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November 2017 Club Reveal – Starling

10 years ago, my husband and I took a trip to Europe. When we were in France we visted Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy. I’d first visited this little tiny island when I was 13 and on a school trip. I loved going back and experiencing it as an adult. While we were there, the colours in this Starling caught my eye. I loved how the gold played off the cool jewel tones of emerald, royal blue and amethyst. This is the photograph that served as inspiration for this month’s club.

This month, I decided to make layered battlings. When you open up each bump, you’ll find a layer of gold, purple, green and then blue. Basic club this month was Gotland and as some of you know, Gotland is naturally a lovely mid tone grey. This undertone really serves to enhance the jewel tones I chose this month.

I forgot to photograph luxury club before I spun it… oops! But this month, it was a lovely blend of 50% Merino/50% Yak. It was a natural heathered brown and took the dye beautifully.

For basic club, I decided to strip each battling down to the original colours to spin a gradient.

The colours remained beautifully rich and I love how the yarn turned out.

For luxury club, I decided that I would spin straight from the tip of the battling, allowing the colours to jumble and mix together. I love comparing the two bases side by side and seeing how they work together.

It’s hard to believe that the year is almost over! One more club reveal for 2017 and then we’re into 2018!! I’m so excited to share December with you, it’s one of my favourites from the year!! We’ve already sat down and planned out all the different club bases for 2018 and I’m pleased to say that every month will be a different breed!

Till next time, happy spinning! ~Katrina

October 2107 Club Reveal – Baba

This month’s colourway is inspired by a photograph I took a very, very long time ago (1996 to be exact!). It was taken shortly after I finished courses in photography and was the first image I chose to enter into a member’s exhibit for a local darkroom gallery show. (Yes, this was taken on black and white film, and I printed the photograph myself in the darkroom!)

This is my Baba. She was a local farm owner in St. Albert, Alberta, where I was born. My parents first met her when they rented a plot from her and they were soon adopted as her “kids”, so when we came along, we quickly became her “grandkids.” This photograph hangs at the top of my stairs and reminds me every day that love is something that is universal and has ripple effects for generations to come.

With the image being black and white, I decided that I would take a departure from colour and celebrate “shades” this month.

Basic club was dyed on BFL, which is one of my all time favourites to spin.

With luxury being dyed on a beautiful blend of Merino and Silk.

I spun both up during Spinzilla week, so there are no bobbin shots this month!

For basic club, I spun each of the rolags in succession and then chain plyed them to keep the colours in order.

For luxury club, I again spun my rolags in succession, but then wound them into a centre pull ball to create a lovely two ply yarn.

I’m pretty pleased with this month’s club… and I can’t wait to share with you what I’ve done for November!

Till next time, Happy Spinning!
~Katrina

September Club Reveal – Crocosmia

In the reveal I did for August’s Club, I talked a little about my excitement at waiting to see what our garden held with each passing season. So when summer was finally in full bloom in our backyard that first year, I was delighted to discover we had a beautiful bunch of Crocosmia growing in one of the beds.

These beautiful red flowers are a favourite for hummingbirds and I love to watch from my kitchen as they float from flower to flower, collecting nectar.

This month, I decided to create a gradient that went from the yellow at the base of the blooms to red at the tops. Basic club was dyed on Corriedale, and luxury on BFL/Silk. The sample I spun up was basic club.

Here are my little bundles… before spinning! (obviously)

And after.

I always find gradients difficult to see in the skein… so here it is opened up.

While yellows and reds are not colours that I am usually drawn to, I’m really happy with how this turned out!

I’ll be back on track with blogging and October club will be posted on Halloween!

Until next time, Happy Spinning!
~Katrina

August Club Reveal – Magnolia

Oh my… I’m a little behind schedule! I do apologize for this. Long story short, I got really sick at the end of August and then got busy with preparations for Knit City and am finally… albeit slowly… getting caught up on all the things that got dropped.

So without further ado, here’s the post about August’s club!

When we first moved to our home almost five years ago, I was so excited. Excited to see what the garden would show us as each new season came and went. We have two beautiful Magnolia trees in our backyard. One blooms in early spring, the other, at the beginning of summer. This is one of the flowers from our summer blooming magnolia tree. It’s very fragrant and I do love to spin outside next to this tree and catch the scent as the breeze drifts through our yard.

