Tag Archives: spinning

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!

Who’s Worthy of a Handmade Gift?

It’s that time of year when friends, family, and sometimes even acquaintances might start hinting that they would like (or perhaps even expect) a handmade gift under the tree. Sure, they see you spinning, weaving, hooking or knitting, and they might have some idea of all the time and effort such a request entails – but are they truly worthy of a handmade gift? We’ve created a handy flow chart to take the guesswork out of this process for you so that you can enjoy your fall and winter crafting stress-free:

WooleryGiftGuide_FinalV2

Click image to view full size!

Be sure to pin and share with your crafty friends, or click here to download a printable PDF version to keep handy!

The Woolery Team Gets Ply-ed Away

Last month’s first-ever Ply Away retreat in Kansas City was an exciting adventure for Team Woolery! Perri, Taevia, Jesse and Lacy loaded up a truck with all kind of spinning wheels, fibers and other tools and supplies with Kansas City, MO as their destination.

Team Woolery Goes to the Ply Away Retreat!

The retreat took place in a gorgeous hotel downtown that had a waterfall in it – how cool is that?

IMG_4444

We had several different types of spinning wheels set up for folks to try in our booth – and of course, lots of spinning fiber to play with, too!

IMG_1754

Our friends Otto and Joanne of Strauch Fiber Equipment were conveniently located next door, which ended up being quite fun – both Otto and Joanne are wonderful people we enjoy spending time with any day of the week! As an added bonus,  we were able to borrow their swift and ball winder, as Lacy did here with an impromptu live demonstration as she winds off some yarn!

IMG_4819

Both Lacy and Taevia took full advantage of the excellent classes offered at the event; when they weren’t learning from some of the best spinning teachers around, they could be found helping out in the booth and giving live demonstrations. In particular, Taevia gave live demonstrations as part of her 3-Day PLY Away Mobius Project. For Day 1, she demonstrated fiber blending using the Rosie Blending Board:

13007217_10153797936669335_6771139175176738981_n

For Day 2, it was all about spinning! Here is some of the progress:

13051503_10153804538569335_3361832785640359720_n

Taevia had some company  when Joanne Strauch stopped by to enjoy a few quiet minutes of spinning time together!

Taevia spins with Joanne Strauch at Ply Away.

When Day 3 rolled around, the yarn was spun and it was time to start weaving, with the resulting cowl looking quite marvelous!

finishedmobius

Perhaps most exciting of all, we got a first look at the protoype of a new spinning wheel which will be arriving later this year from the Schacht Spindle Company! The Flatiron was inspired by the iconic Flatirons rock formations which tilted up from a horizontal position millions of years ago. Below, Barry from Schacht and Taevia spin on the two Flatirons which were on display in the marketplace.

Coming soon to the Woolery: The Flatiron from Schacht!

As you can see above, the Flatiron is a Saxony-style wheel, but it is anything but traditional! Fully customizable, it can be built to your spinning preference, with the flyer on the left or on the right. You can choose from Scotch, double drive or Irish tension, and the Flatiron features a clever quick release lever to make changing out bobbins fast and trouble-free. Other features include self-aligning bearings in the maidens, a fully adjustable drive wheel, and an innovative threaded tension control. The wheel comes with everything you need to spin, even the tools to assemble it – just add fiber!

IMG_4850

The consensus at Ply Away? The Flatiron should be on your must-try list for fall…but you don’t have to wait til then to try it!We were lucky enough to bring home on of the prototype wheels, which is now on display in the shop. We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of more Flatirons in the shop and will keep you posted about their ETA!

All the Best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery Team

Guest Post: Things I learned from Rosie with Jacey Boggs Faulkner

jaceyThis week’s guest post is by none other than Jacey Boggs Faulker, editor of PLY Magazine. She has spent the last decade falling in love with fiber, writing a book (Spin Art, Interweave, 2012), writing for various fiber and spinning magazines, producing a spinning DVD (Sit & Spin, 2009, self), and teaching all over the world. We are very much looking forward to the PLY Away Retreat happening in Kansas City, MO next Spring, which the Woolery will be sponsoring! 

We recently sent Jacey our new Rosie Blending Board to try out, and she was good enough to put together her thoughts to share with our blog readers. Enjoy! 

All the best,

Wave, Perri & the entire Woolery team

I learned three things this past week. The first thing I learned is that I hold (or rather, held) the belief that because I’m good at many fibery things, I will have an immediate affinity for all fibery things. This assumption of skill was previously an unexamined and not-too-attractive part of my psyche. It’s been corrected now.

