Gauging Fabulous

How do you gauge how fabulous something is?

We could try a scale. On a scale of 1-10 how fabulous are these goodies that will be available at the Manitoba Fibre Festival this year?

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I’m going to go with 120.

That’s 10 for each item: sturdy cotton canvas bag, luxurious yarn in this year’s Festival colourway dyed by Manjusha Fibre Arts,  super-handy needle gauge made locally for us, and nine pattern designs that were created for the Challenge this year.

Wait, you ask, what’s so super-handy about a needle gauge? Can’t I just look at my needle and read the size?  Sure, sometimes you can. However, I know that not all my DPNs and interchangeable needles have the size written on them. I use my gauge often.

In addition to the obvious use of the rulers as well (basic measuring, gauge swatch measurements, seeing exactly how close you came to losing in yarn chicken, there is one more handy-use for a needle gauge I can show you.

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Have you ever used a needle gauge to help you choose a good needle for a particular yarn? Pulling a sample of yarn through those measured diameter holes gives you a very useful indication of how your stitches will “smoosh” or “grow” to fill a space – and that space is determined by the diameter of the needles that will be creating those stitches (assuming a basic tension and you’re not making double-loop stitches and so forth).  I find this particularly useful when assessing my handspun yarns for a project, but it also works great with commercially-spun yarns.

I made a video if you’d like to see.

Where [are] your stitches at?

There is one more week remaining in August.

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Inquiring minds want to know how your Challenge projects are progressing.

What is still on the needles/hooks/wheel/loom?

What is an FO? What needs the final step? Feel free to mark it as a finished object before blocking 🙂  We are looking for the projects that use our design challenge patterns as well as all projects inspired by our Challenge.

We want to see the WIPs and FOs so that we can update the list on our Ravelry group.  That way we can add you to our prize draws. Tag them with #mbff2018challenge on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook – make sure they are set to “public” so we can see your posts. Or send us a note regarding your Ravelry page.

Challenge Roll Call

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Wow folks, you’ve taken this challenge and run with it in delightful directions!  Early on there was a rich array of yarns and fibres being dyed and spun.  As spring buds emerge, so too are the finished designs. Some are in the testing and editing period while others have already been added to Ravelry.  We’ll be gathering all the listings together as a Ravelry collection as May wraps up.

I currently count nine designs in the collection, which includes a gorgeous collection of hat, mitten, cowl, sock, and shawl designs paired with fantastic yarns and fibres.  You folks are incredibly creative!

If you’ve been making something (anything: design, yarn, dyeing, spinning, felting, crochet, etc.) inspired by the 2018 Challenge, don’t forget to tag it and share it with the hashtag #mbff2018challenge.  If you think we’ve missed you (apologies in advance), do drop us an email or leave a note in the Ravelry group. I maintain a master list at the Ravelry link.

 

Challenge and Challenges

Important Update to Challenge Dates Enclosed (an extension). 

The 2018 Manitoba Fibre Festival challenge has reached that exciting stage where folks are sharing sneak peeks into new designs they have been working on in collaboration with local fibre/yarn providers.  Check out the hashtag #mbff2018challenge on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Many of the images are on Instagram. You don’t need to be a member to see the shared images; in fact, here’s a direct link to the hash-tagged images.  Not all participants are using Instagram and you’ll find some more fantastic images on Facebook here with the hashtag.  Additionally, I am maintaining a list of participants on Ravelry in our Festival group; let me know if I’ve missed someone please.

For the designers, I imagine this means they have passed (or almost passed) the hurdles of translating an inspired vision into a fibre creation.  This can be a challenge indeed; there may have been frogging involved.  I speak from experience.

Before sharing their designs with other makers, designers will make sure that the pattern they have written up is 1) correct in its details and 2) makes sense to other makers.

The most important next step is to have a professional tech editor assess the design write up.  On the simplest level, editors serve as a second set of critical eyes to catch the simple errors that can easily slip through when you’ve read over a document a dozen times and you know what it’s supposed to say.  Tech editors also check the numbers, the math, the charts, the repeats, the nitty-gritty bits such as if you correctly listed the US and metric needle sizes, the abbreviations, the functionality of the layout, etc.  Tech editors are also experienced makers themselves and can provide feedback concerning the clarity of how the designer writes up the instructions.  Tech editing helps to ensure that a designer puts their best work forward to the public and that makers are less likely to find mistakes or need to ask questions.

An optional step before publishing a design is to ask other knitters (or crocheters as applicable) to make a test sample and provide detailed feedback.  Test knitters can provide helpful feedback as makers, especially if some instructions need clarification.  It is important that testers use a similar yarn and achieve the same gauge (after washing and blocking) as specified in the pattern so that a designer can compare the amount of yarn required and the finished sizes with fewer variables.  An additional bonus is that testers are typically asked/required to share a project page on Ravelry with good quality photos. When the design is released to the public, there will already be some project examples that other Makers can look to.  As a Maker, I always look at other examples to see how a design looks in other colours, what other yarns folks have used, variations in yardage (assuming they haven’t made modifications), and so forth.  Although some designers hire sample knitters, it is common practice for test knitters to work for free from their own stash.  In exchange the test knitters receive a free copy of the design and early access.  The knit sample is their own to enjoy also.

