Silk Yarns ready for Fibres West

We are packed to the rafters! Getting ready for Vancouver’s Fibres West in less than 2 weeks. We are still receiving some last minute shipments from Europe, preparing, packaging, pricing and loading the new products on our Online Store.

Peacock Banana Silk Yarn

Peacock Banana Silk Yarn

We have some unusual new yarns for knitters! Our new Banana Silk Yarn is luscious! Although there’s really no silk in these, if you know Banana Fibre, you will know that it looks, feels and shimmers like silk. Have a look at the iridescent qualities of Aqua or Peacock to see what I mean. There’s a reason that banana fibre has been wildly popular for over 400 years with Japanese kimono makers!

Over a dozen colours of Sari Silk Yarns

Sari Silk Yarn

We also have Sari Silk Yarn, which has many of the same qualities and hand feel as Banana Silk Yarn. This yarn is hand spun by women in smaller Indian villages after leftover silk threads are collected from sari mills. The colours are striking and unique, a result of stray threads of vibrant colour migrating into the yarn during spinning.

For amazing character and texture, our brand new Sari Silk Ribbon Yarns are quite something. The loose threads along the edges plus the varying width of the ribbon sections give this ribbon yarn great character. These are all solid colours with tinges of complementary tones. We hope these draw lots of applause at #FibresWest!

Sari Silk Ribbon Yarns

Red/Orange Sari Silk Ribbon Yarns

Blues Sari Silk Ribbon

Blues Sari Silk Ribbon Yarns

This will be our first time at Fibres West so we’ll be taking lots of wool, silk, specialty fibres – even some felting supplies like our new Bonsai Sprayers, felting pads and Merino prefelt. We are already getting lots of interest for the great variety of wools we offer from different breeds of sheep, one of the best selections we have found anywhere. Come visit us at the Cloverdale Exhibition Grounds Agriplex during the 7th annual Fibres West for #feltingsupplies, #specialtyyarns and #spinningfibres!

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Bonsai Sprayers now in stock!

Our Bonsai Sprayers have arrived!

This is a fabulous tool for felters. It draws up a great volume of water quickly and easily and distributes it perfectly for felt making. Add your soap to the water and it works like magic! So, Liz, you have to try felting. Or, as a Victorian enjoying this rather tropical winter, use it to water those flowering Bonsaied azaleas on your patio and think of our friends back east still tunneling through snowbanks to find their patios. Happy felting!

Bonsai Sprinkler

Bonsai sprinkler for felting.

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Perfect distribution of water for felting.

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Spin In 2015 Tomorrow!

Come and see our spinning and felting fibres at Spin In tomorrow!

We will be one of six vendors in the Spin In Marketplace at the Saanich Fairgrounds. Admission to the marketplace is free. Chaotic Fibres will have many of our products from our online store available so come and look. We will be bringing so many new items, like Sharon’s new Chaotic Batts, wool tops and batts from some of the over 20 kinds of wool we carry, from Blue Faced Leicester to Massam, Shetland, Finnish, Gotland, Bergschaf, Jacob and more. Wow! And silk! Pulled Sari Silk Cloud and Pulled Sari Silk Sliver, Eri Silk, Tussah Top, Mulberry Silk Strings, Carded Silk Lap and Mulberry Sliver. Then we have lots of wool blends and our specialty fibres like Rose Fibre, Baby Camel Fibre, De-Haired Yak. Sheesh!

We hope to see you at #SpinIn2015!

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Going Batty at Chaotic Fibres!

Sharon has gone batty! We have just launched a series of numbered Chaotic Batts that are wild combinations created especially to feature colour and texture with some of our best, most unique fibres.

New Chaotic Batts

New Chaotic Batts

Being spoiled for choice is one of the benefits of being an importer of fibres from around the world. Sharon cards each batt individually using swatches of things like Perendale, Blue Faced Leicester or ultra soft Merino with our new and rare Rose Fibre, Angora, Kid Mohair, Silk, Bamboo or Alpaca. Wool Nepps or Slubs along with some sparkle through the use of Angelina or Glitter add extra texture and flash. The results are spectacular: beautifully soft and lustrous batts with scintillating colours and textures that are perfect for spinners, knitters and felters. It’s so much fun when you add an element of surprise … creating with Chaos!

Sharon is excited about the opportunities she sees for adding new, creative sparks to felted pieces for those eye popping embellishments or wild, untamed character to a knitted shawl or scarf. We are looking forward to introducing these at Spin In at the Saanich Fairgrounds next week and at Fibres West in Vancouver in March!

Chaotic Fibres batts

Chaotic Fibres batts for spinning, felting and knitting.

Chaotic Collection of Batts

Chaotic Collection of Batts

Merino, silk, mohair and more!

Merino, silk, mohair and more!

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Maori Wool, an Excellent Needle Felting Choice

Mirror, mirror on the wall … which wool is the fairest of them all?

So many to choose from and such a range in the characteristics that make each one unique. No witch hunt, spells or strange potions being mixed here!

Carded Saffron Maori wool with vibrant hues for needle felting.

Saffron Maori wool for needle felting.

Consider Maori for instance. Out of their stashes of likely candidates, our needle felters find our carded Maori wool perfect for their projects. For one thing, the colour range is incredible, and it’s a strong, stable, semi-soft fibre that holds its shape very nicely, a must for intricate, three-dimensional felting. I love the Maori word for sheep, “pirikahu” which also means frizzy hair to the Maori, in their testament to the qualities that make wool a perfect fibre for felting. One comment we loved hearing was that Maori almost felted itself, making the whole process so much more predictable and easy.

Our Maori comes to us from Italy’s famous Tuscany region, from a family enterprise that prides itself on superb quality fibre with spectacular colours produced in an environmentally sustainable way. Everything about the family and their long history in the textile business reveals their commitment, from choosing only fibres from ethically raised farms, to using dyes that are sensitive to the environment and even to restoring their centuries old building to green standards. Their base is a small, medieval, walled town where textiles have been the centre of their economy going back to the Etruscans and with the earliest settlement going back to the Stone Age. As Canadians, it’s a real shift in our thinking to imagine being part of a local industry with more than a thousand years of history! But, it’s the connections to their ancestors and the long-standing reputation of their community that makes their products exceptional.

Have you tried needle or dry felting with Maori? Have a look at the vibrant colours like mint, fire or cyclamen. We’re positive you will be amazed at the difference this Kiwi fibre makes. Order from us ONLINE for a quick and easy satisfaction guaranteed delivery.

Come out to see us at Fibres West in Vancouver on March 13, 14th or locally at Victoria Handweavers and Spinners Guild’s Spin In 2015 on February 21, 2015.

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Fibres West 2015 in Vancouver, BC

Fibres West is only a few weeks away and we’re busy collecting and preparing a great mass of fibre for the two day festival and trade show. The 7th annual fibre event is being held at the Cloverdale Exhibition’s Agriplex building on March 13th and 14th.

Spinners, knitters, feltmakers, weavers and a whole assortment of other fibre related enthusiasts will have a host of workshops to choose from, vendors, like ourselves, to help stock up their stash of fibre and an entire galaxy of fresh ideas to kickstart their 2015 creative adventures.

Great selections of wool blends and batts, terrific range of silk and some fascinating bits like slubbs, noil, hankies and throwster, Yak, alpaca, Dorset Horn and more! Hope to see you there!

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Smarming Silk

Oh, the thrill of the chase, the exhilaration of finding something that shifts connections between man and nature. The more I read about silk, the greater my appreciation of man’s drive to create beauty and of nature’s generosity in providing it.

Over the past couple of days I have been reading about silk, about its history over 5000 years, about the industries built around it while Sharon has been cataloguing and processing silk we received from our supplier in India. Love the story … here’s some trivia:

  • Bombyx Mori, the silkworm responsible for Mulberry Silk feeds exclusively on leaves of the mulberry tree and is, after centuries of being bred only indoors on silk production farms, no longer found in the wild. The Bombyx Mori larvae are completely dependent on humans. They cannot see nor can they fly. Ravenous mulberry silk larvae must be fed by their human keepers continuously every 30 minutes, 24 hours each day as they grow and as they build their cocoons.
  • Within 6 weeks, a silkworm larvae increases its mass 10 000 times. Good thing they do not live a long time!
  • Silkworms can produce 15 metres of silk in one minute.
  • One half kilogram of silk uses 2000 – 3000 silk cocoons, with 1600 km of silk filament. This is only enough silk to create one kimono.
  • For centuries, silk was reserved for the exclusive use by Chinese emperors.  Any attempt to smuggle or divulge the secrets of silk was punishable by death.
  • Legends abound to explain the spread of silk’s secrets to other lands. One tells of a Chinese princess smuggling cocoons in her elaborate hairdo as she fled China with a foreign prince she had married. Another tells of a couple of monks who hid cocoons in hollow walking staffs to take to Byzantine Emperor Justinian 1500 years ago.See more fascinating trivia about silk on our website.
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Chaotic Pazzo Collection

Sharon just made up a couple of skeins for her Pazzo Collection Yarn to take to a Metchosin knitters group on Tuesday. Pazzo is Italian for crazy! And these wild skeins are crazy indeed. The inspiration came from Saturday’s visit to St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Duncan for the Tzouhalem Spinners and Weavers Guild annual Distaff Day where Sharon found she’d piqued a lot of interest and enthusiasm in playful, wonky yarns with the spinners.

