Spinning Tuesdays

New to Me: Jeri Brock Spindles and Hobbeldehoy Battlings

Hobbeldehoy battlings on a Jeri Brock Turk

The marketplace at the Super Summer Knitogether was one good sized room (22 vendors), but it was mighty.  I found many vendors I’ve never seen in real life and some completely new to me. This weekend I spent time with a couple that are new to me. I spun Hobbeldehoy Battlings on a Jeri Brock Turkish Spindle.

The battlings come in a pack of 8 and totaled 2 ounces. These were a blend of Polwarth, silk, bamboo and sparkle. The colorway is Banned Books. They  were like candy to spin, the perfect amount in each battling for spindling without tangling and so well prepared that I could just shake and spin. The colors blend beautifully into a tweedy yarn.

You can tell from the photo that I’m still a newbie on Turkish spindles. I buy them and then don’t use them much. I find them a little intimidating. I dream of having beautifully wound cops like Evanita Montalvo. I have a lot practicing to do.

 

 

Fly, pig, fly!

Jeri’s spindle begged to be spun, so I spun on it this weekend. It’s easy to flick and it spun for a long, long time. The wood is silky smooth (mine is Sycamore) and is finished with the same delicious smelling oil that Schacht uses on their wheels.

Her spindles all feature scrollwork cutout designs, many with a sense of humor.  Besides being an excellent spinner the spindle I bought from Jeri reminds me not to take my spinning self so seriously.

What did you spin this weekend?

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Top to Batt: More Adventures in Carding

knittyblog top to batt

I spent a little time this week playing with my new Strauch carder. It turns and cards like butter. My first getting-to-know-you playtime was turning top into a batt. I split an Into the Whirled, Falkland, semi-solid top in half and made a 2 0unce batt. It was quick and easy; it only took two passes to turn combed top into a fluffy woolen batt.

I read the directions and followed all of the suggestions and it made a super puffy batt.

 

knittyblog top and batt

Fluffy and smooth

Look at the difference between the top and the batt, even the color changed! I can’t wait to spin them both and maybe figure out a way to use them together.

I’m planning on making several different batts this weekend, some striped and some a more kitchen sink style. I have so much fun stuff to card in my stash!

 

 

Are you coming to Wisconsin Sheep and Wool September 8-10?

There is still space in a couple of my classes: Twist & Ply on Friday afternoon and Fractal Frolic on Saturday afternoon. I hope to see you there!

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New to Me Tool: Strauch Motorized Finest Drum Carder

 

I’m quivering like a terrier as I write this. Sitting on my dining room table is a newly unboxed electric drum carder. Not just any carder a Strauch Finest, the one I’ve been lusting after for years.

Why am I not elbows deep in fiber with whisps flying all over the house? Because this is a tool that I want to last and to really know how to use before I jump in with my Soul Train line dance of woolen prepping excitement.

I am determined to go slowly ,to read the manual, and work building batts in steps, learning the ins and outs of this amazing machine.

 

 

Why did I pick this carder? A few reasons, first and foremost is word of mouth. I’ve only ever heard positive things about Strauch carders, how they

Three reasons I love this carder already.

operate, how they age and customer service. I borrowed one and made a whole bunch of batts and it’s true, it performed without a hitch, even when I got fiber stuck or wrapped where it shouldn’t be. And a motorized carder, sigh, it just flows. There are a few other reasons I went with this carder.

The chain drive, I have a poly drive on my current carder and the chain is more durable, I find it smoother, and it doesn’t slip. The motor, I knew my next carder would be motorized. The brush attachment, I’ve doing this manually and I like having the bush attached and keeping my fiber tidy and evenly packed. I can’t wait to figure out more reasons to love this carder.

 

This is the Honey Badger side, “Watch out!”

 

But now I’m going to go against my nature of ‘jumping in the deep end and figuring it out’ and learn all the hows and whys as I make fluffy batts. My aim is to make the fluffiest batts possible and to be able to explain batt spinning better from the batt’s point of view to my students in class.

Do you have any drum carding tips for me?

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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.

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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?

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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!

 

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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.

 

 

 

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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!

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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?

 

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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!

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