Author Archives: thewooleryguy

The Woolery is on the Move!

If you follow us on any of our social media channels, you have probably noticed that we’ve been packing up our inventory in preparation for this month’s move to a bigger, better location.

newlocation

Don’t worry – we’ll still be conveniently located in Frankfort, Kentucky (859 East Main Street, just 5 minutes off I-64 at exit 58, to be exact). Our new space just happens to have PLENTY of off street parking right outside our front door, plus more space for inventory, an expanded showroom and display area, and a dedicated classroom space – stay tuned for our expanded list of class offerings!

Of course, a few things haven’t changed: it’s the same great Woolery Team, same great Woolery Selection, and same great Woolery Service. The way we see it, it’s win-win!

Moving so much inventory is quite the undertaking, as you can see in this video:

We spent this past weekend moving the bulk of our stock while our brick-and-mortar store was temporarily closed. Yesterday, we reopened in for business!

Here is a quick tour of the new space:

However, a new location isn’t the only change happening – we’ve unveiled a new & improved website this month, too! You may have noticed our new, modern look when visiting us online at woolery.com. Additionally, our website is now easier to view on a mobile device or tablet!

mobileresponsive

We’re continuing to make improvements to both our new retail space and website. For instance, many of our floor looms will take time to set up in the new loom room, so we do recommend giving us a call ahead of time at 800-441-9665 (or 502-352-9800 locally) to ask if a particular model is available to try out.

Additionally, we will be adding lots of exciting new products to our website in the months to come.

As always, our ultimate goal is to make your fiber arts experience enjoyable and successful. Thanks for joining us, and we hope to see you soon!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery team

Keep those hands healthy with our free guide!

Your hands work hard, and you rely on them for a lot of things in your life, such as taking care of your family, friends, and even pets. Besides everyday activities and household chores, you also need your hands for the hobbies that bring you joy: spinning, weaving, knitting, crocheting, sewing, and felting.

Keep your hands in tip-top shape with the Woolery's Free Guide to Healthy Hands PDF!
In our Free Guide to Healthy Hands, we cover many ways you can take care of your most prized tool to avoid overuse and injury – and what to do if your craft sessions are not pain-free. You’ll find practical advice, links to resources, and other ways to keep your hands and wrists in top crafting condition, such as these suggestions to reduce the impact of repetitive movements which can lead to strains and pains:

Mix it up! Many crafters have more than one project going at any time, which is a great way to keep things fresh. Try to work your to­do list so that you have projects using different weights of yarn going simultaneously ­ you could alternate among a pair of socks, a worsted weight hat, and a chunky cowl, for example. This gives your hands a chance to adjust to using different size needles or hooks, so your hands don’t cramp up after using nothing but laceweight yarn for weeks at a time.

Vary your crafts! If you’ve been doing a lot of knitting, maybe it’s time to spin or felt for a while. If you’ve been weaving a large project, take a break with some knitting or crochet.

Take a break! Sitting in one position ­ or making the same motion over and over again ­isn’t healthy if you do it for too long. The last thing you need is to give yourself a repetitive stress injury during a marathon knitting or crocheting session! When you’re working on your craft, pause every 15 or 20 minutes and do something different to give your body a rest. Do a stretch or two, walk around, get a glass of water, or throw in a load of laundry ­- anything that gets you moving in a different way will help you stay comfortable when you return to your craft.

Be realistic! Allot yourself more time than you think you will need to complete your projects. Crafting on a deadline turns fun into work and creates situations where you are tempted to push past your body’s limits in order to get things done. That’s a recipe for injury.

We’ve already delivered the full Healthy Hands for Happy Crafting guide to our newsletter subscribers, so check your inbox or click here to sign up & receive a PDF download today!

All the best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery team

Ask Nancy: Balance & Heddles

Ask NancyGot weaving problems? Stumped by your spinning? Our resident expert Nancy Reid will answer all of your burning questions in this new regular feature! Previously only available on our newsletter, we are moving Nancy’s informative column over to the Woolery blog for easy reference. In this month’s edition, we are sharing a few questions about fiber prep; to ask your own question, email weavernancy@woolery.com or click here to post your questions in our Ravelry group

All the Best,

Wave, Perri, and the entire Woolery Team

Q:
I am trying to figure out my thread count for a woven towel project and I really don’t know what is meant by “plus the balance element.” What the heck is a balance element?

