I seem to have gotten myself in another spinning bind. Meaning, I’ve got two active projects, both which are being spun into laceweight singles. So the spinning is going super slow, making me feel like nothing is getting accomplished. Meanwhile, I keep dreaming of my fiber stash and wanting to start something new. Compounding this issue is the fact that I feel I don’t have anything new or interesting to post on the blog. Then I really start dreaming of pulling out something new!

I remembered, I had started something new awhile back and I never got a picture of it. And it isn’t quite laceweight singles. I bought these lovely corgi hill lush batts awhile back, being drawn to their rich color. I started spinning them on my little golding bog oak spindle, but that spindle is best used for something lighter and it wasn’t going that well. I balled up what was on the spindle the other day, set it all aside, and forgot about it.

Last night, realizing I really needed to be able to work on something besides plain brown saxon wool, I remembered the lush batts, pulled them out, and started spinning the remainder on my neal brand tibetan. It went much better than the bog oak spindle. I didn’t get much done as by the time I figured all this out it was getting late. But it was just what I needed.


Self Taught Spinners and Trends

Before I get started, do let me indulge in one more spring picture. If you know what this flower is, please tell me. I do not have a clue!


So the discussion on silk hankies the other day triggered a blog post. I’ve been thinking a ton about what we learn, how we learn it, and what we then believe is correct or incorrect. Now, for the record, I am a self taught spinner. I bought a wheel in 2007. Knowing few spinners and being an introvert and enjoying the process of hands on learning combined with research, I absorbed as much knowledge as I could and applied it. While there were a few other spinners in my area, many of them were at my level of knowledge or were out there giving incorrect information. I remember asking someone who had been a spinner for years about my spinning. I asked something about tension and she said “Tension doesn’t matter.” This I knew to be incorrect, and it really turned me off when it came to learning from other local spinners.

When I started spinning there was a trend going around that basically said that you had to wash and finish your yarn, and then hang a weight on it to get it to hang balanced. Using a bit of logic, this didn’t make sense to me. If my yarn is balanced, shouldn’t it hang straight without a weight? Why was a weight important. And indeed, having done a bit more research on the subject I realized that while some people do weight their yarn while it is drying it is not necessary, and also doesn’t give you a good idea of how the yarn will perform in reality. It also can mask problems, making a yarn that is quite unbalanced look to be balanced. And yet, for awhile, that trend persisted and most of the blogs on spinning would have some mention at some point about weighted yarn. In fact, there’s a possibility you’d find references to weighted yarn in my blog too, as I know I did it once or twice before concluding it wasn’t necessary.

At that time, silk hankies were kind of a thing. A thing new spinners did. In fact, there was a article about it. Even just reading the opening paragraphs it shows how it was the norm to think beginner spindle spinning was associate with silk hankies. Of course, now that I look at it, that article was written in 2005. And in internet fad terms, that was a very very long time ago.

How odd to be spinning long enough to see trends come and go. Makes me feel old. Not experienced mind you, but old. 🙂

Now the trend is thwacking yarns. It is all over the place. Do you thwack? Why aren’t you thwacking? You aren’t finished unless you’ve washed and thwacked! I say it often too, in the sense that a new spinner sometimes pulls plied yarn off the wheel and calls it done. But the amount a yarn will change after a wash, even without a good thwack, is considerable. The amount of twist you’ve got in your yarn changes, settles, relaxes, and becomes balanced. Or, sometimes it becomes underspun. So, as a more experienced spinner, it is easier to tell someone “What you want to do next is abuse the yarn a bit, wash it, then thwack it, then hang it to dry.” Because that? That is easier, far easier, than trying to get into the nuances of when it is good to thwack a yarn, when it is better to just do some wrist snapping, and when you might want to be super gentle with your resulting yarn.

I do not consider myself an expert spinner. I’ve only got 5 or so years under my belt. Some of that has been intensive and I do think I’ve been eager to learn and do as much research as possible. But, as a self taught spinner, I am positive I’ve picked up some bad habits along the way as well. I try to be mindful of this. I am mindful that I’ve never taken a spinning lesson from a professional. I try to be careful who I pull my knowledge from. I try to avoid the self avowed “spinning experts” and stick to the ones who have years of experience, books, classes, and are actively being asked to provide workshops all over the US. I follow what they say and teach and avoid blindly believing the latest trend.

