Spinning Tuesdays

Countdowns

img_9919Today I’m feeling all of the fiber countdowns. Not in a panic-y deadline way, but either in excitement or the mindset of “better remember it”.

Here are the spinning and knitting (and other) countdowns I’m thinking about:

Spinzilla12 days. Even though I’m not spinning this year, I am caught up in the excitement. I can wait to see what everyone spins.

Rhinebeck 25 days. So excited about this one. I’m signing my book (Saturday 1-5 and Sunday 10-2 in the author corral) and just roaming. There will be a Knitty meet up, but we haven’t set the time yet.

The US election – 48 days. If you are a US citizen please vote.

The December gift giving holidays – 94-ish days. How are those gifts coming? I’ll be shopping at Rhinebeck.

If you ever need to check an excellent fiber event calendar my hands down favorite is Clara Parkes Events page on Knitter’s Review. Have you seen the new Knitter’s Review redesign? It’s gorgeous!

What countdown dates are on your mind?

 

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Carding Top

From left: top, carded rolag and pulled roving.

From left: top, carded rolag and pulled roving.

Everyone that’s spun with me knows that my default draft is woolen. I love to watch that twist and air zip into the fiber. Most of the fiber I spin is top, natural and dyed. I don’t usually prep my own fiber and top is the go-to prep for commercially prepared fiber. There is commercial roving available but it’s not as easy to find as top.

Spinning top woolen gives me a yarn that is one of those semis. I hate using the phrases semi woolen or semi worsted. I like just being clear about what I’m doing – spinning top woolen. That makes a yarn that is loftier than spinning top worsted. I like it, it’s a good everyday yarn.

 

Left: top drafted woolen, right: top carded and pulled into roving and spun woolen.

Left: top drafted woolen, right: top carded and pulled into roving and spun woolen.

Lately I’ve been wanting more air in my fiber. I’ve become curious about making a light yarn with good stitch definition (more on that another day) so I’ve been carding top. It’s great fun, a couple of passes on my cards and I’ve misaligned those fibers into fluff,;it’s top no longer.

After I card I make a rolag and pull that into roving and spin. It makes such airy yarn!

Do you ever card top?

 

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Spinning in Knitting Shops

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Mmmmm, handspun

Recently I’ve had a few knitting shops ask me about adding spinning to their mix, and I’ve been asked to write an article about it for shop owners.

What do you think spinners? Is a spinning section in knitting shops a good idea or not? What would you want to see? Keep in mind we can’t take over the whole shop (right away).

For me, it’s about all about a good variety of fiber. I would love to be able to buy yarn and fiber in the same place. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but I want variety and I want fresh fiber fairly often. There is nothing sadder to me than to try to support spinning in a knitting shop by buying fiber, but what they have has obviously been there for a long time. I’ve even seen dusty fiber!

What is it for you? Wheels, classes, spin nights? Or do you not want spinning in a knitting shop?

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All of My Tags

All the tags

All the tags!

I cannot spin anymore without tags. Not just one or two either, I have a whole range of tags for different things. See? Lots of tags. Some of them I use interchangeably, but most of them I use very specifically. Here’s how I use them, moving left to right:

The biggest tag I use for sampling. I wrap singles and hang my ply back sample on the tag so I can check that I’m on track when I’m spinning. I will add the wheel, wheel set up, fiber, dyer, colorway,  wpi , ypp and all of my yarn information before I’m done. I’ll also hang a plied samples (before and after finishing ) on it. It’s all there on one tag. Sometimes I rewrite the information in a yarn journal, most of the time I put it into a ziploc bag with fiber samples when I’m finished.

The second tag I use two ways. I use it on finsihed yarn to note yardage, wpi, fiber, dyer, color and possible project. I also hang one of these on my wheel when I’m in progress. This is where I note what’s going on when I stop spinning for the day or for awhile. I often have several projects on bobbins across a couple of wheels and I am not ashamed to admit I get lost. I note what project this is for, wheel set up, if I am spinning worsted (woolen is my default) any drafting lengths or treadling counts that are different than my default. Sometimes what I was watching while spinning. If I am leaving this project for a bit, I paper clip the big tag to it or hang it next to it. Note: this will not work if you have small children or cats in the house. The hanging tags mysteriously disappear.

The third tag I use to label finsihed yarn, when I only need yardage, wpi, ypp, and fiber. The round tag (and other fancy tags) I use on yarn when I am gifting or selling it. The orange stickers are for marking bobbins. I wrote about that in more detail on the PLY Magazine blog. The tyvek wristband I use to mark fresh yarn while it is still on my niddy noddy – all of the fiber and yarn info. Sometimes I transfer the info to one of the white tags after the yarn is finsihed and dried, sometimes not. You’ve heard me talk about these wristbands many times – they never come off, which means all of my info is there, with the yarn, all the way through finish.

If I all of a sudden became limited in the tags I could use, I would pick the tyvek wristband and the biggest tag. I can’t imagine spinning without either of those.

What tags do you use in your spinning?

 

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Sample Looms: A Little Obsessed

 

Swatch Maker Looms

Swatch Maker Looms

Have you seen these swatching looms? I can’t quit playing with mine. I don’t have time right now to warp and weave on my rigid heddle loom, but still want to play with weaving.

I have been carrying one of these in my bag for weeks, weaving a little here and there. It’s so satisfying and for me it’s the perfect thing for the winding down of summer, when all of a sudden there is no time left for all of the big projects I was going to do.

