Secret Wool Society & BEX Vintage

A couple of months ago I was approached by BEX Vintage to consign some of my weavings. I tried to keep it cool during the conversation and do my whole “Casual Megan” thing, but it was pretty difficult. Since I discovered BEX Vintage, I’ve just adored everything they do. Their eye for style is so darn good. BEX is the go-to for all things vintage mid-century modern in Calgary. So to even be considered by BEX was flattering. I was excited, to say the least.

So after the insane Christmas season, I got weaving. Here’s what I came up with for BEX:


The response so far has been so positive, which is great. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending how you look at it), there are only a couple left at BEX. But, I will be working on a new batch over the next several weeks and I’ll be sharing here as well.

I cannot express how lovely the art community is here in Calgary. So supportive and encouraging!

BEX Vintage can be found at and more of my work can be found on my Etsy shop.



My intentions for 2016


Last year I wrote a post about all my big 2015 goals. I’ll give you a recap of those goals in short form and then I’ll talk about where I failed:

  • Finish knitting my sweater and then take on a more difficult knitting project.
  • Learn how to mount insects.
  • Carve my own wooden spoon.
  • Be more active in our Mycological Society.
  • Be more diligent about saving money.
  • Try more new recipes.
  • Continue with my blog.

In all honesty, I did kind of horribly! That sweater is half finished and I haven’t touched it in…8 months-ish? I see it every day looking so sad and I feel guilty. The insects and the wooden spoon are still things I want to do – I have not lost interest in those ideas, I just didn’t get to them last year! We did get out with the Mycological Society a couple of times, but not nearly as much as we’d wanted.  Saving money? Ha! I decided to start a second handmade business, so saving money didn’t work out so well. Cooking? Does trying new flavors of frozen pizzas count? And the blog? Well, you know exactly how that went.

So I failed with all of my goals. But I’m not too worried about it – in all honesty, I focused my time on learning weaving, started Secret Wool Society (which included participating in a couple of handmade markets), and working on other knitting projects (socks, socks, socks!). I don’t feel like I failed in 2015, I just shifted my focus. I will continue to want to learn insect mounting and spoon carving, and I will continue to go out with the Mycological Society when I can.

What do I want for 2016? Mostly the same things, to be honest, but there are a few things in particular that stand out in my mind:

  • Continue participating in stitch ‘n bitches. In 2015 I began participating in some various knitting/crocheting/embroidering/general crafting circles and they have been really good for me. As an introvert, I’m much more comfortable at home in my stretchy clothes, covered in blankets, tea in hand, some British crime series on the TV, and cats by my side. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy the company of others occasionally, it was just finding the right fit for my social needs – crafting friends seem to fit.
  • Continue focusing on my handmade business. The more I work at it, the more successful it is (duh), but I also really enjoy doing it. It can be stressful at times, but mostly good stress. I want to apply to a few handmade markets as well, but mostly I want to expand my weaving skills in to fabrics (this requires a new loom, which I have already started a fund for) – I’m very excited about this goal.
  • Learn a new craft. I’ve already signed up for a ceramics course and I am very excited about it. But crochet is also high on the list – at least the basics. And I’d love to learn tatting. But I don’t want to set unrealistic goals for myself, so for now, just ceramics.
  • Let’s try that saving money goal again. This basically just means paying off debts (car, house, credit cards), but also spending less on things that I don’t really need (like buying lunch during the week, cutting back on magazine subscriptions that I don’t really read, using up yarn in my stash instead of buying new, etc).

Aside from that, I’m just going to keep doing the things that I enjoy – tending to my garden, watching my British crime stories, hanging out with my kitties, cooking, and doing lots of knitting! I think the theme for 2016 is keep it within reason!

Custom Woolen Mills

In December, my husband and I made a trip out to Custom Woolen Mills located about an hours drive north east of Calgary. I’d been wanting to visit the mill ever since I heard about it a couple of years ago, but just didn’t make the trip until recently. And I totally regret not going until now!

Wool mills in Canada seem to be pretty few and far between, especially mills that do custom processing. I purchase a lot of wool yarn from Custom Woolen Mills for my weaving (I also use a lot of Briggs and Little, which is another custom Canadian wool mill), so it was pretty interesting to see how the wool is processed.