The second thing I learned is that I’m not always as good as I think I’m going to be at everything.

The third thing I learned is that blending boards are fun, but like all things, they do take time and practice.

Let me go back to the beginning. I got a big box-of-beautiful in the mail from one of my favorite places that sends big-boxes-of-beautiful – the Woolery. You know the feeling, right? The anticipation, the excitement, the quick rip of tape, the reverent unwrapping of plastic, and then you see it, your most recent fibery purchase. In my case, it was a Rosie Blending Board, some yellow merino wool, a few packets of sari silk waste, a yellow silk cap, and a bit of sparkle. My plan was easy – I would master the blending board and make perfectly blended rolags right off the line.

I have seen other fiber lovers use blending boards with laughing faces, unfurrowed brows, and beautiful results. I assumed I’d be just like them. I assumed I’d somehow morph into somebody having Gwen Powell–like blending board talent in no time, blending the perfect ratio of this to that, making stripes, and rolling my perfect rolags off at an angle.

I was not, and it was nobody’s fault but my own.

I invited my best fiber friend, Christie, over so I could show her the glory and magic of blending on a board (instead of the handcards she and I have toted to fiber classes or the drum carders that get shuffled back and forth between her house and mine).

blending2

I set up the station before she arrived. I didn’t even practice because I wanted her to see it all unsullied, fresh, and pristine. I didn’t do any research, read any manuals, or watch any videos. Like I said, I assumed success.

I immediately grabbed some fiber, loaded the board to the tips of its tiney teeth, and rolled it off. There, I thought, no problem, that was easy. And after pushing and pulling with all my might, I finally got if off the wooden dowel and held out my first board-blended rolag for Christie to ooh and ahh over. She did not ooh and ahh; she grimaced and then guffawed. Christie thought it looked like a giant mustache rather than the delicate fiber it was, destined to be spun. I didn’t disagree as we both bent over in peals of laughter.

Fun with Fiber - check out Jacey Boggs' guest post on the Woolery Blog!

Fun with Fiber - check out Jacey Boggs' guest post on the Woolery Blog!

After a few more attempts (I’m embarrassed to say exactly how many), she suggested that maybe I was putting too much fiber on the board. If you’ve ever used a blending board, you probably spotted that problem right away. She also said that I might be wrapping it too tightly around the dowel. Then she whispered that maybe there was a YouTube video that I could watch before I tried again. 

Fun with Fiber - check out Jacey Boggs' guest post on the Woolery Blog!

Less fiber and not rolling it as tightly as was humanly possible went well. Perhaps it was because my first few (many) were such a mess, but I was as proud of this rolag as any I’d ever made. 

Fun with Fiber - check out Jacey Boggs' guest post on the Woolery Blog!

Fun with Fiber - check out Jacey Boggs' guest post on the Woolery Blog! I went on to make several that were more and more on the good side of the rolag–giant mustache continuum, and after I did a little research, read a few blogs, and watched a few YouTube videos, I managed a few that I even want to spin.

So if you’re considering a blending board, for portability, cost, and ease of rolag construction, I can say this:

The Rosie can deliver all of these things – it’s super light and portable but also sturdy and comfortable to use. It’s very affordable and, once you understand a few simple things, very easy to use.  And finally, the super fine blending brush it comes with is super nice!  I couldn’t stop touching it!

Don’t use as much fiber as I did. Seriously, my first few rolags weigh in at over an ounce while the latter ones are an eighth of that weight. What was I thinking?

Don’t roll the rolags as tightly as possible. When I did this, even the rolags that would have been decent took so much abuse as I pushed, pulled, and screwed them off the dowel that they were a disheveled and misshapen mess.

Don’t assume just because you’re a great handcarder or drumcarder, or have skill with any other fiber work, that you’ll immediately make perfect rolags on a blending board. This isn’t the fault of the tool or you; it’s just that it takes a bit to grow and fine-tune a new skill. 

Read instructions and watch videos. Other people have tons to teach, and we should never forget that we each have tons to learn.

Fun with Fiber - check out Jacey Boggs' guest post on the Woolery Blog!

As for Christie and me, we’ve got another date with the blending board, and this time, we’re going to be ready!

