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?


Are You Ready for the Festival?

Getting ready for the big day?  Feeling unprepared?

Joanne wants to help!

Joanne Seiff is a Winnipeg writer, teacher, and knitwear designer and the author of two fibre arts books: Fiber Gathering (about fibre festivals) and Knit Green (about ecofriendly fibre arts choices).

Here’s the link to a piece she wrote for a British webzine, The Inside Loop, called “Making the Most of a Fibre Festival” to help you get ready for the Manitoba Fibre Festival.

There are good hints for making a plan for your shopping needs, and some suggestions about how to not blow your budget. (Well, you might want to skip that bit. The Festival only happens once a year and you need to stock up! Many of our vendors take debit cards but it is helpful to have ample cash or cheques with you. There is an ATM on site, but we managed to empty it twice last year as people realized just how many essential treasures were on offer.)

wild wind naturals

from Wild Wind Naturals – find them at the Festival

Joanne helped to start the Manitoba Fibre Festival and often teaches at the festival. She’s been spinning and knitting for over 30 years, occasionally weaves and dyes, and also holds a Masters in Education.  She’s taught about fibre arts and spinning at festivals, universities, and more.  Check out her designs on Ravelry or read her blog to learn more!

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.
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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.