Spinning Tuesdays

Sweet Georgia Starts a Color School and My Favorite Storage Bobbin Winder

Sweet Georgia fibre, colorway Tapestry. Photo by Sweet Georgia Yarns

Felicia Lo of Sweet Georgia Yarns and author of the new and wonderful book Dyeing to Spin and Knit is realizing her dream of starting an online School of Sweet Georgia.

She’s been simmering this idea since the mid 2000’s and just yesterday released it to the world. She’ll have classes in dyeing, knitting, spinning and weaving with color. It’s really exciting,

I don’t know many fiber artists that know as much about color and how it behaves with fiber than Felicia! She has a Patreon campaign to help her school get off of the ground, I’ve backed her and am looking forward to the first day school is in session.

 

 

My favorite bobbin winder

My favorite bobbin winder is a drill and a chopstick. I am the laziest spinner in all the land and using a cordless drill to wind storage bobbins hits my sweet spot. I usually use plastic weaving bobbins or cardboard storage bobbins (I love these because I can write on them). I use an inexpensive chopstick in my drill in place of a bit or a dowel. Since chopsticks increase in diameter the storage bobbins pressure fit on them, quick and easy.

 

How do you wind storage bobbins?

 

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A Tiny Peek at The Spinning Box

Even the outside of the Spinning Box is happy!

I’ve been curious to see what’s inside The Spinning Box and Mary was kind enough to send me one. The Spinning Box is a subscription for spinning fiber samples and other goodies. You can buy one or subscribe for as many months as you like.

I’m just going to show you a quick peek for today. I’ll be going over what’s inside in more detail in the next few weeks. I really thought I could quickly show it all and that would be that, except for the spinning, but I was so happily surprised by a couple of things with this box. The quality of the fiber samples, they are really excellent, beautifully prepared and dyed samples. The size of the samples, these are very generous samples. I’ve seen a couple of others fiber boxes via friends and none had the amount of fiber in it that The spinning Box has. There are also other goodies, candy, 3-d glasses, soap and buttons.

 

All of it!

Here’s a bird’s eye view. The weather has been really rainy the past few days so the true gorgeousness of the fiber is diminished in this photo, but just look at how much there is! The total of the fiber is 14 ounces. I’ll be shooting each fiber sample individually once the sun comes back to play. I can’t wait to tear open the bags and start spinning. I plan on spinning a sample of each fiber offering and then making some sexy big rolags on my Clemes and Clemes blending board.

I’m going on a spinning getaway with girlfriends the weekend after this one and all of this is definitely coming along.

Have you bought a fiber box? What did you do with all of the fibers?

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Support Liz Gipson’s Online Weaving School and Knitted Carded Swatches

Liz Gipson Weaving Superstar!

Have you seen Liz Gipson’s Patreon Campaign? She’s starting an online weaving school! I bet you know Liz from her Knitty column Get Warped! Or maybe from her books Weaving Made Easy, A Weaver’s Guide to Swatching or her brand new Handwoven Home. Liz makes rigid heddle weaving fun and easy. She’s also a fan of spinning and handspun yarn.  I can’t wait to take classes at her online school, so I supported her Patreon campaign. If you love to weave you might consider supporting her too!

 

 

 

Blending board on the left, hand cards on the right.

 

Even though I just spun a little bit of yarn in my hand cards and blending board experiment, I could just leave it. Those few yards kept winkingand waving at me until I knit them into tiny swatches. Sometimes I don’t follow my own advice and I always regret it. I just should have knit that yarn right away instead of dancing around it, because it’s fantastic.

The yarn and swatch I made from my Clemes and Clemes blending board fiber is still my favorite this week, but the knitted swatch I made on my hand cards, just glows. I really like how the color is lighter, but richer. I think I’d like to pair it with a matte yarn in a knitted or woven project.

Get ready for more blending board posts. I can’t get enough time with mine; I have little piles of fiber ideas stacked all over the house. In a couple of weeks I’m going away with my spinning women for a long weekend and working with my blending board may be all I do.

Plus I’m on the road to PLY Away right now and I’m sure I’ll find blending goodies in the marketplace.

Are there any blending board experiments or samples you’d like to see me tackle?

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Hand Cards Vs. Blending Board

Purple ‘n’ Pink fiber ready to go.

I’ve long been curious what the difference is between yarns spun from hand carded rolags and blending board rolags. I know that hand cards actually blend the fibers and a blending board mixes rather than thoroughly blends fiber, but I want to know what the yarns look like side by side.

Ideas always sink in best for me when I can compare things next to each other. I have a good idea of what both yarns will look like, but after I do these samples I will be better able to predict and plan rolags and yarns I want to make in the future. Plus the playing is fun!

I should be working on deadline projects that are coming up and getting ready for teaching at PLY Away, so it seemed like an ideal time to take a break play with yarn.

I got out two of my favorite tools,  my Louet extra fine cotton cards and my Clemes and Clemes blending board.

