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Monday Morning Giveaway: Baker Street Scarf Yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts

Good Morning Mr Gaimen!

Good Morning Mr Gaiman!

Here’s a grand way to start the week. 1) Look at the photo above. 2) Enter to win the yarn to make the scarf. Sorry, the man and his marvelous brain do not come with it.

Tina, the color goddess of Blue Moon Fiber Arts, was inspired by the man and the Baker Street Scarf to create a a unique colorway called “Say Nevermore”, a sexy melange of midnight plus breaths of color to enhance the darkness.  Knitty and Blue Moon are giving away 2 skeins of “Say Nevermore” on Gaea, an organic merino yarn.

To win follow our usual rules. Leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Friday, August 7th, 2015. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win the Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarn. If you have already won a prize from us in the past year, please do give other knitters a chance. Giveaway value $47.00

Have a great week and pass the coffee!

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Yarn Crush Giveaway!

Yarn Crush - a new knitting subscription box.

Yarn Crush – a new knitting subscription box.

Yarn Crush is a new surprise-yarn-to-your-door subscription service. Joanna at Yarn Crush has given us 3 of her August subscription boxes to give away on the KnittyBlog. The box will contain at least one skein of specially selected yarn and a pattern designed to show off that yarn to it’s fullest. Here’s a sneak peek of the pattern in the August box:

Just a peek at a lovely lacy shawl.

Just a peek at a lovely lacy shawl.

Curious about Yarn Crush? Here are a few facts about the monthly subscription:

  • You’ll get one or two skeins of yarn
  • You’ll get a pattern designed especially for the monthly yarn
  • You’ll frequently get surprise extras
  • The total retail value of the your monthly box will always exceed your subscription price

If you want to try Yarn Crush, Joanna has given KnittyBlog readers a link for a 15% discount off of one month.

 

Here’s your chance for a free Yarn Crush box:

Our usual rules apply.

Leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Friday, July 31st. Three comments will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win a Yarn Crush box. If you have already won a prize from us in the past year, please do give other knitters a chance. Giveaway value $50.00

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Jillian’s Spinning: Direction

Have you noticed that commercial top has a direction? I poo-pooed the directionality of top for a long time, “It’s processed by a machine, it shouldn’t make that much difference.” But I have found several times when wrestling with a particularly feisty piece of top , if I spin from the other end, the smoother end, it is much more amenable to being spun.

It’s one of those things that I forget about until I really need it. It would be easy to brush my hand along a piece of top before I spin to check which way feels smoother, but I usually forget.

Natural BFL top, smoth direction left, roughed up right.

Natural BFL top, smooth direction left, roughed up right.

I took a few quick pictures of different tops that I’m spinning now. One after I brushed my hand along the top in the direction that smooths the fiber and one directions that discombobulates the fibers. In the natural BFL above I can see the most difference. With the natural fiber I can see the surface is more disturbed in the right photo.

When dye is added to the mix, it makes direction finding more complex. The act of dyeing, no matter how gentle a dyer is, moves the fibers around in the preparation. Look at the next two dyed fibers, it’s much harder to tell visually and by touch the smooth and rough direction of the top.

BFL/silk smooth left, rough right.

BFL/silk smooth left, rough right.

dyed bfl smoth rough

Dyed BFL, smooth left, rough right

With dyed fiber it’s harder to see the disordered fiber. The act of dyeing moves around the edge fibers a lot.  I have to look more in the middle part of the piece of top than the outside edges to see that the fiber is disturbed in the right side of both photos. When I’m checking dyed fiber, sometimes I have to close my eyes to really focus on the feel of the top to find the direction.

Dyed Merino/silk smooth left, rough right

Dyed Merino/silk smooth left, rough right

Sometimes spinning with the direction of a piece of top makes no difference and sometimes for me it can make the difference between blissful spinning and frustrated spinning.

Do you check the direction of your top before spinning?

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Jillian’s Spinning: How Do You Like to Measure WPI?

Do you wrap? Do you roll? Do you match a line?

Measuring wpi

Measuring wpi

Do you measure the same way while you are spinning  as you do when your yarn is finished? I don’t. While I’m spinning I use a Spinner’s Control Card and match my wpi again a line. It’s so quick and I’m just looking for an ish measurement. I do have to admit that the 5 year old in me loves the retractable cord it comes on. I always wanted one of those big  retractable janitor keychains when I was a kid.