This month, I created gradient batts for club. Basic club was 100% Targhee, while Luxury Club was our newest blend of 80% Targhee, 10% Bamboo and 10% Tussah Silk (or TBS, as we affectionately call it behind the scenes!). As it’s such a small content of bamboo, the white streaking isn’t nearly as noticeable as it is in a blend like Panda, which has a 30% bamboo content! In the photo below, basic club is on top and luxury on the bottom.

I decided that since the bases are so similar, it would be fun to spin these two batts in two different ways. I took the TBS batt and pulled it apart, so that it followed the gradient. This is what it looked like when I was done. Just one big long rope of fibre!

I then chain plyed this braid and ended up with this yarn! The heathering from the bamboo is very subtle, as is the sheen from the silk, but it still retains all the bounce of Targhee, which is so very lovely!

For the other batt, I decided to spin it across the top of the batt, working my way from one colour to the next to the next and then back again. This is definitely a more challenging way to spin a batt, as it’s rather large and can be harder to control. I then created this lovely centre pull ball and plied from this.

The result was a rather mixed up, barberpoled skein, but I really like it!

For me, it’s interesting to see these final skeins next to each other and see how the exact same colours can look so different, depending on how you spin them!

I will hopefully have September club up for you tomorrow and then back to our regular schedule of posting on the last day of the month for October! Thank you all for your patience and until next time, happy spinning! ~ Katrina

July Fibre Club Reveal – Pesuta

Growing up, one of my favourite places to visit was the Queen Charlotte Islands or as it is now called, Haida Gwaii. My mom was born on the island and grew up there. It was place we would visit to see our extended family and to enjoy the quiet beauty of the landscape. As a kid, I remember taking the long hike out to the Pesuta Shipwreck and being in awe of it. It’s a pretty amazing sight to behold as you walk along the beach to find this huge shipwreck.

This photograph was taken when Eric and I visited my grandpa back in 2007 and is one of my favourites of the wreck.

When I’m trying to figure out what colours to pull out for dyeing, I convert my images into a pixelated version of the original. This allows me to see blocks of colours, rather than the subject. For this colourway, I decided to focus on the browns, adding just a little bit of blue for interest.

This was what basic club looked like this month. It was dyed on Cheviot, which is known to make really sturdy sock yarn!

For the first time, since we started club back in February, we had a subscription to luxury club, which looked like this. It was dyed on our organic Polwarth/silk blend, which I blended with a little more silk and some silk noil. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.

For my Cheviot spin, I spun really fine singles with a lot of twist, and then chain plied them with even more twist. This was my first time spinning Cheviot and I really enjoyed it. It’s definitely a coarser wool than I typically spin, but it’s produced a really solid feeling yarn. I’m looking forward to knitting myself some socks with it.

I decided with the Cheviot that I would simply spin all of my rolags in succession, starting from the blue end each time. It was easy to keep the colours separate when I was chain plying, as there’s such a definition between the colours.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this knits up. I have about 150 yards of three ply from the 70 grams I spun, so it won’t be enough for a full length pair of socks, but I think some little anklets will be perfect!

For the luxury club, I only kept about 10 grams to spin. I’ll be the first one to admit, that I love a smooth spin, so there was a lot of letting go with this spin due to the silk noil. With this one, I decided that I would spin the rolag from one end and then make a centre pull ball and ply it back on itself. I knew this would create a really barber poled yarn, but I wanted to be able to show the contrast between a couple of different ways of spinning the rolags.

Can you see the difference between the two yarns?

I loved these colours so much, that I decided to make it one of my new hand painted braids. These were ready for ANWG back at the beginning of the month and were well received! They will be added to our Etsy shop soon 🙂

Have you spun up this month’s club yet? I would love your feedback.

Until next time, Happy Spinning!
~Katrina

June 2017 Club Reveal – Stained Glass

Last summer, we took our girls on a road trip through southern BC and into Alberta before coming home. One of the places we visited was Drumheller and we stopped at The Little Church. It was a place I’d visited as a child and I was so excited to take my girls there to see this teeny tiny creation!

One of my favourite features of the church is it’s beautiful stained glass windows and this window serves as my inspiration for this month. I loved the soft colours of bluey-greens, pinks, oranges, yellows, and purples – all with a stark rusty red running throughout.

I dyed seven different colours and then created battlings with these colours in mind. I kept the red throughout all the bumps but changed up the other two colours for every bump. There were so many different options, that it was easy to make sure there were no repeats!

