Category Archives: Spinning

How to Maximize the Use of a Gradient Yarn

Gradient yarns are hard to pass up, and we’ve created a free step-by-step guide which demonstrates how you can use any two colors of fiber to blend your very own set of gradient batts, which can be used to spin a totally unique gradient yarn. Click here to get our guide!

Free guide to blending spinning fiber to spin a gradient yarn.

Once you’ve spun your yarn, it’s time to find the perfect project to show it off. Depending on your yardage, you could knit or crochet a simple accessory that shows off the long color transitions, such as a hat, cowl or scarf. The great thing about making a scarf is that you can just keep knitting or crocheting til you run out of yarn!

knitting

You could also try weaving with your beautiful gradient yarn – you will have to do just a little bit of math to ensure that you don’t run out of yarn. Here, we’ve blended a total of 8oz. of fiber to create a single-ply gradient. If you have a complementary color of thinner yarn that you can use to weave with, you can warp you loom with your handspun gradient yarn and then loosely weave with your complementary yarn to get a warp dominant project using the instructions to follow!

Handspun Gradient Yarn, get our free tutorial on the Woolery blog.

Here’s how to maximize use of any gradient yarn in your weaving project:

  1. Make sure that you have an accurate measurement of yardage in your skein. Example: Yardage: 260 yards.
  2. Calculate how wide you want your woven piece to be, and multiply that number by the number of EPI (ends per inch) you need. Example: Weaving width: 10” x Sett: 5 ends per inch = Total number of ends: 50.
  3. Divide the number you got for Step 2 by your total yardage in Step 1. This number is the how long your warp ends need to be to use every last inch of your yarn! Example: 260yards/50 ends = 5.2 yards warp length.

Find out how to plan your weaving project using a skein of gradient handspun yarn on the Woolery blog!

We can’t wait to see what you make with your handspun gradient yarns – be sure to share them with us on social media using #thewoolery in your post!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery Team

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Maximize the use of any gradient yarn AND get our free guide on blending fiber to spin your own gradient yarn, too!

Spinning with Dyed Fiber + Giveaway

Check out Jillian Moreno's guest post & giveaway on the Woolery Blog! We’re pleased to welcome spinner, author, and instructor Jillian Moreno back to the Woolery blog (click here if you missed her excellent post about spinning tussah silk for embroidery).

Jillian is the author of Yarnitecture: The Knitter’s Guide to Spinning: Building Exactly the Yarn You Wantpublished by Storey Publishing in 2016. She is also the editor ofKnittyspin and is on the editorial board of Ply Magazine. She frequently contributes to Spin-Off and PLY Magazine and teaches all over North America. Be warned, she is a morning person and frequently breaks into song before 9am. Keep track of all of her crafty and other pursuits starting April at www.jillianmoreno.comShe lives buried in a monumental stash of fiber and books in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

I have a new spinning and knitting obsession. I’m entranced by working with dyed braids of fiber, dyed the same colorway, but spun in several ways for different effects. I can’t stop myself from playing.

Here’s a braid of Frabjous Fibers BFL top in the beautiful Cottage Garden colorway, normally I would just split it in two and spin it from end to end and ply it, letting it match or marl wherever it wants.

Spinning with dyed fiber, a guest post by Jillian Moreno on the Woolery Blog.

Today I wanted to do something else. I get really sick of the same old, same old yarns, even when I love the colors.

I made two 2-ply yarns in Cottage Garden that look dissimilar, but go together perfectly. My idea was to have one yarn match colors when plied and the second be as mixed up colorwise as it can.

Spinning with dyed fiber, a guest blog post on the Woolery blog by Jillian Moreno.

Left: single with clear colors, Right: single with mixed up colors

For my matching yarn, I split my fiber in two lengthwise, dividing it as evenly as I could. I spun two singles starting from the same end. I checked WPI every once in a while using Rosie’s Precise Spinning Control Card.  I don’t stress the spinning when I try to match color, because I have a couple of tricks I use to ply to match.

  • I rewind my bobbins, so I start plying with the same color I started spinning my singles. I find my spinning is much more consistent at the beginning of my spinning and the colors match up better when I ply.
  • I break it to make it. While I’m plying, if my yarn starts to marl instead of match, I break the single with the overlong color run, break out the rest of the color that is causing the marl, join it back together where the color would match the other ply (I use a spit splice to be sure it holds) and continue plying with matching colors.
Handspun yarn - two ways to spin with dyed fiber - click over to the Woolery blog to read more from Jillian Moreno.

Left: 2-ply with clear colors, Right: 2-ply with mixed up colors.

For my mixed up colors yarn, I split my fiber in two lengthwise, one piece for each ply, dividing it as evenly as I could. I spin to mix up colors as much as possible using these two tricks to get the yarn to marl in the single, then I ply it creating a double marled yarn. You can see the marling in the single on the bobbin above.

  • I split each length of fiber a second time and draft the two lengths together into a single.
  • Before I start drafting them together I flip one of the lengths so the color orientation starts at opposite ends. For example one length starts with green then goes to orange, then red, then pink and repeats, the second flipped length would start with pink, then red, then orange, then green and repeat.

