Spinning Tuesdays

Batt Love

When I went to Fiber Expo I was deeply smitten with these batts.

Puffy, puffy batts

They are Whimsy batts from Frankie Loves Fiber, wonderful blends of merino, corriedale, shetland, silk and sparkle. I couldn’t choose between them. To me, colorwise, they belong together, so I brought home all three. I know, twist my arm.

Weeks later when it came time to spin them, I felt even more strongly that the three should be one mixed colorway. It had become an idea I couldn’t shake, a bee in my spinning bonnet. So I went with it.

Here’s what I did to combine them.

Open, the batts had even more colors:

Pink, red, purple and shades of dirt

I divided each of the batts lengthwise into 4 strips, then set aside 2 strips of each batt to be spun in longer color runs.

Batts stripped

The remaining strips I divided in half widthwise into a pile of 12 teeny batts.

shredded batts

Both the strips and shreds I spun in a random color order. I placed the strips in one grocery bag and the shreds another and grabbed without looking.

Strips bobbin on the left, shreds bobbin on the right

I spun the strips onto one bobbin, attenuating each strip lengthwise and spinning from the end. I controlled this yarn a little more, thick and thin, but drafting out  some of the bigger bits. I spun woolen, long draw, at a wpi between 14-16.

I spun the shreds by fluffing them more than attenuating them, but still spinning from the end. I controlled this yarn less, lumps, bumps and chunks of goodness all in the yarn. I spun woolen, long draw, at a wpi between 10-12.

I plied the two bobbins and the result is the colorway that stuck itself in my head when I first fell for these batts.

Blended batts FTW

The wpi is 4-6, the yarn is soft and sparkly, the colors randomly spread throughout. Now what should I make?

Soft and smooshy

*Spread the joy!*

The View from My Wheel: Deb Robson’s Wool Breed Study Class

Spinning zen

This past weekend I took a two day wool breed study class with Deb Robson, at The Spinning Loft.

We covered a variety of breeds within the categories of primitive wools, down type wools , long wools and fine wools. Covering a category included history, lock, crimp, luster characteristics,  prep methods, and spinning at least 4 breeds within each category.

Not being a breed junky, for me, it was the type of class that introduced me to a whole world of things that I don’t know. My first instinct was to panic (usually, my first instinct), it all seemed huge and overwhelming and there were combs, which I’ve never managed to get to work for me.

Knowing that I couldn’t just run screaming, because there are no take backs in spinning. I sat and listened. Deb is wonderful teacher. She has a calm melodious voice and a depth of knowledge that makes the history of sheep breeds seem like an enchanted fairy tale. I soaked it up like a sponge. I spun and learned.

It was hours of fascinating learning. And in that casual- sneaky way that only the best teachers have, Deb got me on combs. I finally understood and used combs, and even came home with a pair.

Like in the best types of classes there was learning from each other too. I came home having learned combing and better ways to hand card and taught Andean plying. It reminds me of the square dancing move, the allemande where you pass around your circle hand over hand.

It’s classes exactly like this one that keep me excited, keep me signing up for things I’m not sure about, and keep me spinning every day.

*Spread the joy!*

Plying Spindle Spun Yarn

I love to spin singles on my spindles, but I’ve never been a fan of plying on a spindle.

Before you ask, it's an Indigo Hound spindle.

Instead I use my Kate 45 and ply on my wheel.

Ply, girl, ply!

All with the help of the humble drinking straw. My cop goes on the straw and the straw goes on my lazy kate rod.

Size does matter

I have a pack of regular bendy straws that fit perfectly over the rods on my Kate 45 just loose enough to spin, but not so loose that the fly off when plying. The straw has to be taller than your cop but, not taller than your lazy kate rod.

Spindle to straw

I slide my straw as far as it will go up the spindle shaft and slide the cop slowly onto the straw.

Ready for a 2-ply

I found that if I tried to make the cop transfer off of the spindle or even at the bottom of the spindle shaft, it was much harder to get the cop on the straw smoothly.

Ply like the wind

I use my wheel to ply, but it’s just as easy to ply to a spindle from your kate.

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A Spinning Giveaway!

Beautiful Indigenous

One lucky spinner will win 4 oz of BFL/ Tussah (a $22.95 value) from Three Waters Farm to make Lynne Vogel’s Indigenous shawl from the current issue of Knittyspin.

You want it don’t you? Leave a comment below by noon, eastern time, tomorrow (Wednesday, November 10). If you are chosen, you must answer a super secret question to be declared the winner.

Our winner will be announced on Friday, November 12.

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In Search of Fiber Fiesta Fiber!

Fiber Fiesta yarn spun from gorgeous A Verb For Keeping Warm fiber.

Do you dye fiber? Create spectacular batts or fiber blends?

I’m gathering fiber for  Knittyspin’s 2011 Fiber Fiestas.

Knittyspin’s Fiber Fiestas are held quarterly. We invite a group of spinners with varying levels of experience, and each samples your fiber.[We do have enough Fiber Fiesta spinners.] All reviewers are asked to spin, set, and knit with the fiber, putting it through the same process an average spinner would.

In order to have your fiber included in an upcoming yarn Fiber Fiesta, please send at least 8 oz of each type of fiber you’d like considered for review. Multiple submissions [more than one type of fiber, blend or put up] are welcome! Please include a short “bio” of your fiber and/or your business – this is especially important for unusual blends and small-batch fiber companies; where your fiber can be purchased and the suggested retail price for your fiber.

Samples will not be returned. I will contact you to let you know in which issue your review will appear, so you can make sure to have stock on hand.

If you’re interested in having your fiber in Knittyspin’s Fiber Fiesta or have a fiber artist to suggest  I contact, leave a comment here or drop me a line at jillianmorenoATgmail.com.

