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A Few Knitty Knits for Handspun

Knit me out of handspun please.

If you are in the US and like me, starting to get antsy thinking about what to knit over the Thanksgiving weekend, I’ve got some suggestions.

These are patterns not designed for handspun, but would look amazing in handspun, even some of your first handspun. They are all very straight forward to knit and can be worked on while chatting, watching tv, after a cocktail, or in a turkey coma.

 

First up is Calorimetry , it uses less than 100 yards of chunky yarn and would look fantastic in a bright variegated yarn. Look at all of the handspun versions on Ravelry! 

 

 

Next is Wolkig, a cozy ,cozy cowl. This is what I hope to be knitting over the Turkey Holiday. I have some merino/silk in dark blue that I think would look spectacular knit into this shawl. First I have to quickly spin the yarn. It’s about DK/ light worsted (5.5 stitches to the inch). Here are some handspun versions, there is a a yak/silk one, sigh.

 

 

 

 

Citron had been a favorite for spinners since it came out. There are 277 handspun Citron’s on Ravelry!

This one is perfect for all of you fine spinners out there. I’m sure you have the perfect skein already spun.

 

 

 

 

 

Lanesplitter is one I’ve always wanted to spin for, it looks fantastic in handspun. I have so many painted braids that would like to be this skirt. I only need to spin about 900 yards of heavy worsted yarn.

 

What will you be spinning and knitting over US Thanksgiving?

 

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Alternate Fiber Craft Uses for Tom Bihn Accessories

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Tom Bihn products. I have several different bags and backpacks, I use one or another Bihn bag daily. One of my favorite things is to figure out different uses for Tom Bihn accessories I have. Here’s what I’m using now:

Snake Charmer for weaving and Hansen minispinner accessories.

 

 

Snake Charmer

This bag is for taming electrical cords, but I’ve used it for many other things.

My husband uses one for his travel espresso rig. I use one in my Hansen bag for my the power cord, battery, and foot pedal for my miniSpinner. I use another one to carry my Purl and Loop little looms, one side for looms and tools and one side for yarn.

 

 

 

Keeping my yarns untangled

 

Travel Laundry Stuff Sack

This is an ingenious accessory for travel. Pack clean clothes on one side and as you use them, your dirties get put in the other end. There is a floating divider inside that keeps the clean and dirty separate.

I use this bag to keep yarn separated for knitting projects. I keep my project and current yarn(s) on one side and yarns waiting their turn on the other.

 

 

 

Knitting Tool Pouches

This one is kind of a cheater, it’s not a travel accessory. These convenient little pouches are for knitting accessories; they are great for storing interchangeable needles and cords.

Currently, I use three of them for other things. One I use for lipsticks/lip balms in my purse. One I use for keeping receipts when I travel. I used to use paper envelopes, but I kept accidentally throwing them away. One I use for weaving needles and my Puppy Snips for my small looms.

 

What types of travel things do you re-purpose for your fiber crafts?

 

 

 

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Five Tips for Getting Gift Spinning (and Knitting) Done

Gift knitting with handspun

Tomorrow is November 1. All around the fiber world people will start thinking about making December holiday gifts. Some very organized folks have already started, some even wiser folks just don’t do it. But most of us will make at least a few gifts to give.

If you are like me the closer the holidays get, the bigger my list gets. I want to shower all of the people I love with handspun and handknitted gifts. I try to be sane about it, I try not to feel bad about it when it all doesn’t get done, but I do love the rush of planning and making to a happy deadline.

Here are five tried and true tips for getting the most done in time for holiday giving.:

  1. Have a dedicated wheel. If you are spinning yarn and have more than one wheel, dedicate a wheel to your gift spinning. I leave my wheel set up for my gift yarn, with my tools, control cards and fiber right next to it. Then I can use those little bits of found time during the day spinning, instead of resetting my wheel and hunting my fiber. The yardage adds up fast! The knitting version of this is, only one project per bag and don’t share needles between projects. I also keep all of the yarn for a project in the project bag.
  2. Media bribery. I pick a show or movie I’m dying to watch and I can only watch it when I am working on my gift project. This works like magic for me with fiber deadlines. Bonus, I catch up on all of the shows that everyone is talking about.
  3. Enlist your friends. This is the best twofer for getting things done. I get together once a week with my spinning and knitting friends and show and tell. I get to hang out with my people and have dedicated time to craft. I also get that special little kick in the pants to move along on projects that comes with having to report to my pals on how I’m progressing.
  4. Simplify. I pick very simple projects that have beautiful yarns. I reevaluate my list regularly. I NEVER tell my potential giftees that they’ll be getting a holiday gift. I always have back up gifts in mind (almost always books) for when I run out of time.
  5. Read the Harlot. I read the Yarn Harlot religiously every holiday season. I love to laugh along with her as she tries to finish her mountain of knitted gifts. I also tell myself, I do not need I holiday spreadsheet like she has.