Image courtesy Liz Gipson, yarnworker.com

Image courtesy Liz Gipson, yarnworker.com.

A:
Let’s look at basic design. If my threading pattern goes 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, 1 (etc) and repeats (draw it out on graph paper), you’ll see that the next number in the pattern is 2; the pattern progression is pretty obvious. Draw out several repeats of it, and then draw in lines to isolate each “repeat”, and you will find that the repeat is 1 2 3 4 3 2, and that the next number, 1, really belongs to the next repeat. So if we are doing a stretch of this design, we’ll put in a bunch of repeats in the pattern, ending with a full number of repeats, and then throw in a 1 (balance element) to make the whole thing look coherent, ending where it began. Symmetry!

So: in the case of Finnish towels (Davison, p. 197), my repeat is 38 threads; block A of 20 threads, plus block B of 18 threads. I’ll do those 38 threads as many times as I can (given the width and thread count I want), and then end with 20 threads (an extra block A) to visually complete the pattern and balance it out.

Q:
Is it possible to add a third heddle to an Ashford Rigid Heddle loom? I have the 32″ one. If not, is a heddle bar the same thing? I’d rather have a third heddle if possible.

A:
Well, anything is possible, but it’s not optimal; there just is not enough room in that loom, front to back, for another heddle block to be added without impacting the performance pretty dramatically. The conventional wisdom is that the Beka is probably the only loom out there with enough depth to do a third heddle, and that has compromises as well; there isn’t a neutral position on the Bekas.

A heddle bar isn’t quite the same thing; a RH will move the “hole” warp threads to heddle-up position or to heddle-down position; while a heddle bar is capable only of moving a set of warp threads to heddle-up position; there is no heddle-down capability. To do the same thing that a third rigid heddle can do would take a pair of heddle bars.
Good thought, though!

Sneak Peeks from TNNA

We have lots of exciting news coming down the pike, and our recent trip to the Summer TNNA (The National Needlearts Association) Trade Show is the perfect opportunity to give you a sneak peek into what’s to come!

TNNA in Washington DC

Perri and Taevia both journeyed to Washington, DC to walk the show floor, take classes, place orders, and spot industry trends.

Perri & Taevia at TNNA

There was quite an emphasis on products which were Made in the USA, and we were glad to stop by the Brown Sheep booth to say hello and view the newest colors of some of our favorite sustainably-produced superwash yarns.

BrownSheep

Of course, we were on the lookout for the latest weaving trends. We spotted many lovely samples throughout the show floor, and look! There are some exciting new Zoom Loom Critter Kits:

Zoom Loom Critter Kits

We also spent some time in the lovely Purl & Loop booth; in the photo below from their Instagram feed, you can see several products which will be coming soon the Woolery (hint, hint)!

purlandloop

Speaking of new products which will be arriving soon at the Woolery, we happened by the Wool Buddy booth, which had an impressive display created by needle felting. They have many, many fun kits to make various creatures and critters, and we’re excited to be adding them to our shop soon.

Wool Buddy TNNA booth

One of the great things about attending the show is to be able to visit with the people behind the brands we love so much. We were able to chat with Dave and Pam from Louet North America, and check out their lovely spinning fibers, wheels, yarns, and more!

Now pouring: Louet Spinning fiber

We also got a chance to stop by the Ashford booth, where there were plenty of live spinning and weaving demos. We couldn’t resist this beautiful arrangement of spinning fibers waiting to become rolags, and rolags which were ready to become yarn!

Ashford spinning wheel, fiber and hand carders

We also got a chance to see the Strauch ball winder and swift along with various models of hand cards and drum carders in action, all while visiting with Otto and Joanne Strauch. It was their first time exhibiting at the show, but you sure couldn’t tell – check out their professional booth setup!

