This blog is not dead.

It went to sleep without warning. We needed to regroup (though we didn’t mean to regroup so abruptly, but things happen), and we have regrouped, so we will be relaunching the blog in April.

Amy and Jillian


Inspiration: Handspun Knitty Projects from First Fall 2017

I want to knit a lot more with my handspun this year so I went in search of inspiration.

I took a peek at First Fall Knitty, 2017 to see if any spinning knitters had made projects from handspun, and I found some beautiful projects.


Mostly Bosco


 Miss Bunt’s Mostly Bosco, an all handspun version of Bosco spun from Southercross Fibre’s Veternari. The colors and all over striping make a vibrarnt sweater. I’d like to wear this in the middle of a grey winter!




Slow Fade


Missbrownspeck’s Slow Fade, from Kate’s Slow Fade. It’s still a WIP, but it’s so pretty in Spunky Eclectic’s soft-striping Aquarium.






Wolking  Martina Behm’s texture cowl was popular with spinners.


Quick Silver


 1hundredprojects ‘s Quicksilver Cowl, is a Wolking made with a yak/silk single, plied with silk yarn. Can you imagine how soft and silky this cowl is?









Gila’s Wolking she’s dubbed Really Cloudy. The color of this is really cloudy, it looks like storm cloud. I can imagine that the raised texture bits are rumbles of thunder.








Annagret’s Wölkchen, was knit from yarn dyed and spun by CODfishh. Annagret was so inspired by the yarn that she added beads to make the cowl more sumptuous.






Wolking  has fascinated me since it was published, I’m going to be spinning for it and writing about it on my  personal blog. I’ll let you know when there are updates so you can check in if you are interested.

Jump into 2018 with #wemakeyarn

Mary Ann of Three Waters Farm and Knitting Sarah devised a fun way to jumpstart your spinning for 2018 – the #wemakeyarn daily photo challenge!

All you do is post a photo to social media every day using the prompts on the list. If you miss a day, you can always double (or triple) up. There are no real rules other than letting it inspire your spinning and creativity.  I know I need a little push at the beginning of the year, so I’ll be participating on Instagram (I’m @jillianmoreno).  Are you in?

Knitty supporters…here’s an update!

Hi, you lovely people.

If you’re not a Knitty Patron, you likely missed the kerfuffle over Patreon. The short version: Patreon announced they were going to start charging fees to Patrons on top of their pledges. As a result, we lost a lot of Patrons (understandably!) and quite a lot of funding. I was rather distraught (understatement).

So I looked for an alternative way for our Readers to support us, and I found one. And then Patreon said that, due to general outrage, they would not be implementing the new fees after all.

The whole thing made me realize that we had all our funding eggs in one Patreon-shaped basket, and so I went ahead with the plans for a second funding site. Meet

Based on feedback from our Patrons, this new site is simple and reward-free. It’s powered by a service called Memberful, and I’m liking it so far. It’s very easy to sign up. The payment engine is powered by Stripe (a credit-card processing service), which powers more online shops than you can imagine. is SSL secured, and Stripe is super secure. So I feel safe using the service, and asking you to use it as well.

The hard truth is that we need the level of funding we were receiving at Patreon to keep publishing. Since all this happened, we’re down about $1500 per issue (and climbing) at Patreon. It would be even more, but a whole bunch of lovely Patrons upped their pledges to help ease the financial damage. Knitty Readers, I’ll say it again, are wonderful people.

So. You want to support us (thank you!) but aren’t sure where to go. Here’s my advice: Either of the services is wonderful. If you like receiving presents, then Patreon is for you. If you don’t care about them, is leaner and simpler. However, I can only chat with folks at Patreon for now — the communication is built in.

It’s up to you. If you’d like to support us, now would be the perfect time. Having people pledge to one of the services means we have a steady income we can count on, and we need that. I’ve got to pay people for the Winter issue that we just published. Cause they did great work, as usual.


Choosing Yarns for a Woven Wrap

Deep purple, navy and PINK

No, I didn’t handspin any of these yarns. I dug into my stash and came up with yarns that are in the color wheelhouse of the recipient.

Yes, this is a gift. I am not, as you might be thinking, starting hilariously late. The person this is for will be celebrating holiday fun after the new year.

She loves wraps, shawls and scarves and wears them constantly. I’m going to weave her a wrap on my Cricket rigid heddle loom that is 10-12 inches wide and 60-70 inches long plus fringe. I haven’t done the math yet. Because for me the most important part is picking the yarns. This will be a openly woven wrap, how the warp look matters a lot. I did some quick warp wraps to see how the yarns looked side by side.

These three yarns are soft and all her colors. There is a deep purple sock yarn, a brushed wool in navy and an extremely pink mohair. I have the most of the navy brushed wool and will likely use it for weft, it’s soft and it will done down the pink a couple of degrees.

Happy as I was with my yarn selection, I was less thrilled when I started wrapping them to see how I might like the warp to play out.

