Limited quantities. Get it while it lasts. Sale ends November 30th. Add “Nov Special” to the Coupon code area on the Checkout page of our Online Store.
Limited quantities. Get it while it lasts. Sale ends November 30th. Add “Nov Special” to the Coupon code area on the Checkout page of our Online Store.
Chaotic Fibres is almost ready for Treadle Lightly, the ANWG 2017 conference at the University of Victoria! Come and see us on Friday, June 30th as well as Saturday and Sunday, July 1st and 2nd at the Marketplace Hall in the McKinnon Gym. Although the conference is fully booked at this time, the Marketplace is free and open to the general public!
With over 500 participants coming from all over the Pacific Northwest and beyond, the conference promises fabulous opportunities to share ideas and find inspiration for new approaches and new fun.
Conference registrants look forward to stimulating workshops, conference seminars, a fashion show, an instructors’ showcase, banquet and keynote address by Charllotte Kwon of MAIWA Handprints and the MAIWA Foundation, an organization founded to reduce poverty in rural villages by helping artisans build their craft.
It’s been a while since our last blog, but we have been busy! It’s been a rush getting ready for the season’s fibre events. We had a terrific time in Coombs at the annual 100 Mile Fleece and Fibre Festival at the end of May – as usual! We’ve been busy ordering to prepare for Treadle Lightly and have already received over 100kg of fibre including some new and exciting products that we’re excited to introduce.
The New Arrivals page of our Online Store has links to three custom fibre blends that were created exclusively for Chaotic Fibres. Sharon had the blends made based on questions and comments she’s had from fibre enthusiasts who love working with unique products. Each listing identifies it as a ‘Custom Blend’ so they’re easy to find. Our Merino (75%), Cashmere (12.5%) and Silk (12.5%) is one luscious example!
Also new and based on popular requests is our impressive collection of dyed hemp fibre. We have almost 30 colours available plus white and a natural brown. Hemp is a fine and strong fibre that has been used in a number of cultures for thousands of years.
We are expecting a shipment any day now that will include 14 colours of the popular Sari Silk Waste plus 14 colours of South American Cotton Combed Top. Look for these soon on our New Arrivals page or come and see them at Treadle Lightly!
We hope you can make it to UVic, even if it’s only to tour the 40 vendors at the Marketplace. If you miss us there, our next fibre event will be Fibrations on Sunday, August 20th at Porter Park in the Fairfield neighbourhood of Victoria.
Stinging nettles … who would think!
One of the luxuries of having a fibre business is getting to play with all kinds of fibres and blends. Our latest fascination is with Giant Himalayan Stinging Nettle fibre that will be coming to our Online Store in the next few days. Have you tried spinning or felting with Rose Bush Fibre, Hemp, Ramie or other bast fibres? You may want to try our Stinging Nettle!
According to the Center for Sustainable Fashion, Giant Himalayan Stinging Nettle from the mid range of the Himalayas in Nepal is the longest of natural fibres. The fibre is strong, fine and elastic. Sharon is looking forward to experimenting with spinning and blending this exceptional fibre. From our reading so far, it seems that it will spin and blend very nicely!
This isn’t like your backyard, pain-in-the-backside stinging nettle. Giant Himalayan Stinging Nettle grows amazingly quickly, reaching heights of three metres in a year in Nepal and India. Local farmers have been harvesting this crop for centuries as a source of fibre, food and for the plant’s many medicinal properties.
The Nepalese locals cut stalks at the base, leaving the rootstock to develop new, vigorous growth. As stewards of this vibrant ecosystem, locals know this harvesting practice will stabilize the hillsides and help prevent landslides. The nettle industry also protects the region from deforestation since these plants depend on a bit of shade for optimal growth. Local farmers harvest the crop and process the fibre sustainably without the use of pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides or other chemicals.