We live in a very interesting age. An age where you can learn just about anything on the internet. You want to learn to put a bike together? Hop on youtube and see what you can find. You want to learn to spin? There are so many videos for that. The trouble is, what you are watching may be someone with little experience telling you what they’ve learned, which isn’t even a tiny fraction of the whole. And they may present it as fact, or the only way. Just speaking in an authoritative tone doesn’t make one an expert. This is dangerous, and I believe that these are what cause trends. Self taught spinners saying “I learned to do it this way.” The new spinner they’ve taught then tells the next person “This is how you do it.” That person goes on to teach the next person and says “This is the only way to do this.” and a glorified game of “telephone” has taken place. The internet is also a funny thing, as it is polite to only “be nice.” And criticism or correction isn’t seen as “nice.” So that person on youtube who speaks in an authoritative tone about something she’s learned 2 weeks ago deletes “not nice” comments correcting misinformation and then a new spinner never even gets the chance to realize the information is patently incorrect.

Podcasts, specifically video ones, have become the big thing in the past few years. It is one more way for fiber lovers to connect, to learn new things, and a great way to see into someone’s life. It is all very exciting. However, the same trend one sees on youtube or online in various forms happens there too. Someone says one thing and pretty soon it is THE thing and it is the only thing and the only way. Then suddenly you’ve got a host of people saying “I heard that spinning silk is hard and you should save it. I am not even going to attempt these silk hankies.” When really they are one of the easiest and most addictive spinning fibers out there. (If you can get past the whole cling to your hands thing!). And this is one example. Drafting, predrafting, I’ve seen so much questionable info out there that doesn’t have the statement “There are many ways to do this, but this is how I get my best results.” Or “Hey, if you are one of those people who has trouble with this, try that, it might help.”

Here is the point where I have to acknowledge my own preferences. Can you spin the trends and be happy? Of course you can. Can you spin yarn and not worry much about the why and wherefore? Sure! So really, if that is what you are looking for in your spinning, ignore this post. I am ok with that. However, if you are a self taught spinner like I am, and so many others out there, just be cognizant of this. When you want to learn more, do more, or you have a yarn result you’ve tried to change but cannot, it may be time to walk away from the latest trend and immerse ourselves in the experts, be it book form, video form, or in a professional class. And be careful of the authoritative statements, or the statements that only allow for one version of the many ways to do things. This, being as much a reminder to myself as anyone else!

What spinning myths have you encountered or fallen victim to?





I’ve gotten so little crafting done this weekend. And really, that is because this weekend has been the first truly spring like weekend. I’ve put 60 miles on my bike over the past few days and I plan to add another 30 or so to that today. It has been necessary for my disposition to be on the bike and soaking in the sun and sights of new growth. Crafting will just have to wait.

More Fleece

From my Between Ewe and Me fiber club shipment, shetland fleece. I love how this has two distinct colors. This is, as far as I know, my last fiber club fiber, as I don’t see a new club up and running right now.


Then there are the 2 samples I washed recently.


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Border Leicester:

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I actually washed the border leicester, decided it wasn’t quite clean enough, let it soak a few days and washed again. The water ran clear and I do not believe that the soak took any more dirt out than had happened in the initial wash. I do believe anything else will have to be flick carded out.

Fleece washing is so odd, I look at most fleece and don’t figure it is particularly dirty. And then….once washed I can finally see just how dirty it was.

I have more samples floating around, Racka, Shetland and Navajo Churro. Maybe I will get around to that this weekend. I also have a pound of Wenslydale waiting to be washed, about 8 oz. of CVM Romeldale, and more Corriedale.

Like Castonitis

I don’t really struggle with castonitis. Not anymore. I don’t do enough knitting to struggle with it. In fact, I’d say I have finishitupitis if I’ve got anything at all. I don’t do enough knitting and because of that, nothing gets finished fast enough for me to want to cast on new things. I am learning to be very zen about that. Even going so far as to prolong projects for added enjoyment. Or knitting on something not because it will be done soon and I can wear it, but because I enjoy the feel or look of the yarn itself.

That being said, all the angst, anxiety, and studiousness I used to put into knitting projects goes into my spinning now. I want to start all the fiber, I want to spin and finish things daily. I want even the thinnest spun yarns to go super fast. I want to spin in my spare moments and when I don’t get to, I feel like I’ve failed. Seriously, this is just how I used to feel about knitting. It is a drive to complete that is so unnecessary and yet seems to just be a part of me.

