Spinning Tuesdays

TNNA – The Spinning


Book me
Look my book!


I got back from TNNA last night, it was a whirlwind of fiber, yarn and lots and lots of  hugs. I’m going to show you a few of the spinning things I saw, but I sure didn’t take as many photos as I thought I did!

The first place I went when we got to the show was the Storey Publishing booth to see my upcoming book  Yarnitecture! Here I am giddy with a mock up of the book and my editor Gwen Steege. The book is at the printer right now and will be available in September. You can pre-order on Amazon right now. Squee!




Spinning and Weaving FTW!
Spinning and Weaving FTW!


The Spinning And Weaving Group are the people who bring us Spinzilla every year. They have plans to make Spinzilla even bigger and more fun. They elected a new president this year, Rita Pettys of Yarn Hollow,you can see her waving from the booth.

Spinning and weaving were hot at the show, in large part to this dynamic group. Knitting stores are continuing to add both spinning and weaving to their offerings as their customers ask for them and apparently, people are asking. We aren’t surprised are we?



Frabjous Fiber
Frabjous Fiber Colorshift and Merino/Tencel


Frabjous Fibers added Merino/Tencel to their fiber line, a blend that not many companies carry. The also have gorgeous gradients called Colorshift.





Sweet Georgia's wall of color!
Sweet Georgia’s wall of color!



Lots of companies are listed in the show guide as having spinning fiber, but no company brings it like Sweet Georgia. They have a whole wall of spinning fiber in all of their glorious colors. They show all of their colors on all of their bases. I visited this booth a few times just to stare and sigh.






Dragonfly Fibers rich and sexy spinning fiber.
Dragonfly Fibers rich and sexy spinning fiber.


Dragonfly fibers has Polwarth/silk and a Merino/ silk fiber, this picture is not great, but that fiber in Kate’s rich colors made me want to roll all over it like a happy puppy.






Spinning equipment companies were there too. Schacht, Louet and Ashford all had booths. I didn’t get photos of any of them because I was too busy touching, touching, touching. Schacht had a line to try their new Flat Iron wheel. They announced the price at $795. Schacht reported that shops were interested in looms this year, more than spinning.

Between fiber, fiber equipment and yarn the Louet booth was always hopping, but I did finally get my hands in their fiber sample book. I had forgotten how much I love their dyed Corriedale – it’s so soft.


That’s the quick and dirty spinning report. I’ll go into a lot of these fibers deeper as I get samples to spin.



What Is the Next BFL?

Huckleberry Knits Targhee/Silk
Huckleberry Knits Targhee/Silk

For a long time everyone was spinning Merino. Now BFL seems to be the undisputed Queen of  the most popular commercially prepped fiber contest. I thought Polwarth was going to take over, then everyone was spinning Targhee, now Corriedale and Falkland seem hot.

I am so thrilled that there are so many choices of commercially prepped and beautifully dyed fibers. And the blends, don’t get me started! The fiber festival shopping days are just getting started, what are you seeing out there? What were the last 3-5 commercially prepped fibers that you bought?

My five are: Superwash BFL top, Targhee/ Silk top, Falkland, Yak/Silk top and Eider.

What do you think is going to be the hottest fiber to spin this year?

Amy King Spins Singles

Amy King's new spinning class
Amy King’s new spinning class

Amy King  loves spinning singles. In her new Craftsy class she teaches all of her singles secrets. New to spinning singles? She’s got you covered with all of the basics – fiber, draft and finishing. Have singles experience? Get a refresher on the basics, plus learn to spin novelty singles and spin energized singles. Spindle spinners have a reason to be excited about this class. Amy shows most of her techniques on a wheel and a spindle. She also shows off a whole lot of projects, knitted, crochet and woven made from singles.



