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Jillian’s Spinning: Spinzilla Sign Up and Swatches

After my happy success with Tour de Fleece, I ‘ve decided to do Spinzilla in October! I wonder how much yarn I can spin in a week? I’ve joined Team PLY,which is full now but, here’s a list of all the teams still available.  Has anyone joined a team yet? I’ve been spinning and knitting swatches for my Craftsy class. I leave on Sunday and I can’t wait to film. I am equal parts nervous and excited, which seems about right. In Happy Camper retreat news Beth, Rita and I planned our goodie bags and door prizes today. Each camper will have 6 ounces of fiber plus other surprises in their goodie ...

Uncharacteristically personal post from Amy

Life has gotten hard and complicated over the last while, and just after the New Year, something happened that I think it’s time I shared with you all. The husband and I decided we shouldn’t be married any more. We’ve been together for more than 2 decades, so this decision was a hard one to make. But it’s the right one for us both. As a result, you won’t be surprised to hear, I’ve been trying to get through the challenges this has presented. Life will continue to be complicated and challenging for a while longer, but I’m fine and want you all to know that. I’ll be ...

On Charity Knitting; Too Many Penguin Sweaters?

Boing Boing puts it best: The Internet may be producing an excess of penguin sweaters. If you do want to do some charity knitting, consult local organizations in your area to see what they need… women’s shelters often take children’s items; animal shelters often take blankets and comfort items; hospitals, particularly those with neonatal ICUs, often accept items for tiny newborns; homeless shelters often take winter accessories like hats and scarves. We all have the impulse to use our power for good – let’s just make sure we direct it in a way that it’s of most benefit.

Jillian’s Spinning: Handspun Stitching on Handspun Knitting

I’ve been making progress on spinning yarn that I can stitch with, take a look: The blue Merino/silk is about 18 wpi, the green alpaca/silk is 24 wpi and the tencel is 28 wpi. Regular 6 strand DMC embroidery floss is 22 wpi. I feel really good about these yarns. Of course there are different things I want to try and I want to spin finer, but that is why I keep spinning ,to keep learning! I stitched with handspun on handspun. First I did a little feather stitch with a dk singles on a 2-ply chunky stockinette swatch. This took about a second and was fun and satisfying. I immediately realized I couldn’t pull ...

Uke 101 for the holidays! (updated for 2013)

I wrote this post a few years ago, and thankfully, interest in the ukulele is still strong! So I share again at the holidays for those interested in gifting or receiving a uke. My best tips are below with links that all work, and new gift tips for those looking for a uke-themed gift for a friend. Enjoy! Ukuleles are experiencing a resurgence not seen since the 1950s, with movies like The Mighty Uke showing to packed houses, and musicians from Train to Amanda Palmer to Eddie Vedder reclaming the little 4-stringed wonder. I’ve been playing the uke since 2008, when I traded a skein of yarn for a purple Mahalo. It ...

Jillian’s Obsession Thursday: How I Know a New Thing Is Going to Stick

You may have noticed that I love to learn new things. I never know what’s going to set me off, something in a class, something I’ve read or saw someone else do. My latest fibery pursuit, embroidery, started with a spinning class with Sarah Swett in May. They I discovered Rebecca Ringquist and her beginning sampler class on CreativeBug. But I do know when a new interest is going to stick and become part of my life for a bit. It’s not the new stuff, though I love accumulating and researching tools and supplies. Here’s my embroidery stash: It’s the books. Not just books from the library, ...

Jillian’s Spinning: How I’m Getting Through the Holidaze This Year

This year has been especially crazy for me, nothing traumatic,  just extra busy. I have found a way to make this year’s gift giving  holidays less stressful for me – no handmade gifts. Yep, send out the craft police. I’m not making any presents. Over the years I have paired down the number of handmade gifts to one or two per year, rotating through the people who really love and appreciate the work that goes into handmade things. This year it started as an accident – the planning never made it onto my radar. When I realized, I first felt crappy about it. I love knitting and making and I love ...

Knitting Mondays: A SweaterBabe Giveaway Redux

A SweaterBabe Pattern Giveaway A few months ago we tried to have a SweaterBabe giveaway and something went very wrong with my computer and it ate all of the comments. So let’s try it again! Spring is trying hard where I live in Michigan, green flower shoots are nestled in snow and hail. The sunshine is a little less watery and the sky is trying for blue. Katherine Lee a.k.a SweaterBabe has given us some of her lovely patterns as a giveaway, I’m thinking they will help Spring bloom. SweaterBabe Patterns! Three winners will get to choose three PDFs each from the SweaterBabe pattern library! Prize value: ...

Jillian’s Spinning: New Knittyspin Column and Rhinebeck!

The new Spring+Summer Knitty is live! I have a new column, called Knittyspin. I’ll be writing about spinning yarn for knitting. The first column is about why I knit with handspun and all of the things I think about when I make yarn to knit with. I’ve gotten many big email hugs from spinners who’ve read it. I have to say it feels wonderful. I was nervous. I think a lot about spinning and knitting, sometimes too much. I was worried I was rehashing things all spinners knew already or just twirling in mental circles. Whew! Now I can start working on the next column.   I have big news – ...