Hmmm, not quite right.

It’s just not right. I know it’s not my thing color-wise, but I am just not excited by these wraps. Top left definitely needs more blue, the pink is taking over.

Double the blue in the top right helps balance the pink, especially if I’m using the blue as weft. Bottom left is a big no, the blue and purple are too close to be interesting to the giftee, and adding the pink in the bottom right makes the purple disappear.

I would like the purple better for this if I had more of it. I only have one skein, about 300 yards. In a perfect weaving world, I would double the yarn, and double the width in the warp, but I don’t have enough.

So of these four top right is the one possibility. I tossed out the purple and I went back into the stash.



Blue, pink, a little swampy variegated.


I found something quite interesting, a variegated mohair.

Some of you might remark, those are your swampy colors, not the pink, blue, purple combo of the recipient. I know, but just look at them together.

The lavender in the variegated yarn play so well with the pink and the teal with the navy. The most perfect swampy green seems to take the pink down just a little.

It was worth trying a warp wrap. I do have only one skein of the new yarn. So if I like this it will dictate a lot as far as size of the finished wrap.



Look at that perfect green.

Of course I like it!

The color run of the variegated yarn is very short, which will make the weaving look more complex than it really is, Weaving bonus! I may reduce the pink. Or after doing another stash dive to see if that is really the only skein, I may increase the variegated.

Now I need to do a little math before I warp. Or I may throw caution to the wind and just start.



I’ll be taking next week off to spend time with my family, eat too many cookies and spin, knit and weave. I hope all of you get some time off next week to do the same. I’ll see you back here just after the new year!

New Knittyspin: Cal Patch’s Crochet Crusader Cowl

Crochet Crusader!

A new issue of Knitty means new spinning fun!

Have you seen Cal Patch’s Crochet Crusader Cowl? Handspun from Into the Whirled 40/40/20 Superwash Merino/Merino/Silk and crocheted onto a sweatshirt, it’s the perfect curl up on the couch quick project.

The yarn is a chubby 9 WPI and used 240 yards, you probably have a skein close to that in your stash basket next to the couch.


You can make a sweatshirt like Cal did, upcycle one from your closet or a thrift store or put the cowl on a sweater. It makes something snuggly even more special.




My Knittyspin column this issue is about spiral plied yarn. Keep an eye on the Winter Surprise coming towards the end of January/beginning of February, there might just be a pattern using spiral plied yarn

Gifts for Spinners: Tools

This will be my last gift post for the season, my favorite things – spinning tools!

Here are a few tools I recommend that have enriched my spinning life this year.


Louet hand cards and Hipstrings Control Cards


I use my Louet cotton handcards a lot, not just to card rolags, but I test-blend colors before I start with my drum carder.

My Hipstrings control cards and gauge hang on whichever wheel I’m using. I use my WPI control cards every time I spin and my Twist Angle Gauge almost every time.




Schacht Cricket and Purl and Loop Bracelet Loom


Weaving is creeping into more and more spinners’ lives. Not ready to commit to a floor loom (yet)? A Schacht Cricket, rigid heddle loom or a Purl and Loop Bracelet loom are two ways to test the weaving waters. Weaving is a great way to use handspun yarn and for me is faster than knitting.




Akerworks Knitting Gauge and Orifice Threaders


Akerworks never stops coming out with inventive, useful and cute tools for spinning. This year’s Swatch Gauge and Flyer Threaders are no exception. The Swatch Gauge is the easiest gauge to read I’ve every used. The Flyer Threaders are just cute and the threading loop is long enough to thread a Hanson minispinner.



Cordless drill and Bobbins Up storage bobbi



A cordless drill and storage bobbins may change your spinning life. Using storage bobbins like these Bobbins Up bobbins (which are made to use in a drill) free up your regular bobbins. I know rewinding bobbins before I ply helps make my plying more consistent.





Mother of All Tags and Snyder Glider Spindle


Two tools I found on teaching trips this year, Mother of All tags are Tyvek and waterproof. They have spots to list fiber content, source, colorway, wheel/spindle, wpi, method/plies, length, weight, date, with plenty of room to write.

I finally bought a Snyder spindle ( a Glider) in Wisconsin, and his fans are right. It’s smooth and long spinning, I use it a lot.



Steamer and Handspun Mug


My steamer for sampling. Everyone in my classes love this thing! I use it when I’m teaching and making samples at home. It’s not great for clothes (it spits) but it’s great for yarn and swatches.

My handspun ceramic mug by Charan Sachar. It’s beautiful, huge and the walls are thick, so my tea keeps warm for a long time.


I hope you give and get some fabulous gifts this holiday season!


WWW: ancient yarn; brand-new Kaffe-y teapots; prettier left-leaning decreases

And you think your stash is old? Wanna see a 3000-year-old ball of yarn? Preserved in a bog in the UK, it’s quite delicate. But we want to know: what’s it made of? Wool? Linen?

