Wednesday, 30 April 2014

2-Ply on a Drop Spindle!

Nik and I learned to ply yarn on a drop spindle today on coffee break (and lunch break) using some very high-tech equipment ;)

The pots are actually spaced apart on the floor to help keep the yarns from tangling together, as you see them doing in the above pictures - an idea from the amazing Maggie Casey - who is even smarter and inverts them to run the yarns up through the drain holes (once on the bottom, now on the top) which provides a dual purpose as it also keeps the yarn contained underneath, rather than running amok all over the floor. 

She is a clever lady that Maggie Casey!

Nikki's lovely super soft, thick and thin 2-ply above and my more traditional spun 2-ply on my Lotus Drop Spindle. Both are spun from Nickelbee Art's gorgeous "Iris Wine" colourway!

It was super fun and I can't wait to do some more tonight!

Happy Plying!

xo nikki

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Fair Dinkum Deal!

This is the 2-ply Alpaca yarn that I finished spinning for a friend in exchange for getting to keep some of this lovely rich, warm, chestnut fleece :)

Fair dinkum deal I'd say!

xo nikki

Monday, 28 April 2014

AMAZING roving from Nickelbee Art!

I just had to share these absolutely yummy rovings with you that Nikki Marshall of Nickelbee Art Studio brought in to share with me - and I got to spin some up!!

They are divine!

I got my hands on some of the lovely Merino colour way above and it was super soft and smooth to spin up on my drop spindle - I had so much fun and the colours blended so beautifully!

If you would like to try some of these gorgeous Merino tops - Nikki will have them for sale on shortly :)

Happy Spinning!

xo nikki

Friday, 25 April 2014

Charlie - from Fleece to Yarn!

Hello everyone! I have a treat for you today!

I would like to cordially introduce you to this fabulously handsome lad named Charlie. 

He is a BFL or Bluefaced Leicester sheep with an absolutely GORGEOUS coloured fleece!

And for any of you wondering out there how exactly we get from this devilishy good-looking fellow to the soft and luscious yarn that you see in the fancy shops, well, I am here to tell you! 

Thanks to the hard work and lovely photos of my friend Ky - who knows Charlie personally :)

So the first step is to shear Charlie, or carefully cut off his lovely coat - the really good shearers can do this in one piece! Wow!

And then handwash, or scour it, to remove the dirt and lanolin - the poo bits and really matted fleece have already been skirted, or removed, by the shearer or the shepard/shepardess at this point.

Or you hope so ... but I have been the surprise victim of some poop in my wash water before as it is sneaky and can hide in a fleece unbeknownst to anyone ;P

If you find this prospect completely gross and beyond your stomach tolerance, you can always purchase a fleece that has already been washed, though it may cost a bit more money :)

After drying the fleece (usually on a screen so that air can circulate all around the fleece) we are on to the next step which is carding, or combing, the fleece ... 

This is a picture of the batt after it had been hand carded and then put through the drum carder by Ky to get a lovely preparation for the type of spinning that she wanted to do. This was a very time consuming process for her but totally worth the effort when you see the final result!

After spinning two singles, on two separate bobbins - she then plyed them together to get this stunning, soft, squishy and completely yummy yarn that you see pictured below!

And that, in a very condensed nutshell, is how we get from sheep to yarn!

Pretty cool huh?

Thanks Charlie for your lovely fleece, and for growing it each year for us fibre enthusiasts!

And thank you Ky for sharing your process with us :)

Happy fleecing everyone!

xo nikki

Nickelbee Art Studio & the Wee Hoot Pattern

The Wee Hoot pattern is now available at Nickelbee!

Here are just some of the amazing goodies also available at Nickelbee Art Studio and Supplies :) 

I love them! And I just got one of the blue drop spindles - it's perfect for travel and light enough that the kids can use them!

Of course, I had to customise mine just a little ... 

xo nikki

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Playing with Colour :)

Had some fun playing with colour on the Easter weekend ... 

With the wee ones and some chicky eggs :)

With an amazingly dyed roving from Nikki Marshall of - love these colours!