For fiber I used Louet Corriedale in purple and Merino/Tencel in Garth from Cjkoho Designs. The ratio between the two fibers was somewhere between 70%/30% and 75%/25% Corriedale/ Merino-Tencel.

 

 

 

Rollin’ rolags: Blending board rolags on the left and hand carded rolags on the right.

 

I spread the fibers randomly on the the blending board and did about five passes with my hand cards.

It was very hard not to upend my stash to make seventy-billion different versions on the blending board, it’s addictive!

I rolled my rolags pretty loosely and pulled them into roving.

I spun a quick 2-ply with each, using a woolen draft.

 

 

 

Mixed or blended?

 

I like both yarns, but would use them differently. The carded yarn is blended well, the pink lifts the purple color-wise and I really like the flashes of shiny that the Merino/Tencel brings. I’d use this type for detail-y knitting, imagine a Fair Isle pattern with a little shine or a sparkly Brioche.

The blending board yarn is just so happy! I like the big splashes of Merino/Tencel. I could spin this yarn quite chubby and the Corriedale would keep it from being too heavy. I’d use this yarn  for something simply knit with a texture stitch or just stockinette, when I want the yarn rather than the stitch pattern to sing.

Now back to work.

Which do you like, mixed or blended?

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6 TED Talks for Fiber Artists

A sculpture by Janet Echelman photo by Janet Echelman

 

I have several deadlines looming simultaneously, so my head is down over my computer and spinning wheel.

I do take frequent short breaks and explore lovely things to look at and watch. Yesterday I found this TED playlist: Talks for the Fiber Artist

There are six and each is fascinating and inspiring. My favorite is Taking Imagination Seriously by Janet Echelman. Look at her portfolio! After I watched her TED talk I read her entire web page, then I was refreshed and excited to get back to my own work.

Which of the six inspires you?

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Photo Attribution in the New Knitty, Spinning Blogs, Podcasts and Vlogs

Adorable Akerworks Flyer Threader, photo by Evantia Montalvo

 

A photo attribution was left off of a photo in the new Knitty in Cool Stuff. It is fixed on the page, but I want to let everyone know that the photo of the orange hedgehog Akerworks Flyer Threader was taken by Evantia Montalvo.

I apologize Evantia for leaving off the attribution, it’s a great photo!

 

 

 

 

 

I am on the hunt for spinning (or spinning heavy) blogs, podcasts and vlogs. I need more spinning in my life! Tell me your favorites and I will list them here. While you’re at it, tell me which Ravelry groups you love for spinning. I feel like I’m in a rut, always reading and listening to the same things over and over. It’s spring and I need something new for my spinning brain.

 

I am off to Yarn Fest! I hope to see some of you there!

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WEBS First Ever Spinning Summit – September 29- October 1

Can you hear the angels singing? it’s WEBS! Photo by WEBS

 

Unless you participate in no social media, you’ve heard of the amazing knitting retreats that WEBS puts on. They are newer to the retreat game, but hit it right out of the park starting with their very first retreat.

 

A tiny peek at WEBS spinning section – a wall of fiber. photo by WEBS

 

 

Now Amy Greeman and the gang at WEBS is doing the same for spinning. September 29 – October 1 is the first WEBS Spinning Summit and it’s going to be a doozy!

Abby Franquemont, Amy King, Beth Smith and I are all teaching. There are 12 classes to choose from (you get to pick three) all selected based on each teacher’s expertise and passion, including Abby teaching spindles, Beth teaching breeds, Amy teaching color and yarn structure and I’m teaching spinning for color, batts and knitting.

 

 

Downtown!

 

 

The classes are being held in the store. Yes that’s right, steps from all of that yarn and fiber. I know WEBS is legend for their yarn selection, but have you seen their spinning section? Mmmm, mmmm good!

There will be a special after hours marketplace with retreat-only discounts, spinners yoga, a spin-in, books signings, plenty of time to explore beautiful North Hampton and silliness we want to be a surprise.

The retreat is filling up fast, come and spin with us!

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New To Me Fiber: The Homestead Hobbyist

logoI was introduced to Ken of The Homestead Hobbyist and his delectable fiber at the Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat this year. To say that I fell hard is an understatement. I went back to his booth at least four times to buy fiber and sent many, many people to shop at his booth. It is only becasue I was on a strict budget that I didn’t just empty his booth into my suitcase.

 

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L to R: Dyckia, Nevertheless She Persisted, Eye Witness

 

Ken does amazing things with color, rich and earthy without becoming muddy. He also has the most unusual blends of fibers that I’ve ever run across. He takes very particular care of his fiber when he dyes it. Even the finest of the fibers are ‘shake and spin’ ready, not one of the fibers I bought is compacted.

Here’s what I bought, I am so excited to spin them that I am almost hesitant, but I know it is foolish to save them becasue Ken is always dyeing more.