One of the gorgeous teapots in the new Kaffe Fassett collection, in collaboration with The London Pottery Co.

Got the gimmes today? Maybe you want a Kaffe Fassett Teapot. Kaffe is releasing a whole line of gorgeous modern teapots* with built-in infusers, just in time for holiday gifting. (Clever chap.) My favorite is this one in the paperweight pattern. In case anyone needs a gift idea. (*Affiliate link.)

Look at this bit of cleverness: left-leaning decreases as pretty as their right-leaning counterparts! Oh, the difference this could make in a fully fashioned…whatever. So much pretty!

Gifts for Spinners: Knitting and Other Craft Books

I know a lot of you are shopping for gifts for spinning friends, making gift lists for others to shop for you, or maybe you’re like me – I buy myself a little something to help soothe the stress of all of the holiday crazy.

I want to mention a few books that are handspun friendly that aren’t spinning books. These books have patterns that work well with handspun, they enhance your handspun, or they get that other yarns exists beyond big mill produced yarns. Here are some of my favorites from this year.


Five Fabulous Field Guides

Mason Dixon Knitting Field Guides

These tiny books have patterns that are perfect for handspun. Ann and Kay are the champions of  knitting that is fun, engaging , but not too tricky. While knitting almost all of these patterns you can chat, watch tv, or have a cocktail and not drop a stitch or get lost in the pattern. The also celebrate the beauty in simplicity, the patterns in these books are the ones you’ll get the most compliments on, or be asked to knit for other people. They are the patterns for things you’ll wear or use the most. There are five, each with it’s own topic: Stripes, Fair Isle, Wild Yarns, Log Cabin, Sequences. Each book has 3-4 patterns designed by a bunch of my favorite designers.


Mittens and gloves with a variety of gauges

Knit Mitts: Hand-y Guide to Knitting Mittens and Gloves by Kate Atherley

Why would a spinner love this book? Well it’s by Knitty’s own Kate Atherley, and the patterns are great. But for those of us with baskets of handspun, the portion of the book that teaches about construction and fit, has a basic pattern for mittens and gloves and tucks in charts for using just about any gauge yarn in a range of sizes to make mittens and gloves, is gold.



Hannah gets us

Slow Knitting: A Journey from Sheep to Skein to Stitch by Hannah Thiessen

Sometimes I just want to read about fiber, yarn and knitting. Most knitting books don’t have a lot to say about the people that make yarn, where it’s from or how it’s made. This book celebrates those folks and the yarn they make. It’s a luscious read and the patterns are beautiful and worth the time it would take to spin for them.



Liz helps me not stress about my weaving

Weaver’s Guide to Swatching: How to Fail Faster and Weave Better by Liz Gipson

I am certainly better at swatching for knitting with my handspun than I am for weaving, and it always shows. Sometimes I’m straight-up disappointed most of the time, it’s just not what I want.  Liz’s book is an excellent reminder why to swatch and she teaches quick  and pain-free ways (my favorite) to make it happen. Liz is the brilliant mind behind Knitty’s weaving column, Get Warped.

Liz started an online weaving school this year, Yarnworker School of Weaving, check it out!



embellish everything

 The Geometry of Hand Sewing: A Romance in Stitches and Embroidery from Alabama Chanin and the School of Making by Natalie Chanin

No, I am not going to advocate spinning for stitching (though it is delicious to stitch with handspun), this book will make you want to embellish everything you make with your handspun. What makes this book special for handspinners is the core of the book. The stitching and embellishing comes from the work of Alabama Chanin whose kits, clothing, and classes are based on making and embellishing clothes from jersey. Yes, embroidery, incredibly creative, organic and beautiful embellishment suited to knitted and woven fabric. Get stitching.

WWW: free yarn for a good cause; This Thing of Paper; Izzy dolls are better than packing peanuts

Online shop YarnCanada is giving back…12 batches of yarn to individuals or groups who knit for good causes to a total of $2000! Want to apply? Check it out here. And in extra coolness, the gifting extends to Canadians AND Americans. That’s awesome.

Friend of Knitty, Karie Westermann, will be releasing her Kickstarter-funded knitting book, This Thing of Paper at the end of this month. Containing 11 knitting patterns inspired by books,  “This Thing of Paper is a contemplative meditation on the tension between handmade and machine-made.” That’s a pretty enticing description. To get your copy, visit Karie’s website.

Super-cool factoid: it’s he first knitting book to be included in the Gutenberg Museum’s archive of book history. Holy cow!

Photo by John Mahoney | Montreal Gazette

This is a new one to me: a group of knitters makes adorable Izzy dolls for underprivileged children overseas. They give the finished dolls to Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC), who use the woolly toys to help keep the contents of boxes of medical supplies shipped overseas protected during shipping. How smart is that?

The story is worth reading. It’s amazing how a few hours work from each knitter can make a difference bigger than just the joy of a child.