It Started with a Spindle …

When you are just getting started in the world of fibre arts and fleeces it can all seem a bit overwhelming. Julie Schneider shares her story of how she went from a novice spinner to the proud owner of a freshly washed fleece. We are happy to say that Festival workshops are helping her along the way!

Having caught the spinning bug 3 years ago, I progressed from a Capar drop spindle, to my grandfather’s spinning wheel. I took Joanne’s Breed Tasting class ( * like wine tasting – but for wool*) – where I discovered wool that came in something other than a roving or top!Feeling like I needed some more information before delving into the world of wool and fleeces, the next year I took Susie’s Fleece to Finish class where I felt confident enough to try my hand at the fleece auction. I came away with a beauty of a Texel-Romney fleece!

My fleece then sat dauntingly in my sewing room all winter.
Summer came along and I asked myself, “Can I really wash fleece while watching my 4 and 2 year old kids play outside? Is it really that easy!?”
Yes, it was that easy.
Now, I knew it was pretty and white, and I knew I could wash it – but how do I process it after!?
It was a pleasant surprise when I came upon this year’s workshop lineup and saw that Diana was offering a class on hand carding!
It’s almost like the universe is telling me I need to go to a class and buy more wool….


Excellent message from the universe — attention everyone — take a class — buy more wool — take a class — buy more wool …   Susie’s Fleece to Finish class gives you all the information you need to shop with confidence in the wool auction at the Festival.  Wondering what to do with that beautiful fleece? There are still a few spots in Diana’s class Hand Carders: A Spinners Best Friend.  So, maybe dyeing next year, Julie?


Dye For Ewe

Allyson Schneider introduces us to her dyeing business –
Hi, I’m Ally and I co-run Dye For Ewe.  We specialize in self-striping, “fairy farts”/mini rainbow and speckled yarns.  All yarns are hand dyed in small batches to ensure quality.
How did you get started in fibre arts?
At the age of 6, I had driven my mother to distraction with questions about the gorgeous Fair Isle sweaters she would make.  She finally sat me down with a pair of needles and taught me the knit stitch.  Unfortunately that didn’t stop the questions, so she sent me over to Lewiscraft (does anyone else remember Lewiscraft?) and there I learned the purl stitch.  I knit right through to my adulthood and through my pregnancies.  After I shook off the baby fog, knitting wasn’t quite filling my creative needs anymore so I started dyeing my own yarn.
2017-08-19 12.34.15
What inspires the work you do and things you create?

I love to see how colours play off of each other.  I love to make colours that traditionally aren’t put together, complement each other.  I draw inspiration from the world around me, be it a hiking trail, or the remnants of my children’s latest tussle that involved markers!

What is your favourite piece that you’ve created?

This may seem silly, but my favourite piece is my first self-striping sock that I ever dyed.  It’s imperfect, full of white splotches but it brings me so much joy.  After months of testing and trying different techniques, I finally created a rainbow sock yarn.  And I wear it with pride!
Dye For You provided the yarns for the Aura shawl in our new Flatlands pattern collection. Welcome to the Manitoba Fibre Festival, Ally!
flatlands ig - susie

Fingerlicious (in Can’t See the Forest for the Trees, Fall Shadows, and Plum Dandy)

The Sheep-ish Spinner

Suzanne Budlong of Winnipeg answers our new vendor questions today  – 

Hi!  My name is Suzanne and my business is The SheepIsh Spinner and I sell handspun yarn.  Quite a bit of my yarn is hand dyed using either plant material or food colouring, but I also have a lot of stock that is acid dyed fibre.  After a number of requests, I now have a selection of roving that I have naturally dyed.

I was taught to knit by my wonderful 4th grade teacher during indoor recess but it’s only been in the past ten years that I’ve really started to explore knitting and fibre more.  I picked up a drop spindle about 6 years ago and started spinning for myself and then last year I bought a spinning wheel and fell in love with it.  I had people asking me about buying my yarn, and so on January 1st The SheepIsh Spinner went into business.


I’m finding that inspiration comes from surprising sources.  A sunset or a garden, but also children picking odd colour combinations.  I’ve even done a few skeins inspired by military camouflage.

My favourite item?  That’s difficult. I think one favourite would be a pair of fingerless mitts that I made from one of my first attempts at using my wheel and my first attempt at dyeing using pumpkin cinnamon tea.  I wore them inside all winter and the delicious smell is faint, but still there.image1 (7)

Welcome, Suzanne!


Bijou Canoe

Meet Lori Ebbitt of Bijou Canoe, and welcome her to her first Manitoba Fibre Festival as a vendor.
I sell an eclectic mix of handmade pieces with components from many different passions that I incorporate into jewelry.I fell in love with weaving after I took a workshop and, as with most crafts I get involved with, I experimented with ways to incorporate it into jewelry. Lo and behold my Tiny Tapestry woven necklaces were born!

