Spinning Tuesdays

Amy King Spins Singles

Amy King  loves spinning singles. In her new Craftsy class she teaches all of her singles secrets. New to spinning singles? She’s got you covered with all of the basics – fiber, draft and finishing. Have singles experience? Get a refresher on the basics, plus learn to spin novelty singles and spin energized singles. Spindle spinners have a reason to be excited about this class. Amy shows most of her techniques on a wheel and a spindle. She also shows off a whole lot of projects, knitted, crochet and woven made from singles.

 

 

Don’t forget that Amy King is a spectacular dyer, the brain behind Spunky Eclectic. Every month she chooses a colorway to

Spunky Eclectic Sky on BFL

Spunky Eclectic Sky on BFL

feature at 15% off. This month it’s Sky. If you need some fiber to practice your singles or just jump in and make a whole project from singles head over to the Spunky Eclectic shop and have a look around. Want to keep up with what’s new with Amy and Spunky Eclectic? She has a newsletter you can sign up for here. Want to shop in person? She’ll be at these shows in the next few weeks May 28-29  MA Sheep and Wool  and June 4-5  Maine Fiber Frolic.

Do you work with singles? What have you made from Spunky Eclectic fiber?

Please like & share:

There’s a new Schacht wheel coming – Have you seen it?

Flatiron

Flatiron

 

There have been rumors for at least a year about a new Schacht, a different kind of Saxony wheel. I finally saw it and spun on it at PLY Away. I saw on Instagram many spinners trying it out at Maryland Sheep and Wool. It’s called the Flatiron, named after the mountains outside of Boulder.

 

 

I am not typically a Saxony wheel spinner, but I’m already saving my pennies for this wheel.

So smooth!

So smooth!

It comes packed flat (I’ve been calling it the Schacht-Ikea) and can be set up with the flyer on the left or right. It is not a folding wheel – that was a rumor.  It uses all the same whorls and bobbins as other Schacht wheels and can be used in Scotch tension, Irish tension  or Double Drive. It is a double treadle wheel and treadles as smoothly as silk. I was surprised at how smooth it was and how easily I could stop and start the wheel with just the treadles.

There’s no release date or price yet, but soon. As soon as I hear I will post it.

 

What have you heard about the Flatiron,  have you seen it or tried it?

Please like & share:

Sarah Swett – Always Inspiring

 

I'm just not sure 11" x 7" x 5" hand woven tapestry, hand embroidery wool, (hand spun and commercial), dye (natural and synthetic), steel wire, stone. ©Sarah C. Swett 2016

I’m just not sure 11″ x 7″ x 5″ hand woven tapestry, hand embroidery wool, (hand spun and commercial), dye (natural and synthetic), steel wire, stone. ©Sarah C. Swett 2016

Sarah Swett never fails to inspire me. I’ve followed her work for years, she’s a tapestry weaver, a spinner, a knitter, a dyer. I love  to watch her work. I love to watch her think about her work. She sits with it, she focuses, she lets it guide her, but digs in an works long hard hours. She blogs, and she’s on Instagram a bit, but mostly she’s working on her art.

Her latest pieces are small tapestry mobiles, woven from handspun (and commercial) yarns and embroidered. Interesting thinking and interesting art.

She tells stories with her art, always. It’s never just an image, but a piece of something bigger. You can take it for what your see or dig into Sarah’s writing and photos to get another view.

I could never work as focused and as diligently as she does (look a squirrel!) maybe that is part of her appeal for me. I am a process person. She is both process and product. She has the wide-ranging curiosity to sample the process, but also the the steely-eyed determination to visualize a piece and finish it, even if the piece finished is not the same as the original vision.

When I get stuck or just need something interesting to look at and mull over, I go to Sarah’s website and look at what she’s been working on. Take a look and tell me what you think!

 

 

 

Please like & share:

Maryland Sheep and Wool is this Weekend

Maryland Sheep and Wool!

Maryland Sheep and Wool!

Maryland Sheep and Wool is one of the high holy fiber shows. Spinners talk about it with a sigh in their voice. This is the first big show, the cracking open of the fiber season. Spinners, knitters and other fiber folk burst out of their winter cocoons and throw themselves on fiber, yarn and sheep with the glee of a 5 year old at a birthday party.

I have never been to Maryland Sheep and Wool, it coincides with a big publishing week in New York. My husband is always gone and I have kids still in school, so Maryland will have to wait.

Every year I pretend I’m going to Maryland,  I scour the vendors and I make a shopping plan. It’s fun and no credit card is needed!

If I were going this year here are some of the things I’d check out:

  • The fleece sale. Yep, I’ve finally tripped and landed in the need for fleece. It’s going to be a dangerous spring and summer for my bank account.
  • Anyone selling sheep cheese. Another new desire. I’m reading and tasting all that I can.
  • The WooLee Winder booth. The have a new e-spinner, and I want to touch it.
  • The Bosworth Booth. I also have the itch for a new spindle.
  • Spunky Eclectic. For as many years as I ‘ve been spinning Amy’s fiber I only get it online. I’ve never seen it in the wild.
  • Into the Whirled. My stash of Cris’ fiber is dangerously low.
  • Cooperative Press. Shannon has released so many new books, I want to see them all.
  • Moving Mud. The have glass darning needles now and I might need a pair of new earrings.
  • The Ross Farm. My stash needs to be fed some rare breed roving.