In all honesty, this is a drive I’ve seen in myself when it comes to cycling too. I am so focused on going farther, faster, or getting up that one last hill that I rarely look up, look around, an enjoy the view. That’s a bit sad. While I bike for me and no one else, I should also remember that I can view it as an enjoyable experience, looking at the various sights around me and slowing down just a bit. I do believe that needs to be my goal in both cycling and spinning this year. Settle down, slow down, take a deep breath, enjoy what I am doing, enjoy the view, and remember that no one needs me to get there any faster than I do.

I started some JulieSpins Merino Silk. The colors are so rich and gorgeous that even though they have no sparkly bits added, the silk seems to make it sparkle on its own. And on my Amber Trindle SST, it looks even more glorious, the amber crystals being a lovely contrast to the rich blue fiber. I am spinning this quite thin and enjoying every moment of it. Which means while it has been on the spindle for awhile now, I am taking it slow and so I haven’t bothered to photograph it until now.


I am also enjoying my trindle SST. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but this spindle style keeps growing on me, proving that my spindle likes and dislikes are fluid. Now if only I could get a good handle on my Russian spindle!

Silk Hankies

I finally finished Mawata gradient. I do believe I accomplished the goal of spinning them thick this time. They are, of course, rather thick and thin but not thin like the ones I spun and plied ages ago on the wheel. I left them as singles in order to make sure I had as much yarn as possible out of them. 120 yards. They are very soft and shiny and no, I have no clue what I’ll do with them.


The other day, Sparkeespud had posted some silk hankie spinning and I ended up getting a little verbose on her blog. Thus, I decided that perhaps that deserved a place of its own on my blog:

“I just wanted to say a word about spinning silk. Silk hankie spinning is very very different from silk spinning. With silk hankies, all the little fibers are in disarray in the hankie and they kind of cling to each other, making it a pretty easy spinning experience. That is why I use it to teach spindle spinning, as it gives the idea of drafting before you get to the hard stuff.

However, when spinning silk roving (or top, or sliver) all the silk fibers are aligned perfectly and that stuff is very slick and slippery. It acts differently than silk hankies.

Then again, I always say that there is no particular fiber that is hard to spin, just different preferences among people. So, try it all and decide for yourself what you enjoy spinning, don’t say “That’s too hard, I should save that for later.” When I was a new spinner, I found silk blends the easiest to spin. Merino/silk, BFL/Silk, if it had silk in it, I could spin it finer, faster, and more even than anything else I encountered.

If you enjoy the silk hankies and are searching for more, they are also often listed under their technical name, mawata. Silk caps (or bells) is another prep you can look for, as it also gives a similar grabby silk experience.

And finally, if you are having trouble with the silk sticking to your hands, make a brown sugar scrub out of brown sugar and olive oil, exfoliate, wash your hands, put lotion on them, and then spin. This helps immensely.”

That being said, I am getting the impression that most people think that silk hankies are not for beginners. I beg to differ. In fact, in teaching my friend Marja how to spin, they were the second fiber I had her try, the first being Kauni pre yarn. Because the drafting happens prior to spinning, they give the new spinner the opportunity to learn to draft without having to handle the spindle at the same time. They were also one of the first things I was told to try if I was going to try a spindle. I am quite curious, for the spinners out there, were you told silk hankies were something to try early on, or something to avoid?

Knitting Content

Awhile back I had a braid of UGLY dyed merino. I dyed it myself, so no excuses. Anyone who dyes knows that sometimes things just don’t work as expected. I also had a braid of tussah silk I just wasn’t interested in, colorwise. I blended them. And together they were so much prettier than on their own. Then I spun the batts, and plied them with the remainder of the silk. Oh how I loved that yarn, the color, the texture, the softness, and the transformation. However, I wanted something simple due to the textured yarn, and something that would be next to the skin, considering the extreme softness of the yarn. Enter my current cowl obsession. I chose the Muji Painting cowl because of its extreme simplicity. I figured that any texture in the yarn would be best served that way. However, it is a ton of stockinette. Not that I am upset about it, this seems to be all my brain is capable of knitting lately. I am throwing in details when the stockinette gets too boring though, so it will have a bit more detail than the pattern indicates.


Completed Superfluff

75% Romney, 25% corriedale, blended by me on my drum carder. The batts were super fluffy and the spinning was very similar. There’s a good deal of air in this yarn. I love how this turned out, I love the natural color, I love the plying, I love the rustic nature of it, and I love the fat 2 ply yarn. I have 95 yards. And, well, no clue what to do with it except admire it!