Many fibre yarn

Yarn with hand spun wool, silk, alpaca, mohair from Chaotic Fibres.

 

This yarn is a blend of wool, hand spun wool, alpaca, mohair, hand dyed silk ribbon and silk yarn, angora and nylon. The skeins are made up of the various yarn sections tied together by hand with colours, sizes and textures alternating to give a truly chaotic and unique yarn. It’s perfect for creating a stunning, freeform knitted scarf, vest, shawl, cowl or whatever wild piece you can imagine.

 

 

Skein of yarn with many fibres hand tied.

Hand spun wool, silk, alpaca for knitters.

Icicle Beets from Pazzo Collection

Icicle Beets from Pazzo Collection

Icicle Beets, a crazy yarn with many, many fibres.

Icicle Beets, a crazy yarn with many, many fibres.

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Farm to Fleece. Getting Fleeced in Metchosin!

We braved the damp chill of the early morning to head to Parry Bay Farm in Metchosin at 7am this morning to choose fleece. About 100 of John and Lorraine’s sheep were being sheared today, just ahead of lambing season. Peter is the local shearer, and he does an amazing job both with handling the sheep and with producing a perfect fleece. Lorraine posted a quick video of Peter shearing on their Parry Bay Farm Facebook page.

Fleece from Vancouver Island for spinning and felting.

Peter shearing sheep at Parry Bay Farm.

Sharon ended up with 6 beautiful fleece, three white (or will be white once they’re cleaned) and three dark with colours ranging from grey to brown and black. These will all now be washed, picked and readied for carding, then on to a new life as Vancouver Island yarns or felted projects.

January seems like an unusual month to shear sheep, but John and Lorraine have quite a few pregnant ewes who will be producing lambs in the next few weeks. If the mom-ewes are left with full coats, they tend to stay out in the weather, unbothered by the cold or drizzle. By shearing them ahead of the birthing, the ewes will seek the shelter of the barn while their lambs are small. Brilliant farm psychology in play!

Sheep shearing on Vancouver Island

Day-old twins at Parry Bay Farm.

As we drove along the driveway we had a chance to get close to a pair of day-old twins with their mother. John and Lorraine have had lots of sets of twins over their 30 odd years of raising sheep, as well as many triplets, quads, quints and even a sextuplet! They truly care for their animals and it shows in the quality of the fleece. Have a look at their Facebook page for photos of Bentley, a sweet little guy with legs bent from his time in a crowded womb!

Pregnant ewe ready for lambing.

Parry Bay Farm in Metchosin outside Victoria on Southern Vancouver Island.

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Parry Bay’s assortment of sheep from Finns to Dorset and many cross breeds.

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Starting 2015 with my favourite fibre!

Our best wishes to you and your loved ones for 2015!

Have I said I love working with Pulled Sari Silk?! It truly is my favourite fibre for spinning and felting at the moment. Our shipment from Europe the other day included more fabulous colours so we can now offer 21 terrific selections from Maize to Jasper and a luscious Azalea. Trust me … try carding some Pulled Sari Silk with Merino or any other fibre.

The other day, I carded some black Alpaca and white Cotswold to make a streaky grey then carded in some of our Hot Pink Pulled Sari Silk as a vibrant highlight. Here’s a photo of the hand spun yarn I made from the carding.

Pulled sari silk in yarn and felting

Pulled Sari Silk in hand spun with black Alpaca and white Cotswold.

The Pulled Sari Silk gives a nice visual punch when even a small amount is used in this way. It can also be spun on its own for a rustic but amazingly ‘silky’ yarn. Felters will love playing with this fibre in wet, needle and Nuno felting or as spectacular embellishments for other projects. It’s the shimmering qualities of silk and the softness of the fibre that creates magic. The shimmering effect is unique to silk and is due to the prism-like structure of the fibre which bounces back refracted colours with some variation to add to the luxurious appearance.

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