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Climate change is starting to affect us in the fibre arts. We were recently notified by one of our Australian suppliers that current conditions have forced them to increase their prices.
Australia has suffered through several years of abnormally high temperatures, droughts and fires that have caused towns and farms to be abandoned, or caused farmers to change their operations. Some sheep stations, for instance, are moving out of fleece production into meat production. Consequently there is a shortage of wool and prices are rising rapidly. Freight rates are also increasing due to rising fuel costs.
As a result we've been looking at our costs to see how we might protect our customers from the full impact of these increases. So we've decided to ease the pain by providing free shipping to anywhere in Canada and the continental US on orders of $50 or more.
On a happier note, we recently bought some absolutely gorgeous alpace fleeces from Silver Cloud Alpacas, north of Kingston Ontario. This premium alpaca is wonderful for both spinning and felting. How nice it is that we can buy such quality fibres locally, without worrying too much about droughts and fires and costly postage - not to mention that doing business locally is so much easier on the environment. I'm in the middle of washing the fleeces. Next comes the blending and some dyeing, to be ready for the events in the spring.
I will be holding a number of felting workshops this year.
Occasionally I hold felting classes in my studio for small groups. These can be tailored to your specific needs. Contact me for details.
We have some new products to tell you about, including various grades and colours of silk fabric for use in laminated felting:
- Treetops Silk Georgette, 4.5 momme, 110cm (45") wide: lovely hand painted tissue silk
- Silk georgette, 8 momme, 110cm (45") wide: dyed, fuchia
- Silk chiffon, 8 momme, 110cm (45") wide: dyed, soft blue periwinkle
- Silk gauze, 4.5 momme, 110cm (45") wide: white, slightly heavier than our 3 momme gauze
Wensleydale washed locks are here. For now we are offering only the natural white or grey, but we'll soon have some hand-dyed locks available. This fleece is from a coated sheep so is very clean and lustrous, and the staple is around 15cm (6"). It is a very silky and soft fleece for a longwool. Just gorgeous for spinning straight from the lock or combing and spinning from a top. I like to use it in felting - as an embellishment, or carded and felted to get a unique lacey and curly felt.
We also have a new colour for our Treetops Merino Colour Harmonies line: Indian Ink. This is a vivid blue and black - quite stunning!
Felting Intensive with Chad Alice Hagen
In March I spent four days with Chad Alice Hagen in Asheville, North Carolina. I left Toronto's cold -18C and arrived in Ashville where it was around +15C.
What a lovely area! Asheville is in the Smoky Mountains, and is a really lovely and vibrant little town, full of restaurants, art galleries and neat shops. Chad is an amazing teacher and lots of fun too. I came home full of new ideas. Here are some examples of the resist dyed and shaped scarves I made there:
For those of you who want to pay by credit card, we now take Visa and Mastercard. Click on Orders & Payments for details.
Its been so cold I haven't got much dyeing done. I dyed some Wensleydale locks one warm day but they have mostly sold. We are expecting Teeswater soon, that is another very lustrous and curly fleece, a little finer than the Wensleydale.
Also, in the pipeline is Finn wool. This gorgeous wool is from organically raised sheep in Finland. It will be available in both white and grey batts and is super clean. It makes fabulous firm, smooth felt. Some will be washed for spinners.
We're very busy getting ready for the spring OHS Conference and Handspinning Seminar in May and June. Some of the featured blends for spinners this year will be: alpaca/merino/tencel in several colours, bamboo/tussah/merino in a beautiful denim colour (the bamboo was indigo dyed, and the tussah dyed with logwood), and several alpaca/silk blends in natural and dyed colours.
All the alpaca blends are made with Royal Baby (I love that term!) which is the finest available. These blends also felt very well, except for the bamboo blend as it is 50% bamboo.
It's been a while since we sent out a newsletter, things have been really busy and I just couldn't get around to it.
The long hot summer was perfect for outside dyeing, so felting took a back seat while I experimented with different shibori dyeing and resist shaped techniques on silk and cotton fabrics. I am now using some of those techniques on felt, which is fabulous because it results in a very textured surface that is permanent.
Several wraps that I made, using a combination of shibori dyeing and shaping, were accepted for exhibition at the Marie*Josette Studio in the Distillery District of Toronto, as part of the Nuit Blanche Art Festival in September. What a thrill!
Dreamspin goes full-time! Starting at the beginning of December I will finally be saying goodbye to nursing and will be working at the business full time, doing what I love. This is very exciting and I am really looking forward to it.
As a result, my studio will be open to visitors by appointment on most days, for people who want to pick up supplies or just look around. And in December we'll have some sales on, from 10% to 40% off various fibres. These sales are limited to studio visitors.
Finnwool Felting Batts: This gorgeous wool is from a small organic farm in Finland. This sheep is a particular variety of Finn known as the Kainu Grey and is classified as a rare breed.
Ashland Bay merino, 22 micron, multi-coloured dyed top: Cranberry, Midnight Multi and Laurel
Ashland Bay merino/silk, 50/50, and merino/silk(tussah), 80/20, tops. Both wonderful for spinning or felting
Silk Caps, silk hankies both dyed and natural. For a fast easy felted scarf, felt silk caps or hankies onto a length of prefelt - the texture is lovely
New Prefelt colours: Cumin, Lemon Grass, Silver, and Verdant.
New Treetops Colour Harmonies: colours and silks.
I am fully booked until after Christmas.
There are several workshops I am working on for groups or individuals. I can fit 6 people into my studio for scarf workshops; more for workshops requiring less space per person. Or if anyone wishes to arrange a larger group workshop, we can arrange that too.
Some workshops I am offering:
Basic felting: Experimenting with different wool fibres and how they felt. Learning the characteristics of each and what they can be used for.
Various felted scarf workshops: Nuno, silk lap and prefelt, silk hankie and prefelt, shaped resist scarves, and more, there are so many variations!
Contact me for details and costs.