Spinning Tuesdays

How Do You Store Your Tools?

How do you store your spinning tools? I’m having trouble figuring out where and how to store my middle-sized tools. I’m good with my little tools, they live in my spin kit. My big tools like wheels, and my drum carder have their own space. But what about hand cards, combs, hackles, little looms, kates, and storage bobbins not in use? Those tools can fit in a lot of different places. Mine are scattered all around. Combs and hackles I have stored out of the way because, ouch.   Most other things are scattered around with no rhyme or reason. I want to figure out a way to organize them, so I can always ...

Maryland Sheep & Wool First Timer

Maryland Sheep & Wool fans, I need your help! I’m teaching at the show before the festival starts, and I hope to see some of you in my classes. I’m staying an extra day, Saturday, because I have never been to Maryland Sheep & Wool. Tell me please, what are the things, food, and vendors that I shouldn’t miss? Things that are unique to MDSW. Including great places to eat nearby. I am excited to teach and excited to prowl the grounds of a new-to-me show, but with almost 300 vendors, it’s a little overwhelming. Yes, I am customizing a map, with a checklist, and may even make a spreadsheet. ...

Taking a Break by Taking a Class

I just got back from teaching at PLY Away. It’s one of my favorite events of the year, and I feel lucky to teach there. Right now it’s the biggest and longest spinning event in North America (and maybe the world). The downside for this introverted teacher is a 12 hour drive on each side of teaching and 4 1/2 days of teaching and festivities. That leaves me pooped and hilariously inarticulate. This year I tried something new. I took a class in the middle of my teaching schedule. I had a half day off and I signed up for Judith MacKenzie’s paper spinning class. I spun about 50 yards of paper yarn, ...

I Just Renewed My Spin Off Subscription

You might have heard the F&W media, the parent company of Interweave has filed for bankruptcy. There is a lot of speculation on what is going to happen. Are they restructuring, looking for a buyer or just shutting down? There are a lot of people who are owed money, including authors. I don’t know anything about what is going to happen, but I know I want Interweave to succeed the best it can. I have great admiration for what Interweave has done over the years, and what the employees at Interweave are still trying to do. I was an employee for a decade, and it was an amazing experience. I can’t afford to ...

Every Class Needs a Baby

Saturday I taught a Colorplay class for a fantastic group of women at the Kalamazoo Fiber & Dye Studio. We had a fun time and spun a ton of dyed fiber. We had a very special guest in class, Baby H, you can see him between the Matchless and the Lendrum. He’s the best baby and cast quite a spell on the class. He was there smiling and cooing at everyone, and showing off his rolling over skills. He nursed and took a a nap with his bum waving in the air. It was lovely to have him there. It made me think about when spinning was a part of women’s every day, a have to, not a hobby. I like to imagine that ...

Spring+Summer Knittyspin : Color and Combs

The Spring + Summer issue of Knitty is live and that means a new Knittyspin column. This issue I explore how to load combs with fiber. More specifically, and so much closer to my heart, how to load  commercially prepped fiber on combs for blending color. Each way results in a different effect to the finished yarn. The number of combing passes contributes to how much the fibers are blended too. Curious and ready to comb? Click on over and see the difference for your self.     It seems like spring would never come! But now it’s here and there are fleeces to be had everywhere. Are you fleece shopping ...

A Weaver’s Guide to Yarn

I have weaving on my mind these days. I’m ready to fire up my Cricket rigid heddle loom with something gorgeous and easy. The project I’m starting is a combination of handwoven yarn and commercial yarn. Choosing yarn is one of those things that can stop a new weaver from starting weaving. It’s overwhelming, and really we just want to use our stash or showcase our handwoven yarns. A Weaver’s Guide to Yarn by Liz Gipson is a gem. It gives you the basics on how yarns work in weaving, and makes picking yarns a whole lot less stressful. If picking yarn is keeping you from scratching your weaving ...

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 ...