Jacob Fleece Gradient

Saturday evening I did some plying. One of the things I decided needed plying was the second color in my jacob fleece gradient. This is a 3 ply worsted weight, and I only have 62 yards of the slightly less dark color. My darkest skein was 106 yards. The next skein I work on needs to be 2 strands of the slightly lighter color plied with one strand of the darkest color. Not sure when I’ll get to that. The beginning of biking season is upon us, or rather I am forcing it upon myself, and I have a little less time for crafting overall.



The final strips

Last week managed to produce the final 2 woven strips of fabric. One I warped the loom for and my friend Kathy did all the weaving, the other was all me. Except for Bug’s help with the bobbin winder which she just adores!


It is nice to be done with these because I can now take a little break from weaving and then actually plan something with some patterning, something that will actually be worn. That being said, the event these were for was postponed, so even though I thought I would be able to blog about them this weekend, I cannot. All you get is more strips.

Super Fluff

So, my little wool samples all dry in the bathroom. While I was in there, I was looking at the grey corriedale and thinking “Where have I seen that exact color before?” Then I remembered the 4 oz. of Romney I had gotten in the longwool offering of the Between Ewe and Me fiber club. Same lovely grey, and I’d already flick carded those romney locks. I wondered how I could incorporate the two fibers, and I got the brilliant idea to drum card them both together. I figured it would take 2 batts, so I divided out each fiber just by eyeballing the amounts, and threw it on the drum carder. I am telling you it may have taken me all of 15 minutes to make two of the BIGGEST fluffiest batts I’ve ever seen. Seriously. The fiber was so well prepared that I only had to run each batt through twice and there was no real problem with feeding that fiber in. What a joy they were to make and they turned out even more amazing than I expected. So of course I had to spin one. Then I grabbed a picture of my largest spindle and the batt so you could get the perspective of just HOW huge those batts were.


This is just amazing for my relatively small drum carder!

Saxon Merino

In my merino breeds fleece of the month club I received Saxon. I hadn’t done a thing with it except look at it and fall in love with the color and the super softness of it. Over last weekend though, I decided I needed to flick card it. My last experience attempting to drum card the delaine made me hesitant to put a particularly fine wool through the less than fine drum carder again, so spinning from the lock would have to do. And it turns out, it worked perfectly. I am telling you this saxon is amazing stuff. Really. It is as silky as can be, and unlike the rambo, it doesn’t spring back on itself constantly. It is making quite a fine fairly even single and I am enjoying the experience quite a bit, though it is slow going.


I am really unsure of how I will ply this once it is done. For now, just spinning the singles and waiting for inspiration will have to do.


Why Fleece Prep?

I have managed to wash another 4 fleece samples.

The first is a Jacob. I think these are some really adorable sheep and the second fleece I purchased was from a Jacob.

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Another Corriedale, this one grey.

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Disclaimer, this seems to me a rather unorganized post. I can’t figure out if I should tell you a story about what goes through my head during fleece prep or just give you facts. In the end, I fear I haven’t done either very well.

In my last sample fleece post, IntrovertedKnitter asked me this question:

“I haven’t had the pleasure of trying out raw fleece yet, but your samples are so enlightening as to the difference between before and after. I love the variety you have and can’t wait to see what you end up doing with it all. Aside from being able to go back a few more steps in terms of processing (which I can see the appeal)are there other reasons for starting with raw fleece?”

Well, I had to think it over and do a little reflection because I hadn’t really given it much thought before. It is just something I do. But there are reasons.

When I began spinning I thought I would never be interested in fleece processing. It sounded like such dirty hard work, and there was so little spinning involved. Then at some point, I got the idea in my head, as I do, and it stuck. In fact, it refused to let me rest from the time I started researching fleece processing rather intensely to the time I got my hands on a fleece to process. And even then I couldn’t rest until I started washing the fleece. Along the way, I realized I was having a crazy good time with it all and so it stuck. And it grew from there. I guess you could say I started processing on a bit of a whim and then realized just how fun and obsessive it could be. But that still doesn’t answer the question why.

After 4 years of spinning , combed top and batts all started to look the same. I couldn’t get too excited over color anymore as I’d seen most color combinations before and it was a whole lot of same fiber different day. I felt that I’d seen it all and done it all. This was false actually, as it took another 2 years for me to spindle spin, support spindle spin, corespin, spin bulky, etc. But to be honest, I was a little bored with my spinning. Prior to this, my obsession with fiber was like my obsession with yarn, it was all about the color.

