Friday, August 18, 2017

big batts

Back in the spring, I sold my Fancy Kitty Kitten drum carder.  I was very tired of crank crank cranking a manual and only pulling off 1.5-2oz batts. They were so tiny! So much effort!  I did sell it to the schools art program where they only really need tiny batts, and do smaller projects, so it fit's their need so well.  But then... I went without a drum carder for 6 months!! It was an ultimate tragedy. I love to spin from batts, it's probably my favourite fibre preparation.  Batts are fluffy and draft smoothly, and the yarn from them is always much more lofty, even if you spin with a worsted draw due to the misalignment of fibres.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'd had my hook in the water for a great big fish (read that as I posted in every buy and sell for a Pat Green Triple Drum carder) right from the get go.  But it seemed they were always just slightly out of my price range and often in USD, which with the current state of affairs with our currency would put them way out of my price range.  So, lo and behold, many moons laters, someone asks if a Fancy Kitty Tom XL would do the trick.  And while settling for a smaller, but still excellent carder was just a bit painful, I did it.  And I'm so so very happy! This things is a great machine! Many hours and 9 big batts latter, I'm excited to start spinning!  But first, to card the 6 other fleece I have that are clean.... Never ending!

see! big batts! as big as a kitchen chair!
Well, I'd best get back at it. 6 fleeces won't card themselves!

Happily Spinning (and carding)
~Kara~



Thursday, August 17, 2017

So, Ashford products are pretty cool....

This is kind of exciting! I've finally taken the leap and become an Ashford dealer!  I'd been thinking about it for quite a while, and hemmed and hawed over wether Ashford was the company for me, or if one of the other fibre tool companies would be better, but then I looked around...
Ashford Traveller - check
Ashford Traditional - check
Ashford hand cards 72 tpi - check
Ashford hand cards 108 tpi - check
Ashford flick carder - check
Ashford drop spindle - check (formerly anyway... I lent it out and it's never come back. but that's okay! I'm certain its getting use!)

.... So, yeah, I'm kind of an Ashford person! I find my tools so very handy, well made and definitely fit for much use.  The Traveller got me through the Master Spinner programme. And that's a lot of spinning!

My first order will be quite a few things I've longed to try out, so I can better assist people when they are ordering, including an e-spinner and blending board.

Should you be Canadian and in need of Ashford products, please contact me!  I'm trying to figure out the best way to set it up so you can see what I can order for you, because as of right now I don't quite have the funds for a full inventory, but orders are simple.  And I'll make them as quick as I can!

Happily Spinning (and anxiously awaiting my first Ashford order!!)
 ~Kara~

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

On being a Master Spinner

As you may know, I'm a juried member of the Saskatchewan Craft Council.  Part of the joy of being a  member is writing self promotional blog posts for them ;) 
Please follow the link below to see my thoughts on Being a Master Spinner.



Happily Spinning,

        ~Kara~

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

July....

It was an exciting July!  It started off with a simple week of simply getting ready for the next one. followed by shipping my oldest child off to Nova Scotia for Canadian Jamboree 2017.  Let me tell you, as much as I knew he was going to be fine, I found it hard on the heart!  It was a good thing I kept myself busy at the beach with the other two.  They swam, I spun.

I also filled the week slowly pluging away at doing a small remodel on my Daughters room, one step at a time.  Wash walls, mud holes, sand, re mud the deep holes, sand again, wash again.... Shall I go on? It really is a lot of little annoying jobs to do in order to redo a room! It was a success though!  Even if it took 2 weeks.


Of course it was Tour de Fleece, so I could not do some spinning, even if it wasn't the amount of spinning I'd have loved to do.   I had picked up a section of a fleece from Eileen at Fat Ewe Farm, and  spun it up 4 different ways.  The fleece is a Karakul fleece, and as such dual coated.  I spun from the flicked locks she had prepared, carded some of them for a lopi style yarn, and separated the tog from the thel and spun them worsted and woollen as suited them.  There was also the beginning of the 8 oz of Tencel I need to spin as well, but it was one pass on the bobbin by the end the tour. Ah well. Something is better than nothing after all!


