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How About A Spinning Giveaway?

Mixed BFL and tussah, what would you make?

Miss Babs Hand Dyed Yarns and Fibers has donated 8 ounces of  80% mixed BFL/20% tussah blend top in her Bog colorway for a giveaway.

If you’d like a chance to win this yummy goodness, leave a comment before Wednesday December 8, 2010 at 11:59 pm EST.

If your comment is chosen by our random number generator, you’ll be asked to answer a skill testing question before being declared the winner.

If you don’t win our giveaway, don’t fret. Miss Babs is offering a fiber special that runs through December 31, 2010.

Buy 5 tops and get one free with the code SPINDEC (not to be combined with any other offer, sale, or coupon). Perfect if you’re planning a handspun sweater for next year.

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Batt Love

When I went to Fiber Expo I was deeply smitten with these batts.

Puffy, puffy batts

They are Whimsy batts from Frankie Loves Fiber, wonderful blends of merino, corriedale, shetland, silk and sparkle. I couldn’t choose between them. To me, colorwise, they belong together, so I brought home all three. I know, twist my arm.

Weeks later when it came time to spin them, I felt even more strongly that the three should be one mixed colorway. It had become an idea I couldn’t shake, a bee in my spinning bonnet. So I went with it.

Here’s what I did to combine them.

Open, the batts had even more colors:

Pink, red, purple and shades of dirt

I divided each of the batts lengthwise into 4 strips, then set aside 2 strips of each batt to be spun in longer color runs.

Batts stripped

The remaining strips I divided in half widthwise into a pile of 12 teeny batts.

shredded batts

Both the strips and shreds I spun in a random color order. I placed the strips in one grocery bag and the shreds another and grabbed without looking.

Strips bobbin on the left, shreds bobbin on the right

I spun the strips onto one bobbin, attenuating each strip lengthwise and spinning from the end. I controlled this yarn a little more, thick and thin, but drafting out  some of the bigger bits. I spun woolen, long draw, at a wpi between 14-16.

I spun the shreds by fluffing them more than attenuating them, but still spinning from the end. I controlled this yarn less, lumps, bumps and chunks of goodness all in the yarn. I spun woolen, long draw, at a wpi between 10-12.

I plied the two bobbins and the result is the colorway that stuck itself in my head when I first fell for these batts.

Blended batts FTW

The wpi is 4-6, the yarn is soft and sparkly, the colors randomly spread throughout. Now what should I make?

Soft and smooshy

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The View from My Wheel: Deb Robson’s Wool Breed Study Class

Spinning zen

This past weekend I took a two day wool breed study class with Deb Robson, at The Spinning Loft.

We covered a variety of breeds within the categories of primitive wools, down type wools , long wools and fine wools. Covering a category included history, lock, crimp, luster characteristics,  prep methods, and spinning at least 4 breeds within each category.

Not being a breed junky, for me, it was the type of class that introduced me to a whole world of things that I don’t know. My first instinct was to panic (usually, my first instinct), it all seemed huge and overwhelming and there were combs, which I’ve never managed to get to work for me.

Knowing that I couldn’t just run screaming, because there are no take backs in spinning. I sat and listened. Deb is wonderful teacher. She has a calm melodious voice and a depth of knowledge that makes the history of sheep breeds seem like an enchanted fairy tale. I soaked it up like a sponge. I spun and learned.

It was hours of fascinating learning. And in that casual- sneaky way that only the best teachers have, Deb got me on combs. I finally understood and used combs, and even came home with a pair.

Like in the best types of classes there was learning from each other too. I came home having learned combing and better ways to hand card and taught Andean plying. It reminds me of the square dancing move, the allemande where you pass around your circle hand over hand.

It’s classes exactly like this one that keep me excited, keep me signing up for things I’m not sure about, and keep me spinning every day.

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Jillian”s NaKniSweMo Update

I cropped my head because I had 'not enough tea yet' face

It’s November 22. I still have 2 inches of body knitting, have to decide length and knit sleeves (I’m thinking short like the pattern) and do finishing. I have a good feeling about finishing on time.

The pattern, Goodale, is fantastic. Easy to follow and fun to knit. I’ve learned attached i-cord edging and increasing in the row below from this pattern, and have since passed both techniques on to other knitters. It’s my favorite part about knitting, the constant learning and teaching.

I’m still having issues with gauge and had to monkey with frequency and numbers of increases for the body. I think it may prove to be a little big under the arms, but I can live with that. I’m really excited about sewing the front detail to make the incredibly groovy pockets.

How’s your sweater coming? Have you checked in with the Ravelry group? Some people are done.

