Electric Spinner vs. Treadle Wheel

Electric or treadle? Yes!

Spinners ask me about electric wheels all of the time. The good, should I get one? And the bad, why would you have one?

For me it’s not an either/or. I find my treadle wheels and my electric wheel (I have a Hansen, version 1 ) happily coexist in my spinning and my spinning heart.

I use my treadle wheels when I feel like treadling (duh) and when I’m sampling with a lot stops and starts, or when I need to pay closer attention to drafting or plying. I’m not saying that starting and stopping and detailed viewing of your yarn can’t be done on an electric spinner, I just don’t do it that way. I also like to use my treadle wheels for art yarns.

I use my treadle wheels the most, partially because I have more than one and keep different projects on each one. A treadle wheel was my first wheel and what helped me really fall for spinning. I don’t think I’ll ever be without one. But I wouldn’t give up my Hansen either.

I use my electric spinner when I am spinning a lot of yarn, especially the type of yarn I can just get into a groove and go, spinning through a whole season of something. If I’m spinning for a sweater, a couple of pounds of fiber, I put the WooLee Winder on my Hansen, twiddle my knobs until I have my the correct settings for my yarn, find something British with murder on Netflix and I’m off. I usually mark my settings right on the wheel in pencil, or sometimes on a sticker. I also use my Hansen to ply, I love plying on that machine, effortless and steady.

I like to travel with my miniSpinner; I fly with her and I even take her camping. Sometimes I get tired of sitting, my hips, knees and back start to complain. Then I put my spinner on a stool or a counter and spin standing up. That was a revelation for me. When I got achey from sitting and spinning before my spinner, spindle spinning was my only option, and I’m not a very productive spindle spinner.

If you are deciding if you want an electric spinner, try one. Try more than one, there are many on the market now. I know that the SpinOlution Firefly is another very popular electric spinner, but I haven’t tried one yet. You’ll know, just like a treadle wheel, if it’s a wheel for you or not.

The answer to why I have an electric spinner is, of course, variety! Just like I like to spin a whole lot of different yarns, I like to spin on a range of wheels. And i like spinning on it, it feels right.

Please don’t make me pick between the two types of wheels!

Do you spin on an electric spinner and a treadle wheel, or just one?

 

New Knitty Means New Spinning

Have you seen the new Knitty? More specifically have you seen the spinning in the new Knitty?

There is the fantastic Bosco cardigan by Mari Chiba, knit from Manos del Uruguay Clara, with a handspun yoke from Manos del Uruguay Merino roving, spun by Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter. The yoke only takes 140 yards of handspun singles! A great way to incorporate your handspun without having to spin for a whole sweater.

Bosco! Commercial yarn + handspun.

In my Knittyspin column, I talk about my adoration of overplied 2-ply yarn. It’s been my default yarn for years, but I just discovered something new about it.

Balanced 2-ply and overplied 2-ply. Fiber is Threewaters Farm Springing for Green on Merino/silk

I hope you enjoy this issue, happy spinning!

WWW on the fly:

The Welcome Blanket project

The woman behind the Pussyhat and a team of awesome people have begun another wonderful initiative: the Welcome Blanket project. –>


In Toronto, the arrival of warm weather means it’s almost time for the TTC Knitalong!


I hope you’ll forgive the shortness of this post. Besides putting out the new First Fall issue (Patrons have access right now; the rest of the world gets access tomorrow morning at 10am), I’m prepping for TNNA which happens this weekend in Columbus, OH. OH the Jeni’s that will be consumed!

Also this weekend, Squam. Oh, those lucky ducks who get to go! Maybe one year, it will be me!

See ya next week!

Spring+Summer Knittyspin – A Couple More Options

 

Drafting together on top, blocking on the bottom.

In the latest Knittyspin column, Spring+Summer 2017, I talked about lightening a colorway at your wheel. I used a variegated colorway Godwood on Falkland by Into the Whirled, and lighten the colors a little by using white Corriedale from Louet.

One of the ways I used was drafting together Godwood and the white corrie to make a marled singles that I then plied together for a double marl The other way I used was by blocking, spinning first the colorway and interspersing white every so often in the singles that I then plied together.

The samples looked lighter over all, with varying amounts of flecks of white Corriedale. I used a combination with high contrast so I could really see what was going on in the yarn.

 

 

 

Top: One ply drafted together with white, one ply colorway plain.
Bottom: One ply colorway blocked with white, one ply colorway plain.

 

I keep thinking about these samples and wondering what would it look like if I used one ply of the manipulated yarn (drafting together or blocking) and one ply of the colorway by itself. It’s been bugging me for months, and I finally did it.

I like it. I think I like it better with this high contrast combination. It’s not as jarring, visually, but I’m not one for high contrast marls in general.

Drafted on top, blocked on bottom.

 

Here’s a closer peek. What do you think? Is it something you’d add to your dyed braid spinning tools?

 

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WWW: Foot binding connected to textile production; Little Knittery forced to move; new New York craft festival; Danish elite buried in woollies

No, really. This fascinating article discusses research into the practise of foot binding in China as a means to keep girls in one place so they could contribute to the family’s income, making textiles. Wow.


Kat Coyle, owner of the Little Knittery (photo by Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

The Little Knittery, the shop that friend-of-Knitty Kat Coyle owns – which also happens to be the home of the legendary Pussyhat (which Kat designed!) – is being forced to move locations. But they’re not closing, so that’s good news, at least! –>


Big craft festival coming up in NYC, June 3-4, 2017! The Craft in Focus Festival originated in Amsterdam, and this is its first year in New York. All sorts of crafts, including textiles. A really interesting offering! Personally, I’d like to make my own spoon!


The Danish elite of 3500 years ago were buried in fancy woolly hats and shawls. Cool.

What Knitting for Big Trip?

My Jenkins Spindle and Greenwood Fiberworks Yak/Silk.

I’m very lucky to be going on a 12-day Viking River Cruise in a week (!). I have almost everything sorted, suitcase, clothes, shoes, the kids clothes and shoes, but what knitting do I bring? I have a little spinning to bring, my Jenkins Delight and a pack of Greenwood Fiberworks yak/silk will keep me busy in the spinning department.

My socks will rock!

I am confounded when it comes to what knitting to bring. I want to knit something that doesn’t have a deadline and isn’t a swatch. I want something that I can chat while I knit.My mother-in-law, who is taking us says there is a lot of chatting on the ship.

I know I am bringing a skein of yarn I’ve been hanging onto to make into socks in my new Happy Birthday present from Amy  Splityarn octopus box bag. The yarn Socks That Rock medium weight in Farmhouse. It’s been marinating in my stash for many years, maybe 8. Now I’m ready to knit it and to knit socks, which I haven’t done in about the same number of years.

But what else? Another special braid I’ve been saving? I’m considering that with an easy to memorize lace pattern to make a scarf or wrap, depending on the yarn. Or something completely different. What do you suggest?

Imagine my handspun beacelet.

 

Also tagging along will be a Stash Blaster Bracelet Loom from Purl and Loop. I’ve been waiting not very patiently for these to be available. I can’t wait to see what my handspun looks like as a bracelet.

I wonder what the people on the ship will be most interested in, the knitting, the spinning or the weaving?

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WWW: The TCM Knitting club does Gable; missing Roger and his sweaters; an ode to our Kate

O the things I learn, writing the WWW blog post! Seems there’s an unofficial TCM knitting club which celebrates knitting + classic movies, and this month, their chosen patterns are inspired by “Gable’s casual yet snappy style.” They’ve picked out”a few patterns to suit a sharp-dressed man with outdoorsy tendencies.”

Oh, ROGER! <3

Sounds yummy. Read lots more here — I’m signing up for this newsletter. It’s full of good juicy stuff!


We lost Sir Roger Moore this week (he was my first Bond). Did you know he was also a sweater model back in the day?  —>


I got to speak at the Toronto Knitters Guild’s April meeting. Such a nice bunch of people, plus it’s very special to me, that guild, because I first announced the birth of Knitty at a meeting there in 2002.

There’s a bit of a wrapup of the April meeting in their latest Newsletter, but most importantly, an ode to our own Kate Atherley at the end.

Surprised By Handspun

What handspun surprised you the most when you first knit with it?

A little thick and thin

 

For me, besides almost every time I spin a dyed braid (so many happy surprises), it’s thick and thin spiral plied yarn.

This yarn, I don’t know why, it makes me so happy. Spinning it, the yarn itself and the knitted fabric.

I remember knitting it for the first time and really feeling like I had made magic.

The looser gauge, the real lightness I can get if I’m minding my drafting. Bulky or fine-ish I like them all. Of course the semi solid or painted braid variations are my particular favorite.

 

Knitted and woven yummies

 

 

I’ve started doing a little weaving sampling with them too. Here’s are a chubby thick and thin spiral knit and a finer thick and thin spiral woven.

I love to be surprised by this yarn structure.

 

 

 

 

Dye Goddess (that’s Lisa Souza) Pullover. Photo by R.Ford from Yarnitecture.

 

And booooo to the people who say it can’t be used for anything ‘real’. I was thrilled to make a sweater out of thick and thin spiral yarn for my book Yarnitecture out of Lisa Souza’s gorgeous fiber.

I have a few other patterns in the pipeline out of this yarn.

 

Tell me about your surprising favorites!

 

 

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WWW: Productive daydreaming; sewer pipe turned knitting machine; Pens’ Knitting Lady quoted; the circle of life as it applies to yarn shops

This is something I’ve always felt: Your brain can only take so much focus. (This is why I’m a happy acres-of-stockinette knitter.) Interesting reading!


Bob Rutherford with his handmade sock-knitting machine. (thanks to Julianne Hazlewood/CBC News)

After building a knitting machine with tubing meant for sewers (the waste-transporting type, not tiny pointy needles and thread type), this lovely man has gone on to knit up thousands of pairs of socks for people in shelters in Saskatoon. You have to see what he came up with, the clever man.


We’ve all heard about the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Knitting Lady, right? Here’s some rather intelligent commentary on knitting as a behavior modification tool as it applies to rowdy sportsball crowds.


It’s the way of the world. One yarn shop closes; another opens. Running a yarn shop is hard work, folks. Support your local LYS!

Spinning Box Giveaway!

You knew it was coming didn’t you? Mary from The Spinning Box has a box waiting for one lucky KnittyBlog reader. To make you even more excited about the possibility of winning a box let me show you better photos of the fibers inside mine.

I took these photos this past weekend on a crafty girls weekend away and I had to bat away the grabby hands of my friends. These fibers are so nice and the colors are succulent. The theme of my box was stars and space, the box you might win is going to be a surprise.

I guessed that what you really wanted to see was the fiber more than any company’s label, so some of the labels are hard to read or even not there. I am listing names, links and fiber content below the collage. The fiber total was 12 oz, if you remember last photos last week there was also candy, buttons and soap from SLAB, which is already in my shower.

All of the fiber in my Spinning Box.

The fibers in the box are:

Top (L to R): Camaj Fiber Arts/Merino, bamboo/ Space Sunrise; The Wooly Lion/Merino,Alpaca,Mohair (all local) and firestar/ Galaxy; MK Unique Designs/Merino, nylon,thread/Cosmos

Middle (L to R): Totally Inked Yarn/SW Merino/Andromeda; The Spinning Box & Tucker Nuck Farm/ Merino; Alpaca Serenades/Alpaca, wool, angelina/Annie’s Comet

Bottom (L to R):  Camaj Fiber Arts/Corriedale/Mother of Moons; Rock and String Creations/ 100% Merino/ Cosmos; Fawkes Farms/Alpaca, BFL, silk, angelina/ Galaxy Far, Far Away

If you want a chance to win your own Spinning Box leave a comment below!

Our usual giveaway rules apply. Leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Sunday May 22, 2017. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win a single Spinning Box.  Giveaway value $49.00

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