I knit swatches of both yarns and they look great, different but the same, exactly how I wanted them to turn out. I love when that happens. One yarn is clear colored stripes and one is a mixed up tweed in the same colors.

Spinning with dyed fibers - get tips from expert Jillian Moreno on the Woolery blog.

What do you do with it? You might ask. Here’s what I’m thinking today.

I want to make a hat, using the clear, matching colors as the main color yarn, then using the mixed up colored yarn as a contrasting yarn to make a mixed up stripe within each solid colored stripe. Fun, isn’t it?

Lower left, matching colors; lower right, mixed up colors, top swatch mixed up colors as a striped within a solid green stripe.

Lower left, matching colors; lower right, mixed up colors, top swatch mixed up colors as a striped within a solid green stripe.

If you want more ideas to spin your dyed fibers or want some spinning suggestions on making exactly the yarn you want to knit, check out my new book Yarnitecture:The Knitter’s Guide to Spinning: Building Exactly the Yarn You Want. 

GIVEAWAY

Enter to win a copy of Jillian Moreno's new book, Yarnitecture, on the Woolery blog!Jillian and the folks at Storey Publishing have graciously donated a copy of Yarnitecture: The Knitter’s Guide to Spinning: Building Exactly the Yarn You Want to give away to one of our lucky readers! To be eligible in the prize drawing, please email contest@woolery.com with the subject line “Yarnitecture” and your first name, last initial & state/province in the body of your message. 

Please note, by entering this contest, you will be automatically signed up for our newsletter list which you can opt out of at any time; if you already receive our newsletter, we will simply confirm the address that we have on file so that you do not receive duplicate copies. 

We will randomly select one lucky winner to announce on our next blog post on Tuesday, November 22, 2016. Good luck! 

Ask Nancy: New Spinner Suggestions

Got 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 orclick here to post your questions in our Ravelry group

All the Best,

Wave, Perri, and the entire Woolery Team

 

ashford_joy_2_spinning_wheel_-_single_treadle_-_combo_wbag_3Q:

I am interested in getting a spinning wheel for my wife for Christmas. She wants to learn to spin so it needs to be one that would be easy to use.  Since we go to Florida for three months, I am leaning toward one that folds.  Price is also a consideration.  What wheels do you recommend?

A:

The learning curve in spinning wheels is about the same no matter what wheel one uses; the first couple of hours are just an awkward time, no matter the wheel, and there is a steep learning curve.  As long as the wheel is not too awfully fast, or at least able to be slowed down, they are all about the same experience as far as the ease of learning goes.

For folding wheels in a medium price range, look at the Kromski Sonata, the Ashford Joy, and the Lendrum Original.  Those are the best of the bunch in folding wheels! Let us know if there’s anything else you need!

Q:

I am a new spinner, which spindle would you recommend for angora?

A:

That’s either 2 separate questions or a question with 2 answers!

Angora, because it is so warm, is usually spun very finely, lest you need to move to the Arctic to wear it; and fine spinning needs a very light-weight spindle.

However, fine spinning is not going to be what a neophyte will be spinning, especially not with Angora, which is a slippery and difficult fiber, especially for a beginner.  So I would counsel you to start with at least half-a-pound of wool first, and get through that before you tackle angora; look for something in the 1 to 1 1/2 oz range for that. Hope this helps!

Free Printable: Handspun Yarn Labels!

At 11:59 PM this past Sunday, Spinzilla drew to a close. While we await the results to see who won this year’s Golden Niddy Noddy, we’d like to congratulate ALL spinners who participated in this yearly event – especially those on Team Woolery!

Day 1 of the Spindle Tour

Day 1 of the Spindle Tour – outside of our new space!

Our team captain, Taevia, did double duty by spinning on both a wheel and a drop spindle, and each day of the event, she shared “spindle tour” photos of where she happened to be spinning! You can view them all here in the team thread on Ravelry, along with all of our team members’ photos from before, during and after the event.

Day 3 of the Spindle Tour

Day 3 of the Spindle Tour – beautiful Frankfort, KY

Now that Spinzilla is over, it’s time to make sure that all of your beautiful handspun skeins are labeled and organized until you find the perfect project for each skein. We’ve created a free PDF of printable labels to ensure that you’ll have all the important stats handy for each special skein.

Label your handspun yarns with this free printable PDF from the Woolery!