When my yarn is finished I either wrap or roll onto a wpi gauge. I used to be a wrapper but now I’m a roller. Which means, I move the gauge not the yarn. I find that I am less likely to pull and stretch the yarn if I roll, especially if I’m in a hurry. Or if I have a suspicion that my yarn is the wrong wpi and I’m tying to make it work.

The gauges in the picture are; Police Box WPI Gauge from Tangerine Designs, Nancy’s Knit Knacks WPI guage – part of the WPI Kit, Spinner’s Control Card by VIP Fiber – I can’t find it online anymore.

How do you measure?

 

How to measure yarn

 

 

I did a measuring web seminar with Interweave yesterday. It will be available to buy as recording tomorrow on the Interweave site.  It’s an hour’s worth of how-tos and tips on measuring handspun yarn. If you’re new to measuring or need some reminders on just how to do it all, you might finds this useful!

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Jillian’s Spinning: Tour de Fleece and My Measuring Your Yarn Webinar

How is your Tour de Fleece coming along?

A bit of my Tour de Fleece spinning

A bit of my Tour de Fleece spinning

I haven’t spun a lot, about 8 ounces total; I’ve been working on consistency and measuring so I’m pleased with my bit of spinning. Frankly, I thought it would be easier to fit in spinning over the 4th of July weekend, but I spent more time frolicking with friends and family than spinning. And there may have been a nap or two.  I also thought I would be able to spin during the Women’s World Cup, I spun a little, but it was too exciting I spent my time cheering on Team USA. That final game was incredible! There are still many days to spin and I know I can finish at least a pound. Are you hitting your TdF goals?

 

How to measure yarn

 

Are you curious about how to measure your handspun yarn? I am doing a web seminar on just that next Monday with Interweave. All of the info is here. If it interests you and you can’t attend the webinar you can still buy an archived recording.  With the recording you won’t be able to ask me questions live, but you know I’m always around for any questions, right here on the KnittyBlog.

In the webinar I’ll talk about the whys and hows of measuring your yarn. I’ll go into things like WPI, twist angle, TPI and grist and talk about ways to adjust your spinning to get the measurements you want.

The live webinar is Monday July 13 at 1 pm EST.

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Jillian’s Spinning: Upcoming Spinning Fun

Spin like the wind!

Spin like the wind!

The Tour de Fleece! July 4th-July26th

Are you ready for the Tour? Do you know what you are going to spin? Have you joined a team or checked with the Ravelry group? I have three projects to spin for, samples for two upcoming articles and a small sweater. I know that’s a lofty goal but it’s supposed to be a stretch, right? Since I don’t watch the Tour, I have my DVR loaded up with shows I haven’t had the time to watch: Wolf Hall, Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey. I’m ready!

 

Spin to win!

Spin to win!

Spinzilla! October 5th-11th

Spinzilla is coming and Beth Smith and I are co-captaining the Storey Publishing Team this year.

Come spin with us and see just how much yarn you can crank out in a week of focused spinning.

Sign ups start September 1. You know Beth and I will have something fun up our sleeves; there will be prizes, there might be tiaras!

 

 

 

 

PLY Magazine retreat

PLY Magazine retreat

PLYaway Retreat April 21-26, 2016 Registration: 11/11/2015

Ready for an all-spinning retreat? Head for Kansas City next April! PLY Magazine is hosting it’s first retreat and it’s going to be a doozy.

Classes will be posted soon, I can’t tell you what, but I can tell you that Deb Robson, Beth Smith, Amy King, Jillian Moreno (that’s me!) and a whole lot of other great teachers will be there. Registration is in November, be sure to mark it on your calendars.

 

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Jillian’s Spinning: The Joy of Hitting My Numbers

Purple People Eater Yarn

Purple People Eater Yarn

I spun some gorgeous purple fiber into a worsted weight yarn to knit a snugly shawl. I sampled and kept notes. I paid more than my usual attention when spinning and regularly checked my yarn. Just like I teach in my classes. Guess what? I hit all of my numbers, my yarn matches my samples almost exactly. Win!

I wish I had paid such close attention when I was knitting. I’m writing the pattern and wrote several versions on the same sheet of paper. Can you guess what happened? Math. More exactly, math mistakes. The math mistakes that happen when my eye jumps from one version’s numbers to another.

