Spinning Tuesdays

A Few Knitty Knits for Handspun

Knit me out of handspun please.

If you are in the US and like me, starting to get antsy thinking about what to knit over the Thanksgiving weekend, I’ve got some suggestions.

These are patterns not designed for handspun, but would look amazing in handspun, even some of your first handspun. They are all very straight forward to knit and can be worked on while chatting, watching tv, after a cocktail, or in a turkey coma.

 

First up is Calorimetry , it uses less than 100 yards of chunky yarn and would look fantastic in a bright variegated yarn. Look at all of the handspun versions on Ravelry! 

 

 

Next is Wolkig, a cozy ,cozy cowl. This is what I hope to be knitting over the Turkey Holiday. I have some merino/silk in dark blue that I think would look spectacular knit into this shawl. First I have to quickly spin the yarn. It’s about DK/ light worsted (5.5 stitches to the inch). Here are some handspun versions, there is a a yak/silk one, sigh.

 

 

 

 

Citron had been a favorite for spinners since it came out. There are 277 handspun Citron’s on Ravelry!

This one is perfect for all of you fine spinners out there. I’m sure you have the perfect skein already spun.

 

 

 

 

 

Lanesplitter is one I’ve always wanted to spin for, it looks fantastic in handspun. I have so many painted braids that would like to be this skirt. I only need to spin about 900 yards of heavy worsted yarn.

 

What will you be spinning and knitting over US Thanksgiving?

 

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Alternate Fiber Craft Uses for Tom Bihn Accessories

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Tom Bihn products. I have several different bags and backpacks, I use one or another Bihn bag daily. One of my favorite things is to figure out different uses for Tom Bihn accessories I have. Here’s what I’m using now:

Snake Charmer for weaving and Hansen minispinner accessories.

 

 

Snake Charmer

This bag is for taming electrical cords, but I’ve used it for many other things.

My husband uses one for his travel espresso rig. I use one in my Hansen bag for my the power cord, battery, and foot pedal for my miniSpinner. I use another one to carry my Purl and Loop little looms, one side for looms and tools and one side for yarn.

 

 

 

Keeping my yarns untangled

 

Travel Laundry Stuff Sack

This is an ingenious accessory for travel. Pack clean clothes on one side and as you use them, your dirties get put in the other end. There is a floating divider inside that keeps the clean and dirty separate.

I use this bag to keep yarn separated for knitting projects. I keep my project and current yarn(s) on one side and yarns waiting their turn on the other.

 

 

 

Knitting Tool Pouches

This one is kind of a cheater, it’s not a travel accessory. These convenient little pouches are for knitting accessories; they are great for storing interchangeable needles and cords.

Currently, I use three of them for other things. One I use for lipsticks/lip balms in my purse. One I use for keeping receipts when I travel. I used to use paper envelopes, but I kept accidentally throwing them away. One I use for weaving needles and my Puppy Snips for my small looms.

 

What types of travel things do you re-purpose for your fiber crafts?

 

 

 

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Five Tips for Getting Gift Spinning (and Knitting) Done

Gift knitting with handspun

Tomorrow is November 1. All around the fiber world people will start thinking about making December holiday gifts. Some very organized folks have already started, some even wiser folks just don’t do it. But most of us will make at least a few gifts to give.

If you are like me the closer the holidays get, the bigger my list gets. I want to shower all of the people I love with handspun and handknitted gifts. I try to be sane about it, I try not to feel bad about it when it all doesn’t get done, but I do love the rush of planning and making to a happy deadline.

Here are five tried and true tips for getting the most done in time for holiday giving.:

  1. Have a dedicated wheel. If you are spinning yarn and have more than one wheel, dedicate a wheel to your gift spinning. I leave my wheel set up for my gift yarn, with my tools, control cards and fiber right next to it. Then I can use those little bits of found time during the day spinning, instead of resetting my wheel and hunting my fiber. The yardage adds up fast! The knitting version of this is, only one project per bag and don’t share needles between projects. I also keep all of the yarn for a project in the project bag.
  2. Media bribery. I pick a show or movie I’m dying to watch and I can only watch it when I am working on my gift project. This works like magic for me with fiber deadlines. Bonus, I catch up on all of the shows that everyone is talking about.
  3. Enlist your friends. This is the best twofer for getting things done. I get together once a week with my spinning and knitting friends and show and tell. I get to hang out with my people and have dedicated time to craft. I also get that special little kick in the pants to move along on projects that comes with having to report to my pals on how I’m progressing.
  4. Simplify. I pick very simple projects that have beautiful yarns. I reevaluate my list regularly. I NEVER tell my potential giftees that they’ll be getting a holiday gift. I always have back up gifts in mind (almost always books) for when I run out of time.
  5. Read the Harlot. I read the Yarn Harlot religiously every holiday season. I love to laugh along with her as she tries to finish her mountain of knitted gifts. I also tell myself, I do not need I holiday spreadsheet like she has.

What are you making for gifts this year?

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PLY Away Registration is Saturday!

Ready for PLY Away?

PLY Away registration starts on Saturday at 8am CST! Are you ready?

Here’s a handy page that has a guide to registration, a registration cheat sheet and a downloadable schedule with class descriptions.

Here’s what I’m teaching:

Living Color: The Ultimate Braid Class –2 Day Class

Spin and Nosh: Sheep Sampler: Down Breeds – Half Day

 

Yarnitecture 2 : Shop to Shawl, Spinning for a Specific Project – Full Day Class

Pretty Maids All in a Row: Successive Color Plying – Half Day Class

 

I hope I’ll see some of you in my classes!

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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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