Click here to  download our free PDF printable of handspun yarn labels; you’ll also be signed up for our newsletter so that you can stay inspired and be updated we we add new products and deals to our shop! If you are already a subscriber, sit tight – we’ll be sending out your free labels in our next newsletter due out this Thursday, so be sure to check your inboxes then! Of course, if you don’t want to wait until then, you can always use this link to download the PDF today – simply enter the email address that is already subscribed to our newsletter to ensure that you don’t receive duplicate messages.

scrapbooklinkBe sure to share your photos with us on social media using #thewoolery in your post so that they can be added to our new community scrapbook! Click here to see what others are posting & get inspired for your next project!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri, and the entire Woolery Team

Free Guide to Spinning Wheel Maintenance

Whether you’ve just purchased your first spinning wheel or have a growing collection, routine maintenance is key to enjoying a lifetime of spinning. Cleaning and caring for your wheel regularly will protect your investment – and we truly believe that a spinning wheel is an investment! Besides allowing you to create beautiful yarns that you couldn’t possible buy off the shelves at your LYS, a spinning wheel is also an investment in YOU. Enjoyment, stress relief, and sense of accomplishment are just a few of the benefits that many spinners cite when asked why they do what they do. We hope some of those reasons apply to you, too!

IMG_1575

Our free guide to spinning wheel maintenance is a useful reference to keep handy for the next time you hear a squeak or clatter, or notice your wheel is lurching a bit while you treadle. Knowing what to look for, along with how to fix these issues yourself, will keep your spinning stress-free.

Click here to download your free guide today. Don’t forget, our friendly staff is always happy to answer questions, too – just give us a call at 1-800-441-9665. You can also email our resident fiber guru Nancy at weavernancy@woolery.com or click here to post your questions in our Ravelry group.

We’ll also be hosting a Spinzilla Team this year – spinner registration opens on September 1 at spinzilla.org! Stay up-to-date by joining the conversation here in our team thread on Ravelry.

All the Best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery Team

Ask Nancy: Spinning Solutions

Nancy & Barry Schacht in the Woolery Booth at Convergence 2016

Nancy with Barry Schacht in the Woolery Booth at Convergence 2016

Got 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:

AshfordKiwi2I am new to spinning and in the market to buy a wheel.  Trying to choose a wheel is challenging as I have been reading and learning what characteristics are important.  

My confusion is with ratios: looking at the Ashford Kiwi 2, it says it has 5.5 and 7.25, which, if I understand this correctly, makes it a slow wheel that is good for spinning coarser wool. I would like to spin a variety of wool, but also alpaca-especially since I was given 2 processed fleece. Will this ratio work for alpaca?  Will I need to adapt the wheel or get additional kits for the Kiwi 2? Are there other wheels I should look at with a broader ratio?

A:

You are correct that the Kiwi 2 is a slow wheel, but there are ways to speed it up; we recommend the Kiwi Hi-Speed Kit, found here. As a beginning spinner, you need to balance the ability to go slowly enough that you can actually learn on it with the scope to take you past the first month and on into the rest of your spinning life; the Kiwi speed kit will certainly help with that.

Slower speeds are not precisely for spinning coarser wools, but rather for fatter yarns. The fiber is immaterial – it’s the diameter of the yarn that is affected by ratio. Skinnier yarns take more twist to keep them together than fat yarns do; given a steady treadling pace and a consistent drafting rate, you’ll need more twist to make a thin, sound yarn, and so will need a faster rate in order to keep making yarn at the same rate.

ladybugAlpaca, because of its warmth, is usually spun finer than wool (otherwise, it’s unbearably hot); so it is spun at a faster speed in order to keep consistent body mechanics, i.e. drafting rate and treadling rate.

There are many wheels with a broader scope than the Kiwi which also have the ability to slow down enough to be able to learn on them; the Lendrum Original is one of those. The Ashford Traditional and Traveller are also nice wheels with a lot of scope, as is the Schacht Ladybug. The Kromski Interlude and Sonata are possibilities, too. In general, the thing to do is to sit and treadle all the wheels that you are thinking about; the one whose action you fall in love with is the one to buy, whether you can spin on it yet or not.

Q: 

I have been spinning for about a year, and I am trying to teach myself supported long draw. The problem is that when I try to get started, the yarn feed onto the bobbin will separate from my leader or it will grab a large amount of fiber, creating large thick spots. What am I doing wrong?

A:

There are a couple of issues here; we’ll address them one at a time. For starters, with your leader, there are two ways to get past that:

  1. Tie a loop into the end of your leader, and if you put the end of your spinning fiber through a loop, it will usually be easier to get started.  
  2. Go ahead and spin worsted for a few inches rather than starting right in with a long draw, or just hold and accumulate a lot more twist before releasing the pinch to allow twist in to the drafted fiber.  

SpinnersToolboxRemember that a supported long draw lets in twist gradually from the hand in front repeatedly releasing the pinch to allow more twist in, and then pinching again so that you still have the ability to draft out your slubs (before too much twist gets added in); it’s a delicate back-and-forth. You may also have a little better control if you don’t run your arm out too far at the beginning, but go out gradually in steps as the twist is added.

Lastly, the key to a uniform yarn is as perfect a prep as possible; you can’t get nice slub-free yarn from a funky prep, and there’s no substitute for a consistent rolag.

In writing this, I realize that long-draw is a tough thing to verbalize; one of those cases where a picture (especially a video!) is worth a great many words. If you get a chance, Judith Mackenzie’s A Spinner’s Toolbox DVD is a good reference.

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