What are you making for gifts this year?

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PLY Away Registration is Saturday!

Ready for PLY Away?

PLY Away registration starts on Saturday at 8am CST! Are you ready?

Here’s a handy page that has a guide to registration, a registration cheat sheet and a downloadable schedule with class descriptions.

Here’s what I’m teaching:

Living Color: The Ultimate Braid Class –2 Day Class

Spin and Nosh: Sheep Sampler: Down Breeds – Half Day

 

Yarnitecture 2 : Shop to Shawl, Spinning for a Specific Project – Full Day Class

Pretty Maids All in a Row: Successive Color Plying – Half Day Class

 

I hope I’ll see some of you in my classes!

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On the Road: The Yarn Barn in Lawrence, Kansas

 

Yarn Barn in Lawrence, Kansas

The Yarn Barn in Lawrence, Kansas is one of the biggest and best fiber shops in the country. I might be a little biased since I lived in Lawrence for more than decade and started all of my fiber fun at the Yarn Barn. I recently went back to visit and remembered to take pictures.

The current location of the Yarn Barn used to be a bookstore and newsstand, it has a ton of floor space. They carry a huge array of tools, fiber and yarn for knitting, weaving and spinning, and have classes.

 

 

 

Need a new wheel? You can walk out with one here , no waiting. There were at least 20 wheel to try on the floor.  And they have a ton of spinning fibers, natural and dyed. If you need an autographed copy of Yarnitecture, I signed the copies they had on the shelf.

 

 

 

Weaving!

 

But the selection of weaving supplies, tools and looms is what had me drooling on this trip. Lawrence has always been a big fiber community, especially for weaving.

There are so many looms. Look at the shelves of shuttles! It was hard not to fall down and ask them to ship and giant loom to my house (I didn’t).  Though now I’m thinking about a table loom with shafts.

If you are ever near Lawrence and need a fiber fix, stop into the Yarn Barn chances are they’ll have exactly what you’re looking for, and yes, they ship.

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WEBS First Spinning Summit

Webs Spinning Summit photos by Ashley Flagg

 

WEBS, the yarn store, yes THAT yarn store, the giant holy grail of yarn shopping, had it’s first spinning retreat, Spinning Summit and I was lucky enough to teach there.

WEBS has an excellent selection of both spinning and weaving tools. Here’ a peek at the Spinning Summit:

The teachers were Amy King, Beth Smith, Abby Franquemont and me. We each taught three, 3-hour classes over two and half days. The whole Summit lasted from Friday night until 2pm on Sunday. I think it was a perfect amount of time.

The Spinning Summit had an employee photographer, Ashley Flagg, so you can actually see pictures of me teaching and doing things, thanks to Ashley.

The party started on Friday night with a book signing. Then we had a spin/knit in on Friday night. I met so many wonderful new-to-me spinners. Everyone was so excited to spin together.

Saturday was a full day of learning. Classes were full and everyone spun a ton of yarn. There was time to go out and eat, Northhampton (home of Smith College) is an amazing little town. Lots of good restaurants, and cool little shops all walking distance from WEBS.

 

 

 

 

 

WEBS Spinning Summit photos by Ashley Flagg

 

 

There was also shopping. Because, I don’t believe I mention it before, the whole Spinning Summit took place INSIDE WEBS, even after hours.

After dinner on Saturday there was a scavenger hunt at the store. I don’t think I’ve heard grown women make that much noise in a long time – it was a blast!

Sunday started with a some yoga for spinners taught by Amy Greeman, queen of education and events at WEBS.

Sunday was half of a day of classes and a whole lot of shopping. Amy and Beth were two of the biggest shoppers. They have some amazing weaving projects planned.

My shopping was modest, but sincere. I have a project for everything I bought.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My WEBS haul

 

I bought a limited edition, Autumn colorway of Frabjous Fibers’ Three Feet of Sheep. It’s dyed on 80% oatmeal BFL/20% tussah. I bought some of Sweet Georgia’s new fiber base Silk Puff (40% Merino/40%superwash Merino/20% silk).