Some "Shipwreck" (Polwarth and Silk) by Sweet Georgia Yarns

And then washed a sample of some GORGEOUS local BFL fleece locks - can't wait to pick up the rest of this fleece! LOVE it!

And plop! into the dye pot with some local Merino roving ... thank you so much Kyla for prompting me to bust out the crock pot and also for sharing the day with me virtually - I always love talking and visiting with you! 

And this is the result ... 

On the drying rack/wood box by the wood stove :)

They look so lovely and tentacley that I might have to turn it into a needle-felted octopus!

Hope your world is filled with fun colours and adventures too!

xo nikki

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Some assembly required ...

Hoping to finish in time for Easter!

Lovely pattern from the amazing Julie Williams at Little Cotton Rabbits - I have been in love with her adorable little critters for ages and she just recently started selling patterns for some of them!

I was ecstatic!

Shown above, in bits and pieces, is the girl bunny with dress and the boy fox with sweater.

You can get them here:

She's also making an elephant one! I can't wait!

Happy Assembling!

xo nikki

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

RainCityKnits Scrumptious Yarn!

I finally had some of the luck 'o' the Irish when I entered a draw at Fibres West a while back and was the lucky winner of this amazing yarn from ...


They have the most FANTASTIC colours and super soft yarns!

Super Yummy!!

Below is the Apple Green Organic Merino and the One-of-a-Kind Purple Merino and Tussah Silk Blend!

Aren't they scrumptious!

My brain is a buzz of ideas on what to make with them ... and how to highlight their fabulous colour! How cool would those be as trim on a shawl for a super pop of colour!

You can find RainCityKnits on Etsy here: if you would like some of your own scrumptiously coloured yarn!

Thank you so much Krista!

Happy knitting everyone!

xo nikki

Monday, 14 April 2014

Moments ...

from the weekend that felt just like Spring was truly here ... 

And there are not many photos because we were in the yard, cleaning up and soaking up the sunshine :)

But there are a few ... 

Button Making - part two! The glazing session

Sidewalk chalk bunny with coloured rock hair decorations courtesy of the wee one :)

And finally, a tuckered old poochy that had a wonderful weekend outside with his family :)

Hello Spring! It certainly is nice to see you :)

xo nikki

Monday, 7 April 2014

Fleece Washing with Melissa!

I had another wonderfully fibre filled weekend! Yay!

I'm really loving this brief lull in between hockey season and soccer season - I'm going to get in as much as I can, while I can! LOL!

Firstly my fibre sister Melissa Nasby (of SoulFibre Studio) came over for a visit on Saturday and helped me wash fleeces. 

Now that's a true friend that will come over, roll up her sleeves and get down and dirty with washing raw fleeces with you!

This is Sunshine - a lovely sheep with an amazing amount of colours in her fleece! drying in the sun :)

But it wasn't all work and no play, of course we also visited, and spun ... 

This is Melissa's GORGEOUS hand spun on her super-cool Ashford Country wheel - a one-of-a-kind, just like her!

And I was super lucky because I got to spin up one of Melissa's batts that she brought with her (squee!) and had so much fun with it!


Melissa also taught me how to make these super cute mini-batt muffins - how cool would it be to mix and match a whole bunch of different ones together in an art yarn!!

It was an awesome day! Thank you Melissa :)

The following day I tackled a beautiful lamb fleece - this is Ambrosia drying on the wood box - she must have frolicked and gambolled about a LOT, sweet little girl, because it was rivers of dirt that I washed out of her coat.

So very nice, and incredibly important to me, that the fleeces I purchase come from happy and well-looked after sheep - and this really proves it with Ambrosia and wee Sunshine :)

Thank you Katie, a most loving and wonderful shepherdess!

And I also had a companion this day as well, though he was a tad less helpful with the chores, he was nonetheless wonderful company on those few brief moments when I could sit down with a cup of tea.

Not a bad weekend's worth of productivity ... 

And there was even time for a bonfire in the yard with the family and celebrating Baby Koala's birthday picnic :)

A weekend filled with friends, family, fun and fibre - what more could a girl ask for?

xo nikki