But then, all of a sudden, natural colors began to appeal to me in a huge way. And that was when fleece became very interesting. I’ve rarely wanted to dye fleece I’ve prepped, because I love the color that happens in nature.

When it comes to commercial wool, you are limited in what fibers you get to try. So there’s merino, BFL, polwarth, various superwashes, various basics blended with silk, bamboo, or tencel, but as far as the huge variety of wool out there? Commercial wool is limiting. Plus, with it being already prepped commercially, it is hard to get a good idea of how that wool naturally acts. Yes, polwarth is bouncy and BFL is a crimpy longwool, but so often you spin something commercially expecting it to act one way, just to wash it, release it into a more natural state, and it behaves differently than expected. This is a perfectly valid way to spin, but I got to the point where I wanted to understand how these wools acted from the start.

In addition to that, it is awfully hard to find the rarer breeds in commercial top. Even Romney, a longwool fairly popular, isn’t often seen in commercial dyed prep. Never mind Racka, Navajo churro, and a whole host of longwools that are very interesting. Now, it makes sense. After all, breeds like Racka and Navajo Churro are not for sweater or close to skin wear, but they are still interesting and serviceable wools and I have a great desire to explore each of them as much as I can.

There’s an element of learning to it as well. My process is that I end up with a breed of wool I am unfamiliar with, and then I am forced to research how it might act, what the best prep for it might be, what it is best used for, etc. All that is highly interesting for me, I enjoy that part of the process. And then I get to spin it and see how it feels in my own hands and if my experiences are consistent with the going wealth of knowledge.

It gives me a great respect for the differences in each breed as well. For instance, my first experience with Border Leicester, a longwool, was with one that was extremely wiry. You wouldn’t want that anywhere near your skin, and you might not want it on the outside either! Then I got some super cheap Border Leicester, washed that up, and it was the softest longwool I’ve ever encountered. It depends on the sheep as well as the breed, I was amazed at how large a difference it was.

Processing your own fleece gives you the opportunity to design your yarn and garment from start to finish. You wash, you flick card, you decide you you will prep that wool according to how the wool is acting, you’ve got enough to make samples, then you spin your yarn with intention. Then you get to knit or weave the garment that you imagined when you began the entire process. That’s a pretty wild feeling.

I truly enjoy each step of the process. I love watching wool go through its transformation from greasy dirty locks to beautiful yarn. It is extremely appealing and interesting and while I believed at one time certain parts of the process would bore me, I find that it does not. I like to flick card, I like getting all the junk out of the locks. I like to hand card and throw it all through the drum carder. I don’t have wool combs yet, but I’ve played with them a bit and I feel confident that I’d love having them too. And then when all is said and done, I still get to spin that wool.

There’s something to be said for having a few spinning years under my belt as well. When I began spinning I was in a rush to spin all the things. Now I don’t mind if the process takes a good amount of time. As long as I am enjoying myself I am happy with the time it takes.

I suspect fleece prep is a highly individualized thought process. I, personally, have tried to send fleece to a mill before. I’ve even gone so far as to box it up and fill out the appropriate paperwork. But in the end, I can’t let it out of my sight! In the end, I feel that sending it to a mill is going to ruin my fun, even with a dirtier, VM full fleece. While sending a fleece to a mill is a perfectly valid option, for me it feels a bit “What’s the point?” Mostly because I buy fleece because I want to be involved in the process from start to finish.

So I suppose, for me, the reason I prep fleece has something to do with the desire to research and understand my craft better and more fully. I will never be an expert, but I do want to be as knowledgeable as possible. I need the hands on process of prepping my own fleece in order to do that, because that is just how I learn. While all other options are valid, fleece prep is the best option for how I learn and how I enjoy what I spend my free time on.

Anyone else out there want to weigh in on this? Why do you prep fleece? What is the thought process that you have and how did you come to decide you wanted to take on such a thing?



Lizard Ridge Strip #3

I am truly amazed to report that I now have the third strip of Lizard Ridge blanket complete. For a gal who really hasn’t been knitting much, this feels like quite an accomplishment. I have one block of the fourth strip done as well. I’ll have a new blanket just in time….for wam weather. Of course. I do believe I have all the yarn needed for the blocks, but then I need to figure out what to do about the edging. I am toying with the idea of doing an applied icord edging as the suggested crochet edging looks far too delicate for a blanket of this sort to me. If I do that, I can just use more noro kureyon, and it really doesn’t matter what color.



