Tag: fiber

Taking a Break by Taking a Class

I just got back from teaching at PLY Away. It’s one of my favorite events of the year, and I feel lucky to teach there. Right now it’s the biggest and longest spinning event in North America (and maybe the world). The downside for this introverted teacher is a 12 hour drive on each side of teaching and 4 1/2 days of teaching and festivities. That leaves me pooped and hilariously inarticulate. This year I tried something new. I took a class in the middle of my teaching schedule. I had a half day off and I signed up for Judith MacKenzie’s paper spinning class. I spun about 50 yards of paper yarn, ...

Every Class Needs a Baby

Saturday I taught a Colorplay class for a fantastic group of women at the Kalamazoo Fiber & Dye Studio. We had a fun time and spun a ton of dyed fiber. We had a very special guest in class, Baby H, you can see him between the Matchless and the Lendrum. He’s the best baby and cast quite a spell on the class. He was there smiling and cooing at everyone, and showing off his rolling over skills. He nursed and took a a nap with his bum waving in the air. It was lovely to have him there. It made me think about when spinning was a part of women’s every day, a have to, not a hobby. I like to imagine that ...

Spring+Summer Knittyspin : Color and Combs

The Spring + Summer issue of Knitty is live and that means a new Knittyspin column. This issue I explore how to load combs with fiber. More specifically, and so much closer to my heart, how to load  commercially prepped fiber on combs for blending color. Each way results in a different effect to the finished yarn. The number of combing passes contributes to how much the fibers are blended too. Curious and ready to comb? Click on over and see the difference for your self.     It seems like spring would never come! But now it’s here and there are fleeces to be had everywhere. Are you fleece shopping ...

New Spinning Tool: Thumb Flick

This past weekend I taught at Susan’s Fiber Shop Spinning Retreat, it was great fun! At one point in the festivities Susan whipped out this cool little tool – a thumb flick. It’s exactly what it sounds like, a tiny flick that slips over your thumb to use to tease open locks. I used it to flick open locks for blending board batts, and it worked perfectly.       It’s tiny and light and costs about $10, what’s not to love? I haven’t seen them anywhere else, and Susan just got them in. If you want one the quickest way is to call her shop.         ...

Spinner-Worthy Yarn: Liverpool Yarns

Just because I spin yarn doesn’t mean I have stopped buying commercially spun yarn. No way! I love using all types of yarn, handspun is my favorite, but carefully sourced and spun smaller batch yarns are a close second. Some folks call these farm to needle yarn, I call them spinner-worthy. To me a spinner-worthy yarn has a few specific things that make it a yarn worth looking at. It’s really the main things that I think about when I spin a yarn: the fiber and where it comes from, the spinning process – is it woolen or worsted spun (and I love to know about the mill), and intention in the ply to ...

A Tip to Save a Bit of Fiber

The easiest answers to spinning troubles are my favorite. When I spin a dyed braid I like to save a narrow strip of unspun fiber to have a record of the fiber’s colors before I spin it. What usually happens is I find that strip sometime during the spinning and spin it into my yarn. I’ve never found a good way to differentiate the piece of fiber. Scrolling through Instagram one morning I saw that Alanna Wilcox (spinnybuns) has the perfect simple solution. Chain that strip of fiber fiber. So smart and  so easy. The chained fiber lets me know this is something other than fiber to spin, and hopefully I ...

What if Fiber Labels Were More Like Yarn Labels?

Lately I’ve been thinking about what information is helpful to know before I start to spin a commercial braid of fiber. That led me to thinking, “What if Fiber Labels Were More Like Yarn Labels Yarn labels have lots of useful information for knitters. Granted, knitters are mostly trying to do one thing, hit that mighty gauge number, but the information on the the label helps then know what their fabric will be like. Spinners are working with a more open road, as far as the yarn we’ll make. Looking at a recent fiber purchase and comparing the label to a yarn label, I pondered what other information ...

2019 Teaching schedule

I’ve had a few emails asking where I’m teaching in 2019. There are a few that are still in the works, I’ll let you know about those as soon as I can. Here’s a quick list of where and when I’m teaching: February 22-24 – Iowa City Spinning Guild, Iowa City, Iowa March 1-3 – Susan’s Fiber Shop Spinning Retreat, Deforest, Wisconsin 17 – SPUN, Ann Arbor, Michigan – Yarn Detective 30 – Kalamazoo Fiber and Dye Studio, Kalamazoo, Michigan – Colorplay April  9-13 – PLY Away, Kansas City , Missouri May 1-3 – Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, ...

Back to the Basics

My husband recently unearthed my old iPod and replaced the battery. It’s packed with old songs that I still like and all of the memories that go along with them. What I really like about this iPod is that it’s connected to nothing, no phone, no internet, no notifications of any kind. It’s just me and the music.       I’ve been in a little bit of spinning slump. I don’t have many deadlines right now and I’m not doing much spinning. I’m still excited about spinning and I’m certainly still buying fiber. I want to spin all of my beautiful fiber. I decided to ...

Holiday Gifts for Spinners

Still looking for gifts for your spinning family? Or do you still need to drop some big hints for gifts for yourself? Here are a few ideas: 51 Yarns to Spin Before You Cast Off by Jacey Faulkner. Work your way through the spinning of 51 different yarns. It’s a fun ride and you won’t be the same spinner after you finish. Raw Material: Working Wool in the West by Stephany Wilkes. A fascinating book that tells the story of the education of a sheep shearer, and the story of what it takes to make a sheep to needles, or sheep to factory yarn.   Electric Eel Wheel Mini 2. If this Thumbelina wheel appeals to ...