Queenston Crafts – Lynn Gibson

Lynn Gibson has always been driven to create.  Year-round she is sewing, knitting, and stitching. In the summer it’s common to find her making jam and jelly as well as woodworking.  Self-taught in virtually all crafts, Lynn always has multiple projects on the go.

For the past five years, Lynn has specialized in repurposed wool projects, and her Queenston Crafts banner is known for quality, upcycled-wool sweater mittens.   Her sweater mittens are made from felted, thrift-store wool, angora and cashmere sweaters.   Each pair is lined with fleece for warmth and softness and are loved for their ability to keep heat in and cut the wind.  Mittens are available in three sizes and no two handcrafted pair are ever the same.

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Lynn also repurposes velvety cashmere sweaters into cowls to cradle your neck in softness.  It’s an ecofriendly way to create affordable luxuries.  With an eye for pattern and colourway placement, she often pairs mitten and cowl sets for easy gift-giving ideas.

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Catnip cat toys are made from sweater remnants in fun shapes including mice, mittens, stockings and long ‘kitty kickers’, and are often embellished with fringe for extra play value.  Being a cat-lover and WHS cat foster mom, Lynn can attest that these toys are ‘cat-tested, cat-approved!’

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Adorable, quirky gnomes are a fun product of Lynn’s upcycled sweater crafts and are sure to bring a smile to your face.  New at this year’s Fibre Festival, Lynn is previewing soft stuffed creatures.

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Thanks for bringing all this colour and coziness to the Festival market, Lynn!

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Lynn Gibson, Queenston Crafts

Planning your visit to the Festival?  WORKSHOP registration is open // The VENDOR list is posted // and we would love to have you VOLUNTEER

Yellow Door Art by Susan Hope

I am a fabric sculptor working with natural fibre fabrics to create whimsical pieces for both garden and home. Yes! I said garden! My pieces are uv and weather resistant and stand up to almost everything our Manitoba climate throws at it. 

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Frequently when I’m chatting with someone at a market I find myself looking at what they are wearing, not to critique the outfit but with longing to use the fabric that their outfit is made from! I look at the weight of the fabric, the type, how it is patterned and so on. I may have even mentioned a time or two that when the wearer tires of the item to please pass it along to me.

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Natural fibre materials such as cotton, silk and wool are what I use to ‘dress up’ my creations. They work best because they soak up the medium that makes material hard and water resistant. This does not happen with synthetic fabrics: no matter how much medium is rubbed into a synthetic fabric, it does not completely saturate the synthetic. 

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Time for a disclaimer: my creations are not 100% fabric. They all start with a framework of wire, foil and tape and then are dressed with the natural fibre materials. Oh! Did I mention crocheted doilies? I love doilies (made with 100% crochet cotton, of course!) and haven’t met a doily I didn’t like. Fabrics are thoroughly immersed in a medium that is a glue-like substance. The medium is massaged into the fabric so that it coats every fibre of the fabric. This medium is what gives the finished piece its hardness and uv and water resistance. 

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Every piece I create is one-of-a-kind and infused with little piece of my soul. Working with my hands as I do gives me inner peace, making me a MUCH happier person to be around. 

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Find Susan in the Yellow Door Art booth in our vendor market.

Smash Knits

Smash Knits is a curated collected of handdyed yarns, sewn & embroidery embellished project totes/pouches for knitters, crocheters, needleworkers and more, as well as an assortment of stitch markers, shawl cuffs, written patterns, and other tools of the trade. Ashlee Snell answers some queries about her business for this Festival new vendor profile:

How did you get started in fibre arts and with your products?

My little handmade biz actually started out as finished knitwear in 2009. I had been knitting up a storm and when friends and family wanted to buy my work, I thought I would try my hand at Etsy and craft markets. Over the years I’ve been able to partake in many unique markets, fashion shows, and vending opportunities with my finished pieces. In 2018, I began transitioning to dyeing yarn and sewing project bags, and haven’t looked back since! 

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What inspires the work you do and things you create? 

I am drawn to rich colours, in particular jewel tones, and I find the landscape of Manitoba (especially in the fall) to be a great inspiration. Many of my yarns are named after places in Manitoba as I love to explore and discover new places in our province. I am also a really big fan of word play and puns so you’ll find that some of my work has that incorporated (like the hand embroidered project bags, and tote bags). 