Both of these steps take time. The editing review process can require some back-and-forth exchanges if extensive edits are required.  The test knitting period can require several weeks depending on the size of the item.

In light of this, inquiries we have received, and developments we have observed as folks share their progress, we are pushing the pattern release date back to June 1, 2018. (It was May 15; I will update all previous website posts).  This will allow two more weeks for finishing the write-up, sending it to an editor, and test knitting (if designers choose so).  It means that the patterns will be ready before the next Manitoba-local festival – the Blue Hills Fibre Festival in Carberry, MB on June 9, 2018.  It is held at the Carberry Community Memorial Hall from 10am – 4pm.  Many of our local yarn/fibre providers will be there with Challenge yarns (and fibre) available for purchase if you are desiring some of these beauties for the summer make-a-long.  If you’ve been eyeing these online, you may also want to inquire with the yarn/fibre folk about online purchases.

Designers and fibre folk, if you have questions and/or if you are intending to share in this release date please contact Mandy Furney directly or through info@manitobafibrefestival.com

 

 

 

Makers Challenge 2018

Makers gonna make (make, make, make, make).

If you are on Instagram and you are a maker, you’ve surely encountered (and possibly participated in) the many monthly challenges that bring makers together – sharing images, experiences, inspirations, and ideas.

In January the Manitoba Fibre Festival released a preview of the Mood Board that is at the heart of our own challenge for 2018. Our challenge runs through the summer, providing plenty of time to participate.  If you’re ready to learn more, we’ve prepared a thorough description now available on the website at Makers Challenge 2018.

Here’s the quick summary: we want our amazing community of makers to join in and play in whatever way suits you best. Our community is rich with folks who knit, crochet, weave, and felt; folks who dye and produce the yarns and fibres we love; and folks who design for their fellow knitters (and crochet peers).

We’re inviting all of your to accept our challenge of creating things inspired by a shared mood board.  (If this challenge is successful, we’ll provide a new mood board next year.)  At the simplest level, we hope you will share your inspired projects with us and inspire others – so we can “build community through creative collaboration”.  We’ll be watching and sharing on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and our Ravelry group.

We’re also inviting (challenging) our dyers, producers, and designers to share their creations so that others can make use of them.  We’ll be hosting a make-a-long this summer that features local designers as well as local yarns and fibres that have been inspired by our Challenge.  We’re excited to see what folks create together.

Share directly in the Ravelry group and/or social media.  The hashtags to use (on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook) so that we can easily find your creations are:

 #MbFF2018Challenge

#ManitobaFibreFest2018

 

in the Mood for some new projects

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Wintery greetings. We hope you are keeping warm beneath your layers of wool and alpaca.  One benefit of these extra crisp days is that we can enjoy the sight of beautiful clear skies (if we peek out from the blanket fort during the short daylight hours).  Have you seen the sun dogs in our blue skies this winter? Glorious. Inspiring.

It’s a new year, with new challenges ahead.  As we prepare for the 2018 Manitoba Fibre Festival, we have a fun challenge for you to join in. (Yes, you – everyone can participate.)

An important part of the Festival’s Mission is to facilitate community-building within the local fibre world.  We bring together producers, dyers, makers (of many forms, too many to list each craft right now), vendors, shoppers (also makers), designers, and artists.

Are you a designer?  A designer at heart ready to put on some snow-shoes and step into the deep snow of putting your design ideas out into the world?  If so, take a look at our Mood Board for the 2018 Manitoba Fibre Festival design collection.  By the way, we welcome crochet too. This isn’t a knitting-only challenge.  We’re looking to see your ideas; share your designs with us over the coming months leading up to the September Festival. We’ll be hosting a fun Craft-A-Long this summer featuring designs inspired by this Mood Board.  Exact details are coming up in another post.

Wait, are you a dyer or producer?  You are invited to play too! As part of our challenge, we invite dyers and producers to create yarns and/or spinning fibre inspired by our Mood Board.  We’re going to need some inspired yarns to create our Mood Board-inspired projects.

Crafters, stay tuned. You don’t need to design, dye, or produce fibre to play along.  Our designers and dyers will want your feedback before the Craft-A-Long begins.

What inspires you in this montage? Where would you take this? We’d love to hear from you on Facebook, via Instagram, or in a Tweet.

Hashtags: #ManitobaFibreFest2018  #MbFF2018Challenge

Questions? We have answers coming in our next post when we lay out the details for you.  Let us begin with inspiration and creative play. Share, participate, let us know what inspires you and, if you are so moved, let your fellow fibre folk know if you like what they are sharing.  We will also update via our newsletter, so if you’re not already on our list, now is a great time to sign up (on your computer, there is a link-banner in the right column; on your phone, use the Menu option at the top to navigate to the Newsletter page.)