Don’t forget that Amy King is a spectacular dyer, the brain behind Spunky Eclectic. Every month she chooses a colorway to

Spunky Eclectic Sky on BFL
Spunky Eclectic Sky on BFL

feature at 15% off. This month it’s Sky. If you need some fiber to practice your singles or just jump in and make a whole project from singles head over to the Spunky Eclectic shop and have a look around. Want to keep up with what’s new with Amy and Spunky Eclectic? She has a newsletter you can sign up for here. Want to shop in person? She’ll be at these shows in the next few weeks May 28-29  MA Sheep and Wool  and June 4-5  Maine Fiber Frolic.

Do you work with singles? What have you made from Spunky Eclectic fiber?

There’s a new Schacht wheel coming – Have you seen it?



There have been rumors for at least a year about a new Schacht, a different kind of Saxony wheel. I finally saw it and spun on it at PLY Away. I saw on Instagram many spinners trying it out at Maryland Sheep and Wool. It’s called the Flatiron, named after the mountains outside of Boulder.



I am not typically a Saxony wheel spinner, but I’m already saving my pennies for this wheel.

So smooth!
So smooth!

It comes packed flat (I’ve been calling it the Schacht-Ikea) and can be set up with the flyer on the left or right. It is not a folding wheel – that was a rumor.  It uses all the same whorls and bobbins as other Schacht wheels and can be used in Scotch tension, Irish tension  or Double Drive. It is a double treadle wheel and treadles as smoothly as silk. I was surprised at how smooth it was and how easily I could stop and start the wheel with just the treadles.

There’s no release date or price yet, but soon. As soon as I hear I will post it.


What have you heard about the Flatiron,  have you seen it or tried it?

Sarah Swett – Always Inspiring


I'm just not sure 11" x 7" x 5" hand woven tapestry, hand embroidery wool, (hand spun and commercial), dye (natural and synthetic), steel wire, stone. ©Sarah C. Swett 2016
I’m just not sure 11″ x 7″ x 5″ hand woven tapestry, hand embroidery wool, (hand spun and commercial), dye (natural and synthetic), steel wire, stone. ©Sarah C. Swett 2016

Sarah Swett never fails to inspire me. I’ve followed her work for years, she’s a tapestry weaver, a spinner, a knitter, a dyer. I love  to watch her work. I love to watch her think about her work. She sits with it, she focuses, she lets it guide her, but digs in an works long hard hours. She blogs, and she’s on Instagram a bit, but mostly she’s working on her art.

Her latest pieces are small tapestry mobiles, woven from handspun (and commercial) yarns and embroidered. Interesting thinking and interesting art.

She tells stories with her art, always. It’s never just an image, but a piece of something bigger. You can take it for what your see or dig into Sarah’s writing and photos to get another view.

I could never work as focused and as diligently as she does (look a squirrel!) maybe that is part of her appeal for me. I am a process person. She is both process and product. She has the wide-ranging curiosity to sample the process, but also the the steely-eyed determination to visualize a piece and finish it, even if the piece finished is not the same as the original vision.

When I get stuck or just need something interesting to look at and mull over, I go to Sarah’s website and look at what she’s been working on. Take a look and tell me what you think!




Maryland Sheep and Wool is this Weekend

Maryland Sheep and Wool!
Maryland Sheep and Wool!

Maryland Sheep and Wool is one of the high holy fiber shows. Spinners talk about it with a sigh in their voice. This is the first big show, the cracking open of the fiber season. Spinners, knitters and other fiber folk burst out of their winter cocoons and throw themselves on fiber, yarn and sheep with the glee of a 5 year old at a birthday party.

I have never been to Maryland Sheep and Wool, it coincides with a big publishing week in New York. My husband is always gone and I have kids still in school, so Maryland will have to wait.

Every year I pretend I’m going to Maryland,  I scour the vendors and I make a shopping plan. It’s fun and no credit card is needed!