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Fiber Expo: I May Have Shopped

This is the fourth year that there has been a Fiber Expo in my town. Now, it’s not Rhinebeck, but with 77 vendors, I was still able to make my spinning heart cheer and credit card cry.

All the vendors I bought from are local to Michigan, but sell online. I’ve got a bunch of spinning to do.

Here’s what I got:

BFL fleece, all raw and crunchy

A BFL fleece from Cross Wind Farm.

cormo, warm and inviting

Two 8oz bumps of BFL/Cormo from Cross Wind Farm in colors to chase away the gray Michigan winter

sexy batt packaging

I may have gone a bit of  batt binge at this show. This one is from Hands and Notions. Her packaging is great isn’t it?

so pretty, it changed the way I look at yellow and pink

Yellow and pink are two colors I typically steer away from, but this batt from Bricolage Studios lept into my hands.

can't pick? get them all.

I couldn’t choose between these batts from Frankielove Fiber, so I bought all three. I’m going to randomly spin them together.

sigh.

From Yarn Hollow, two new colorways: Crimson and Chai.

Fiberstory won me and my friends over, 100%

Every single person in the fiber gang I shopped with bought something from Fiberstory Our favorite new fiber supplier, can you blame us?

both happy AND fuzzy

Two from Happy Fuzzy Yarn. She does the best blues.

*Spread the joy!*

What Do You Gift A Spinner?

Briar Rose Polwarth Roving

It’s full-on fall in the northern hemisphere and my mind is turning to the up coming gifting season and the many birthdays of my fiber friends that happen in the fall.

What do you gift a spinner, or a knitter?

My go-to gift used to be a spindle or other fiber tool, but now I’m rethinking fiber gifts.

I think this season I’ll be giving roving that I’ve picked specially or dyed specially for the the recipient.


Indigodragonfly Merino

I’m also thinking about handspun yarn.

I’ve never been much for giving my handspun yarn, but why not? Who better to appreciate handspun than a another spinner? Every time I’ve received handspun yarn, I’ve loved it.

I’m putting yarn on my giving list too.

I better starting dyeing and spinning.

What are your favorite gifts for spinners?

*Spread the joy!*

View From My Wheel: Friends

Everyone was alseep when I took the picture, shhhh.

I just got back from a blissful weekend away with fiber friends. There were seven of us holed up in a cabin for 2 1/2 days, doing nothing but fiber, watching movies and overloading on carbs.

This weekend got me thinking about how I spin with friends. Spinning with friends is all about relaxing. It’s impossible for me to learn or teach something new, because I might miss out on my share of the conversation.

I did find I can practice skills that I already have a seed planted for in my head and hands, thick and thin or trimming my yarn diameter. But something new or something not in my realm of my usual woolen yarn was a no go. I brought some beautiful merino/silk I wanted to spin as a fine worsted yarn, and as many times as I touched it, I couldn’t even take it out of my spinning bag.

For me the key is the calm and easy feeling I get when I spin with my friends. It’s my grown up version of a playground. When kids play on a playground they are 100% there with their friends, playing their favorite games, nothing else matters. When I spin with my fiber tribe it’s the same, I am 100% there, my hands doing what they love best, and my heart happy and light. Why spin something new?

*Spread the joy!*

What’s Your Groove?

Not too long ago my friend Erica & I both spun worsted weight-ish types of yarn. We’re both part of a group of fiber friends who meet weekly at a coffee shop to spin, knit and generally laugh off our weekly stresses. Our worsted weight yarns, hers worsted spun, mine woolen, were our groove yarns, our sitting on the couch go-to yarns. What our hands and wheels just spun when left to their own devices.

Erica decided she wanted to spin thinner, she used smaller whorls and weekly I could see her yarn getting finer and finer. I decided to spin fat lofty yarns, I took some classes and practiced a lot and my yarn got thicker and thicker. I didn’t think our groove yarns had traveled that far apart on the the wpi road, until I shot this issue’s Fiber Fiesta. Take a look at our versions of Three Waters Farm, Lynne Vogel LTD, BFL/Tussah:

These mamas have a brand new groove

Erica’s has a wpi of 20, mine a wpi of 5. I say were were successful in finding our new groove yarns.

This weekend coming up, our little fiber group is going away for a long spinning weekend, four days of spinning with friends. I think I’ll take a smaller whorl or two and see if I can’t get started on another new groove.

What’s your groove yarn?

*Spread the joy!*

How do you sort your stash?

my new stash spot. blink and you'll miss it

I’ve culled and reorganized my main floor  stash space.

As I was deciding on what to keep upstairs and what to banish to the basement stash, I realized I have very particular ideas about the sorting of my fiber stash.

For my new upstairs stash I have:

  • a cubby of my own handspun yarn, waiting to be patterns
  • all of my Briar Rose fiber, because I wanted all of something for that feeling of abundance and it’s gorgeous
  • a cubby of new to me fiber, right now it’s Southern Cross fiber
  • a cubby of inspirational fiber, right now it’s Lynne Vogel fiber
  • most of my spinning tools – bobbins, niddys, etc
  • a cone of yarn for core spinning
  • my last round of dyed by me fiber because I like to stare at it

Downstairs I also have:

  • fleeces
  • fiber to dye
  • fiber to card into batts
  • 8oz+ of the same colorway
  • luxury fiber
  • more specific dyers: Spunky Eclectic, Hello Yarn, Lorna’s Laces, Abby Batts, more Lynne Vogel
  • natural colored fiber that will stay natural

I also have a stash for Knittyspin.

So I’m happy that while it may not look, or sometimes feel, like my stash is organized, there is certainly a method to my madness.

How do you organize your fiber?

*Spread the joy!*