Spinning Tuesdays

Spiral or Boucle?

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.     I just taught this class at the  Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat in Tacoma and everyone had the ...

Madrona: The Haul

I am just back from Madrona, filling up on tea and willing my brain to make the shift back to eastern time from western time. I had an amazing time teaching and my students were fantastic, fun, smart, and I almost got them to dance with me. We did have a disco sing-along in one class. I will not pretend that today, a fake Monday for many (yesterday was a holiday celebrating presidents Washington and Lincoln) that you are remotely interested in anything, but seeing what I bought and clicking on the links. All but two braids of fiber are from people and companies that are new to me. My repeater in the lower left is ...

Would You Fix it or Leave It?

As I was spinning this weekend, I noticed that there are spinning irregularities that I almost never fix and ones that I always fix. There is no right or wrong answer to this situation, it is 100% personal preference. Some spinners fix everything and some fix nothing. This weekend I found that I have a particular threshold. I almost never fix thick and thin spots unless it is extreme to one end or the other, and sometimes I still leave those spots. The thick and thin is exactly what I like about handspun yarn. A machine can’t do it with true randomness and I think it’s what gives handspun yarn life. ...

Planning Projects As You Go For A Spinner

I’m sure you all know by now that knitting my handspun is one of my favorite things. I like to design my projects and I like to design my projects as I knit, especially smaller projects. How does that work if I’m spinning the yarn I’m knitting? What if I run out of yarn or what if I change my mind in the middle of knitting, my design becomes something different and I know I don’t have enough yarn? All of those things happen to me, a lot. You know what? I don’t sweat it. For me it’s the trade off for not having to be exact. I don’t know exactly what I’m knitting, I have ...

Why I Still Buy Yarn

If I spin why do I still buy yarn? Yes, I often look at commercial yarns and think, “I can make that” and sometimes I even do make something similar. But I still buy yarn to knit and weave with, why? There are companies making interesting yarns, yarns that this picky, picky spinner falls in love with. There are dyers who make exquisite colors and don’t dye fiber. There are companies making and selling yarn that employ people in countries not as bountiful as ours, or from sheep that are becoming endangered or from sheep, mills and dyers that are in their own neighborhood. I buy yarn from yarn shops ...

Favorite Spinning Tools: My Steamer

I have a little portable steamer that I use all of the time. It’s become one of those tools in my arsenal, along with my scale, that I had no idea when I bought it how much I would use it. I use it the most when I’m sampling. I’m not a patient spinner and I want to see what my yarn and knitted swatches are going to look like as soon as possible. Steaming is perfect for that. My steamer is small and is best for small skeins of yarn. I used to just hold my skeins over our electric kettle until I got tired of finding wool in my tea. I have used it for bigger 400 yard skeins, it took a couple of passes ...

Teaching at Loop

Who’s spinning with me at Loop next weekend? I got a few questions about my classes, so I thought I answer them here. I’m teaching three classes, all day Yarnitecture, half day Twist and Ply and half day Cheaper By the Dozen: 12 Ways to Spin Variegated Top. Yarnitecture: Building Exactly the Yarn You Want – This is a great class for spinners who either are beginner- ish, can make yarn and want to know what’s next, this class gives an over view of making yarn. This is also for spinners who have been spinning for any length of time who want have questions along the lines of , ‘how do I ...

Spinning in 2017 – Your List of Dyers

For a lot of us it’s the dreaded work reentry week after the winter holidays. I’ve put together a little diversion for you. A few weeks ago I asked who I should spin in 2017 and I got so many great answers that I’ve collected them here. How about a little fiber browsing for today? Let me know who you are excited to spin in 2017!       Owl About Yarn Countess Ablaze Highland Handmades On the Round Greenwood Fiberworks Inglenook Fibers Hilltop Cloud Porpoise Fur Hobbledehoy Threewaters Farm Nunoco Pigeonroof Studios EdgewoodGardenStudio FiberArtemis DyeabolicalYarns NerdGirl Yarn ...

Yarnitecture Giveaway!

  What? You did’t get my book for a holiday gift? Let’s fix that! I am giving away a copy of my book Yarnitecture and 4 ounces of Into the Whirled Falkland in the colorway Vegetable Medley. So you can spin along with the book. Our usual rules apply: Leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Friday, December 30th. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win the book and fiber. If you have already won a prize from us this year, please do give other knitters a chance. Giveaway value $49.00

Weaving with Handspun Singles – Energy Edition

Usually when I spin singles to weave or knit I reduce the amount of twist so I can finish the yarn to bias very little. There are weavers and knitters who do the opposite, they use regular and even high twist in their singles and make that electric energy part of their knitting or weaving. I have done some knitting with energized singles after taking classes with Kathryn Alexander, but have never played with energy and weaving. Liz Gipson’s latest Get Warped column is all about weaving with handspun singles and using that twist energy to make something very cool. I’ve read about controlling twist with ...