In other parts of the world, stinging nettle has been used traditionally for many centuries. Aboriginal groups of the Pacific Coast used nettle as food, medicine, netting lines and clothing. Even the Ancient Greeks and Druids cherished their local stinging nettle for its medicinal qualities. But nothing compares to the fine and luscious fibre our supplier has created from the incomparable Giant Himalayan Stinging Nettle. Come and see it at our next fibre festivals: Fibres West in Vancouver, 100 Mile Fleece and Fibre Festival in Coombs and the 2017 ANWG Conference at the University of Victoria!
As Victoria gleefully shakes itself off after an ample dose of winter, we are finally clearing away recent shipments and looking forward to 2017 and the next round of fibre festivals and online sales.
One of our latest items for spinners and felters is Dyed Silk Hankies. Our supplier in Italy offers Black, White and six vibrant colours, from intense Fire to regal Florence. If you haven’t seen or used silk hankies in a felting, spinning or knitting project, trust me, they’re amazing!
Another great find in our New Arrivals section in our Online Store is Cashmere Top. This short (3cm), ultrasoft fibre is 13–18 microns in diameter. It’s costly and hard to get, but we have had a number of requests for the fibre so we jumped when one of our suppliers offered it recently. Cashmere goats yield only 100 grams of this soft undercoat each year, which explains the higher cost of the luxury fibre. Famous for its warmth, Cashmere is said to be 6 – 8 times warmer than wool.
New at Chaotic Fibres for nuno felters is our White Viscose Crepe Voile. This cellulose based fabric feels similar to silk and works very well for nuno felting. Voile is a loose, open weave fabric that allows felting fibres to bind easily. DHG’s creative genius, Gaia Girard, is a well known Italian designer and felting instructor. Her Blog on the variety of fabrics for nuno felting projects, including voile is worth studying. For clear instruction on nuno felting, see Gaia’s 15 minute video . Have fun experimenting!
Come and see Chaotic Fibres at these 2017 fibre events:
Saturday, February 18th. VHWSG’s Spin In at the Saanich Fair Grounds. The vendors area is open to the public with no admission charge.
Friday and Saturday, March 17th and 18th. The 9th annual Fibres West at the Cloverdale Exhibition Grounds in Surrey. 50 vendors, great workshops and demos.
Sunday, May 28th. 100 Mile Fleece and Fibre Festival in Coombs.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 30, July 1 and 2. Treadle Lightly, ANWG’s 2017 NW Weavers’ Conference at the University of Victoria. Over 30 vendors with free admission to the Market Hall. Fashion show, exhibits, workshops and seminars.
Sunday, August 20th. Fibrations at Robert Porter Park, Victoria.
Saturday, October 21st. Cowichan Fleece and Fibre Festival, Cobble Hill.
Wishing you a wonderful Christmas season! The recent snow and cold here on Vancouver Island reminds us of our years living in climates where a real Canadian winter brought days of crystal gleaming snow before slush and banks of melting ice relieved us of our winter reveries. In the meantime, it feels more like Christmas with snow around us. We hope you have a memorable time over the busy weeks ahead!
Our second annual studio sale on November 19th and 20th was a great success. Thank you to all who ventured to our home studio for this event. This year’s door prize was won by JoAnne L. Have fun with that eclectic collection of fibres, JoAnne!
It’s time to stock up again and we are waiting for a few new items that are already sparking some interest with Chaotic customers. Have you tried using Silk Hankies? The patience required for creating these 25cm square bits of silk splendor is amazing. Silk cocoons are carefully soaked and spread on a frame then dried to become a sheet of gossamer thin silk that is ready for spinning, felting or knitting. Acid dyes take nicely if you dye them yourself, but we are about to receive seven colours, including black, for those of you who prefer to have hankies already dyed.
Also coming to our Online Store soon is luxurious Cashmere Top in both Natural Grey and Natural White. Our superfine Cashmere (13 micron) is perfect for spinning and felting. Blend it with some silk and fine merino and watch this low lustre beauty add exceptional character to your work!