Reknit with love

Reknit with love

The kind of mistakes that make a crescent shawl into an asymmetrical shawl. I had to rip out an entire 5-hour car ride’s knitting. It’s deadline knitting and couldn’t go into time out. I had to reknit right away. Two steps forward and one step back.

But I have another step forward! I plied my yarn based on this article I wrote for Knittyspin about knitting and ply twist. Since I pick when I knit, I plied my yarn less knowing it would get a little more twist in the knitting. The knitted fabric is exactly what I want.

Twist in the knitting

Twist in the knitting

Now I need to finish knitting, I have a deadline to hit!

What are you working on?

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Jillian’s Spinning: My New Batt Spinning Video!

Right before I taught at Yarn Fest this year, I taped two spinning videos for Interweave.

The first one is all about spinning batts. Personally, I love to spin batts. I love all the variations I can get in the texture of the yarn and how many tricks I can get the colors to do with striped batts.

I showed up at Interweave with a suitcase full of samples, maybe 40 different yarns, plus batts in various stages of prep and spin. I think I freaked them out a little. I didn’t end up using them all, but I couldn’t stop making them.

This video is about different ways to spin four different kinds of batts: solid, layered, striped and wild. What happens when they’re spun woolen or worsted, how to make them smooth or fluffy. For the layered and striped batts, how to get them to look tweedy or striped and how to control the length of the stripes. Wild batts confuse some spinners, I spin them a couple of ways. I either spin them so they are as wild as they can be, emphasizing all of the goodness or I spin them a little more demurely, hinting at the wildness. And of course there are lots more spinning ideas. I could have stayed in the studio with my samples and my wheel for days, but they only wanted an hour-ish long video, so I had to leave.

Here are some photos form the set:

My hands are always moving!

My hands are always moving!

The video shoot was a lot of fun, Interweave made it as stress free as possible. I even bought a new top to wear for the shoot, so I felt extra happy.

The video is called 12 (Plus!) Ways to Spin Batts

My new video!

My new video!

The download is available now and the DVD is available tomorrow. If you get it, let me know what you think! Also let me know if you like my new top.

 

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Jillian’s Spinning: A Field Trip with Historical Spinning

I went with my son and his class on their last elementary school field trip (they grow up so fast, sniff) to Greenfield Village, here in Michigan.  Greenfield Village is part of The Henry Food museum and is an open air museum, with a working farm, historic buildings like Henry Ford’s Model T workshop, Thomas Edison’s lab and  craft workshops.

It’s been years since I’ve visited Greenfield Village and I saw fiber everywhere. I held my tongue mostly and did not speechify to the 5th graders on every piece of fiber equipment I saw. But I did explain how this carder worked.

Carding Mill, this would fit nicely in my garage.

Carding Mill, this would fit nicely in my garage.

I snuck off from the kids to look at the silk reeler

Silk Reeler

Silk Reeler

In one of the farm houses we visited there was a beautiful walking wheel, I only got a shot of part of it.

Great wheel, notice the ingenious use of a corncob.

Great wheel, notice the ingenious use of a corncob.

In the same farmhouse there were baskets of naturally dyed yarns.

Thank you, I'll take that yarn.

Thank you, I’ll take that yarn.

My son tried really hard not to roll his eyes every time I ooohed and ahhhed over every single piece of fiber equipment  we came accross, but I could see it and , of course, it just made me comment more. Aren’t we supposed to embarrass our children? Especially in the name of fiber?

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Jillian’s Spinning: Keeping Track with Tags

I am newly in love with these big honking tags:

Shipping tags are my friend

Shipping tags are my new friend

They are about 4″x 2″ and manilla folder thick. I’ve seen other people use them, but never have myself until recently.  I realized I can fit a whole lot of yarn info and yarn on a single tag.

Behold:

So much information

So much information

Here’s what I have listed on it so far: Fiber info, WPI single / finished yarn, YPP, TPI for plied yarn finished/unfinished, my wheel and her settings. The yarns on the tag are singles (I plan on making this spot an inch next time), a ply back sample and two plied samples unfinished and finished.

This is just a first pass as I’m working on a project. There is so much space for so many statistics!

How do you keep track of spinning and yarn information for a project and where do you keep it?

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