These three looms are different setts (sett is the spacing of warp threads, much like knitting gauge or wraps per inch in spinning. These are 12,10 and 8 ends per inch) and I woven on them with the same three colors of Brooklyn Tweed Loft.

I love being able to play with color without having to commit to a whole project. I can also work on getting my edges neat and even, something I always struggle with.

Yesterday it occurred to me to use my handspun yarn on these looms. I want to weave more with my handspun this year and am curious about twist and ply in weaving which is a perfect project for these looms. I don’t have to spin and warp for my rigid heddle loom to learn about handspun and weaving.

What are you obsessing over at the end of this summer?

 

 

The  folks at Purl and Loop sent me their Swatch Maker looms to review for Knitty.I reviewed the 3 in 1 loom in the current issue and will review the single Swatch Maker looms in the next issue.

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A New Class Question and PLYAWAY 2017 Classes Posted

natural + singles collageHow often do you like teachers to have new classes?

I’ve been teaching a lot the past couple of years and don’t know when to add new classes. For 2017 I tried to have at least one new class for each multi-day teaching gig. I’ve noticed some teachers don’t add new classes very often.

What about exclusive classes for big shows and events? Is that something that appeals?

I personally love designing new classes, but they take about four months to develop. So I need to be sane about how many I add. And let me know if there is something that you’d like to see me teach.

 

Do you like to plan ahead? Jacey has already listed the classes for PLYAWAY 2017. That woman is organized!

The dates are April 25th-April 29th. The location is the same as last year, the Westin Crown Center in Kansas City. There is a fountain pen store just off the lobby, plan your budget accordingly.

I’m teaching three classes and two of them are new and one of them includes sheep cheese tasting!

 

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Here, There and Everywhere

 

Yarnitecture

Yarnitecture

 

I’ve heard that my new book has landed in the publisher’s warehouse early. Let me know when you get your copy and what you think about it. I’m equal parts nervous and excited to hear what everyone thinks!

 

While most of the staff was at Convergence Amy Greeman and I snuck into the WEBS Podcast, Ready, Set, Knit and talked about my book. Did you hear us? You can listen anytime here.

 

 

Spin singles with me

Spin singles with me

 

 

Are you interested in spinning singles to knit? I have a new video out this week from Interweave called Spinning Singles. It’s under and hour and full of tips on how to spin a stable, consistent singles yarn. And  of course I talk about manipulating color in singles yarns, too. I can’t help it, really. It’s available as a download now, with the DVD coming soon.

 

 

 

Because I have to do what everyone else is doing, I’ve dusted off my spindles. My family is going camping for a few days next week, where cell phones don’t work (I’m so excited). I will be the one spinning on a spindle in a hammock. We picked our campsite based on the number of trees for hammock hanging. So think of me here, spinning.

Camping time!

Camping time!

What are you spinning as summer winds down?

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Spinning and Knitting PSA : Rhinebeck

There are 73 days until Rhinebeck!

Is that enough time to spin and knit a sweater? Even if I have other work to do, lots of work, including other spinning and knitting?

I’m considering this handspun classic – Amy King’s Less is More

Less is More - Is there time?

Less is More – Is there time?

I don’t have yarn spun to make it, I checked. If I make the short sleeved version, that’s about a pound and a half of fiber to spin. This is what I will be deeply mulling over the next few days and tossing my stash . I could make it out of singles or fatter yarn or with less ease to cut time. Or maybe I should make something smaller. But I feel like making something!  Are you spinning and knitting something for Rhinebeck this year?

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Knitting at Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley!

Diagon Alley!

A bonus of having a kiddo that does a traveling sport is sometimes you get to go to very cool places. My daughter competed in the AAU Springboard Diving Nations last week in Orlando, Florida. We are huge Harry Potter Fans, so in the few hours before our plane left we went to Diagon Alley at Harry Potter World in Universal Studios. I was giddy with the knitting.

 

Harry and Ron's Sweaters

Harry and Ron’s Sweaters

 

I saw the Harry and Ron sweaters for sale. These were acrylic, but they did a good job of looking like they were knit from Rowan’s Felted Tweed.

 

 

Yarn Shop!

Yarn Shop!

 

There is a a yarn shop! Spindlewarps sadly is a display shop not a shopping shop (just like the bookstore Flourish and Blotts), but can you imagine if it were open for shopping? I stood in front of the window filling it with inventory in my mind for a long time. Even if they just sold kits, it would be fantastic!

 

 

What I bought

What I bought

 

We had frozen Butterbeer, rode the Escape from Gringotts ride and shopped a little. I bought Molly Weasley’s wand and a Time Turner because  crafters always wish we had more time.

 

 

 

Our favorite thing was sitting a watching people. Everyone is so happy and excited to see everything and all of the other fans. It was a great way to recover from the stress of a big meet. I’ll leave you with a little video of Molly’s magical knitting needles, something I really wish I had!

 

 

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Spindles Are Everywhere!

Is it my imagination or are people spinning on spindles more right now?

I don’t know if it’s because of summer and they are portable, but I have seen more spindle spinning around in person and on social media.

I’ve heard rumors that there are fewer spinners now, that the spinning trend is leveling off and maybe dropping. The rumor is that spinners are turning to weaving and sewing and not spinning, not buying fiber or wheels.

I know spinners aren’t going anywhere and that this is part of the ongoing rhythm of fiber crafts in general. I also think that spinners are turning to spindles again. We are spinning on all spindles, but I have seen a crazy amount of spinning on Turkish spindles. I’ve also seen more spindle classes being offered at fiber shows and retreats.

Am I imagining things? Are you spindle spinning more?

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