Speaking of soft, another new fibre coming is viscose. We’ll be offering both Viscose Fibre, in both white and black for spinners and felters, and Viscose Crepe Voile, a 140cm wide fabric for felters. Produced from wood fibre, viscose was seen as a replacement for silk when it was first developed 100 years ago. It’s a strong but soft and light fibre.
Our next fibre event is set for Saturday, February 18th here in Victoria. This one day event, Spin In, is sponsored by the Victoria Hand Weavers and Spinners Guild (VHWSG) and will take place at the Saanich Fairgrounds. This will be our third time attending and, as in previous years, the vendors’ area is open to the public and separate from the spinning rooms. Come and see us!
We are also scheduled for Fibres West in Cloverdale on Friday, March 17th and Saturday the 18th, once again, this time with a double booth. If you’ve never attended this event, have a look at the list of classes, instructors and lectures and consider making this a highlight of your year!
We’ve got you covered for felting!
The excitement of felt::feutre and the world of felting continues to both captivate us and drive our collection of fibres to new and greater heights. Check our Online Store’s page on Felting Wool and Supplies to see which fibres we recommend for felting.
Check out these recommended fibres for your next felting projects:
Cape Merino, a South African merino that was in great demand at felt::feutre. It’s very soft
(19micron) with a very short staple that gives a solid and stable base for both wet and needle felting. We have many fabulous colours available.
If you want to dye your own, our white, carded Finnish batt is a terrific choice. This is a medium fibre at 24 to 31 microns with a longer staple length at 10 to 15cm. These are on order and expected soon. Also, our undyed Bergschaf batting has long been popular for felting. It’s a short, heavier fibre between 27 to 30 microns and popular for both needle and wet felting.
We have 29 colours Maori batts. This semi-soft fibre is popular with wet and needle felters for creating sturdy, durable items like bags and vessels. It felts quickly. Our natural grey Maori/Bergschaf in a 70/30 combination may work well for you as a base for sculptural work. This one is new for us but it comes with a very high recommendation from fibre artisans working with our Italian supplier.
If you’re looking for excellent blends to add texture and colour features to your work, our 80/20 blend of Camel/Merino and 70/30 of Merino/De-haired Yak are wonderfully soft and luxurious. And, of course, the standard bearer for softness and versatility, our 21 micron Merino carded batts are amazing as are the striking colours. Remember too that our Merino top comes in many forms and many colours and can be found on our page for Wool-Dyed. You have lots of choice!
Batts or roving? You’ll see fibres listed on our store as batts and as roving or top. Fiona Duthie experimented with batts and roving to see if one would be better for building a solid fibre base for wet felting. The difference between the two is simple. Batts are carded and dyed but not combed so the fibres run in all directions, as opposed to roving and top which are both combed after carding to align the fibres neatly in a single direction. When batting is used to create a base, there’s no need to layer with alternating directions so it can save some time. Fiona found at the end of her experiment that both worked equally well.
So, try your own experiment! Play with a batt.
What a week it was in Penticton! It was such an inspiring time having the chance to meet so many talented felt artists and see such amazing work, both in the gallery of professional works and in the wonderful pieces coming out of the many workshops.
It’s possible that the next felt::feutre will again be held in Penticton in two years, but wherever it happens it will definitely be worth being involved! Kudos to Fiona Duthie, the coordinators and volunteers who made this such a successful event.
Our thanks to the many felting workshop participants and instructors who made us feel so welcome and appreciated. Business was brisk, but we had many opportunities to chat with visiting felters from all over Canada and abroad. Sharon had a chance to study many inspiring pieces, including fabulous jackets and scarves by Jean Gauger. She even managed to make a purchase and is now the proud owner of one of Jean’s exceptional scarves!
While at felt::feutre, we discovered an innovative and another perfect use for Chaotic Fibres’ Angelina. Richard Wilby is an avid fly fisherman, owner of Forged Fly Fishing. He makes his own fishing flies, and he gave us two flies to show his use of the Angelina to create sparkle and attract fish.
