Looking to the Sky


My husband published in a conference recently in Providence RI. I took the chance to tag along. We drove there on Sunday and drove back home on Tuesday. On Monday I took a walk arround downtown searching for a bookstore (where I bought a weaving book from 1906). It was a difficult shop to find as I kept looking upwards at all the incredible architecture in downtown Providence.

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Sculpture by Lee Jae Hyo (I was able to find the artist online!) And the rest of the time I was pretty much looking up.

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I was taking these pictures from across the street to get the widest field of view. There were stained glass pieces in every arch. I couldn’t see the details on the day, but I can enlarge the mostly blurry ones (the focus of the camera was always higher above them) and pretty much see heraldic looking stuff; lions, eagles, shields. Except for the one I did have in focus. The guy in his underwear!

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And back up!

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And a few impressive murals

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Ginormous!


This may be the biggest pufball we have ever found on the farm yet!

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Unfortunately its very spongy and wet inside. We picked this too late this year.

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Can’t wait to see what comes up at this site next year.

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Hearts, hearts hearts, and a few more!


So here they are. All the test knitting I have been doing in the last little while that match up with the new pattern I’m testing out!

I started with a single heart in a shawlette or bandana, and moved on to hearts in a line in a three tier pattern and finally increasing hearts per tier. I have been using everything bast to test, lately focusing  on Louet linen, both yarns and fibres.

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This first bandana is made out of handspun linen fibre. I have already washed and left it out in the sun to lighten up.

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Louet linen Solo 3 Tier Hearts pattern in moss, stockinette and garter stitches. I love playing around with colour and texture. I was also curious if the hearts would look different in different stitches, and they do! This pic is off the needles, before blocking.

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And after blocking. Ahhh the magic of blocking!

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Back to handspun bast yarns. I think this is hemp that I spun up many years ago (hard to remember if I used just hemp or a blend now). A little teaser of the increasing hearts per tier pattern.

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I am starting an increasing hearts per tier pattern in Louet linen and using my Kollage needles! The light green is from a batch of hand painted Eurosport yarns that were available a few years ago. Can’t wait to see how the colours look further into the piece. I may have to switch up for two more colours on the next tier…..

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Another single heart bandana using up scraps of yarn.

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Trying out the heart motif in 3 ply and 6 ply hemp yarn cowls. I need to see these blocked, I should work on the ends more often!

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This is the test piece I brought with me to the Twist festival this year. I made it out of a brand new silk/wool blend yarn that came from the carpet guys I originally bought my silk yarns from. There are only 2 tiers in this one, I decided I didn’t like the bridging pattern I tried using between tiers. I also ran out of time before the show and didn’t want to show this piece on needles.

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Another heart cowl. While I can show the heart well in pictures, but I actually added too much other lace pattering in the cowl, which makes it too hidden for me.

These last few heart pictures are a repost from an earlier blog about blocking.

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If you are interested in testing out my charts for making these patterns, please message me!

 

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Pattern Ready For Testing


I brought a new pattern along to the Twist Festival this year. I had some great responses to it and now I am finally ready for other people to test it out! It is a triangle shawl with tiers of hearts. Either 3 hearts in the centre of the piece or layers of hearts increasing with each tier.

You can use any yarn you like. I have made a bunch of testers in hemp, linen and silk/wool yarns.

Please contact me with your email address for the pattern and testing criteria. It is in PDF chart form only at present.

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The Lineup


I searched high and low for any bast; through my personal stash of yarn, and then checked the work boxes just in case I missed any scraps! I’m so excited to be teaching at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival and this opportunity to show like-minded linen lovers how much variety is actually out there. I have been collecting bast fibres for more than a decade. Variety is surprisingly hard to find, and many of my fibres are now pretty rare.

The sample yarns…

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On the far left is my favorite linen yarn, Euroflax from Louet. The colours are extraordinary, and the feel, the hand of the yarn is in a class of its own. A great linen yarn should only get better with washing and drying (yes IN the dryer), and Euroflax never disappoints.

The next pile of colour (immediate right of the Euroflax) are the samples of all the yarns I have dyed over the years. And a natural skein for comparison. These original colours will be examined against the heavily washed samples that I have worked over (washed often and much abused to wear the samples in).

The final piles (on the right hand side) are samples of more linen & hemp yarns and samples of linen blended yarns.

The yarns for use in the class looks a lot more like this…

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I also went through my stash and picked out all the ends I have left over from various projects over time. Lately I have been making shawls from scraps of yarn, and it is hard not to start something new with all the interesting blobs of yarn when they are packed together like this. I can see colour combinations I want to explore!

The fibres end up being the most impressive pile…

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Top row from left to right:

Linen strick, Louet hemp from Germany, Louet Linen from Great Britain, Louet Linen from Begium, hemp from China

Bottom row from left to right:

Linen from Ireland, unknown sample from a friend, Canadian Linen fibres from local farmers, degummed hemp from China, and hemp from Romania.

The long line fibres to practice with in-class are all coming from (my generous sponsor!) Louet. But I so want everyone to have a chance to feel the variety of bast fibres that are available, and will bring at least one gran of each of the samples shown above.

And last but not least….

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Hand dyed (by me) Louet long line linen fibres! I dyed in three sunset colours, and I promise not to spin it all up myself before the show!

Now I really must stop drooling and handling these samples for a month (I think I can make it)!

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Linen Fibre Preparation


So much to do! I am building a flax break, and also a bunch of really dangerous ripplers (those nails)! I am also figuring out how to deal with around 120 lbs of flax. it smells quite strongly too…

I picked up a 25″x25″x25″ box to hold a bale. Also to be able to stack bales in storage. But a box that size is around $11 and I have 12 bales left. Too many to afford to put into boxes for long without any processing.

I have a number of smaller boxes around and started using them with the first bale of Vesta, that I have begun processing. Not difficult, but it is time consuming. I do this on the weekends as I’m back working days in Guelph.

All of the bales are off the floor in my farm house. Many on the smaller boxes the finished processed fibres will be going into.

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Starting with the Vesta bale, I remove the seeds and the bottom 1″of roots (mostly removing soil clods). I’m wearing very heavy hide gloves while doing this!

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The Vesta bale is first as it fell apart when I took it out of the car. Most of the bale got stuffed into a box. The trimmed pieces go in the done box for storage, and I can mark each box.

Start

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End

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I head back to the farm today, and I’m hoping to finish processing most of the Vesta. I’ll decide how many boxes to get (between 4-6) and keep working on prepping the remaining fibres for scutching and sales. I have been looking for long stem flower boxes locally with no success, but I know where I can go in Mississauga for packaging to wrap everything up.

For the next big task before scutching, I will be sending out another email to the volunteers for help in dealing with those last four plots of seeds on the UWO fields, harvesting, rippling and separating seeds from chaff.

Somewhere between Sept 12-14 we need to go harvest those seeds.

There will be dangerous nail ripplers clamped to plastic tables on giant tarps! And then a bunch of separating seeds from the husks. More stuff to make – graduated screens I suspect.

Thanks to everyone helping out in this gigantic project!

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Loads of Pictures! Starting with the Twist Festival in St Andre-Avellin, QC


I did not have a booth in the show (in any show!) this year, which meant I could finally attend the Twist Festival for the first time in four years.

The line to enter fluctuated during the morning, we did not have to wait long to enter.

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And if the line is long, that just gives extra time to oooh and aaah over the fibre animals. The endlessly cute alpaca. There were also very cute bunnies and sheep.

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I had a chance to take one picture with Deb from Yarn Indulgences (nice to see a local face at the Twist again this year Deb!) before the crowds swallowed up all the available space!

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OMG the crowds!

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The crowds make for an incredible show! I met so many people I have not seen in a year, and this time we even had time to talk!

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I didn’t really need a break from shopping, but at 12pm there was a Maypole demonstration.

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A couple of short video clips to add the sound to this part of the event!

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I worked up an appetite, so I headed over to the food tent.

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Happy 5th Anniversary Twist Festival!

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I managed to squeeze in one talk during the show – how could I miss Sam from Trailhead talking about plant fibres! And I got a chance to hear all the fibre and yarn terms in French, a good refresher for me.

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I just love her gorgeous cotton and linen hand dyed yarns!

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I had to save the best for last! Another beloved Chanvre (Hemp) seller this year!

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So glad to see hemp represented, especially when I did not have a booth this year. And these folks are ready to lobby the government regarding hemp regulation and barriers to entry. This is my personal initiative as well. What with marijuana legalization being announced in 2017, hemp should be released from the restrictions to grow as well.

In the end I came home with only a pound of yarn (hemp of course!) and the dear husband still grumped about more yarn in the house. But I managed to keep most of the complaints at bay with local hard apple ciders and caramelized apple sauce!

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Thanks so much to K&F for putting me up in Ottawa. This whole not working thing is cramping my style way too much, thanks for helping me expand my Quebec yarn stash! My own mill/supplier refused this shipment of yarn and now I can’t wait to see how it wears in to show them what could have been.

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