Otto Strauch at TNNA

Another fun aspect of the show is to be able to see what’s new – and we happened to spot the new Schacht Flat Iron spinning wheel in the Spinning & Weaving Group booth. This item is not yet on our website, but we are now accepting preorders. You can find the details below; this wheel is already receiving rave reviews from all who try it!

New Schacht Flat Iron Spinning Wheel available for preorder.

To preorder your Schacht Flat Iron spinning wheel by phone, please call us at 800-441-9665. Cost is $795 and we offer free shipping within the continental USA; you’ll also receive a $25 Woolery Gift Card. Our anticipated ship date is mid-August of 2016.

Wheel details:

Double treadle
Spinning modes: Scotch, double drive, bobbin-lead
Spinning ratios: 4.6:1 to 26:1
Weight: 15 pounds
Drive wheel: 22 1/2”
Orifice height: 26”
Dimensions: 33” wide x 33” tall x 18” deep
Comes with 3 bobbins, medium and fast whorls, cotton and poly drive bands, threading hook.
Special features: Can be assembled with the flyer on the right or the flyer on the left. Packs flat for shipping.
The Saxony style Flatiron comes with everything you need to spin. Just add fiber!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri, and the entire Woolery Team

Ask Nancy: Fiber Prep

Ask NancyGot weaving problems? Stumped by your spinning? Our resident expert Nancy Reid will answer all of your burning questions in this new regular feature! Previously only available on our newsletter, we are moving Nancy’s informative column over to the Woolery blog for easy reference. In this month’s edition, we are sharing a few questions about fiber prep; to ask your own question, email weavernancy@woolery.com or click here to post your questions in our Ravelry group

All the Best,

Wave, Perri, and the entire Woolery Team

Q:

I have a ton of fiber (most of it very dirty) that I need to get carded so I can spin it. I do have wool and cotton carders, but the problem is that I now have some shoulder and elbow issues, so the carders are a little bit hard. I’ve looked at drum carders, but they are very expensive and it seems like you still have to really prep your fiber (plus you have to crank it), so it may not work for me. I like processing the fiber myself; I don’t want to send it out.

From what I’ve seen of combing from videos, it appears to be a little easier on the elbows than carding. If I can clamp one comb to the table and then use two combs (one in each hand), I should be able to get it done fairly quickly.

Would you agree that combing is easier physically, or just as challenging as carding? Can you recommend some combs, please?  I have wool and alpaca (very dirty) and also lots of cotton that I grew myself, so I will be processing both short and long fibers.

A:

All fiber prep will be wearing on the hands, wrists, and shoulders. If you are finding carding tiring, you will find combing to be equally so; there is no prep technique that will not have your arms screaming to be put down after half an hour. There is also no such thing as getting it done quickly; even with a drum carder (and there we have expense and still needing to hand-crank the thing), the best rate that you will get is about a pound an hour. Hand carding or hand combing will yield you about 4 ounces an hour, at best if you are lucky. The best strategy is a mental one; one is prepping for the enjoyment, it is all part of the game, and all things in moderation.

For alpaca, fine double-rowed wool combs are the best; they will also help get the debris out. For wool, you don’t mention the grade or length, so it’s a little tough to advise on that; but probably fine single row. For the cotton, cotton hand cards are best; the fiber is really too short and challenging to hand-comb at home. Hope this helps!

Q:

Hello, I have been spinning for a few years now but have always had my fiber processed by a mill. This year I have a fleece from an older alpaca I want to play with carding myself. What size or rated hand carders would I need for Alpaca?

A:

For most alpaca, cards in the 90-110 range will do just fine. In size of cards, the full-size are always going to be the most efficient. If you have any wrist or hand issues, then scale down to the student-size or even the minis, to give your wrists a break; though efficiency will suffer.

Don’t forget to check out our YouTube channel for more answers to your fiber and weaving questions! In the above video, we talk about the differences between combing and carding; click here to see more videos in the Ask the Woolery series.

Color Exploration with Leftover Yarn & Singles

We all have leftover bits of handspun singles or yarn from weaving, knitting and crochet project. Put those little bits and bobs to work by using them to experiment with color schemes you might not normally try in a full-scale project – you may just find a winning combination along the way!

