Thursday, January 29, 2015

Learn to Spin on February 22nd!

It's been a long time since I offered a spinning fibre friends in our community are hosting one.  Here's the info for Winnipeg locals...I can't wait to meet you!:

Norwood Naughty Knitters, Cloverleaf Art & Fibre and Joanne Seiff present a class:

Learn to Spin!  

Taught by Joanne Seiff*
Handspinning with a spindle is an ancient craft that is still important even today.  Everyone in a household, including children as young as four, used to help spin yarn that clothed the family and kept them warm!  Join Joanne and learn a bit about wool and learn to use a handspindle to make your own yarn.  When you leave this class, you’ll own a spindle, some extra wool, and you’ll be able to practice spinning at home.
Note: This class is all you’ll need to begin spinning.  It’s also a great introduction to the skills you’ll need if you decide to learn to spin on a spinning wheel.
When: February 22nd from 1:30-4:30 pm     
Where:  Norwood Community Centre
87 Walmer St, Winnipeg, MB
Cost: $60
This includes: a $30 materials fee for a beginner’s spindle, wool, other materials & a $30 class fee per person


Spaces are Limited! Register via Paypal (click that button) to reserve your spot!

Visit for registration information, email or comment on this blog post if you have questions.

Learn to spin in a friendly, hands-on environment!

*About the Instructor:

Joanne Seiff is a co-organizer of the Manitoba Fibre Festival and the author of Fiber Gathering, a book about fiber festivals, and Knit Green: 20 Projects and Ideas for Sustainability.  She’s been spinning for over 30 years-- and knitting longer than that!  Her writing has appeared in Spin-Off Magazine.  Her handspun yarn and fiber art has been sold in galleries and won awards at state fairs and in art competitions.  She teaches throughout North America at sheep shows, fiber festivals, and yarn shops. 

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Why we're lucky

Winnipeg is under a boil water advisory. 

I wrote Boil-water advisory shows how Winnipeggers are fortunate this morning...and it's already online at the CBC.  Wow!  Fast--like how fast we had to start boiling water last night. 

Let's hope kids in Winnipeg will be back to blowing swimming pool bubbles in their bathwater soon--and that kids everywhere else get access to clean water, too.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

what I've been up to...

The last few days have been a whirlwind.  The professor has a very busy term, teaching two upper level classes, so he needed to do work on the weekend.  Didi (my mom) came from the US to visit and play with twins.  One of the twins has a whopper of a cold, which means it is likely only a matter of time until the second one gets it, or the grown-ups get it.  Oh, and nobody ever sleeps through the night, have I said that before?! :)

Meanwhile, my essay, Building Jewish Identity -- for preschoolers, came out.  Suddenly, I had people I did not know (at preschool pick up, of course! where else do I go?) telling me that they were reading my work.  This was a surprise.  To be honest...a lot of the time, I write something, and I never hear a thing afterwards!  Sometimes there are negative comments, but this was totally different.  It was positive. 

Then, Maclean's magazine published a truly game-changing piece about racism in Winnipeg.  The author of that article quoted me, based on this essay I wrote for the CBC back in November.  More than anything, I am so glad that people "heard" what was being said in that important article--and I see lots of discussion about racism in the media here, in emails people send, --and who knows, maybe out on the street.  (I haven't been out much, what with the twin preschoolers, the cold virus, the lack of sleep, etc.)

The most interesting thing about all this is that I haven't been especially worried or afraid.  Back when we lived in Kentucky, if I wrote a piece with anything political, controversial, or religious in it...I often heard about it. I received hate mail, or weird phone calls.  It was really disconcerting and scary sometimes.  It did not stop me from writing or wanting to make positive change, but it did make me wonder if it was safe, if it was worth it, and whether I should keep writing. Who knows, maybe I am just too busy to worry here, but luckily, lately, the positive feedback has outweighed anything else.

Recently, I've felt like it is worth it to keep doing this writing thing.  At the same time, I've been working on a new knitting design.  This has been fortunate, because when somebody wakes me up every 2-3 hours, I find it much harder to formulate any kind of argument or point...hence the delay in posting here...but knit?  heck yeah.  I can still knit.

