Spinning Tuesdays

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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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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Organizing Spinning Tools at the Hardware Store – Retractable Key Ring

I could spend just as much time organizing my spinning tools as I do spinning. One of my favorite places to hunt for ways to organize my tools (and to look for new tools) is the hardware store.

One of my favorites is the retractable key ring.

 

Schneider and his retractable key ring

 

I might have a little thing about retractable key rings that goes back to my childhood viewing of One Day at a Time. I was simultaneously delighted and horrified that Schneider regularly broke into Ann Romano’s apartment, uninvited, using a pass key that he had on – his retractable key ring. It was practical, a little dangerous and very, very cool to 12 year old me.

 

 

 

 

Retractable key ring and new spinning gauges ready to go.

 

Imagine my delight when I figured out a way to use one for spinning. When I bought my Twist Angle Gauge and WPI Guage from Hipstrings, I noticed that they had holes drilled into the top. I remembered an old WPI guage I had that came on a retractable cord and it all clicked.

I took myself to my local hardware store and hunted in the key section until I found the perfect, light and small , with a clip on the back, retractable key ring. I thought about getting, for old times sake, a big silver metal one like Schneider’s, but I knew it would weigh down my tool kit.

 

Gauges assembled and ready to spool and retract

 

 

It took me 2 minutes to put it all together in the parking lot. Yes, I brought it with me, I was excited. Now I have a set of gauges to keep at hand, hanging on my wheel, on a lanyard or on an apron while I’m spinning and an excellent throwback to my childhood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now if someone could tell me how to incorporate my other childhood tool obsession into my spinning…….

A steel money changer. I’ve always wanted one.

 

Interested in going to PLY Away this year? Classes are up! Registration is in October, so you have some time to plan your perfect retreat. I’m teaching a two day spinning variegated braids class, it’s going to be fun……..

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A Stash of One’s Own Is Out Today!

Go hug your stash today!

 

Clara Parkes new book of essay A Stash of One’s Own: Knitters on Loving, Living with and Letting Go of Yarn is out today! It should be a fiber world holiday. We should all get the day off to read the book, eat cake and frolic in our stashes.

Go buy this book, read it and then contemplate your stash, cake is optional.

This is a book of essay, but Clara isn’t the only writer examining their stashes and feelings in this book. Check out the list of authors:

Stash authors – Spinning stash too!

 

As you can see with my subtle added artwork that it’s not just knitters writing in the book. I am a knitter too, but my essay is about my spinning stash.

The topics in this book vary wildly, it’s not just “I have a huge stash (or a tiny stash) and you should too”, every author poured their hearts through their fingers as they wrote their essays.

If you read the book, let me know what you think!

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Lorna’s Laces New Fiber

Top to bottom: Angora/Wool, Alpaca, BFL

 

Have you heard that Lorna’s Laces has new spinning fiber?

 

I got a little surprise box in the mail and had to share before I’ve even spun any. I think it’s just beautiful. There is 100% BFL, 100% Alpaca, and a 70 Angora/30 Wool blend, all are top.

I’ll report back after I’ve spun these beauties in the meantime let me know if you spot any in the wild!

 

I’m heading off to teach at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool tomorrow and it’s my first time at that show. Is there anything I shouldn’t miss on the road, any must-visit vendors or any restaurants I should try?

 

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Knitting a Net

Bare Naked Wools roadtrip

So much is going on in the world right now and I’m really feeling it. Plus, my oldest just left for college,  5 hours away. I’m feeling a little lost and a little sad. So I’m knitting, just swatches.

BNW Better Breakfast worsted

I have a project coming up that needs swatches and I have gorgeous Bare Naked Wools yarns to use. So I used them for more than just my project-to-be.

 

On the drive to college I hand wound all of my yarns. One the way home I knit swatches. Spinning, knitting and fiber don’t always work for me when I’m agitated and emotional, but this time it was perfect. It was both mindful and mindless.

The yarns were all smooth and spun from interesting blends and the swatches were straight stockinette. This time a little merino/alpaca blend is just what I needed to knit a little net for my heart.

 

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3 Tips for Drumcarding Top

This weekend I managed to combine two things, getting to know my Struach Finest Motorized drumcarder a little better and working on fiber prep for my Knittyspin column for the next issue – spoiler alert, there are batts.

I’m using dyed Corriedale top from Louet in my batts, and here are three things that made carding easier for me.

Think thin layers

 

 

Fluff top until it’s sheer. I fluffed my top until I could see through it. Lots of thin layers make batts more even, and it’s kinder to your carder. I make sure I can see the yellow warning sticker through my fiber.

 

 

A little guidance

 

 

Long pieces of top need a little help. I just rest my hand on the fiber when I use a long piece. If I let it go on it’s own it would bunch and become uneven. If I pull or add too much pressure I play tug a war with the fiber (and the motor). I make sure not to push (more bunching) too.

 

 

 

One pass is all it takes

 

Using little bits? Handcards are a drumcarders best friend. For some of my batts I used just little bits of top (3″-4″), I found that if I did just one pass on my handcards first, just opening the fiber, the color spreads much more evenly in the batt.

 

What tips do you have for drumcarding top?

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New to Me: Jeri Brock Spindles and Hobbeldehoy Battlings

Hobbeldehoy battlings on a Jeri Brock Turk

The marketplace at the Super Summer Knitogether was one good sized room (22 vendors), but it was mighty.  I found many vendors I’ve never seen in real life and some completely new to me. This weekend I spent time with a couple that are new to me. I spun Hobbeldehoy Battlings on a Jeri Brock Turkish Spindle.

The battlings come in a pack of 8 and totaled 2 ounces. These were a blend of Polwarth, silk, bamboo and sparkle. The colorway is Banned Books. They  were like candy to spin, the perfect amount in each battling for spindling without tangling and so well prepared that I could just shake and spin. The colors blend beautifully into a tweedy yarn.

You can tell from the photo that I’m still a newbie on Turkish spindles. I buy them and then don’t use them much. I find them a little intimidating. I dream of having beautifully wound cops like Evanita Montalvo. I have a lot practicing to do.

 

 

Fly, pig, fly!

Jeri’s spindle begged to be spun, so I spun on it this weekend. It’s easy to flick and it spun for a long, long time. The wood is silky smooth (mine is Sycamore) and is finished with the same delicious smelling oil that Schacht uses on their wheels.

Her spindles all feature scrollwork cutout designs, many with a sense of humor.  Besides being an excellent spinner the spindle I bought from Jeri reminds me not to take my spinning self so seriously.

What did you spin this weekend?

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