The mill is a family-run business that got started from a love of weaving and fibre arts – which I just love. It was totally inspiring to see as I can imagine myself doing something very similar (although maybe not to the same scale) – I’m thinking a few sheep and a micro-mill.

Custom Woolen does not have their own sheep, but instead they purchase wool from sheep producers in mostly Alberta and BC, that they process and sell in their physical shop and online. The remainder of the business comes from sheep producers who would like to have their wool processed and sent back to them (which is where “custom” comes in to play). I was astonished by the massive bales of sheep’s wool that they had waiting to be processed – the photo below shows the outdoor storage area for the unprocessed bales sorted by sheep breed. Inside the mill they also had bags and bags and bags of unprocessed custom orders.


Custom Woolen uses old machines. Like, really, really old. Some from the 1800’s. It seemed like the majority of their machinery was newer (early 1900’s), but almost all pre-war. They describe their machinery as turn-of-the-century, industrial revolution. They ran all but one of their machines for us to see, with the exception of the gigantic carding machine because it wasn’t the kind of thing you could turn on and off for a short demonstration. Parts for these old machines are no longer manufactured and are quite difficult to come by, so most of the repairs are done using whatever parts they can find on the farm from other machinery.


I think one of my favorite things was seeing all the wooden bobbins filled with cream wool, as it is my weaving material of choice. And also, the sock knitting machine, which was just unbelievable. I’ll still spend weeks knitting a pair of socks by hand, but it was pretty amazing to find out that these machines can knit a pair of socks in about 6 minutes (about 8 minutes if you include serging the toe afterwards).


So after getting the mill tour, we ventured in to the adorable little wool shop right next door, which was just too cute. They sell their own yarn and roving, their machine knit socks, and a ton of other wool things – some things knitted by others using their wool for sale, like slippers, sweaters, hats, mitts, and so on. I purchased a number of gifts and some small naturally dyed skeins of wool for weaving with (I couldn’t resist).

My guess is that I will make more trips to the mill in the future – it was just so lovely and reminded me of all the amazing work that goes in to my fibres before they even get to me. Plus, anyone who knows me knows that I love all things old.

I was not compensated for this post in any way, shape, or form – I am just a lover of all things fibre and a supporter of small local businesses. Find out more information about Custom Woolen Mills on their website.

Secret Wool Society

If you’re a returning reader, you may have noticed a few little changes around the site. First thing, the name. Originally I started this blog as a place to write about gardening. But as the first year went on, I realized that I wanted to share other things too. Cooking, baking, crafting, knitting, home projects, dumpster dive finds, and so on. So after a bit of thought, I figured it was time to retire the Carrots & Raspberries name.

So why couldn’t I make a year-round garden blog work? Truthfully, I live in Alberta, Canada where winter exists for basically 8 months of the year. Sure, I do indoor gardening, but how many times does one want to see the same cactus? I still love gardening and I will still share my garden during the seasonally appropriate times, but an exclusive gardening blog didn’t work for me.

So what is this site going to look like in the future? Well, hopefully I’ll post more than once in a blue moon. And when I do post, I want to ensure my posts are thoughtful and enjoyable to read. So expect to see a lot of the same things you have seen in the past – food adventures, decorating, knitting, weaving, sewing, cats, and of course gardening!

So why Secret Wool Society? Well, it is the business that I started this past year and I honestly love it. I love the name and the vision and I want to keep focusing on that. It makes sense to bring the business name and the blog together. I’m not saying that this blog will turn into all business posts – it won’t. It will continue to have a little bit thrown in, but only because I am giddy about the things that I make and I want to share them – not just because I want you to buy them. I’ve never viewed my blog as a business and I probably never will, it’s just not my jam.

So with all of that said, RIP Carrots & Raspberries! Secret Wool Society is the new sheriff in town.


TRUCK Contemporary Art In Calgary Holiday Market

I can’t believe November is almost over. I pretty much blinked and missed it. And part of that was getting ready for the Truck holiday market!

The market is being held at the TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary gallery in Sunalta (2009-10th Ave SW) on Saturday, November 28th from 10AM-5PM.

There will be many talented local artists there, as well as the Alberta Printmakers, and a used art book sale. I really think this is THE holiday market to be at – so many wonderful and unique vendors!

I’ll have a few new goodies there, including these handmade kitties made from cotton and wool, cotton canvas & leather zipper pouches, and lots of wool wall weavings (some embroidered!). I hope to see you there!