That’s just a few, and it doesn’t count my favorite ways to find things to buy, other spinners. At any fiber show or sale my absolutely favorite thing is when I run across a spinning friend and I follow them on their show quest. That’s how I’ve found the best surprises.

Who’s going to Maryland and what is on your list?

 

Please like & share:

Ply Away – The Haul!

I taught at Ply Away this weekend and it was amazing. It’s the biggest spinning-only retreat running right now and there were about 300 spinners swarming the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City. I taught 5 classes full of wonderful spinners.  There was also a marketplace. I usually don’t shop when I teach because I’m surrounded by fiber all day, but I tripped a little at this market.

Plyaway haul

Ply Away haul

I got a Clemes and Clemes blending board (squee!) I’ve wanted one for a long time and I need it for a work project, so there’s one heading my way. Huckleberry Knits was there with her new Targhee/Silk blend- 6 braids came home with me. I’ve never seen so much of her fiber in person.  There was a pen store in the mall attached to the hotel, many, many spinners went crazy in there. I got two pens and two new inks. I had to get that pair of socks too, they made me laugh out loud.

Ply Away Saturday Night Spin In

Ply Away Saturday Night Spin In – So Many Spinners!

 

What did you spin (or buy ) this weekend?

Please like & share:

Woolen or Worsted? Forward or Backward?

2 and 3 ply yarns.

2 and 3 ply yarns, woolen spun.

 

How do you draft? My default draft is woolen. I used to never draft worsted, but I have learned to (almost) love it. The type of draft can change so many things about your yarn, you better believe I use drafting style to help create the yarn I want to knit with.

When I draft woolen I draft backwards, when I draft worsted I usually draft backwards too. Some spinners find that odd, I’ve even heard the word, wrong.

So tell me how do you draft and in which direction?

 

 

 

 

Spin those singles!

Spin those singles!

Have you seen Amy King’s new Craftsy class Spinning Stupendous Singles? Amy is my singles spinning hero and this class is great.

If you are new to spinning singles, need some reminders or practice, or want tips to make your singles better, grab your wheel and fiber and settle in for an informative and fun few hours.

Please like & share:

The Knittyspin Library

When I was teaching at Yarn Fest I ran into quite a few people who had never heard of Knittyspin, actually I ran into quit a few people who had never heard of Knitty!

I want to post a little reminder about Knittyspin. In every issues of Knitty there is a column about a spinning topic, usually written by me, Jillian, and one or two knitting patterns designed for handspun yarn. Just like Knitty all of those patterns are archived in the Knitty library and are free! There are almost 90 Knittyspin patterns in our library, take a look.

So many pretty patterns for handspun!

So many pretty patterns for handspun!

Already know and love Knittyspin and our library of patterns? Pass the word on to your spinning and knitting friends!

Please like & share:

Why I Love Teaching

I’m just back from teaching at the Interweave Yarn Fest. I had a blast and couldn’t have asked for better or more enthusiastic students! My friend, fellow teacher, amazing weaver and author, Stephanie Flynn Sokolov captured a photo of me in one of my classes that pretty much sums up why I love teaching.

Happy student, happy teacher!

Happy student, happy teacher!

I get to help spinners spin yarns they want to use and spin yarns they didn’t think they could spin. This photo is from my Big Yarns class and look at that fat yarn my student just finished. Want to see why she’s smiling like that?

Before and after yarn

Before and after yarn

I know it’s blurry, but see that fine line between the green arrow and the point of the scissors? That is her default yarn, 2-ply lace weight. She was sure she couldn’t spin bigger, but poof, we got her there. Happy spinners make happy teachers!

I love my job!

 

Please like & share:

Unloved Fiber – Who Doesn’t Love a Party?

A pile of fiber ready to party!

A pile of fiber ready to party!

I got a lot of great suggestions when I asked about what to do with no longer loved stash fiber, fiber that is compacted or just not your favorite anymore. Lots suggested giving it away or selling it, over dyeing or carding. There were two great suggestion for felted fiber – using it for insulation and making dryer balls.

No one mentioned one of my favorite stash refreshers – a carding party! All you need are a couple of carders and a few friends that have unloved stash. My gang piles everything into the middle of a room, positions the carders around the outside and we take turns making batts.

This is especially great for those odds and ends of fiber that aren’t enough to make something on their own.

Eventually the pile gets separated into colors, and funky add-ins like sparkle or saari silk are kept in their own pile. It is great fun and everyone goes home with a pile of batts.

When I was in college we used to have clothes trading parties. I was thinking of doing something like that for fiber that is more swapable than cardable. Has anyone had a fiber trading party?

 

Please like & share:

Wool Spinning in Donegal

When I spun today instead of watching Scandal or something on Netflix (how is season two of Daredevil?) I watched this 30 minute film from 1978 about spinning in Donegal Ireland. Have you seen it? There’s a bit about sheep, a chunk about prepping wool and spinning on a great wheel and a bit about natural dyeing, particularly with lichen.

It is fascinating and I’m surprised how much is packed into a half an hour. I will never whine about wanting the newest, shiniest spinning tools again, these women got it all done with tools their mother’s used and just the basic tools at that.

Give it a watch and tell me what was interesting to you!

Please like & share: