Spinning Tuesdays

Useful Tools: Hipstrings’ Precise Spinner’s Control Card and Angle of Twist Gauge

Last week I taught at the legendary Super Summer Knitogether retreat put on by the Knitgrills. One of the many fabulous things about this retreat is teachers get an hour in the marketplace before everyone else. I know! It’s usually so hard to shop when I’m teaching.

I am very excited to finally have my hands on a couple of tools I’ve been coveting for awhile, Hipstrings’ Precise Spinner’s Control Card and Angle of Twist Gauge.   Both are $10 and made of clear acrylic (you can get them in tinted colors).

 

The Control Card is really easy to read on the fly and favors finer yarns. One day someone will make me a control card for my chubby yarns, one that starts with 18 and ends with 2!

It has a hole in the top to hang it on your wheel. The numbers are big enough for me that I can almost just wave my yarn across the back to see the WPI.

 

 

 

 

The Angle of Twist Gauge may be my new best friend. No more trying to see it on my phone or having to get out a magnifying glass to check the twist. If I want to check a basic twist this is what I’ll be using. It’s so easy to use I’ll be checking my twist more often!

If I want to check twist down to individual numbers, I’ll still get out my magnifying glass. I love this so much I may just give it as a holiday gift to all of my spinning pals. I also like that it looks like a rib cage.

I got up to a bunch of fun in Nashville, and there was shopping and barbecue. I will reveal all tomorrow on my personal blog.

Please like & share:

Excited By Bracelets

Purl & Loop’s bracelet loom

This picture may not look like much, but it is a snapshot of a new obsession, weaving bracelets. The super smart folks over at Purl and Loop (the Swatch Maker and Stash Blaster loom people) have designed a little loom intended to make bracelets and I am hooked.

I made a quick bracelet out of corespun and have been experimenting with other weaving techniques in this finite, small space of a loom – it’s so fun! How I know it’s becoming a thing for me? I’m packing to teach at the SSK retreat in Nashville and the only craft I packed is the loom and a handful of Madeline Tosh Unicorn Tails.

I’ve used commercial yarn and handspun. I’ve made them soft and pliable and made them stiffer with more structure. I haven’t started experimenting with closures yet, though I have several ideas.

Are you making bracelets? What yarns do you like to use?

Please like & share:

Will I See You This Fall? Jillian’s Teaching Schedule

Half of my Kaleidoscope Color class at Ply Away 2.

I am teaching a bunch this fall. I’ve not taught at any of these events before, I’m excited (and a little nervous)! Here’s my schedule, tell me if I’ll be seeing you.

SSK!  July 20th & 21st – next week! I’m teaching: Fractal Frolic, Twist and Ply 1, Kaleidoscope Spinning & Batts in the Belfry.

Wisconsin Sheep & Wool, September 7th-10th. I’m teaching:Yarnitecture, Twist and Ply: The Difference Ply and Twist Direction Make to Your Knitting, Cheaper by the Dozen: Twelve Ways to Spin Variegated Top, Fractal Frolic

WEBS Spinning Summit, September 29th – October 5th. I’m, teaching: Batts in the Belfry, Kaleidoscope Color For Singles, Twist and Ply 2: Color and Texture.

SAFF October 26th – October 29th. I’m teaching: All the Singles Ladies: Spin and Knit Sensational Singles, Batts in the Belfry: Spinning Batts, Cheaper by the Dozen: Twelve Ways to Spin Variegated Top, Don’t Let Your Yarn Weight You Down: Gist of Grist, Fractal Frolic: Exploring Fractal Spinning, Twist and Ply: The Difference Ply and Twist Direction Make to Your Knitting, Yarnitecture : Building Exactly the Yarn You Want.

Butler PA Spinning and Weaving Guild November 4th – 5th. I’m teaching: Colorplay: Stress Free Ways to Spin with Color, Draft-O-Rama: Woolen and Worsted Prep and Draft, Batts in the Belfry: Spinning Batts.

I already have a couple of gigs scheduled for 2018 too. I’ll be at the DFW Fiber Fest in April, in Boulder, Colorado at Shuttles Spindles and Skeins in August and in Moscow, Idaho at Yarn Underground with Janine Bajus in October.

I can’t wait to hit the road!

 

Save

Please like & share:

Nirvana Needles Arts Ebony Sock Needle Set Giveaway!

Look at this gorgeous set of ebony sock needles from Nirvana Needle Arts! We reviewed this set in the current issue of Knitty and thought they knit as wonderfully as they look.

Here’s what Carla had to say about them:

Knitting with wooden needles makes my heart sing. They are warm in my hands from the moment I pick them up. I may have squealed when I saw this set (which includes 5 double pointed needles in US sizes 1, 2, and 3). The case is made from happy, flowery fabric and lined in bright red (there are several different fabrics to choose from). There’s a flap to keep the needles in place and an elastic band to ensure nothing falls out and plenty of space to add to the collection.