The Schacht Zoom Loom is a fun way to play with color combinations, color dominance, and color placement. 

Explore color for your next project with the Schacht Zoom Loom!

If you’re not sure how to choose colors to experiment with, one of our favorite sources for inspiration is Design Seeds. We chose this summery palette for our first example on today’s post:

ColorPop_150

These Zoom Loom squares were woven using the same three colors of yarn, inspired by the above palette. You can experiment with which color is used for warp or weft to see how the dominance of a particular color affects the finished square.

Explore color combinations & color dominance with the Schacht Zoom Loom.

Another fun way to use the Zoom Loom is to weave with a variegated yarn; if the colors are repeated in a pattern, you can get some interesting results!

Try weaving on the Schacht Zoom Loom with hand-dyed variegated yarns!

Best of all, you can use all of your finished squares to create fun projects – click here for free patterns using Zoom Loom squares!

Most spinners probably have a lot of leftover singles from past multi-ply projects. Here is another opportunity to pair up unlikely colors to see how they look plied together, without having to commit your time and resources to a full-scale project!

Got leftover singles?

Sometimes, the most unlikely color combinations look the best. Dare yourself to try the thing that you are certain won’t work. Since you’re using leftover bits, you have nothing to lose, and sometimes the results can be surprising. All of these skeins were created using leftover bits of singles spun with dyed yarns.

Handspun yarn - all of these projects were made with leftover singles plied together at random!

You can also try pairing up a natural-colored single with a dyed yarn to create a marled effect:

Handspun yarn - pair up a natural single with a dyed single to see what happens!

For more colorful  inspiration, click here to check out our new Color Exploration board on Pinterest!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery Team

Ask Nancy: Reid on Reeds

Ask NancyGot weaving problems? Stumped by your spinning? Our resident expert Nancy Reid will answer all of your burning questions in this new regular feature! Previously only available on our newsletter, we are moving Nancy’s informative column over to the Woolery blog for easy reference. In this month’s edition, we are sharing a few questions about reeds sent to us by new weavers. To ask your own question, email weavernancy@woolery.com or click here to post your questions in our Ravelry group

All the Best,

Wave, Perri, and the entire Woolery Team

 

reedsQ: How do I find a reed to fit my specific brand of loom? 

A: Most looms are pretty generic in their demand for reeds; the top batten sley (the top of the beater/reed holder) usually rides in vertical slots, allowing for some height adjustment for the “tall” of the reed.

Most looms will take 4” to 5 1/2” of reed with no difficulty at all; you can measure your beater to confirm that. Standard reeds today are 4 3/4” or 5” tall, and as long as your beater will accommodate that, you are fine ordering a standard reed. If not, we can always do custom.

As far as width goes, at 42” of weaving width (the way reeds are ordered), the actual width will be 43”. 42” is not a stock size, so you can order a 45” reed, and we can cut it down for you, or you can do it yourself with a hacksaw. Modern reeds are securely epoxied down the length of the top & bottom rails, so they can be cut without falling apart.

Q: I am new to weaving and am wondering what size reed is recommended for using 8/2 cotton on a floor loom? My used loom came with several reeds, but the dents look rather large and the size not indicated on reed frame. Help!

A: Talk about lobbing easy shots!  This one is simplicity itself; to figure out what dent size reed you have, lay a ruler on it and count the spaces; 10 spaces per inch is 10 dent, 8 spaces is 8 dent, and so forth.  8/2 cotton (usually) takes a 10-dent reed, double-dented for a net EPI (ends per inch) of 20 for a plain weave structure.  In a twill, the usual sett for 8/2 is 24 EPI, so doubled in a 12-dent is normal.  Depending on which reeds you have (and your budget for buying more reeds), you might need the aid of a reed conversion chart to get the sett you need out of the reeds you have; there’s one in the back of nearly every weaving text (p. 210 in Chandler), or on our website, found here.

Please note also that there are just 2 answers to every weaving question, “it depends,” and “always make a sample;” the numbers given above are pretty average setts for something of the drape qualities and density for dishtowels of blouse material; you’ll want a firmer sett for upholstery and a looser sett for curtains (maybe).