The applied icord edging doesn’t give me much cause for pause really, I know I’ll get into a groove and it will just happen. The blocking of the 4 strips and the seaming them all together however….well that makes me catch my breath at the thought of it. Would it be the seaming or the icord that sounded like the worst project if you were the creator of this blanket?

What Fun!

I had a couple entries in a SpinCulture contest on Rav, and happened to win one. The contest I won was for a SpinCulture texture pack, of which I chose one called Orion Nebula. The point of the texture pack is to get a number of blending fibers, and I was quite excited about this because I can use it to make my own fun textured batts on my drum carder. My pack included angelina, bfl, merino, firestar, silk noil, silk threads, tussah silk, and wensleydale locks. While I’ve seen these texture packs pictured with a spindle, I didn’t read very well and didn’t realize I was actually getting a spindle. So not only was winning the texture pack quite exciting, I also got the additional excitement of something unexpected.



Isn’t that just pretty? Check out SpinCulture on Etsy, I’ve been using that shop for my fun and crazy art batt spinning. I am extremely pleased with the shop and the service, and the contest was a lovely added bonus!

Unexpected results

I’ve had this braid of merino top from Chameleon Colorworks for years and years. Some of my very first fiber from my very first fiber club. It is in shades of olive greens, not particularly variegated, and I never particularly liked it. Since I’d made super short work of the last braid I took to Jeremy’s house, I needed a new braid and I chose the old green braid simply because I thought maybe it would be a way to get it done without hating the process. I also felt that the top was so old it was compacted and I wasn’t figuring it would spin particularly well or evenly. I expected a bit of frustration.

Much to my surprise, this was not the case at all! It was not compacted even though it looked that way. It drafted beautifully, and spinning it on my trindle SST is not only fast but quite a joy. It makes a nice even thin single that I am enjoying very much. While I wasn’t much impressed with the colors in the braid, as I spun them I realized that they are quite beautiful after all, and in a 3 ply this will make a lovely, well blended semi solid color. Again, unexpected result.



I also think my trindle SST and I are making very fine friends. I used to say it was my least favorite spindle but at this point I like it as much as any other spindle I’ve got in my spindle stash. Not every tool is comfortable immediately, some take time and use to get to that comfortable spot.


Dyeabolical Batts

So, my blue dyeabolical batts, which were a combo of merino and angelina (I think, because I’ve misplaced the tag, I really need to make a system for my tags!) are complete. I spun these on my Neal Brand tibetan. I had 2 matching batts. I spun each on one spindle, which turned out to be quite a challenge as the spindle was so full it got really laggy and slow. I spun each in a gradient, so that I could ply them together into a 2 ply gradient, light to dark. Personally, I love this skein. It is 25o yards of 2 ply, it is nice, light, and bouncy. At about a sport weight yarn it is going to make something quite beautiful. And no, I don’t know what that will be.

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I’ve been thinking about this tag issue quite a bit. Everyone knows that I am not the most organized person out there, and I hate clutter even though it seems that clutter builds up. Generally my way of dealing with it is to get frustrated and throw everything out. Which means I misplace tags and then throw them out. I will never be the kind of person who keeps a spinning notebook with tags and samples. No no no, I don’t even want to BE that person. However, I’ve got to figure out some system. What do you do with your tags and how do you keep your fiber arts organized?

Raw Fleece Samples

So, I’ve been grabbing up some raw fleece samples to wash and experiment with. Some will get dyed and blended on a drum carder and some will get spun into various yarn for warp on the loom. I figured as I have the opportunity to wash, I will also take pictures of the raw sample and then the washed sample for comparisons. Since these are sample sized, I can get quite a few done in an evening since using various buckets and containers in the house works well. I have learned that though everyone talks about high grease fleece being tough to clean, I’ll take a clean high grease fleece over a dirty low grease fleece any day!


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Racka (Check out the dual coat on that!)

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Navajo Churro (This was the one that was particularly dirty!)

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I love the comparison photos because they really do show how clean a fleece can get in a short time.

So tell me, if any of you are of the type that enjoys fleece processing, what has been your dirtiest fleece and how did you come by it? I’d love to hear of experiences with rarer fleece as well. The racka is such a novelty for me I am not quite sure what to do with it, and I’ve got at least 3 more samples of the stuff.







Shawl Candy

I finished my shawl candy with yarn to spare. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this project! It is simple, basic, quick, and lovely. I love it in the handspun especially.



I don’t often say this, but knitting another of these is a strong possibility.