If I were going this year here are some of the things I’d check out:

  • The fleece sale. Yep, I’ve finally tripped and landed in the need for fleece. It’s going to be a dangerous spring and summer for my bank account.
  • Anyone selling sheep cheese. Another new desire. I’m reading and tasting all that I can.
  • The WooLee Winder booth. The have a new e-spinner, and I want to touch it.
  • The Bosworth Booth. I also have the itch for a new spindle.
  • Spunky Eclectic. For as many years as I ‘ve been spinning Amy’s fiber I only get it online. I’ve never seen it in the wild.
  • Into the Whirled. My stash of Cris’ fiber is dangerously low.
  • Cooperative Press. Shannon has released so many new books, I want to see them all.
  • Moving Mud. The have glass darning needles now and I might need a pair of new earrings.
  • The Ross Farm. My stash needs to be fed some rare breed roving.

That’s just a few, and it doesn’t count my favorite ways to find things to buy, other spinners. At any fiber show or sale my absolutely favorite thing is when I run across a spinning friend and I follow them on their show quest. That’s how I’ve found the best surprises.

Who’s going to Maryland and what is on your list?


Ply Away – The Haul!

I taught at Ply Away this weekend and it was amazing. It’s the biggest spinning-only retreat running right now and there were about 300 spinners swarming the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City. I taught 5 classes full of wonderful spinners.  There was also a marketplace. I usually don’t shop when I teach because I’m surrounded by fiber all day, but I tripped a little at this market.

Plyaway haul
Ply Away haul

I got a Clemes and Clemes blending board (squee!) I’ve wanted one for a long time and I need it for a work project, so there’s one heading my way. Huckleberry Knits was there with her new Targhee/Silk blend- 6 braids came home with me. I’ve never seen so much of her fiber in person.  There was a pen store in the mall attached to the hotel, many, many spinners went crazy in there. I got two pens and two new inks. I had to get that pair of socks too, they made me laugh out loud.

Ply Away Saturday Night Spin In
Ply Away Saturday Night Spin In – So Many Spinners!


What did you spin (or buy ) this weekend?

Woolen or Worsted? Forward or Backward?

2 and 3 ply yarns.
2 and 3 ply yarns, woolen spun.


How do you draft? My default draft is woolen. I used to never draft worsted, but I have learned to (almost) love it. The type of draft can change so many things about your yarn, you better believe I use drafting style to help create the yarn I want to knit with.

When I draft woolen I draft backwards, when I draft worsted I usually draft backwards too. Some spinners find that odd, I’ve even heard the word, wrong.

So tell me how do you draft and in which direction?





Spin those singles!
Spin those singles!

Have you seen Amy King’s new Craftsy class Spinning Stupendous Singles? Amy is my singles spinning hero and this class is great.

If you are new to spinning singles, need some reminders or practice, or want tips to make your singles better, grab your wheel and fiber and settle in for an informative and fun few hours.

The Knittyspin Library

When I was teaching at Yarn Fest I ran into quite a few people who had never heard of Knittyspin, actually I ran into quit a few people who had never heard of Knitty!

I want to post a little reminder about Knittyspin. In every issues of Knitty there is a column about a spinning topic, usually written by me, Jillian, and one or two knitting patterns designed for handspun yarn. Just like Knitty all of those patterns are archived in the Knitty library and are free! There are almost 90 Knittyspin patterns in our library, take a look.

So many pretty patterns for handspun!
So many pretty patterns for handspun!

Already know and love Knittyspin and our library of patterns? Pass the word on to your spinning and knitting friends!

Why I Love Teaching

I’m just back from teaching at the Interweave Yarn Fest. I had a blast and couldn’t have asked for better or more enthusiastic students! My friend, fellow teacher, amazing weaver and author, Stephanie Flynn Sokolov captured a photo of me in one of my classes that pretty much sums up why I love teaching.

Happy student, happy teacher!
Happy student, happy teacher!

I get to help spinners spin yarns they want to use and spin yarns they didn’t think they could spin. This photo is from my Big Yarns class and look at that fat yarn my student just finished. Want to see why she’s smiling like that?

Before and after yarn
Before and after yarn

I know it’s blurry, but see that fine line between the green arrow and the point of the scissors? That is her default yarn, 2-ply lace weight. She was sure she couldn’t spin bigger, but poof, we got her there. Happy spinners make happy teachers!

I love my job!