Spinning Wheels: The Specifics of Style

Not too long ago, one of our guest bloggers shared some tips for choosing your next spinning wheel (click here if you missed it!). We’d like to continue the conversation by discussing the different styles of wheels which you will come across in your search in greater detail on today’s blog post, and why you might want to give them a try!

When we discuss spinning wheels with our customers, we begin the conversation by talking about the first level of classification: general appearance. While there are always exceptions to the rule, the basic spinning wheel classifications include Saxony, Castle, Norwegian, Modern, and Spindle.

Saxony Wheel - Ashford TraditionalThe most traditional style is the Saxony wheel – think of fairy tales such as Sleeping Beauty or Rumplestiltskin, and you know what we’re talking about! These wheels are horizontal, with the wheel on one end and the flyer on the other; typically, the frame slopes and is supported by 3 legs. One of the benefits of this style is that the orifice is lower to the ground, making it ideal for those who are shorter in stature and find taller styles of wheels more difficult to work with.

castleCastle wheels are a popular style, especially amongst those with limited space – in general, these wheels are more compact than other styles. The flyer is positioned above the wheel, and this vertical orientation requires less working space for the user – it also encourages the spinner to sit up straight as they work, so if you have back issues, this might be a more optimal choice.

norwegianThe Norwegian wheel is a cousin to the Saxony in that it has a horizontal orientation, but it is usually very ornate with a large wheel and a horizontal bench. This style is typically supported by 3-4 legs, and it’s a very traditional-looking wheel which is quite beautiful to look at, too!

modernThen next style of wheels can take on many forms, and are usually hybrids of the traditional types listed above. Folding wheel and electric spinners are all considered to be Modern style wheels, though this term can be applied to any sort of spinning wheel which attempts to take advantage of better engineering: side-to-side treadling, lightweight PVC pipe bodies, and other innovations would certainly fit into this category! These wheels are ideal for folks with limited space or who like to take their spinning with them wherever they go.

ESpinnerThough Electric Spinners do not actually have a wheel, we include them in the Modern category because they are a treadle-less option which is ideal for those who are unable to treadle (or simply wish not to). They are extremely portable and can be set on a table and started manually, and it is important to note that they are not completely automatic since the spinner must determine the size of the yarn and must stop the flyer to change hooks throughout the spinning process in order to fill the bobbin evenly. Due to its potential speed capabilities, they are a great choice for cotton spinning, much like a Charkha, which belongs to our final category of wheel styles covered on this blog post.

 

charkhaLast but not least, Spindle style wheels refer to those which use a spindle to hold the spun yarn rather than a bobbin – they work much like a Great Wheel, and the Indian Charkha is a good example of this style. For those of you looking to spin silk or cotton this Spring, a Charkha is an excellent choice due to the high-speed ratios which make working with short-stapled fibers much easier!

Thanks for joining us on your spinning journey!

All the best,

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team

 

3 Ways to Experiment With Color In Your Next Spinning Project

With so many dyed fibers available to handspinners these days, you may be wondering how to best put them to use for your next project. There are many ways to incorporate color into your next project – too many to cover in just one blog post! We’ve seen lots of great articles and blog posts covering some of the better-known techniques such as chain-plying and fractal spinning, so today we’d like to share some different ways to approach dyed fibers when spinning yarn:

1. Spin a two-color single: Create a truly unique yarn by selecting two complementary colors of dyed fiber to hold together as you spin a single! You may wish to use the resulting yarn as-is – we recommend a slight felting process to give it added strength, creating what is known as a supported single. Or, you may choose to ply with a solid-color single which either matches or coordinates with your two-color single to create a variegated, tweedy yarn!IMG_1767

2. Use a blending board to create rolags with repeatable patterns: this handy fiber prep tool is more affordable and portable than a drum carder, and it gives fiber artists the freedom to create rolags which can be used to spin interesting yarns! Striped, ombre, or colorful gradient rolags are all easy to create on a blending board. Below is an easy-to-follow video tutorial from Ashford demonstrating how to use this tool:

3. Mix & Match Your Singles: If you have a lot of natural-colored fleece and fiber and you don’t want to dye the resulting yarn, try plying your natural-colored single with dyed single to create a marled effect. In the top example, a natural brown single is plied with a dyed single similar in value for a subtle tweed effect; in the bottom example, a natural white single is plied with a brightly-colored dyed fiber for a fun barber-pole effect.IMG_1758

We look forward to a colorful, fibery spring – thanks for joining us!

All the best,

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team