The more items she creates, the more she realizes that she will never run out of available materials to reuse in her products.
Welcome to the Festival, Laura!
Congratulations on your retirement and welcome to the Festival, Maureen!
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!
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:
–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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
Tamara is teaching two classes at the 2019 Festival:
Natural Dyeing on Friday September 13: two spots open as of today.
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.
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!
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.
What is going on here?
It’s the “Dye for Ewe” prep for our custom colourway magic …
And our 2019 merino/nylon fingering weight yarn is hitting the dye pots …
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!
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.
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:
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.
Here is their story, from their website:
Inspiration: The city of Winnipeg has the largest Indigenous population of all major Canadian cities. In 2014, Manitoba welcomed the highest recorded number of refugees per capita in Canada. This same year, a North End drop-in for mothers and young children hosted “First Nations, All Nations: Setting the Table”: a sharing circle/art project to bring together indigenous mothers with their newcomer neighbours.
Conversation: Once a week for 6 weeks, 15-25 women gathered in Turtle Island Neighbourhood Centre to meet, enjoy cultural foods and learn phrases from each other’s languages. We shared childhood stories, values we were taught as children, and dreams for own sons and daughters. We spoke, wrote, sculpted and drew.
Creation: Professional printmaking artist Karen Cornelius integrated our stories and drawings into a beautiful “One Nation” emblem. This emblem was silkscreened onto a tablecloth for each women’s home, symbolizing the belief that how we “set the table” together today will determine the atmosphere around the table when our children sit down to join us. We collectively embroidered and beaded two of these tablecloths.
Celebration: Upon completion, approximately 100 community members celebrated this project together at an outdoor “Bread and Bannock Fest” featuring indigenous and African drummers and Canadian singer/songwriter Nathan Rogers.
Expansion: This same emblem was silkscreened onto fabric panels and sewn into striking canvas bags as varied and colourful as the women themselves. Sewing machines were purchased, women were offered free sewing instruction, and these bags began to be be produced for sale in the community.
Women trained in sewing the bags were given kits to sew together over the summer, along with new sewing machines and the opportunity to purchase them at a reduced cost. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights began selling One Nation bags in their gift boutique, while consumer demand continued in the greater community.
Mitchell’s Fabrics provided fabric at greatly reduced cost, EQ3 Furniture generously donated discontinued fabric rolls and leather samples, and Levy’s Leathers contributed a commercial leather sewing machine. The dream grew larger…
One Nation: With the assistance of SEED Winnipeg in 2016, we further developed our vision for a social enterprise focused on creating opportunities for intercultural exchange, training, and employment for women representative of Canada’s diverse cultures.
On International Women’s Day 2017, our not-for-profit incorporation papers were submitted and One Nation Exchange was born.
Liz Boily volunteers with O.N.E. to organize their market sales and is also a regular at the Manitoba Fibre Festival. She is happy to be introducing the women and the products of O.N.E. to other Festival visitors this September. This is what Liz has to say about the project:
“Having moved between provinces a couple of times this past decade, a sense of community and belonging has become very important to me. After three years in Winnipeg I can say that a large part of community for me has been volunteering with One Nation Exchange. My involvement has brought me connections not only with the women and children in the program but with other people in Winnipeg.
Every hand-made item purchased from One Nation Exchange comes with two tags. One explains the symbolism of the One Nation Emblem. The other says: “Your neighbour made this for you”. It immediately connects you with the maker of your item and the larger community that supports the One Nation Exchange program. A community that includes the volunteers who teach the sewing program and prepare our bag kits, local businesses who assist in providing materials and retailers who sell O.N.E. items, and other local organizations that offer referrals for new program participants and business ideas. The hope for cultural unity expressed in the emblem speaks to so many people and your support means that message is spreading.”
Margerit, Volunteer Coordinator
Fill out the volunteer form and join the fun!
We are pleased to welcome Sarah Elizabeth from Rossland, B.C. to the Festival as a vendor this year. You will be delighted with the unique style of locks, batts, yarns and notions she has to offer. Sarah’s class “The Textured Spin” runs on Friday morning, September 14.
Here are some excerpts and photos from her website, Sarah Elizabeth Fibre Works:
“I started Sarah Elizabeth Fibre Works the year after my first daughter was born. I was driven to create a business that would allow me to work from home and enjoy every precious (and sometimes exhausting) moment together. In July 2017 we welcomed our second daughter into our fibre filled world.
My love affair with fibre (from the crimp, to the texture, to the transformation from raw fleece to finished product) has taken me on an extraordinary journey of creation. I love almost every aspect of my business from searching out of raw fleeces to the spinning of hand carded batts, to large felting projects. I have transformed my artistic practice from paint and canvas to all things fibre.
With a focus on sustainability, environmental consciousness, and consumption with awareness, my aim is to both inspire creators, wearers and admirers as well as to create change through action. I am proud to be a part of the slow fashion movement.
I aim to use only the highest quality fibres and yarns in my creations; from hand processed and dyed fibre supplies to one of a kind fashions, I have hand-selected my raw materials from all over the world. I work hard to make conscious purchasing decisions that recognize a need for strong local, regional and global trade practices that in turn promote resilient economies throughout the world. I focus on purchasing fleece from small scale farms, minimally processed fibre and yarns from eco friendly mills with good working conditions and, in general, from suppliers that have a strong focus on community.
I want each and every customer to feel like they are a part of something bigger than just the fibre, yarn or fashion item that they purchase. A conscious purchase from Sarah Elizabeth Fibre works is a full circle connection; to the farm, to the fibre, to the mill, to the fabric, to the people involved in the process, to the natural world.
I hope that this approach will fuel change. Each of these steps taken together can produce change. Change in product origins, change in consumption patterns, change in resource use, and, ultimately, the ripple effect of a safer and more sustainable future.”
Welcome to the Manitoba Fibre Festival, Sarah.