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Sweet Georgia Starts a Color School and My Favorite Storage Bobbin Winder

Sweet Georgia fibre, colorway Tapestry. Photo by Sweet Georgia Yarns

Felicia Lo of Sweet Georgia Yarns and author of the new and wonderful book Dyeing to Spin and Knit is realizing her dream of starting an online School of Sweet Georgia.

She’s been simmering this idea since the mid 2000’s and just yesterday released it to the world. She’ll have classes in dyeing, knitting, spinning and weaving with color. It’s really exciting,

I don’t know many fiber artists that know as much about color and how it behaves with fiber than Felicia! She has a Patreon campaign to help her school get off of the ground, I’ve backed her and am looking forward to the first day school is in session.

 

 

My favorite bobbin winder

My favorite bobbin winder is a drill and a chopstick. I am the laziest spinner in all the land and using a cordless drill to wind storage bobbins hits my sweet spot. I usually use plastic weaving bobbins or cardboard storage bobbins (I love these because I can write on them). I use an inexpensive chopstick in my drill in place of a bit or a dowel. Since chopsticks increase in diameter the storage bobbins pressure fit on them, quick and easy.

 

How do you wind storage bobbins?

 

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Dover Natural Dye Book Giveaway

Spring is springing where I am in North America and everyone seems to be planting a garden. The warming weather is also a perfect time to try natural dyeing. With excellent timing, Dover Publications has given us two classic natural dyeing books for a giveaway.

Dover Publications natural dye giveaway!

A Weaver’s Garden and Lichen Dyes have been around for a bit, but they both have excellent natural dye information.

A Weaver’s Garden: Growing Plants for Natural Dyes and Fibers
by Rita Buchanan

An excellent book originally published in 1987 by Interweave and saved from out-of-print status by Dover.

It’s a reprint; there is no new material. If you don’t know about this book, give it a look. There is more than dyeing here. Almost half of the book is devoted to knowing and growing plants for dyeing. There are also chapters on plants to spin, plants for sachets (to deter moths), soap plants and plants to make textile tools.

It is book full of useful knowledge and a book utterly unique in the textile world.

Lichen Dyes:The New Source Book
Karen Casselman

This book has great charts of the colors particular lichens will dye, and dye recipes. It includes an international history of lichen dyeing, and methods including solar dyeing. The book concludes with an important chapter on the ethics of gathering and using lichens. This book was originally published in 1996 and revised in 2001 with 40% updated material.

Interested in starting a dyeing garden or dyeing with lichens? Our usual giveaway rules apply. Leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Friday May 12, 2017. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win a copy of A Weaver’s Garden and Lichen Dyes .  Giveaway value $22.90.

 

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A Tiny Peek at The Spinning Box

Even the outside of the Spinning Box is happy!

I’ve been curious to see what’s inside The Spinning Box and Mary was kind enough to send me one. The Spinning Box is a subscription for spinning fiber samples and other goodies. You can buy one or subscribe for as many months as you like.

I’m just going to show you a quick peek for today. I’ll be going over what’s inside in more detail in the next few weeks. I really thought I could quickly show it all and that would be that, except for the spinning, but I was so happily surprised by a couple of things with this box. The quality of the fiber samples, they are really excellent, beautifully prepared and dyed samples. The size of the samples, these are very generous samples. I’ve seen a couple of others fiber boxes via friends and none had the amount of fiber in it that The spinning Box has. There are also other goodies, candy, 3-d glasses, soap and buttons.

 

All of it!

Here’s a bird’s eye view. The weather has been really rainy the past few days so the true gorgeousness of the fiber is diminished in this photo, but just look at how much there is! The total of the fiber is 14 ounces. I’ll be shooting each fiber sample individually once the sun comes back to play. I can’t wait to tear open the bags and start spinning. I plan on spinning a sample of each fiber offering and then making some sexy big rolags on my Clemes and Clemes blending board.

I’m going on a spinning getaway with girlfriends the weekend after this one and all of this is definitely coming along.

Have you bought a fiber box? What did you do with all of the fibers?

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Support Liz Gipson’s Online Weaving School and Knitted Carded Swatches

Liz Gipson Weaving Superstar!