I love creating things and learning new skills. I’m continually inspired by different and ever evolving creative outlets that let me experiment with new mediums. Inspiration for creating comes from all around – living in the Prairies, nature, a love of both vintage and modern design, people, travel…just about anything can turn into inspiration!
A recent road trip through Manitoba and Saskatchewan actually inspired a series of woven necklaces that uses colours taken from the fields and rolling hills of the Prairies. I am working on finishing them up for the Fibre Festival!

Nojo Textiles

Johanna Giesbrecht, originally from southern Ontario, now runs “Nojo Textiles” in Winnipeg. This is her first year as a vendor at the Manitoba Fibre Festival. Welcome!

“I sell accessories, jewellery and home decor that utilizes knitting, crochet, weaving and hand spun yarns.

My first foray with fibre was when my mother taught me to knit as a child. Though I loved dabbling in all sorts of crafts, knitting was a fast love. Since then my fibre love has grown into spinning, loom weaving and tapestry weaving.


There is something irresistible to me about bringing beauty into the everyday, creating practical items with a depth of meaning and artistry.

My favourite creation so far would a handwoven rainbow scarf, using small bits of leftover yarn. I cannot currently create many pieces of that grandeur, but I would like to work towards being able to produce more unique hand woven works.”


Johanna’s creative talents include designing knitwear. Her Apex mitten pattern is one of the designs in our 2017 Flatlands Collection. available on Ravelry.

Noble Ruby Designs

Welcome Selma Brown of Noble Ruby Designs in Niverville, Manitoba to her first year as a Festival vendor —    

“I sell hand dyed yarns. I dye primarily superwash yarns with a variety of merino blends and weights.IMG_4336

I started crocheting as a young girl in grade 3 and learned to knit in grade 10 and I haven’t stopped since! As years went by I was eventually introduced to finer quality of yarn, wool blends and super fun colours.  Bottom line for me –  I LOVE COLOUR!! – so I absolutely had to start playing with dyeing yarn.


A lot of my inspiration comes from the beauty of nature.   The colours found in nature are incredible and so pleasing to the eye.  From birds, butterflies, flowers to the fields, sky, water and trees – there’s no end to nature’s colour palette 🙂


Hands down my favourite item is my “For The Love Of” colourway series.  When I first started hand dyeing yarns I knew I was going to start with a collection called “For The Love Of ….”.  This collection started with a colourway to honour the life and memory of my daughter Cassidy, that’s how “For The Love of Cassidy” colourway was born.  Included in that collection are colourways for my son Seaver, hubby James, daughter-in-law Haley and my 3 sisters. 

I’m a small town girl where I live, work, play and now hand dye yarn.  I am so happy to have made some great connections with some local fibre artists and creative makers on social media and I’m very much looking forward to meeting people in person at the Manitoba Fibre Festival!”


Handmade by Shelley

Meet Shelley Parham of Headingley, Manitoba, another new vendor in our 2017 market –

My business name is Handmade by Shelley and I’m a quilter.  Many people think that quilts are only bed covers, but I love making wall hangings, throw quilts, baby quilts, etc.  My interests range from traditional to modern quilt styles.IMG_0548
I made my first quilt in 1991 when I saw an article in Canadian Living magazine called “Quilt in a Day”, and I thought that’s exactly the amount of time I have!  I’m mostly self-taught, but enjoy an occasional online course or tutorial.
I’m inspired by quilts I see at quilt shows, in magazines and on Pinterest, as well as patterns and colour combinations seen in nature.  It’s unusual for me to make a quilt exactly as shown in a pattern.  I usually use a picture or a pattern as a guide only and go from there.IMG_0549
My favourite quilt changes from month to month, but currently it’s an intricately appliquéd Angel of Peace.  I saw a picture of it in an old craft magazine and went from there.  But the quilt that’s currently closest to my heart is the memory quilt I made with my dad’s shirts after he passed away earlier this year.  It has a simple friendship star pattern on the front and “Dad” pieced on the back.

Welcome, Shelley!

Rita St. Amant – Fibre and Mixed Media Art

Saskatchewan artist Rita St. Amant joins the Manitoba Fibre Festival market for the first time this year. Rita’s booth at the Festival will feature pieces in wool felt, cotton and silk.
The arts have always played a large role in Rita’s life.   Born and raised in southern Saskatchewan, she is a self-taught, grassroots artist whose proud surroundings are reflected in her works.
Rita draws inspiration from the prairie skies and landscapes.  From the Shield to the Badlands, nature brings a strong sense of awe with its ever changing interplay of colour and textures.
rita s
Rita is presently working with mixed media, fibre, felt and assorted textiles. She was introduced to textiles by Martha Cole’s elevator series through OSAC.  Rita incorporates painting techniques into textile art by applying drawings, paint,  and dyes to fabric, taking it to another level.