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Plying Spindle Spun Yarn

I love to spin singles on my spindles, but I’ve never been a fan of plying on a spindle.

Before you ask, it's an Indigo Hound spindle.

Instead I use my Kate 45 and ply on my wheel.

Ply, girl, ply!

All with the help of the humble drinking straw. My cop goes on the straw and the straw goes on my lazy kate rod.

Size does matter

I have a pack of regular bendy straws that fit perfectly over the rods on my Kate 45 just loose enough to spin, but not so loose that the fly off when plying. The straw has to be taller than your cop but, not taller than your lazy kate rod.

Spindle to straw

I slide my straw as far as it will go up the spindle shaft and slide the cop slowly onto the straw.

Ready for a 2-ply

I found that if I tried to make the cop transfer off of the spindle or even at the bottom of the spindle shaft, it was much harder to get the cop on the straw smoothly.

Ply like the wind

I use my wheel to ply, but it’s just as easy to ply to a spindle from your kate.

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A Spinning Giveaway!

Beautiful Indigenous

One lucky spinner will win 4 oz of BFL/ Tussah (a $22.95 value) from Three Waters Farm to make Lynne Vogel’s Indigenous shawl from the current issue of Knittyspin.

You want it don’t you? Leave a comment below by noon, eastern time, tomorrow (Wednesday, November 10). If you are chosen, you must answer a super secret question to be declared the winner.

Our winner will be announced on Friday, November 12.

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In Search of Fiber Fiesta Fiber!

Fiber Fiesta yarn spun from gorgeous A Verb For Keeping Warm fiber.

Do you dye fiber? Create spectacular batts or fiber blends?

I’m gathering fiber for  Knittyspin’s 2011 Fiber Fiestas.

Knittyspin’s Fiber Fiestas are held quarterly. We invite a group of spinners with varying levels of experience, and each samples your fiber.[We do have enough Fiber Fiesta spinners.] All reviewers are asked to spin, set, and knit with the fiber, putting it through the same process an average spinner would.

In order to have your fiber included in an upcoming yarn Fiber Fiesta, please send at least 8 oz of each type of fiber you’d like considered for review. Multiple submissions [more than one type of fiber, blend or put up] are welcome! Please include a short “bio” of your fiber and/or your business – this is especially important for unusual blends and small-batch fiber companies; where your fiber can be purchased and the suggested retail price for your fiber.

Samples will not be returned. I will contact you to let you know in which issue your review will appear, so you can make sure to have stock on hand.

If you’re interested in having your fiber in Knittyspin’s Fiber Fiesta or have a fiber artist to suggest  I contact, leave a comment here or drop me a line at jillianmorenoATgmail.com.

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Fiber Expo: I May Have Shopped

This is the fourth year that there has been a Fiber Expo in my town. Now, it’s not Rhinebeck, but with 77 vendors, I was still able to make my spinning heart cheer and credit card cry.

All the vendors I bought from are local to Michigan, but sell online. I’ve got a bunch of spinning to do.

Here’s what I got:

BFL fleece, all raw and crunchy

A BFL fleece from Cross Wind Farm.

cormo, warm and inviting

Two 8oz bumps of BFL/Cormo from Cross Wind Farm in colors to chase away the gray Michigan winter

sexy batt packaging

I may have gone a bit of  batt binge at this show. This one is from Hands and Notions. Her packaging is great isn’t it?

so pretty, it changed the way I look at yellow and pink

Yellow and pink are two colors I typically steer away from, but this batt from Bricolage Studios lept into my hands.

can't pick? get them all.

I couldn’t choose between these batts from Frankielove Fiber, so I bought all three. I’m going to randomly spin them together.

sigh.

From Yarn Hollow, two new colorways: Crimson and Chai.

Fiberstory won me and my friends over, 100%

Every single person in the fiber gang I shopped with bought something from Fiberstory Our favorite new fiber supplier, can you blame us?

both happy AND fuzzy

Two from Happy Fuzzy Yarn. She does the best blues.

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Obsession Thursday: The S

The Backnobber II, affectionately know as the S

When I knit or spin for long periods of time, I get knotted muscles in my back in a particular spot – between spine and shoulder blade, just below my shoulder. You know the spot?

Many years ago a co-worker introduced me to this funny looking S, officially called the Backnobber II.   You hook one end  over your shoulder, centering one of the knobs on your knotted muscle then pull down. It puts deep, concentrated pressure on your muscle and releases the knot.

It breaks down into two pieces, so I take it along to spinning and knitting classes, where I tend to be tense from the learning, sitting and working of little muscles.

It can’t compare to a full body professional massage, but for me it’s magic.

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