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What is your favourite piece/item/colour/etc that you’ve ever created?

That’s a tough question…. I recently tweaked a mustard shade that has gone through many variations and is finally where I want it to be – it’s named “Golden Boy” and is just begging to be knit into a shawl for autumn!

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What else would like us to know about you and your work?

I genuinely love the act of creating; I’m a maker through and through and truly do believe that happiness is handmade 🙂 

Very much looking forward to the festival! 

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Welcome to the Festival Ashlee!

Two Bees Handmade Creations

TWO BEES HANDMADE CREATIONS is one sewist creating project bags and pouches for knitters, crocheters, needlework artists, and anyone else who likes handcrafted containers for their “stuff.”
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That sewist, Rhonda Beebe, has been sewing, crafting, and creating since she was a young teenager.  When she was a child in Saskatoon, the sewing machine was set up in her bedroom and many, many nights she fell asleep to the sound of her mom sewing into the wee hours.  All her clothes were handmade, and Rhonda quickly picked up sewing skills from her mom.  When she got married, she struck a deal with her dad that he would buy her a sewing machine instead of a wedding dress and that way she could make her own.
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Other fibre arts have long been a part of Rhonda’s life as well, particularly quilting and knitting.  That same father was the knitter in the family.  Learning to knit on the farm during long cold winters, he made beautiful curling and Siwash sweaters.  Rhonda’s first knitting project in her early 20s was fair isle sweaters for two nephews and a niece.  Right now she’s learning to knit socks! Rhonda has made countless quilts both traditional patchwork and decorative and is just finishing up a Kaffe Fasset quilt that has been a true labour of love.
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Rhonda was also a founding member of The Stoneware Gallery on Corydon Ave. and worked as a professional potter for several years.  Recently retired from a career as a high school English teacher, she is delighted to be back in her spare bedroom sewing space playing with beautiful fabric and hoping to join the renaissance of appreciation for handmade items.
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Look for Rhonda and her handcrafted bags in the Festival market Sept. 13 & 14.

Prairie Threads / Prairie Peasant

Laura Dyck creates under the names PrairieThreads and PrairiePeasant. She has been a maker for as long as she can remember, and has long enjoyed refashioning the old or unwanted into something new. Using non-traditional recycled and repurposed materials, she creates one of a kind, beautiful and functional items, while keeping unwanted items from the landfill. Thrift shops, garage sales, and ArtsJunktion are her favourite sources of materials.
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Examples of her repurposing include taking a once loved thrifted cotton shirt, and transforming it into a set of coiled mats and coasters. She can transform the “uglies” (i.e. wild or dated fabrics) into beautiful baskets, where you see the colours and not the prints. Vintage linens (the more stained the better) can be overdyed with tea or indigo, and then used for the covers of beautiful journals. Once loved books become new blank journals and envelopes. Laura also enjoys experimenting with various ways to dye the cotton rope she uses, including with tea, indigo, dyes, and paints.
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The more items she creates, the more she realizes that she will never run out of available materials to reuse in her products.

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Welcome to the Festival, Laura!

The Victorian Studio – Vendor Profile

Maureen Kuppe, first time vendor at the Festival, introduces herself:
My shop is called The Victorian Studio. The name comes from my antique-filled art room where I create hand-sculpted, hand-painted polymer clay knitting / crocheting stitch markers and progress keepers.
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I am an avid knitter and when I began making these charms for myself, my knitting friends asked if I would make some for them to purchase too! My shop was born.
I find inspiration from everyday items – if someone has a favourite food, snack, drink, hobby, sport or item from their past that they want to “decorate” their projects with, I create it in miniature. My charms add a touch of whimsy slid onto needles, slipped through a stitch or hung from project bags!
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I can’t choose a favourite, but I do enjoy trying to create my miniatures as realistically as possible… so that piece of lemon meringue pie hanging off your needles looks good enough to eat!
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I have been on Etsy for just a short time, but since I am retiring in a few days after working in healthcare for 40 years, I am creating my own online shop at victorianstudio.com and am excited to soon devote more time to my growing business!

Congratulations on your retirement and welcome to the Festival, Maureen!