I decided that I would treat each of my bumps as a combo draft, and to make it easier, I split each of the strips of colour in half and drafted from half the bump. I spun it all to one bobbin and then created a centre pull ball to ply from.

My 50 grams of club created a beautifully soft 78 yards of squishy worsted weight yarn. My youngest has already claimed it for herself!

If you’d like to join in the chatter, please join our thread over in the Wool n Spinning Ravelry group. Till next month, Happy Spinning!

Amour

Many years ago, I volunteered at Camp Goodtimes, which is a camp for kids who have a history of cancer and their families. There are no words to truly describe the magic that is camp.  At camp, the kids are truly free to be kids, away from their worries about cancer, hospitals and treatments. They can laugh, have fun and talk to other kids who understand. I volunteered at camp for four summers and LOVED every minute of it. Camp was a defining moment in my life. It changed the way I viewed the world around me and it was my yearly gratitude reminder. A reminder that life is a gift and to treat it as such each and every day. It also introduced me to so many truly inspirational people and today’s story is about one of them.

I met my beautiful friend Ann at Camp in 2001. She was just finishing up her treatment for Leukemia and was often tired, so I would sit with her while she rested or napped. It was through those quiet conversations, that our friendship started. We stayed in touch after camp via email and I loved getting updates on how she was doing. Then the cancer came back, and she was going to be in Vancouver for treatment, a long way from home, all her friends, and her sister. I was lucky enough to be in a position that I could be there for her. We went for ice cream, watched movies and just hung out. We laughed, we cried but most of all, we became really close friends. My husband, Eric and I often try to determine if Ann is our oldest daughter or our younger sister, my girls will tell you she’s their best friend, but no matter which way you slice it, she’s family.

I’ve watched Ann bravely battle cancer and put it into remission four times now. I wrote this blog post about her when treatment was just starting for the fourth time. The words I wrote back then apply now… she has an amazing strength of spirit and has somehow managed to remain positive throughout all her experiences. I’m in awe of her determination, her kindness and her thoughtfulness.

Last year, the cancer came back for the fifth time. The doctors here tried a couple of new treatments, but none succeeded in curing the cancer. In March of this year, the doctors told Ann that she was out of treatment options in Canada, but she had one last hope, to raise $700K to attend a clinical trial in Seattle. Now if there’s one thing I can tell you about Ann, it’s that she does not like to be the centre of attention and she definitely does not like to ask for help, so the decision to start a fundraiser was a challenging one. Ann’s aunt started a YouCaring page for her and we started planning fundraisers. I reached out to one of our suppliers, Ashland Bay, to find out if they had any yarns on sale, so that I could dye it as a fundraiser.  I was moved to tears when I received an email back from Jill Laski saying that they had just over 10 pounds of yarn they would like to donate.

Shortly after I had sent the email to Ashland Bay, Ann had a change in health. The cancer had spread and was now in her bone marrow. This was a good news/bad news situation. The good news being she was now qualified to attend a FUNDED clinical trial in Maryland, which meant she no longer needed to raise that huge sum of money! This was a huge relief, but I knew her family would still need some financial support, so I still wanted to go ahead with the yarn fundraiser. The obvious bad news being that the cancer had spread, so the treatment was even more urgent.

The yarn arrived back in April, but due to various other commitments, the dyeing took way longer than I’d hoped. Originally, I was going to dye all the yarn with one colourway and retire that colourway after the fundraiser was over. However, after much deliberation, I decided that it would be way more fun to have a few different colourways to choose from, so I ended up with seven!

I have 42 fabulous skeins up for sale in my Etsy shop. While some of the colours may make another appearance in the near future, this special Amour Yarn, which is a blend of 80% sw Merino, 10% cashmere and 10% nylon, will only be available until these skeins have sold! I’ve named the yarn Amour because it is French for Love. And this yarn was created because of my love for Ann.

Thank you for reading and if you’re able to adopt a skein of yarn, I would be so grateful.

With love and gratitude,

Katrina

p.s. Ann just updated her You Caring page and I’m thrilled say that the treatment appears to be working, despite the challenges Ann has faced in receiving it. She’ll still be in Maryland for a while longer, but things are looking up!

