Spinning Tuesdays

Schacht is 50! Class Openings Coming Up

Schacht Spindle Company turns 50 this year! Schacht has been a huge part of my fiber life ever since the late 80s when I bought my first loom. But my true devotion didn’t start until I bought my Matchless sometime in the early 90s. Soon (about five minutes) after I learned to turn fiber into a lumpy bit of yarn I saw my first Matchless. It was lust at first sight. It was gorgeous, it was smooth. It could do all of these things that other spinners told me were good, but I would have no idea what they meant until years later. I put that wheel on layaway and paid it off a little every month. I think it’s the ...

New Spinning Tool: Thumb Flick

This past weekend I taught at Susan’s Fiber Shop Spinning Retreat, it was great fun! At one point in the festivities Susan whipped out this cool little tool – a thumb flick. It’s exactly what it sounds like, a tiny flick that slips over your thumb to use to tease open locks. I used it to flick open locks for blending board batts, and it worked perfectly.       It’s tiny and light and costs about $10, what’s not to love? I haven’t seen them anywhere else, and Susan just got them in. If you want one the quickest way is to call her shop.         ...

Blending Board Fun: Making Roving

Spinners seem to be excited about blending boards again, those perfect rolags and mini batts are irresistable.  I know I’ve been playing with mine after about a year of not even thinking about it much. I have a cherry Clemes and Clemes blending board that works perfectly every time. I’ve been making smooth rolags, mini crazy batts with tons of add ins, and roving. Roving from a blending board? Yes, and it’s so quick. It’s best to use a smoother type of fiber mixture when pulling roving off of a blending board. Noils, and sari silk threads are ok, but big lucious dyed locks don’t work as ...

Spinning Classes Aren’t Just for Big Fiber Shows

If you are looking for in-person spinning classes and there are no big fiber festivals near you, do not despair! I get questions about where to find classes from newer spinners especially. Every spinner I’ve met has a dream about going to Rhinebeck or Maryland Sheep and Wool, but there are A LOT of middle sized and small fiber shows across the country. Knitter’s Review still has the best list that I’ve found for all types of fiber shows. Look for local and not quite local guilds. Spinning guilds bring in teachers on the regular, a lot of these don’t advertise much outside of their guild, so ...

Spinner-Worthy Yarn: Liverpool Yarns

Just because I spin yarn doesn’t mean I have stopped buying commercially spun yarn. No way! I love using all types of yarn, handspun is my favorite, but carefully sourced and spun smaller batch yarns are a close second. Some folks call these farm to needle yarn, I call them spinner-worthy. To me a spinner-worthy yarn has a few specific things that make it a yarn worth looking at. It’s really the main things that I think about when I spin a yarn: the fiber and where it comes from, the spinning process – is it woolen or worsted spun (and I love to know about the mill), and intention in the ply to ...

Working on a Knitting Kit

I am still happy with the  Everyday Spin Kit I put together two years ago, with all of my spinning essentials, plus a few things that I might need. I’ve decided that as a spinning knitter I’m now in need of an updated knitting kit. I don’t want it to be as big as my spin kit, but I want more than will fit in my old (and broken down) 4″x4″ notions bag. I started with the bag. I’ve been looking for a use for this Jane Austen bag from the Unemployed Philosophers Guild since I got it. She now has a purpose. It’s a ziptop bag, 5″x9″, with a 2″ gusset at the ...

A Tip to Save a Bit of Fiber

The easiest answers to spinning troubles are my favorite. When I spin a dyed braid I like to save a narrow strip of unspun fiber to have a record of the fiber’s colors before I spin it. What usually happens is I find that strip sometime during the spinning and spin it into my yarn. I’ve never found a good way to differentiate the piece of fiber. Scrolling through Instagram one morning I saw that Alanna Wilcox (spinnybuns) has the perfect simple solution. Chain that strip of fiber fiber. So smart and  so easy. The chained fiber lets me know this is something other than fiber to spin, and hopefully I ...

What if Fiber Labels Were More Like Yarn Labels?

Lately I’ve been thinking about what information is helpful to know before I start to spin a commercial braid of fiber. That led me to thinking, “What if Fiber Labels Were More Like Yarn Labels Yarn labels have lots of useful information for knitters. Granted, knitters are mostly trying to do one thing, hit that mighty gauge number, but the information on the the label helps then know what their fabric will be like. Spinners are working with a more open road, as far as the yarn we’ll make. Looking at a recent fiber purchase and comparing the label to a yarn label, I pondered what other information ...

2019 Teaching schedule

I’ve had a few emails asking where I’m teaching in 2019. There are a few that are still in the works, I’ll let you know about those as soon as I can. Here’s a quick list of where and when I’m teaching: February 22-24 – Iowa City Spinning Guild, Iowa City, Iowa March 1-3 – Susan’s Fiber Shop Spinning Retreat, Deforest, Wisconsin 17 – SPUN, Ann Arbor, Michigan – Yarn Detective 30 – Kalamazoo Fiber and Dye Studio, Kalamazoo, Michigan – Colorplay April  9-13 – PLY Away, Kansas City , Missouri May 1-3 – Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, ...

3 Tips to Help Hit Your Spinning Goals

Happy New Year! The year is fresh and sassy and I want to do new things, all of the new things! Setting goals, intentions, habits is the easy part for me, it’s the sticking to them that’s tough. Here are three things I’ve found that help me stick to my spinning (or otherwise) goals. The right motivation. This is a big one for me, that took a while to learn. I used to try to motivate myself with other people and what they were spinning or excited about. ‘Everyone’ is spinning Down breeds or spinning to weave or spinning freshly combed top. I don’t want to feel left out, so I jump on ...