“How I Spent My Summer” – from Allyson at Dye For Ewe

How I Created the 2019 Custom Colourway or, How I Spent My Summer

Hello all, I am so honoured (and nervous!) to be asked by the Manitoba Fibre Festival to create the 2019 Custom Colourway.  A self striping colourway.  Phew, I can totally do that!

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The wonderful ladies asked me to give everyone an idea of my design process.  I can’t just write CHAOS, so let us begin. Each year’s colourway is based on the Manitoba Fibre Festival Logo.  The majestic head of a sheep/ram. I studied this picture for….a…..long…..time. A little too long. I stopped seeing the richness of colours and began to see colours that weren’t even there.  But enough about my descent in to colour bewilderment. (I highly suggest investing in colourway cards from some of the acid dye manufacturers. They’re indispensable in trying to find particular shades.)

To create a self striping colourway, all you need is:
-Yarn
-Dye
Water
Acid
Cotton Thread
Some way to measure out how long your colour sections should be (warping boards are handy)
Either a warping mill or two (sometimes 6, depending on the colourway) chairs
A niddy noddy
Pots, ladles, measuring instruments, ventilator mask

Oh, and time.  Self striping takes time

For this project, I am using my SNUG base.  It is an 80% Superwash Merino Wool and 20% Nylon fingering weight yarn.  It is honestly my favourite yarn to work with. Long lasting, and has a nice tight spin.  Snug in spin, snug in texture!

Now you’re ready to begin!  Cake up your skein of yarn. Much more manageable in this form.  Measure out your colours. For this colourway, I wanted the sections to be a bit thicker.  So I went with 5 yard increments. That way, it could be knit into longer patterns and the crocheters would have more yarn to work with.

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My PVC warping board and dyed work table

Then, it’s time to stretch the yarn.  I spent my first few years walking the yarn.  I would literally walk between chairs, stretching out the yarn to the proper measurement.  It was how I got my steps in! Now I have a warping mill, and my Birkenstocks are thanking me!

Secure with cotton ties.

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Warping mill love!

Time to Dye!  (If you have children, feed them first.  It won’t matter, they’re always hungry, but at least they can exercise patience?)

For this colourway, I decided on a “dry dye.”  I don’t know if that’s an actual term, but it’s what I call it.  I usually soak the bare skein in water before dyeing to achieve a more even colour throughout the sections.  But with this colourway I wanted to recreate the brush strokes in the painting. Therefore, placing the dry yarn in the pan and/or pot would cause it to soak up deeper colours in some sections and lighter in others.  I also speckled some of the colours. Sometimes with mini paint brushes, sometimes with salt shakers. Each colour needs to be dyed separately.20190620_123134 (1)

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Chafing dishes were my dye pot of choice for this colourway. Cooks faster; more room to move the yarn.

My goal with this colourway is to start at the face of the sheep, then go up into those curly locks.  Aren’t they luxurious? I wanted anyone crafting with the colourway to experience the slow crawl up into those locks, peaking with its golden crown/horns, and to then come back through the locks and once again focus on the subtleties of that face.  

 Dry:    Summer heat works wonders on this.  In winter, furnaces are fantastic.

Re-skein:   You’ve got it coloured!  Awesome. Time to put it back in its original form.  Stretch out your yarn and get to work!  

And there you have it.  A crash course on both how to dye self striping (if you care to) and how the 2019 Custom Colourway was created.  

Thank you again to the wonderful organizers and amazing volunteers of the Manitoba Fibre Festival.  I have loved every festival I have been to, both a customer and a vendor. You really keep our fibre flock thriving. 

The 2019 Custom Colourway will be revealed at The Dye For Ewe Pop Up Shop, August 10th at Wolseley Wool. 

Skeins will be available for purchase at the Festival merchandise table near the front entrance to the Festival on September 13 & 14.

Hope to see you there!

North American Shetland Sheep Association

The year our Festival has the honour of being the chosen location for the annual general meeting of the North American Shetland Sheep Association. The great majority of their members live in the USA and the annual gathering has only rarely been held in Canada.

Although there are not a lot of registered flocks of Shetland sheep in our area, there are definitely some good representatives of this charming breed with the wonderful coloured fleeces.  Local Shetland producers find their fleeces, rovings and yarns very popular with shoppers at the Festival.

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NASSA is generously sponsoring a special Shetland class in our wool show this year, where we hope to see fleeces from their AGM delegates as well as from local flocks.

We are delighted to welcome the NASSA delegates to our event. Be sure to give them a friendly hello!

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Planning your visit to the Festival?  WORKSHOP registration is open // The VENDOR list is posted // and we would love to have you VOLUNTEER

Tamara Klassen – 2019 Vendor and Instructor

Tamara Klassen is a textile artist from Southern Manitoba.  After learning to sew from her grandmother at a young age, she developed a love for textiles early on.  Her work at Tamara Klassen Artisan Textiles focuses on traditional techniques, learned from her travels around the world, mixed with a modern design aesthetic. Working with predominately natural fibres and plant dyes such as indigo, she creates one-of-a-kind art pieces and home goods using resist-dyeing methods. Each piece is handmade and dyed in her home studio.

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Tamara had such a good time teaching classes at the 2018 Festival, she decided to join us as a vendor this year, and we are thrilled to have her. Her beautiful work reflects her travels and her in-depth studies of the art of natural dyeing.

Tamara recently launched a line of naturally dyed, organic cotton thread perfect for embroidery, sashiko, mending and whatever other projects you might dream up. She is selling them through her Etsy shop Foraged Dyeworks.

Each colour is derived from plants, including roots, bark, flowers and leaves, as well as animals and minerals, which makes the process friendly to the earth while creating colours with amazing depth and beauty. Get to her booth early because these beauties will sell fast!yellow+green+thread

Tamara is teaching two classes at the 2019 Festival: 

Natural Dyeing on Friday September 13: two spots open as of today.natural dyes 2 (1)

and Sashiko Hand Stitching on Saturday September 14. Sorry, this one is already sold out but you can put your name on the waiting list.Sashiko (1)

 


Planning your visit to the Festival?  WORKSHOP registration is open // The VENDOR list is posted // and we would love to have you VOLUNTEER//

Welcome to the Flock

This year we will be welcoming a lot more sheep — and shepherds —  to the Festival. The Manitoba Sheep Association will be setting up in the barn adjacent to our venue for their annual sheep show and sale on Saturday September 14. This is where commercial sheep farmers from around the province gather to show off their best animals and buy new stock. We will get to enjoy a barn full of sheep and the excitement of a sale. Hopefully some of the MSA shepherds, who concentrate mainly on the meat side of sheep raising, will wander through our bustling market and wool show and increase their appreciation of wool!

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We are pleased to have the opportunity to share our event with this organization so we can work together to support sheep farmers in Manitoba.


Planning your visit to the Festival?  WORKSHOP registration is open // The VENDOR list is posted // and we would love to have you VOLUNTEER

Update on the Yarn

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It’s the “Dye for Ewe” prep for our custom colourway magic …

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And our 2019 merino/nylon fingering weight yarn is hitting the dye pots …

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And the finished product is being knit into sample pieces — here Ally has the colours grayed out so as not to give away too much. All will be revealed soon!

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Custom Colourway Yarn for 2019

Each year we challenge a local dyer to create a custom colourway exclusively for the Manitoba Fibre Festival, using our ram’s head logo as inspiration. The original artwork for the logo, by Gerry Oliver of Spirit Sands Farm, has provided a richness of colour depth and variety.

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Our past dyers have been Hilori Thompson of Hilori’s Magical Yarnorium (2016), Daria Rakowski of Cloud9 Fiberworks (2017), and Tammy Ivanco of Manjusha Fibre Arts (2018).

We are delighted to announce that Allyson Schneider of Dye for Ewe is creating our 2019 custom yarn. Many of you will have seen Ally’s work at fibre festivals or at your local yarn stores. She has a passion for self-striping yarn! We can’t wait to see what she is cooking up for us. The yarn base is called Snug, a fingering weight yarn, 80% superwash merino and 20% nylon. Here’s the “before” picture:

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Ally clearly hasn’t lost her enthusiasm for dyeing yarn!  Dye For Ewe was born out of a desire for rainbow self striping socks and a homeschooling experiment gone right.  Ever since that fateful day, Ally of Dye For Ewe has been learning to colour yarn through trial and error and dyeing up a storm, now with quality acid grade dyes.  Her inner mad scientist, armed with a warping mill and fueled by podcasts, loves to take colours some consider to “clash” and smash them together!  She still wears her original rainbow socks.

Watch for Ally’s blog post in mid-summer explaining her process and revealing the new colourway.