I won’t ever stop buying commercial yarn, no matter how much I spin. Some of  West Yorkshire Spinners’ The Croft Shetland Tweed and The Fibre Co.s Arranmore Light jumped into my basket and came home with me.

If you are considering going ot one of WEBS’ retreats – do it! They are wonderfully run and a whole lot of fun, plus there is shopping…..

 

 

 

 

 

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New Pattern Alert! Kate Atherley’s The Wild One

All photos by the talented
© Caro Sheridan/splityarn

Holy cow this is an excellent pattern! Have you seen it yet? Knitty’s own Kate Atherley has designed a motorcycle jacket knit from Lopi and Ultra Alpaca. It’s called The Wild One.

I’m just going to pause for a second and think of young Marlon Brando in his white t-shirt and motorcycle jacket. Sigh. Ok, moving on.

The Wild One has a cropped length, set in sleeves and waist shaping. It’s knit in pieces, denser than Lopi usually calls for, and seamed. This gives the jacket more structure and some wind resistance. Because she’s a genius, she’s lined the bits that might touch your skin, like the collar, with Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca – cozy and soft.

Kate knit her jacket out of traditional black, but I’m thinking burnt orange or deep raspberry might be what I want. What color are you thinking of knitting your Wild One?

 

 

 

Here’s Marlon, you’re welcome.

Marlon Brando on the set of The Wild One

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It’s Spinzilla Time, Be Inspired!

Spunky Eclectic Polwarth Singles

Today is the second day of Spinzilla 2107 thousands of miles of yarn have already been spun. Are you spinning? Enthusiasm and yarn mileage are high the first couple of days, but then it might dip. You may not be feel quite as excited as at the start.

Look for inspiration in your other spinners. There are Ravelry groups for just about every team or just search Spinzilla in forums and look at all that yarn! Instatgram is a great place to look too search #spinzilla2017 or #spinzilla and look at all of the pretty pictures.

Want some words to inspire you? Head over to the the Spinzilla Blog Tour page and check out some of the posts. Starting last year Spinzilla sponsors started writing the post, but for the three years before that, spinners you know wrote posts like:

That’s a whole lot of inspirational reading for when you stop to rest your hands.

 

Good luck, but mostly, have fun spinning with your Spinzilla teams. I’m not spinning this year but I love looking at all of your yarns!

 

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The Sandwich Part of My Batts

In my latest Knittyspin column I talk about the difference between heathered and tweed batts. As usual, I got comments and questions (thank you, I love that) not about heather vs tweed, but about my mention of making a sandwich with my fiber and nubbies in my tweed batt.

It’s exactly how it sounds, I split my batt fiber in two, put down one half, add the nubbies, put the second half on top and send it through the carder.

Here’s a visual:

My fiber is yellow Corriedale from Dashing Mouse and my add-ins are  silk waste from my stash. My carder is the Strauch Finest Motorized. The silk waste will make a tweed that is streaky rather than the pin point  style of tweed that the nubbies make.

I was feeling yellow today

My sandwich, a little fiber on the bottom, a scattering of tweedy bits, a little fiber on the top.

A pretty, but not appetizing, sandwich.

The result is tweedy batt and no silk waste or nubbies left in the carder.

Streaky tweed and no silk in the carder

I’ll admit that having no add-ins stuck in the carder after I was done is the main reason that I use the sandwiching method. After doing it for many batts, I think mixes and locks-in the tweedy bits better. I find that I get less literal fall out when I spin from batts that I’ve prepared using this method. Plus it’s kinda fun! I use this method with my handcards too.

 

 

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Glaswegian Giveaway!

Monday morning is always an excellent time for a giveaway!

Glaswegian is beautiful!

 

This morning thanks to the generous folks at Berroco we’re giving away a yarn pack of Istex Plötulopi to make Amy Christoffers divine sweater Glaswegian in the  brand new Deep Fall Knitty!

Plötulopi is lighter than air and knits up at a 5-ish stitches to an inch gauge. That gauge combined with an Icelandic style makes for a lickity-split-quick knitting sweater, perfect for kicking off fall knitting.

Glaswegian is one of those perfect sweater that will never get put away all fall and winter because you’ll wear it nearly everyday.

 

Ready to enter? Just leave a comment below between now and Sunday!

 

 

 

 

Our usual giveaway rules apply. Leave a comment on this post between now and 11:59 pm eastern time, Sunday October 1, 2017. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win a a yarn pack from Berroco of Istex Plötulopi to make Glaswegian in the size of their choosing. Value of contest $47.50-$66.50 USD.

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