Even if I didn't design, this always has benefits.  People in Winnipeg will always need woollies. :)  

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

childcare in Manitoba

My CBC opinion piece on childcare in Manitoba came out yesterday evening.  Here's the link:
Manitobans want more child-care and we want it now

This time, I love the title. :)

One of my goals is to try to make a positive difference in the world, and of course, that can feel daunting.  For many years, I taught...religious school, adult ed., high school, community college, even grad. school seminars.  Recently, while I've been corralling twins, I haven't had much of an opportunity for teaching, although I occasionally manage to offer a fiber arts class.   When I did teach, I felt that helping students, one person at a time, was really meaningful.  I struggle sometimes to find that same meaning when I am exclusively writing and designing...sometimes the topics aren't life-changing--but occasionally, things work out.

It's been great to get a chance every now and then to comment on something that I hope might affect change.  I sometimes write on religious issues. At times, much of my work is in the knitwear design/hand spinning world. Yet, it has been really exciting lately to have these pieces on the CBC online.  Many times, I don't get much response from what I've written, but at least it is a soapbox to describe what I hear from other parents of young children, new moms, etc.  I love that part of what I do.

I'm reposting the links here so that if you're interested, you can be part of the conversation.
Thanks for joining in!

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

New Article & Boxing Day Sale!

Here's my latest article on the Manitoba CBC website:
Gifting Experiences--Not Things

Note: That's the title I gave the article when I submitted it...but while the article itself is largely what I wrote, editors usually choose the headlines.

My article talks about making things for people, volunteering and sharing experiences with those you love instead of buying lots of wide screen TVs.  In terms of experiences, I want to enable people to make things, of course! Until December 31st at midnight (EST), my knitting patterns on Ravelry are on sale.

20% off all my patterns with the coupon code:

Since my patterns are in "cost of a cup of coffee" range anyway, I think that counts as purchasing something towards a positive knitting experience.  I did start the sale itself on Boxing Day, but due to the winter break demands of preschooler twins (one with the sniffles), I've been delayed in posting here.  If you'd like up-to-the-moment info on Ravelry sales, please consider joining my Rav group. It would be wonderful to see you there...and if the group were a bit more talkative!

I'd also like to wish everybody who reads this a warm, happy and healthy 2015.   Wishing you all good things in the year to come.

Take good care,

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Distal: again?!

 The temperature dropped.
The sun sparkled off the snow.
I raced outside to take better photos of my handspun shawl...

 About 14 photos later, my camera stopped working.

It was too cold!

(my hands, without mitts, got a little cracked, too.)

So here it is, about -14C (9F), warmed up from -21C this morning.
 Look---there I am, shooting the photo!

Happy Hanukah!
Stay warm. :)

PS: Last night was the first night of Hanukah.  Not only did our twins sing the blessings (first time!) but they sang two songs that they learned at school, too.  It was great!  Almost as great as the wooden train set they got as a present...but not quite...

PPS: And the takeout fish & chips (fried in oil) was pretty good, too.  That was Mommy's gift!

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Distal #2 and another article

 Here's my most recent CBC opinion piece...this one is positive, for a change.  (feedback seems to indicate that while readers want positive pieces, editors don't usually want to publish them!) 
Ode to Winnipeg Tradespeople

Also, here's my second crack at Distal, my newest pattern.  This is my handspun yarn, a 2 ply Harlequin and longwool.  The fiber and yarn are at least 15 years old, I think.  It's been marinating in stash a long time! The pattern is on sale for 20% off until midnight tonight on Ravelry, as well.  The photos are terrible because we had a fog advisory all weekend.  When you can't see the tops of any of the high-rise buildings, it does not seem like a good time for a photo shoot, so I stayed inside. The yarn is a rich, textured red and someday maybe we'll catch a better shot of it.

I'm also almost afraid to say this...but we're all virus-free at the moment and I've almost stopped coughing from the last one.  This has resulted in several nights of reasonable sleep (only one twin wake up last night!).  It seems too good to be true.  On that wholly good note, I'll leave it before things get out of hand.  It's only a matter of time before the luck runs out.  be well!  Stay warm! 

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