning on doing more of it. I just need a little time in my day. 

The marketplace was…well…I went through it three times because I just couldn’t get enough. I splurged on a new boat shuttle with the workmanship irresistable. I picked up a cute project bag from Front Range Bags, an exotic wood threading hook from Clemes & Clemes (and drooled over the drum carders), and …yes….I said I wouldn’t but I did…fiber. Okay, but in my defense; Isn’t it amazing!? I picked it up in this pink and a stunning silver. And I can justify it…sort of. 
I have about 10 oz of dark grey bamboo, which is wonderfully silky, but NOT fun to spin. I’ve been meaning to blend it with something…so, why not try this already blended bamboo to see if it’s worth the time to break out the blending board and start…yep, it is. It’s a little slippery as you would expect bamboo to be, but the addition of wool makes it more fun and less work to spin. So far it’s spinning up very nice!

After Stitches West my todo list is a little longer, I need to take pictues of several finished skeins, I want to spin up the bamboo blends, and I have some felted soaps and bags that I want to start, but that’s not a bad problem to have 🙂

Getting Ready for the New Year

After all of the Christmas celebrating and as my annual Christmas cold is hopefully fading, we’re getting ready to head to Nashville for the dancing world championships.

While downing as much cold medicine as humanly possible, I did manage tfibermonthnovo make some needle felt mushrooms. They really did come out very cute. The fiber was from Upper Canadian Textiles’ November “spin-along.” I wasn’t crazy with the way this BFL was spinning up, but it was making PERFECT colored mushrooms!

I’m working on a few more little crochet animals before I leave. I’m also busy looking at which craft shows to try in 2017 and looking at expanding online…busy, busy, busy.

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The Holiday Season

Happy Holidays!

The recent Winery Art/Craft fair was a success and I was lucky enough to spend time with some great people. While selling out of a few items is a WONDERFUL thing…I’m again feeling behind trying to re-stock. My grand ideas of making so many Christmas gifts is moving from reality to wishful thinking. There is simply not enough time. img_2059

I’m almost done spinning the Angora that I picked up at LambTown. This poor bunny must have been the most matted little thing ever. The waste was overwhelming when trying to comb it so I moved to a flicker. Better…but really I could have spent months preparing this bunny fiber. As a result, img_2060while super soft (I hand carded in some fantastic Merino), it is not pleasant to spin. I have to admit, I’m anxious to try the Babydoll wool and Cormo that I recently purchased (thank goodness I came to my senses and bought it already prepped). And, I still have almost four pounds of Alpaca, some Suri Alpaca, and some promising mohair to prepare. Then there’s the Rigid Heddle that I want to warp for the shawl that I want to start for myself.

I won’t even mention the dance world championships that are only a few weeks away and my non-existent practice schedule! Gulp! Not exactly the way to go into that.

Busy, Busy, Busy. But this time of year we all are. Daisy isimg_2064 enjoying her open explorer time in the studio. She has to sniff everything in the room, come up and give me a nudge, then she’s off again! Her personality is almost as big as she is!

And…back to work for me 🙂

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