Have you seen Liz Gipson’s Patreon Campaign? She’s starting an online weaving school! I bet you know Liz from her Knitty column Get Warped! Or maybe from her books Weaving Made Easy, A Weaver’s Guide to Swatching or her brand new Handwoven Home. Liz makes rigid heddle weaving fun and easy. She’s also a fan of spinning and handspun yarn.  I can’t wait to take classes at her online school, so I supported her Patreon campaign. If you love to weave you might consider supporting her too!

 

 

 

Blending board on the left, hand cards on the right.

 

Even though I just spun a little bit of yarn in my hand cards and blending board experiment, I could just leave it. Those few yards kept winkingand waving at me until I knit them into tiny swatches. Sometimes I don’t follow my own advice and I always regret it. I just should have knit that yarn right away instead of dancing around it, because it’s fantastic.

The yarn and swatch I made from my Clemes and Clemes blending board fiber is still my favorite this week, but the knitted swatch I made on my hand cards, just glows. I really like how the color is lighter, but richer. I think I’d like to pair it with a matte yarn in a knitted or woven project.

Get ready for more blending board posts. I can’t get enough time with mine; I have little piles of fiber ideas stacked all over the house. In a couple of weeks I’m going away with my spinning women for a long weekend and working with my blending board may be all I do.

Plus I’m on the road to PLY Away right now and I’m sure I’ll find blending goodies in the marketplace.

Are there any blending board experiments or samples you’d like to see me tackle?

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Love + Leche Giveaway and Coupon Code!

The Love+Leche Gift Bag – it’s so cute!

This week we’re teaming up with the wonderful and creative folks over at Love+Leche for a giveaway of a Mini Lotion Bar Gift Bag.

I keep a Love+Leche lotion bar in my knitting bag and in my spinning tool kit. They are made of all natural beeswax and oils by a woman-owned business in New Mexico. They are marvelously moisturizing, smoothing out all of the rough spots on your hands and they smell amazing.

The Mini Lotion Bar Gift Bag includes an assortment of all six of our scents in mini-lotions that weigh approximately a half-ounce each:

  • lavender
  • lemongrass
  • lavender-mint
  • cedarwood
  • citrus-rose
  • lavender-rosemary

The bars come wrapped, without tins, but they are packaged in an adorable screen-printed canvas bag.

 

Ready to shop for bars now? Here’s a code from Love+Leche that will get you a little gift with your purchase.
Coupon code: knittysurprise

Buy one lotion bar in a tin (min $14) get a free mini balm sample ($4 value). Exp 5/31/17

 

Our usual giveaway rules apply. Leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Sunday April 30, 2017. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win a Love+Leche Mini Lotion Bar Gift Bag.  Giveaway value $28.00

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Hand Cards Vs. Blending Board

Purple ‘n’ Pink fiber ready to go.

I’ve long been curious what the difference is between yarns spun from hand carded rolags and blending board rolags. I know that hand cards actually blend the fibers and a blending board mixes rather than thoroughly blends fiber, but I want to know what the yarns look like side by side.

Ideas always sink in best for me when I can compare things next to each other. I have a good idea of what both yarns will look like, but after I do these samples I will be better able to predict and plan rolags and yarns I want to make in the future. Plus the playing is fun!

I should be working on deadline projects that are coming up and getting ready for teaching at PLY Away, so it seemed like an ideal time to take a break play with yarn.

I got out two of my favorite tools,  my Louet extra fine cotton cards and my Clemes and Clemes blending board.

For fiber I used Louet Corriedale in purple and Merino/Tencel in Garth from Cjkoho Designs. The ratio between the two fibers was somewhere between 70%/30% and 75%/25% Corriedale/ Merino-Tencel.

 

 

 

Rollin’ rolags: Blending board rolags on the left and hand carded rolags on the right.

 

I spread the fibers randomly on the the blending board and did about five passes with my hand cards.

It was very hard not to upend my stash to make seventy-billion different versions on the blending board, it’s addictive!

I rolled my rolags pretty loosely and pulled them into roving.

I spun a quick 2-ply with each, using a woolen draft.

 

 

 

Mixed or blended?