The Cowichan Fleece and Fibre Festival is next on our list! This popular island event happens on Saturday, October 15th at the Cobble Hill Hall from 10am until 4pm. Come and see lots of local fibre and great products.
Sharon’s been busy ordering to restock and to add a few new items. New Felting Ball Brausers in 6 colours will be here soon after selling more than three dozen in Penticton! More of the Cape Merino that was so popular with felters at felt::feutre, needle felting pads – including some half-sized at 10cm by 15cm and 4 cm thick, some of the Merino/Tussah /Flax that created quite a buzz in Penticton – a similar buzz to the ultrasoft Merino/Alpaca/Camel/Silk that caught many an eye.
We’re also restocking prefelt, with 10 colours of Superlight Merino and more of the beautifully soft Merino/Silk 80 – 20 prefelt in Natural White and Storm. And more: Icelandic Top, Wool Nepps, the popular 19m Extra Fine Merino in a few new colours. We hope we will have some of these in time for Cowichan Fleece and Fibre! As always, if you want us to have anything specific on hand for the 15th, just email or call us. Hope to see you there.
Woe are we! Trying to fit as much fibre into a small van as possible for felt::feutre! We leave Victoria early on Monday for the drive to Penticton and will be ready to set up first thing Tuesday morning at the Shatford Centre. Wish we could take two vans or a small train!
We’ve received masses of new stock and it’s ready to offer up to the felters participating in the symposium workshops and to those who drop by just to see the vendors’ marketplace. For felting fibres, we’ve all sorts of wool, wool blends, silk fibres and others. We have lots of felting ball brausers for wet felting and needles for needle felters.
We will certainly have Merino, Bergschaf, Maori, Gotland, some great, local Cotswold, Polwarth, Corriedale and Finnish. If we can do it, we’ll also have as many of these as possible: Falkland, Icelandic, Norwegian, Jacob, Shetland, South American, Welsh, Teeswater and Wensleydale. This will be a great opportunity for felters to find new fibre to experiment with on their next projects!
Chaotic’s Online Store will be closed for the week we’ll be away. We do not want our customers to be disappointed by having to wait until our return or, even worse, until we order replacement stock after our return. But, we will have access to email if you have questions or want to place an order that we complete upon our return.
Can’t make it to Penticton? Our next fibre event will be the Cowichan Fleece and Fibre Festival in Cobble Hill on Saturday, October 15th. And, locals are always welcome to email or call us to make an appointment to visit our home studio. Hope to see you soon!
Do you have a felting project in mind but need a bit of colour? Our Extra Fine Merino Minis are perfect for needle and wet felters wanting deliciously soft fibre and a wide colour range to increase their stash. Each mini is a small, 20g nugget for only $2.25. The colours are also available in 100g for $10.00 each. Our Extra Fine Merino colours are pure and stable so felting projects come alive with this exceptional fibre.
Extra Fine Merino is spectacular! We currently stock 30 colours, ranging from sultry and mysterious Fog to the uplifting and lively Caipirinha. This fibre is rated as 19 microns so it’s as soft and silky as fresh warm custard – almost edible too! To compare, coarse wool from Devon and Massam rate as 40 – 60m and 38 – 44m respectively while the popular Corriedale rates as 25 – 31m so you can see why this Merino is described as extra fine!
Our Italian supplier has an international reputation for its sensitive stewardship and sustainable environmental practices in the dyeing and other production work it completes. Fibre industries go back a long way, over 600 years, in this small Italian city, and our supplier’s family fibre business does as well. They know what they’re doing: they’re currently dyeing about 12 billion kilograms of fibre each year. Yes, we have confidence!
We created these Merino Minis especially with Felt::Feutre in mind, as we will be featured as one of four anchor vendors at this international felting symposium in a couple of weeks. If you’re in the Penticton area, come and see us any day at the Okanagan School of the Arts from Tuesday, the 20th until late Sunday, the 25th. Our sales venue will be open in Room 205 in the Shatford Centre from 8:00am until 6pm.