Shawl Candy

So, my friend Sparkeespud made this Zuzu’s petals cowl out of her handspun. And I fell in love with it. It is gentle and beautiful and I figured my pink toned BFL 3 ply from dyeabolical would work very well. The yardage was correct and I thought the colors might look very nice. I was concerned though, about my lack of knitting mojo. While I did manage to struggle with the beginning of the lace section, tearing back a number of times, once I got started it went pretty quickly. This led me to comment to Sparkeespud on Monday that the cowl is like shawl candy. All the wonderful elements of shawl knitting packaged in a quicker project. It is very sweet. The problems starting the lace section were to be expected since anything besides garter or stockinette stitch is currently giving me fits. Odd that, since I’ve always managed the most challenging of stitches. Not lately. But, my persistence paid off and I think it has given me the confidence I need to do a bit more knitting now and again.



I am a few rows from being done now. See? Shawl candy.

Using a niddy noddy twice in one day

On Sunday I managed to finish two skeins of yarn. Which led to the realization that using the niddy noddy twice in one day makes for an awesome day.

Since the weather has gotten a bit warmer, I’ve actually been spinning on my wheel. I love to wheel spin outdoors and I love to wheel spin in social settings. It is rare I pull out the wheel otherwise. With the warmer weather, my jacob fleece gradient project is in progress. I finished the first skein, which is an all dark skein. I’ve got one more batt of dark to spin into singles, and then I can start adding some lighter color. This is a 3 ply worsted weight and there are only 106 yards. However, those yards are super light and fluffy as I spun them woolen. This 106 yards almost completely filled my 4 oz bobbin. My big observation about this spin? I think trying to actively spin that which is not comfortable for me is making me a better and more consistent spinner. This is probably the most consistent worsted weight I’ve ever created, and I am very proud of it. I love how the dark color is so dark. Not chocolately at all, but just a real dark bitter brown.


Then on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, I finished my SpinCulture art batt. I left it as a single as things would get a bit too insane if I plied. I enjoyed this spin, but I think my next SpinCulture batt will have to be corespun again. While corespun and this are both rather crazy, I like the fat corespun result better than this. However, I think this will make quite a serviceable weft on a weaving project. Of this I have 176 yards.


Stay tuned as I’ve actually been doing some serious knitting recently. I know I know, you are surprised! But I am out of the huge knitting funk I was in and I’ve got a good portion of a project to show for it.






More Woven Strips

For the past month or so, my loom has been dedicated solely to making strips of woven material with an overall red theme. The nature of this will be revealed a bit more in time, but for now I get a chance to show off an additional two strips created this weekend.



The one on the left was created by Bug and me. We did it on our own over a few weekends. Then Saturday I warped the loom again for the strip on the right. I had some friends over, and at least 3 of them created the woven strip on the right. The only thing I did for that one was warp the loom and then take it back off the loom. I also had help measuring the warp for two more strips which is great because my least favorite part of weaving is working with the warping board.

The added bonus to having allowed others to use my loom, beyond not having to create yet another red strip myself, was that I am pretty sure I may have pushed two of those people over the edge toward learning to weave. That was fun! Actually, most of my fun toys were in use Saturday evening, from my drum carder to my spindles to the loom, warping board, and bobbin winder. I really should do that more often!

Dyeabolical Batts

There was this dyeabolical fiber club, long ago. Even longer ago than the pink club that I recently spun a braid from. I actually only remember 2 out of what I think was 3 fibers from that club. In this case, I pulled out two very pretty blue batts from that club. They are batts which have both light and dark blue, and they are well blended and smooth. So, I decided on a 2 ply. I have been trying to work these toward a gradient, starting with the light, pulling strips off, moving toward the darker blue. When done with the first batt, I’ll remove the fiber from my Neal Brand spindle and start with the lighter colors again on the same spindle. Hopefully this will give me a fairly even 2 ply gradient moving from light to dark blue once plied. I think these colors are just gorgeous. Being a more solid colored spin, they don’t thrill me to pieces like a bunch of changing colors do, but they have been a pleasure to spin and that makes up for my rather ADD need for new colors at quick intervals. And if I am honest, I often prefer the resulting yarn if it is a semi solid spin.


April Christmas Ornament

KnittingSarah says we are to knit “Dancing Around the Tree” this month. And because my book, needles, stuffing, and yarn were already out from my last minute March Christmas Ornament, and because I have company coming this weekend and I wanted to put it all away, I decided to knit mine early. Knit early, put everything away for company, don’t bother to pull it all back out until next month. This was actually a really fun ball to knit. The colors change quite a bit, and while I almost forgot to give my dancers their necks, it knit up quickly. One day, and I even worked that day.