In the photo to the right, left to right: 50% Rambouillet/50% Yak color: Dyckia; 50% 14.5 micron Merino/50% Cashmere color: Nevertheless She Persisted; 37.5% 18.5 micron Merino/37.5% Shetland/25% Mulberry Silk color: Eye Witness.

 

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L to R: Wounded Ranger, Truffle Hunting, Sinningla

 

In the photo on the left from left to right: 50% Rambouillet.25% Yak/25% Mulberry Silk color: Wounded Ranger; 37.5% Rambouillet/37.5% Mulberry Silk/12.5% Max Loaghtan/12.5% Black Welsh color: Truffle Hunting; 50% Rambouillet/25% Black Welsh/25% Llama. The blends, the blends!

After Madrona Ken had a big booth at Stitches West, he is slowly refilling his shop. Keep checking to see what’s new; I did see some Yak/Silk and Merino/Cashmere there today.

 

I have very specific plans for some of these fibers, the others are still waiting. I do know I’ll be buying more of this fantastic fiber. Are you already a Homestead Hobbyist fan or is Ken a fiber artist that’s new to you?

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Book Giveaway: Dyeing to Spin and Knit by Felicia Lo

Felicia Lo, the founder and queen of color at Sweet Georgia Yarn has written a fantastic book about color for dyeing, spinning and knitting. It is really good, one of those ‘don’t think, just buy’ types of books. Thanks to the folks at Interweave, we have a copy of the book to giveaway!

Below is my review of the book from the latest issue of Knitty and below that are the rules for our giveaway. Good luck and happy playing with color!

 

Dyeing to Spin and Knit

Dyeing to Spin and Knit

Dyeing to Spin and Knit:Techniques and Tips to Make Custom Hand-Dyed Yarns
by Felicia Lo
Interweave
$26.99

All.The.Color. Want to dye color? Check. Want to spin color? Check. Want to knit color? Check. If you are a fan of dyeing, spinning or knitting and have even the slightest interest or hesitation about color, you need this book. Felicia Lo has been dyeing expertly and vibrantly for her company Sweet Georgia Yarns since 2005, so she knows a thing or two about how to make, combine and manipulate color.

She starts this color journey with defining color, the color wheel, terminology, and how color affects us. There is a lot of information in this section but it’s broken down to small, easy to mentally digest bites.

There is no one I’d rather have explain dyeing to me than Felicia Lo. She uses 50 pages to teach about dyeing, the types of dyes, how to dye, setting up a studio, safety, prepping your fiber and yarn and techniques. Dyeing techniques are not usually something a working dyer likes to share, but Felicia lays it all out, with photos and formulas – low-water immersion dyeing, spinkle dyeing, how to make formulas for variegated colorways, hand painting, how to dye self-striping yarns, gradient dyeing, using resists, dyeing in a ball and the all-important troubleshooting what didn’t go quite right. She even talks about keeping track of dyeing with both notes and physical samples.

Chapter three is about spinning color when working with variegated colorways, what affects color as it’s spun, how to control the length of color repeats, controlling color transitions, mixing and blending, fractal spinning, making and spinning batts, and spinning textured yarns. If you are thinking that this is just her Craftsy class, nopethere is so much more here.

Then Felicia dives into teaching about knitting with variegated yarns: about yarn weight, gauge, managing color with stitch patterns, mixing and blending colors in knitting, and an excellent section on pooling.

Felicia is an expert and a technically detailed fiber artist, but this book isn’t overwhelming or stuffy. She explains things with just enough detail to understand and replicate and has that friendly tone that encourages you to step out of your comfort zone color-wise.

She caps it all off with 11 accessory patterns to try out everything she’s laid out in the book. On first flip through, you might say, “oh that’s pretty. I want to knit it in exactly those colors.” Here’s what happens when you get to this point after reading the book: “well, I think I might like to change the whole colorway or at least manipulate the colors so they work like this”. You get the idea.

This book will change how you think about and use color.

 

Our usual giveaway rules apply. Leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Sunday March 12, 2017. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win Felicia’s new book.  Giveaway value $26.99.

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Spiral or Boucle?

Spiral yarns

Spiral yarns

When I teach my Further Adventures in Plying: Texture and Color class the class usually divides their love between two yarns. We cover four yarns in this class Crepe, Cable, Spiral and Boucle, but one of two yarns usually steal the hearts of my students – Spiral or Boucle. In this class we work on the structure of making the yarns first using a natural or a solid colored fiber, then in the afternoon we add in layers of color, variegated fibers and sparklies while practicing getting the structure just right.

 

Boucle yarns

Boucle yarns

 

I just taught this class at the  Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat in Tacoma and everyone had the love for boucle. I’m teaching it next at Yarn Fest in Colorado (there’s still room in the class if you’d like to join us), which yarn will be the winner this time?

Which is your favorite? What do want to know about spinning these yarns?

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