Pine and Paddle

The latest in our “getting to know the new vendors” series — Pine and Paddle answer our questions about their inspiration and their products. Add them to your Festival shopping list! 

We are Pine + Paddle and we are a mother daughter team making products for your home and cabin. We focus on simple and classic items like tea towels, aprons and various tote/project bags as well as a few other things always sprinkled in there! Many of our items are hand block printed from hand carved stamps. This makes each piece unique!

.We have always loved creating and so it was a natural extension to start creating for others. Our project bags we make come from us wanting to create the perfect items for our own love of knitting! 

We are inspired by the lakes where we spend our summers and the prairies that we live amongst. We love creating pieces for a simple home and a life filled with friends, family and working with your hands.

We LOVE our bento bags. We both use them all the time, to keep every knitting project contained but also for lunch or whatever else we need to keep organized. We just tie it up and throw it in any bag to take with us. They are simple yet so useful and versatile.


Rug Hooking Groups in Manitoba

We are pleased to welcome back volunteers from Red River Ruggers and Prairie Edge Rug Hookers to demonstrate their work at the Festival.  Val Jackson of Beausejour offers this introduction to anyone who would like to get involved —

Rug hooking is both a craft and an art form.  Basically, wool strips are pulled up through an open weave linen backing into loops using a hook to form a picture.   Anything that is or can be cut into strips of different widths can be used to enhance the hooking including yarns of all types, ribbons, other fabrics- even fish skins!  Patterns are available but many hookers create their own and kids visit 17 183

Plain or patterned, plaid or striped, wool can be dyed to get a full range of colours. Shaded florals, landscapes, abstracts, whimsy, portraiture, and primitive are some of the types of the many designs you can create for mats, tote bags, cushions, runners and pictures.  A hook, hoop or frame and wool, recycled or new, is all that is needed. This relaxing pastime is ideal for watching TV and is not physically demanding.IMG_3170

We invite you to come to one of our friendly groups to see what hooking is all about.

Red River Ruggers (Winnipeg):  meets the first Saturday of the month, 10 – 4, contact Susan Hancharyk at  204-257-0589     or Elaynna Gilmore at:      Bring your own lunch.

Prairie Edge Rug Hookers (Eastern Manitoba) meets every second Tuesday, come and go or come and stay 1 to 8 (dinner out). Meets in Beausejour.  Contact Val Jackson 204-268-2212 or

For both groups call ahead and we can bring tools and wool to let you try it out.IMG_3167

Cindy Hoppe Fibre Artist

Meet Cindy Hoppe from Biggar, Saskatchewan and her wonderful fibre art work.  We are pleased to welcome her as a first time Manitoba Fibre Festival vendor this year.      

Cindy Hoppe Fibre Artist:  I make jackets, sweaters, ponchos, vestments and wall hangings using primarily wool.DSCN6961

How did you get started?

I took my mom’s weaving in the 90s and made it into jackets.  When she turned to felting, I started recycling woven woolens, continued dyeing with my mom (Myrna Harris) and gradually evolved into vestments and wallhangings.

What inspires you?

My inspiration is my prairie home, the changing seasons, what happens in the dye pot, some luscious yarn or a collaboration with a client.DSCN6915

Can you name a favourite creation?

A recent favourite piece is an embroidered wall hanging of our coulee in the fall —  Wolf Willow Slope.DSCN6703

Queenston Crafts

Lynn Gibson of Queenston Crafts in Winnipeg describes her passion for upcycling and sewing with natural fibres — 

I make upcycled wool, cashmere and angora mittens from thrift store sweaters.  I machine wash and dry the sweaters to encourage shrinking and felting of the wool so the mittens are thick and warm, and also line them with fleece for extra warmth and softness inside.m6

I also make catnip stuffed cat toys in fun shapes from the sweaters and unique gnome ornaments.
How did you get started in fibre arts?

I’ve always loved crafts and have sewn and knit for years.  Making sweater mittens is a way I can transform previously loved sweaters into one of a kind practical items everyone in our climate can appreciate.

What inspires the work you do and things you create?

Upcycing really inspires me.  I like taking the previously loved sweaters and creating new wearable mittens and toys.  It keeps the items from the landfill and allows me to share that with people.  Many people tell me what a great idea it is and how they love the idea of reusing things in this way.

It’s also inspiring to see what patterns and colours I can mix to create the one of a kind mittens.  m5
What is your favourite piece that you’ve ever created?
My favourite pieces are those I can make out of embroidered or embellished boiled wool and also lovely coloured fair isle sweaters.  I fall in love with so many of the mittens I find myself wanting to keep a few, but in the end it’s more satisfying to see someone else love them as much and choose them.
Thanks Lynn! See you at the Festival.