 

I like both yarns, but would use them differently. The carded yarn is blended well, the pink lifts the purple color-wise and I really like the flashes of shiny that the Merino/Tencel brings. I’d use this type for detail-y knitting, imagine a Fair Isle pattern with a little shine or a sparkly Brioche.

The blending board yarn is just so happy! I like the big splashes of Merino/Tencel. I could spin this yarn quite chubby and the Corriedale would keep it from being too heavy. I’d use this yarn  for something simply knit with a texture stitch or just stockinette, when I want the yarn rather than the stitch pattern to sing.

Now back to work.

Which do you like, mixed or blended?

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6 TED Talks for Fiber Artists

A sculpture by Janet Echelman photo by Janet Echelman

 

I have several deadlines looming simultaneously, so my head is down over my computer and spinning wheel.

I do take frequent short breaks and explore lovely things to look at and watch. Yesterday I found this TED playlist: Talks for the Fiber Artist

There are six and each is fascinating and inspiring. My favorite is Taking Imagination Seriously by Janet Echelman. Look at her portfolio! After I watched her TED talk I read her entire web page, then I was refreshed and excited to get back to my own work.

Which of the six inspires you?

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Photo Attribution in the New Knitty, Spinning Blogs, Podcasts and Vlogs

Adorable Akerworks Flyer Threader, photo by Evantia Montalvo

 

A photo attribution was left off of a photo in the new Knitty in Cool Stuff. It is fixed on the page, but I want to let everyone know that the photo of the orange hedgehog Akerworks Flyer Threader was taken by Evantia Montalvo.

I apologize Evantia for leaving off the attribution, it’s a great photo!

 

 

 

 

 

I am on the hunt for spinning (or spinning heavy) blogs, podcasts and vlogs. I need more spinning in my life! Tell me your favorites and I will list them here. While you’re at it, tell me which Ravelry groups you love for spinning. I feel like I’m in a rut, always reading and listening to the same things over and over. It’s spring and I need something new for my spinning brain.

 

I am off to Yarn Fest! I hope to see some of you there!

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Tudor Roses Giveaway!

Tudor Roses by Alice Starmore, photography by Jade Starmore

The kind folks at Dover Publications have given us a copy of the newly released paperback version of the glorious Tudor Roses by Alice Starmore.

This is a paperback reprint of the exquisite Alice and Jade Starmore’s 2013 recreation of 1998’s Tudor Roses. 2013’s Tudor Roses had new sweaters and all new photography. The designs span the women of the Tudor dynasty from Elizabeth Woodville to Mary, Queen of Scots.

To say the sweaters and the photography are stunning is to just scratch the surface. This is a knitting book of sweaters so finely wrought that just looking at the pictures will excite and inspire you. Even if you never plan on knitting one, you will go back to look at the designs like they are fine art.

 

 

Our usual giveaway rules apply. Leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Sunday April 9, 2017. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win a copy of Tudor Roses.  Giveaway value $29.95.

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WEBS First Ever Spinning Summit – September 29- October 1

Can you hear the angels singing? it’s WEBS! Photo by WEBS

 

Unless you participate in no social media, you’ve heard of the amazing knitting retreats that WEBS puts on. They are newer to the retreat game, but hit it right out of the park starting with their very first retreat.

 

A tiny peek at WEBS spinning section – a wall of fiber. photo by WEBS

 

 

Now Amy Greeman and the gang at WEBS is doing the same for spinning. September 29 – October 1 is the first WEBS Spinning Summit and it’s going to be a doozy!

Abby Franquemont, Amy King, Beth Smith and I are all teaching. There are 12 classes to choose from (you get to pick three) all selected based on each teacher’s expertise and passion, including Abby teaching spindles, Beth teaching breeds, Amy teaching color and yarn structure and I’m teaching spinning for color, batts and knitting.

 

 

Downtown!

 

 

The classes are being held in the store. Yes that’s right, steps from all of that yarn and fiber. I know WEBS is legend for their yarn selection, but have you seen their spinning section? Mmmm, mmmm good!

There will be a special after hours marketplace with retreat-only discounts, spinners yoga, a spin-in, books signings, plenty of time to explore beautiful North Hampton and silliness we want to be a surprise.

The retreat is filling up fast, come and spin with us!

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