May 2017 Fibre Club Reveal – Quiet Solitude

Many years ago, Eric and I went on what we lovingly refer to as our “quasi honeymoon.” It was about 6 month after we got married and we went to England and France. Since we also tied the trip in with visiting an old friend of mine and my sister, we couldn’t really consider it very honeymoon-ish. However, we did get to spend a very lovely day in Paris for Valentines’ Day!

While on this trip, we drove through Dartmoor National Park. We stopped at this one pull out, where there were hundred of ponies gathered, most were cheekily trying to steal ice cream from the tourists! Just as we were getting back in our car, I looked across the street and there stood this lone pony. She seemed to be staring at us. I snapped a quick photo and then we were off. This photo remains one of my favourites to date and is a 30″x40″ print in our living room. “Quiet Solitude” was the inspiration for May club!

This month, I decided to try my hand at creating rolags, using hand dyed 100% Corriedale top. When I looked at the photograph, I wanted to try and capture the beauty of all the natural colours in the image and switch things up a little from all the bright colours we’ve been using so far. I love how they look all rolled up!

I knew when I was making the rolags, that they were going to be a perfect prep to practice my woolen long draw. I’m actually a little embarrassed to admit that in the three years I’ve been spinning, I’ve only attempted long draw a couple of times, and they were complete disasters. So the “perfectionist” in me simply kept going back to short forward or short backward, because I could more easily control the resulting yarn. It was comfortable. However, I’ve come to realize that if I want to grow as a spinner, I need to expand outside my comfort zone and let go of my worry about perfect, even yarn.

I decided that the simplest way to spin the rolags would be to put them all onto one bobbin. I didn’t want to chain ply the yarn, and I didn’t want a completely barber polled yarn either. So I spun half my rolags from the white to the grey and then switched to spin the other half from the grey to the white. I then wound a center pull ball using my Nostepinne.

And this was my resulting yarn before finishing. Just under 100 yards of 2 ply Aran weight yarn. I have some of the colours matching up but lots of barber polling too.

It’s far from perfect, but I’m really pleased with how it turned out! It felt good to just spin and to try something new!!

I’m still waiting for it to dry, but the finishing definitely seems to have evened it up a little! I can’t wait to play with more woolen spinning!

Till next time, Happy Spinning!
Katrina

April Club Reveal – At First Light

Shortly after I finished photography school in 1996, I traveled up to the Queen Charlotte Islands to attend my uncle’s wedding. Since I was “free” of responsibilities, I decided to extend my trip and have a longer visit with my grandparents and extended family. One evening, I was asking my grandpa about sunrise and where the best place to watch it come up would be. He looked at me and said “Well, you’d need to be up by about 4 am, as the sun’s up by about 4:30” He directed me to one of my favourite spots on the Island, which was only a 5 minute walk from their house. I left the house shortly after 4 the next morning and walked to the beach. I sat down on a log and waited, just drinking in the silence. It was so peaceful. I saw a seal pop his head out of the water and then I heard “footsteps.” It took a moment for my eyes to find them, but I was treated to a family of dear walking along the water’s edge. It was a magical moment and one I get to savour every time I visit my mom and dad’s. I gifted this canvas to my mom for her birthday one year, a little reminder of the place she called home.

© Katrina Stewart

When I was looking for colour inspiration for April, I happened to be sitting, talking to my mom and staring at this image. The beauty of the way the light slowly swept away the darkness really resonated with me, so I thought, perfect, that’s what I’ll do for April… A gradient from light to dark, focusing on the pinks and purples in the image! This is the 50 gram set of 100% BFL that I made to spin for the reveal. I love the ease of spinning BFL, I wish I’d known about it when I was first learning to spin.

© Katrina Stewart

I debated for a long time on how I would spin this yarn. Should I do a two ply and split each of the bumps into two parts, spin them in succession to two different bobbins and see how closely I could get them to match up? Should I spin them in succession to one bobbin, make a centre pull ball and create a really barberpoled, mixed up braid? Ultimately, I decided to keep it simple and spin each bump in succession and chain ply it. I’m really pleased with the results!

© Katrina Stewart

© Katrina Stewart

Since it’s so hard to see the gradient when the skein is twisted up, here it is, all laid out.

© Katrina Stewart

Have you spun up club yet? I’d love to see it! You can share your progress over in the Wool n Spinning Ravelry group or use the hashtags #craftyjaksboutique or #CraftyJaksclub on Instagram.

You can check out the options for Club on our Etsy page.

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