So, they’re gorgeous…but how do they work? Beautifully. Aside from the warmth, they have just enough give to keep my hands from getting tired. I can imagine after years of use, they will fit in my hands with a slight curve to them. No splitty needle tips here either. I raced along on a sock with no split stitches or half-caught yarn. The soft finish slowed me down a bit, but again, after years of use, they will be shiny, a little slicker, and among my favorite needles.

Our friends at Hiya Hiya who distribute Nirvana have offered us set to giveaway. Need a set of ebony sock needles in your life? Leave a comment below for your chance to win.

Each Nirvana Needle Arts Sock Gift Set contains 6″ double point needle sets in sizes 1US/2.25; 2US/2.75; and 3US/3.25 packaged with a 7″ Needle and Hook Case.

Our usual giveaway rules apply. Leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Friday July 9th, 2017. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win the Nirvana Needle Arts Gift Set with 6″ needles.  Giveaway value $66.

 

 

 

Save

Please like & share:

Trip Crafting and the Sheepspot Fiber Club

Vacation crafts, just a little bit.

How many of you guessed I would do almost no crafting on my big trip? Ding, ding, ding! You win! That over there on the left is the sum total of my crafty endeavors for the 12 days I was away.

20% of a sock and a woven bracelet. We were busy! There was much sightseeing, chatting and freely flowing German and Czech beer from noon on. None of that is really conducive to crafting.

What’s displayed in the photo is really only a portion of what went into the crafting. For the first time I read and followed all of the directions when using something new (the Purl & Loop Bracelet Loom). I wove with corespun yarn and it’s spectacular. You’ll be seeing many bracelets in the next few weeks. And I have ideas for other things too, maybe even a class with handspun odds and ends.

With the socks I did two things. I relearned casting on two socks on two circs. It took me 5 tries (please see the flowing beer statement above). Eventually I had to run and hide and do it in solitude, but I got it and love it. I used to knit socks, usually only one, so the two circs method is perfect for me. I have a crazy loose gauge and use 000 and 0000 for socks, even though the gauge is the same, somehow it’s distressing to use such tiny needles. I also have large calves and sock never fit. Soooo I read Kate Atherley’s most excellent book Custom Socks:Knit to Fit Your Feet and did all of the measuring. I built myself a custom sized pattern and am happily knitting. My gauge has changed (of course) so I’ll have adjust my numbers slightly.

While I didn’t do many crafts I sure dug deeper into the ones I did.  I’m calling that a win.

 

The Sheepspot fiber club sign up is closing today! Sheepspot is one of the few spinning fiber clubs that teaches you in depth about breeds and gives a choice of colors (or natural). Choices are my favorite thing!

 

Sheepspot!

Save

Save

Please like & share:

Electric Spinner vs. Treadle Wheel

Electric or treadle? Yes!

Spinners ask me about electric wheels all of the time. The good, should I get one? And the bad, why would you have one?

For me it’s not an either/or. I find my treadle wheels and my electric wheel (I have a Hansen, version 1 ) happily coexist in my spinning and my spinning heart.

I use my treadle wheels when I feel like treadling (duh) and when I’m sampling with a lot stops and starts, or when I need to pay closer attention to drafting or plying. I’m not saying that starting and stopping and detailed viewing of your yarn can’t be done on an electric spinner, I just don’t do it that way. I also like to use my treadle wheels for art yarns.

I use my treadle wheels the most, partially because I have more than one and keep different projects on each one. A treadle wheel was my first wheel and what helped me really fall for spinning. I don’t think I’ll ever be without one. But I wouldn’t give up my Hansen either.

I use my electric spinner when I am spinning a lot of yarn, especially the type of yarn I can just get into a groove and go, spinning through a whole season of something. If I’m spinning for a sweater, a couple of pounds of fiber, I put the WooLee Winder on my Hansen, twiddle my knobs until I have my the correct settings for my yarn, find something British with murder on Netflix and I’m off. I usually mark my settings right on the wheel in pencil, or sometimes on a sticker. I also use my Hansen to ply, I love plying on that machine, effortless and steady.

I like to travel with my miniSpinner; I fly with her and I even take her camping. Sometimes I get tired of sitting, my hips, knees and back start to complain. Then I put my spinner on a stool or a counter and spin standing up. That was a revelation for me. When I got achey from sitting and spinning before my spinner, spindle spinning was my only option, and I’m not a very productive spindle spinner.

If you are deciding if you want an electric spinner, try one. Try more than one, there are many on the market now. I know that the SpinOlution Firefly is another very popular electric spinner, but I haven’t tried one yet. You’ll know, just like a treadle wheel, if it’s a wheel for you or not.

The answer to why I have an electric spinner is, of course, variety! Just like I like to spin a whole lot of different yarns, I like to spin on a range of wheels. And i like spinning on it, it feels right.

Please don’t make me pick between the two types of wheels!

Do you spin on an electric spinner and a treadle wheel, or just one?

 

Please like & share:

New Knitty Means New Spinning

Have you seen the new Knitty? More specifically have you seen the spinning in the new Knitty?

There is the fantastic Bosco cardigan by Mari Chiba, knit from Manos del Uruguay Clara, with a handspun yoke from Manos del Uruguay Merino roving, spun by Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter. The yoke only takes 140 yards of handspun singles! A great way to incorporate your handspun without having to spin for a whole sweater.

Bosco! Commercial yarn + handspun.

In my Knittyspin column, I talk about my adoration of overplied 2-ply yarn. It’s been my default yarn for years, but I just discovered something new about it.

Balanced 2-ply and overplied 2-ply. Fiber is Threewaters Farm Springing for Green on Merino/silk

I hope you enjoy this issue, happy spinning!

Please like & share:

Spring+Summer Knittyspin – A Couple More Options

 

Drafting together on top, blocking on the bottom.

In the latest Knittyspin column, Spring+Summer 2017, I talked about lightening a colorway at your wheel. I used a variegated colorway Godwood on Falkland by Into the Whirled, and lighten the colors a little by using white Corriedale from Louet.

One of the ways I used was drafting together Godwood and the white corrie to make a marled singles that I then plied together for a double marl The other way I used was by blocking, spinning first the colorway and interspersing white every so often in the singles that I then plied together.

The samples looked lighter over all, with varying amounts of flecks of white Corriedale. I used a combination with high contrast so I could really see what was going on in the yarn.

 

 

 

Top: One ply drafted together with white, one ply colorway plain.
Bottom: One ply colorway blocked with white, one ply colorway plain.

 

I keep thinking about these samples and wondering what would it look like if I used one ply of the manipulated yarn (drafting together or blocking) and one ply of the colorway by itself. It’s been bugging me for months, and I finally did it.

I like it. I think I like it better with this high contrast combination. It’s not as jarring, visually, but I’m not one for high contrast marls in general.

Drafted on top, blocked on bottom.

 

Here’s a closer peek. What do you think? Is it something you’d add to your dyed braid spinning tools?

 

Save

Please like & share:

What Knitting for Big Trip?

My Jenkins Spindle and Greenwood Fiberworks Yak/Silk.

I’m very lucky to be going on a 12-day Viking River Cruise in a week (!). I have almost everything sorted, suitcase, clothes, shoes, the kids clothes and shoes, but what knitting do I bring? I have a little spinning to bring, my Jenkins Delight and a pack of Greenwood Fiberworks yak/silk will keep me busy in the spinning department.

My socks will rock!

I am confounded when it comes to what knitting to bring. I want to knit something that doesn’t have a deadline and isn’t a swatch. I want something that I can chat while I knit.My mother-in-law, who is taking us says there is a lot of chatting on the ship.

I know I am bringing a skein of yarn I’ve been hanging onto to make into socks in my new Happy Birthday present from Amy  Splityarn octopus box bag. The yarn Socks That Rock medium weight in Farmhouse. It’s been marinating in my stash for many years, maybe 8. Now I’m ready to knit it and to knit socks, which I haven’t done in about the same number of years.

But what else? Another special braid I’ve been saving? I’m considering that with an easy to memorize lace pattern to make a scarf or wrap, depending on the yarn. Or something completely different. What do you suggest?

Imagine my handspun beacelet.

 

Also tagging along will be a Stash Blaster Bracelet Loom from Purl and Loop. I’ve been waiting not very patiently for these to be available. I can’t wait to see what my handspun looks like as a bracelet.

I wonder what the people on the ship will be most interested in, the knitting, the spinning or the weaving?

Save

Please like & share:

Surprised By Handspun

What handspun surprised you the most when you first knit with it?

A little thick and thin

 

For me, besides almost every time I spin a dyed braid (so many happy surprises), it’s thick and thin spiral plied yarn.

This yarn, I don’t know why, it makes me so happy. Spinning it, the yarn itself and the knitted fabric.

I remember knitting it for the first time and really feeling like I had made magic.

The looser gauge, the real lightness I can get if I’m minding my drafting. Bulky or fine-ish I like them all. Of course the semi solid or painted braid variations are my particular favorite.

 

Knitted and woven yummies

 

 

I’ve started doing a little weaving sampling with them too. Here’s are a chubby thick and thin spiral knit and a finer thick and thin spiral woven.

I love to be surprised by this yarn structure.

 

 

 

 

Dye Goddess (that’s Lisa Souza) Pullover. Photo by R.Ford from Yarnitecture.

 

And booooo to the people who say it can’t be used for anything ‘real’. I was thrilled to make a sweater out of thick and thin spiral yarn for my book Yarnitecture out of Lisa Souza’s gorgeous fiber.

I have a few other patterns in the pipeline out of this yarn.

 

Tell me about your surprising favorites!

 

 

Save

Please like & share: