Spinning Tuesdays

Spinning in the Spring and Summer: The First Wave of Fiber Festivals


Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival

I get itchy this time of year because I know festival season is going to start soon. Animals, fiber,  spinning, and friends all together usually at a fairground, I love it. In my mind the season opens with Maryland Sheep and Wool in May and it closes with the Southeast Animal Fiber Fair in October.

Here’s a list of some of the US festivals from May-August.


May 5-6 Maryland Sheep and Wool, West Friendship, Maryland.

May 11-13 Shepherd’s Harvest, Lake Elmo, Minnesota

May 12-13 New Hampshire Sheep and Wool, Deerfield New, Hampshire

May 19-20 Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival, Lexington, Kentucky


June 2-3 Northern Illinois Sheep and Fiber Festival, Woodstock, Illinois

June 2-3 Flag Wool and Fiber Festival, Flagstaff, arizona

June 7-10 Estes Park Wool Market, Estes Park Colorado

Black Sheep Gathering

June 17-19 Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival, Ames Iowa

June 29-July 1 Black Sheep Gathering, Albany Oregon


August 15-19 Michigan Fiber Festival, Allegan Michigan


Then fall happens and we run to the fall festivals soaking up fall sunshine, friendships and buying fiber because we have to store it away like squirrels hiding nuts. I’ll list the fall shows in August.

If you know of a spring/summer show that has fiber animals, fiber for sale, has spinning classes, and is happening before September, put it in the comments and I’ll update this page.

Happy travels, happy shopping and happy spinning!



This Spinner Talks Knitting on Mason-Dixon Knitting


Singles, 2-ply, and 3-ply commercial yarns.


I have a new post up at Mason-Dixon Knitting about  how ply in commercial yarn affects knitting.

I’ve been having a great time over the past few posts talking to knitters about how yarns are constructed and what it means to our knitting. Everyone seems happy to learn new things and to find out that some knitting snafus are caused by yarn fiber, draft and ply, not by our ability to knit.


I demonstrated fun with ply in some great yarns :


Single-ply (singles): Mrs. Crosby, Satchel (100% Superwash Merino), Color: Spun Gold.

Lace swatches!

2-ply: Sincere Sheep, Cormo Fingering (100% Cormo), Color: Vit C.

3-ply: Sincere Sheep, Cormo Sport (100% Cormo), Color: Vit C

I did my most favorite thing, I knit them into swatches to show what happens when a ply is added or subtracted in various stitch patterns.



Singles, 2-ply, 3-ply and cable ply all in BFL

As spinners we figure this out pretty early on in our knitting our handspun careers. It’s easy for us to change our ply when we sample to get the right ply for any particular project.

Waaay back in 2013 (!) I wrote my Knittyspin column about ply and knitting. I had a great time experimenting and sampling with ply.

Singles, 2-ply, 3-ply, and cable ply in cabled knitting. The cable ply weighs a ton!

I carry my ply samples with me every time I teach. They’ve caused quite a few ah-ha moments when spinners handle them in class.

Have you done any experimenting or sampling with ply?

A New Spinning Book: 51 Yarns by Jacey Boggs Faulkner! Psst, there’s a giveaway….

There aren’t that many spinning books that get published each year and I feel that each one should be celebrated!

The newest book to join the spinning fold is 51 Yarns to Spin Before You Cast Off by Jacey Boggs Faulkner, Queen of PLY Magazine, PLY Away and the new PLY Books program. I work with Jacey on books, so I’m not writing a review, just doing a little show and tell of our new book.

This book outlines 51 yarns every spinner should spin before they are done. Done with spinning, done with fiber, or that bigger done. There are breeds, drafts and particular plies to explore, with tips and how-tos to get them done.

It’s cute! Just look at it. It’s fully illustrated with a little sweetness and sass by Kristen Slade. Be sure to to look all over the pages, there’s a lot of silliness going on in the backgrounds and edges. Can you spot the spinning teachers and spinning celebs? There are few scattered through the book.

It’s smart! Every yarn is described and dissected. There is a quick step by step to the spinning. If you’ve ever read any books or articles by Jacey

you know she digs right in to explain with great clarity.

It’s funny! If you’ve ever taken a class with Jacey you know, she’s funny. Her wit accompanied by Kristen’s illustrations will have you giggling through the book.

It’s a rut buster! Are you stuck in a yarn rut, spinning miles of your default yarn? This book will kick your butt out of that rut, 51 different ways. It doesn’t ask you to spin for a whole project, just offers a few samples to try. If you haven’t found your spinning mojo by the end of this book, I will eat my stash.

You can take it along and write in it! It’s spinning bag-sized, printed on uncoated paper, with a spot to make notes on each yarn you spin.

There’s a spin along! Of course there is, Jacey wouldn’t send you on a 51 yarn journey without friends, all the info is here.  If you participate you might win a one year subscription to PLY.

We’re giving away a copy! Yipppeee! Leave a comment below before midnight EST April 15th, 2018, telling me the yarn you are most excited to spin and you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of 51 Yarns to Spin Before You Cast Off. Prize value $24.


Community Love: Abundant Earth Fiber

In the time between Madrona and Stitches West the wonderful and creative people at Abundant Earth Fiber had their entire inventory stolen from their trailer. You can read the story here.

Lydia in her mill. Photo by Abundant Earth Fiber


This is a devastating loss to Lydia and her team. I first learned about Abundant Earth from Ken of Homestead Hobbyist at Madrona a year ago, she makes some of his most unique yarns in her mill. She also makes yarns for YOTH and other discerning companies and people. She makes yarn and processes fiber into roving and batts from locally sourced wool. She also has a really cool way to easily dye yarn and fiber.


Abundant Earth batts


I fell hard for her fiber and wrote about it on my blog last year. Her batts are puffy, easy to spin and come in colors with variation and depth.

We are a community who help each other.

There are many who have asked how to help. Several people have had sales with proceeds going to Abundant Earth, and I noticed a group of designers are up to something that will be announced soon.

The easiest way to help is to shop at Abundant Earth Fiber. You will have to wait a few weeks as they get their inventory back up, but in a month or so  you’ll have your beautiful yarn or fiber. Don’t want to shop, but want to donate? There’s a page for that too.


I am happily waiting for my yarn ( Verdant in grey), fiber (Spinnables in blue-green-violet) and my Wool Tincture in plum.

Inspiration: Handspun Knitty Projects from First Fall 2017

I want to knit a lot more with my handspun this year so I went in search of inspiration.

I took a peek at First Fall Knitty, 2017 to see if any spinning knitters had made projects from handspun, and I found some beautiful projects.


Mostly Bosco


 Miss Bunt’s Mostly Bosco, an all handspun version of Bosco spun from Southercross Fibre’s Veternari. The colors and all over striping make a vibrarnt sweater. I’d like to wear this in the middle of a grey winter!




Slow Fade


Missbrownspeck’s Slow Fade, from Kate’s Slow Fade. It’s still a WIP, but it’s so pretty in Spunky Eclectic’s soft-striping Aquarium.






Wolking  Martina Behm’s texture cowl was popular with spinners.


Quick Silver


 1hundredprojects ‘s Quicksilver Cowl, is a Wolking made with a yak/silk single, plied with silk yarn. Can you imagine how soft and silky this cowl is?









Gila’s Wolking she’s dubbed Really Cloudy. The color of this is really cloudy, it looks like storm cloud. I can imagine that the raised texture bits are rumbles of thunder.








Annagret’s Wölkchen, was knit from yarn dyed and spun by CODfishh. Annagret was so inspired by the yarn that she added beads to make the cowl more sumptuous.






Wolking  has fascinated me since it was published, I’m going to be spinning for it and writing about it on my  personal blog. I’ll let you know when there are updates so you can check in if you are interested.

Jump into 2018 with #wemakeyarn

Mary Ann of Three Waters Farm and Knitting Sarah devised a fun way to jumpstart your spinning for 2018 – the #wemakeyarn daily photo challenge!

All you do is post a photo to social media every day using the prompts on the list. If you miss a day, you can always double (or triple) up. There are no real rules other than letting it inspire your spinning and creativity.  I know I need a little push at the beginning of the year, so I’ll be participating on Instagram (I’m @jillianmoreno).  Are you in?

Choosing Yarns for a Woven Wrap

Deep purple, navy and PINK

No, I didn’t handspin any of these yarns. I dug into my stash and came up with yarns that are in the color wheelhouse of the recipient.

Yes, this is a gift. I am not, as you might be thinking, starting hilariously late. The person this is for will be celebrating holiday fun after the new year.

She loves wraps, shawls and scarves and wears them constantly. I’m going to weave her a wrap on my Cricket rigid heddle loom that is 10-12 inches wide and 60-70 inches long plus fringe. I haven’t done the math yet. Because for me the most important part is picking the yarns. This will be a openly woven wrap, how the warp look matters a lot. I did some quick warp wraps to see how the yarns looked side by side.

These three yarns are soft and all her colors. There is a deep purple sock yarn, a brushed wool in navy and an extremely pink mohair. I have the most of the navy brushed wool and will likely use it for weft, it’s soft and it will done down the pink a couple of degrees.

Happy as I was with my yarn selection, I was less thrilled when I started wrapping them to see how I might like the warp to play out.

Hmmm, not quite right.

It’s just not right. I know it’s not my thing color-wise, but I am just not excited by these wraps. Top left definitely needs more blue, the pink is taking over.

Double the blue in the top right helps balance the pink, especially if I’m using the blue as weft. Bottom left is a big no, the blue and purple are too close to be interesting to the giftee, and adding the pink in the bottom right makes the purple disappear.

I would like the purple better for this if I had more of it. I only have one skein, about 300 yards. In a perfect weaving world, I would double the yarn, and double the width in the warp, but I don’t have enough.

So of these four top right is the one possibility. I tossed out the purple and I went back into the stash.



Blue, pink, a little swampy variegated.


I found something quite interesting, a variegated mohair.

Some of you might remark, those are your swampy colors, not the pink, blue, purple combo of the recipient. I know, but just look at them together.

The lavender in the variegated yarn play so well with the pink and the teal with the navy. The most perfect swampy green seems to take the pink down just a little.

It was worth trying a warp wrap. I do have only one skein of the new yarn. So if I like this it will dictate a lot as far as size of the finished wrap.



Look at that perfect green.

Of course I like it!

The color run of the variegated yarn is very short, which will make the weaving look more complex than it really is, Weaving bonus! I may reduce the pink. Or after doing another stash dive to see if that is really the only skein, I may increase the variegated.

Now I need to do a little math before I warp. Or I may throw caution to the wind and just start.



I’ll be taking next week off to spend time with my family, eat too many cookies and spin, knit and weave. I hope all of you get some time off next week to do the same. I’ll see you back here just after the new year!

New Knittyspin: Cal Patch’s Crochet Crusader Cowl

Crochet Crusader!

A new issue of Knitty means new spinning fun!

Have you seen Cal Patch’s Crochet Crusader Cowl? Handspun from Into the Whirled 40/40/20 Superwash Merino/Merino/Silk and crocheted onto a sweatshirt, it’s the perfect curl up on the couch quick project.

The yarn is a chubby 9 WPI and used 240 yards, you probably have a skein close to that in your stash basket next to the couch.


You can make a sweatshirt like Cal did, upcycle one from your closet or a thrift store or put the cowl on a sweater. It makes something snuggly even more special.




My Knittyspin column this issue is about spiral plied yarn. Keep an eye on the Winter Surprise coming towards the end of January/beginning of February, there might just be a pattern using spiral plied yarn

Gifts for Spinners: Tools

This will be my last gift post for the season, my favorite things – spinning tools!

Here are a few tools I recommend that have enriched my spinning life this year.


Louet hand cards and Hipstrings Control Cards


I use my Louet cotton handcards a lot, not just to card rolags, but I test-blend colors before I start with my drum carder.

My Hipstrings control cards and gauge hang on whichever wheel I’m using. I use my WPI control cards every time I spin and my Twist Angle Gauge almost every time.




Schacht Cricket and Purl and Loop Bracelet Loom


Weaving is creeping into more and more spinners’ lives. Not ready to commit to a floor loom (yet)? A Schacht Cricket, rigid heddle loom or a Purl and Loop Bracelet loom are two ways to test the weaving waters. Weaving is a great way to use handspun yarn and for me is faster than knitting.




Akerworks Knitting Gauge and Orifice Threaders


Akerworks never stops coming out with inventive, useful and cute tools for spinning. This year’s Swatch Gauge and Flyer Threaders are no exception. The Swatch Gauge is the easiest gauge to read I’ve every used. The Flyer Threaders are just cute and the threading loop is long enough to thread a Hanson minispinner.



Cordless drill and Bobbins Up storage bobbi



A cordless drill and storage bobbins may change your spinning life. Using storage bobbins like these Bobbins Up bobbins (which are made to use in a drill) free up your regular bobbins. I know rewinding bobbins before I ply helps make my plying more consistent.





Mother of All Tags and Snyder Glider Spindle


Two tools I found on teaching trips this year, Mother of All tags are Tyvek and waterproof. They have spots to list fiber content, source, colorway, wheel/spindle, wpi, method/plies, length, weight, date, with plenty of room to write.

I finally bought a Snyder spindle ( a Glider) in Wisconsin, and his fans are right. It’s smooth and long spinning, I use it a lot.



Steamer and Handspun Mug


My steamer for sampling. Everyone in my classes love this thing! I use it when I’m teaching and making samples at home. It’s not great for clothes (it spits) but it’s great for yarn and swatches.

My handspun ceramic mug by Charan Sachar. It’s beautiful, huge and the walls are thick, so my tea keeps warm for a long time.


I hope you give and get some fabulous gifts this holiday season!


Gifts for Spinners: Knitting and Other Craft Books

I know a lot of you are shopping for gifts for spinning friends, making gift lists for others to shop for you, or maybe you’re like me – I buy myself a little something to help soothe the stress of all of the holiday crazy.

I want to mention a few books that are handspun friendly that aren’t spinning books. These books have patterns that work well with handspun, they enhance your handspun, or they get that other yarns exists beyond big mill produced yarns. Here are some of my favorites from this year.


Five Fabulous Field Guides

Mason Dixon Knitting Field Guides

These tiny books have patterns that are perfect for handspun. Ann and Kay are the champions of  knitting that is fun, engaging , but not too tricky. While knitting almost all of these patterns you can chat, watch tv, or have a cocktail and not drop a stitch or get lost in the pattern. The also celebrate the beauty in simplicity, the patterns in these books are the ones you’ll get the most compliments on, or be asked to knit for other people. They are the patterns for things you’ll wear or use the most. There are five, each with it’s own topic: Stripes, Fair Isle, Wild Yarns, Log Cabin, Sequences. Each book has 3-4 patterns designed by a bunch of my favorite designers.


Mittens and gloves with a variety of gauges

Knit Mitts: Hand-y Guide to Knitting Mittens and Gloves by Kate Atherley

Why would a spinner love this book? Well it’s by Knitty’s own Kate Atherley, and the patterns are great. But for those of us with baskets of handspun, the portion of the book that teaches about construction and fit, has a basic pattern for mittens and gloves and tucks in charts for using just about any gauge yarn in a range of sizes to make mittens and gloves, is gold.



Hannah gets us

Slow Knitting: A Journey from Sheep to Skein to Stitch by Hannah Thiessen

Sometimes I just want to read about fiber, yarn and knitting. Most knitting books don’t have a lot to say about the people that make yarn, where it’s from or how it’s made. This book celebrates those folks and the yarn they make. It’s a luscious read and the patterns are beautiful and worth the time it would take to spin for them.



Liz helps me not stress about my weaving

Weaver’s Guide to Swatching: How to Fail Faster and Weave Better by Liz Gipson

I am certainly better at swatching for knitting with my handspun than I am for weaving, and it always shows. Sometimes I’m straight-up disappointed most of the time, it’s just not what I want.  Liz’s book is an excellent reminder why to swatch and she teaches quick  and pain-free ways (my favorite) to make it happen. Liz is the brilliant mind behind Knitty’s weaving column, Get Warped.

Liz started an online weaving school this year, Yarnworker School of Weaving, check it out!



embellish everything

 The Geometry of Hand Sewing: A Romance in Stitches and Embroidery from Alabama Chanin and the School of Making by Natalie Chanin

No, I am not going to advocate spinning for stitching (though it is delicious to stitch with handspun), this book will make you want to embellish everything you make with your handspun. What makes this book special for handspinners is the core of the book. The stitching and embellishing comes from the work of Alabama Chanin whose kits, clothing, and classes are based on making and embellishing clothes from jersey. Yes, embroidery, incredibly creative, organic and beautiful embellishment suited to knitted and woven fabric. Get stitching.