The second last weekend brought the annual Art in the Park at Grieg Lake. I had an excellent time!  I offered a drop in class, but there weren't any takers (except the small family that thought they would have gotten off the lake in time for the second one... Unfortunately there wasn't enough time left to squeeze them in...)

Speaking of drop in classes, I've been offering them every Tuesday this summer, and I'll continue into August!  So, if you're in the area between 2 and 4 on Tuesdays, please, drop in! 
As for classes in general I've got a large line up of basic spinning related classes in August.  Please check my Events tab on Facebook! It's posted publicly, so you don't need an account to see them.  If you're interested, feel free to contact me through the blog, or through my website! (which is spinheartspin.ca) 

There is not much for time left in July, summer seems to be slipping away, but hopefully August doesn't take the same pace as July.

~Happily Spinning~
           Kara

Monday, July 3, 2017

Moonlighting as a foodie blogger - Pancakes

As you may know, I'm one of those allergic people who make cooking for them a nightmare.  But, because of those allergies, I have been experimenting with different flours and combinations of flours for a good 7 years.  It has taken me that long to perfect my pancake recipe.  
Now, if you're like me when visiting blogs for recipes, you skip the long essay preamble about the recipe and just go for the recipe.  So, I'm just putting it out here, first up. Even before the (not so perfect) picture. You're welcome!



Okay, so if you don't know how to make pancakes, here's my method:  Get out a frying pan and put some oil on it, not lots, just enough to coat the surface.  Turn the heat to medium low and wait for the pan to heat up. Once the pan is hot, scoop the batter in < 1/4 cup quantities onto it.  Watch them closely for bubbles forming.  Once the bubble start to pop (even just one bubble!) flip! give them a few minutes, but check to be sure they don't burn.  take them off the heat and repeat until the batter is gone! 

Oh, also, really mash those bananas... no lumps! or you'll get gross pockets of soft hot banana....  Unless you like soft hot banana mush... Which in that case, lump away.... I use an immersion blender to really really really mush those bananas.

Top with whatever you would like! peanut butter, jam, maple syrup, cheezewhiz..... Ok.. maybe not cheezewhiz. but you get the picture, it's up to you!

Now: the glamour shot! Isn't it beautiful?


Maybe I should stick to my day job.... spin all the fibres! 

Happily spinning (and eating pancakes), 

~Kara

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Official

That's it.  It's official.  I am a Master Spinner.  I can now proudly wear that hat.  It's kind of amazing actually.

Receiving my certificate from Zach Webster.


Jan, Vanessa and I proudly showing off our fancy new certificates!
(You'll see that Jan's is way fancier, but that's because she's a keener-thats a good thing!- and had her book in before the official Olds College graduation cut off.  Mine and Vanessa's books were in by the Master Spinner program cut off that doesn't line up with the Colleges. We get the fancy diplomas during the next round of graduations) 

Legit! Too legit to quit!

Because the Olds College campus is gorgeous, and these poppies were so lovely that day in the sun.
 The beauty of being official is I now get to teach the course, and I was introduced to that step this year, by co-assisting Mary Lessman.  Mary is a wonderful woman, a font of spinning knowledge, and she has the biggest heart.  I felt blessed to be under her wing.

Level 4 class!  it was a delight assisting Mary Lessman in teaching this class. 

An evening of relaxing after a full day of assisting in Level 4

 As I may or may not have mentioned over the years of heading to Olds, I always stop in at The Fat Ewe Farm.  Eileen Wosnak has many beautiful sheep, a llama, duck and chicken and geese, and bunnies!  I picked up a gorgeous black Romney fleece and brought a friend a bunny!
I promised myself no more fleeces... but this one called to me... I actually dreamt about it... I had to go back.

Not my bunny. But he sure is cute! 


If you haven't started to follow me on Facebook, I encourage you to go over there and do that.  I've been posting live videos, and intend on continuing that practice.  The next one is going to be quite a bit longer than the first ones, as it will go over how to spin if you're broke.  No need for fancy wheels, just a stick and some wool!

Happily Spinning,
~Kara

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

It is done.

The past 7 years of my life are now neatly packed up into three binders and I couldn't be more relieved... Well, if I'm honest, I could be.  They could be marked, and I could have my transcript saying just how amazing the work was, and I could look at them in the Olds College library, and be proud.  But for now I'm relieved that my Master Spinner In Depth Study is complete and handed in for marking.  It's so incredibly freeing to have it DONE.

And since I've gotten it done, I get to play!! I had planned a dye week, and promptly ran out of room to dry all he fibre, so it turned into a dye day.  It's all very wet yet, but these are the colours I created, while in the pots.   



Fibre Week is coming up in just over 2 weeks and I'm incredibly excited to be taking a class with the incredibly talented Laurie Steffler.  This class is a 3 day class titled Breezy Silk Chiffon tunic/dress/vest.  I'll be learning to nuno felt, folks!  That's super exciting for me. I haven't managed to be successful at nuno felting, but I'm looking forward to trying it out!  I believe there is still some room in some of the workshops, but alas, not in this specific one...

I'm also really looking forward to being an assistant in the level four Master Spinner class!  I'm looking at this position as a good experience so I can better understand what it takes to teach the course, not just take it!  I'll cross my fingers and hope to be on the roster in the future as an instructor.

Well, I'd better get back to tackling the creation of more yarn, and cleaning the house!

~Kara

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Bring it on, 2017.

Another years gone by. Another year I've neglected the blog, tried again, and got caught up, and forgotten. Another year of attempts and fails and successes.  I figure if I just leave it here, it'll be right where I left it, and I can find it again easily enough... I hope for 2017 I find that flow I had in the beginning.  Where I was excited to share and didn't find it terribly repetitive.... Perhaps it's felt repetitive because at 6 years into the Master Spinner program everything feels very .... already done.... sample this, spin that, this one'a a 2 ply, that ones a cable,  knit a swatch, weave a swatch, final project. 10 yards, 10 yards, 10 yards...  Over and over again. Monotony is tiring.  And boring. And maybe it's not boring to you, dear readers, and if it's not, I'd love to know! I'd hate to get your hopes up seeing a new post only for it to be the same old same old "Here's yet another sample...."
But do you know what 2017 means to me? It means the end of the monotony! I'm nearly done the spinning and knitting for my In-depth Study that will grant me a beautiful certificate saying that I officially know far to much about yarn and fibre!  I haven't recently 'taken inventory' but at a guess, I've got 4.5/25 yarns left to spin (4+ ounces each, so I have enough for swatches) and  50/125 swatches to knit and crochet. Then all the testing and writing.  So, yeah.... There's some work to do. But come June and I walk across that stage, I'll be singing from the roof tops.  That stage will be over. And on to the next one!

So, time to buckle down, get the work done, and on to the fun stuff!  But not before a small nod to the year that was...

You know, a lot of folks had a pretty awful 2016.  Lots of divorces, lost and passed family members and serious illnesses.  Yes, the passing of so many celebrities and big world changers has been a sad note here and there.  However, as I see it, it's the inevitable.  Our Heros, Icons and Idols, are all aging. They are all hitting that precarious age where nothing is guaranteed.  I suppose I'm just a bit to logical, but don't take that to mean I don't have a heart. I feel for those families and those who have found solace in their existence and works.  And of course there are the wars.....  I'm sure I could go on.  Loss of human life, no matter the human (because we all impact other some way or another), is tragic. My love and light to those who feel impacted by such tragedies.
I have to say I've been fortunate in those regards, and I count my blessings every day.  Comparatively I've had a pretty good 2016. My family has been healthy and happy. My work has been published again.  Not once, but twice, in PLY magazine. I've made some new contacts that I hope will bring me (and them!) more successes in 2017.  Despite my news feed on Facebook, reassuring me it's been a bad year globally, I really can't complain personally.  So now it's time to get back to the yarn, and back to the new year.

Happiest New Year, I hope it's as amazing as we all hope it will be!

~Kara