Yep, another successful little christmas ornament for my stash. This is the best kind of KAL.

Sparkle Batt!

So I’ve got this crazy batt from SpinCulture.


I bought it for corespinning, but recently wondered what it would be like to just…spin…a crazy art batt. I figured I don’t have much to lose by trying, and I pulled this batt out to make it into a crazy single. While it is going pretty well, I think I’ve learned something important. That I prefer corespinning the batts I purchase for corespinning.


A Cowl for a Bug

I really couldn’t think of any better way to use easter egg colored yarn than to knit something for Miss Bug. After all, I wasn’t likely to wear those bright colors myself. So I improvised a quick reversible cowl that she could wear doubled up like a scarf. She’s quite excited about it already, and I am pleased to have a quick finished object.



That being said, it would have been a quicker finished object had I not forgotten how to knit! I had to yank out a halfway done cowl upon realizing that I’d ignored the “Join in the round, be mindful not to twist” instructions we all read and roll our eyes out after many years of knitting.

Where and what…

KnittingSarah asked the other day if I’d be willing to post where I purchase the fiber that I spin. I suspect that the list will be extensive, but I am going to pull out some of my favorites and attempt to talk a little about them.

Dyeabolical. Here’s the thing, if my color sense could be summed up by one person, it is Rachel. She shares my love for intense and rich colors, and she is able to translate that into roving and top that just thrills me! The added bonus is that she has some of the best prepared fiber I’ve ever come across. It is always an absolute dream to spin. I have been fortunate now to develop an online friendship with Rachel as well as a sometimes working relationship. I’ve tested yarn for her, done a few sample knits out of her yarn, and I can genuinely say that I’ve never seen an inferior product wander out of her shop. This is one of those really fun situations where an independent dyer is “real” enough to develop a wonderful working relationship with one of her customers.  Stuff I’ve got in my stash that still needs to be spun? Well, there’s a ton quite frankly. But I did add this photo of Flower Shop Inferno recently….


Then there’s my recent obsession with corespinning and crazy art batts. I think this has a lot to do with wanting to expand what I am doing with spinning, breaking out of my box. I discovered SpinCulture on etsy, and I’ve been loving all the randomness in these huge batts! In fact, I recently started spinning one straight rather than corespinning, just to see what would happen. I’ll be showing that off later this week. The below pretty bits of business are from SpinCulture.

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Loop!  What can I say really? The bullseye bumps surprised me so much when I received my first one. I suppose I didn’t really understand that it was not a batt but a bump. Or rather, wool top prepared in an unusual way. There’s just so much that can be done with a bump, ply it together, chain ply it, ply it with something else completely, divide the bump in half and make a 2 ply gradient….loop bumps trigger the imagination. It doesn’t stop there though, because along with the bump, I’ve always received a sample of Loop! spontaneous spinning clouds, which have been great fun to play with. I purchased recently a cloud in the shop because I’d enjoyed spinning up my samples so much. Add to all this fantastic customer service and if you join the Rav group, Steph will make you feel like you belong and like she’s taking a personal interest in all your spinning. This is not a case where I actually do have a personal relationship with the shop owner, this is a case where I feel that I do, and I think you will feel that way too and enjoy her products very much. I may add that it used to be very difficult to get her products, but between the clubs, the spin alongs, and the scheduled shop updates, if you watch carefully you’ll find something quite pleasing to purchase.

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(One cloud and 4 bumps all waiting in my stash to be spun.)


I kept hearing all this awesome talk about Inglenook Fibers. I mean, everywhere I was reading about inglenook batts and how fun they were to spin, especially on support spindles. I recently purchased my first batts and they WERE indeed a dream to spin. Might have been one of my fastest spins ever. I haven’t tried the fiber braids, but the batts are amazing and I’ll be getting more of them to play with for sure! This is one of those situations where I don’t really want to tell you about it because it might mean it is even harder to get a batt for myself.

Here’s another fun option I’ve yet to try. I very much want to, but haven’t yet. Sushi Batts. I’ve heard many good things and am eager to see what they spin up like, but haven’t gone out and purchased yet.

Another “I’ve heard a lot about these” options is Corgi Hill. I’ve got some Lush Batts in my stash but haven’t yet spun them. They are on my list to spin very soon. But a lot of the colors seen in the shop do appeal to me, worth checking out!

I haven’t spun any recently, but in the past I’ve come to love Enchanted Knoll Farm fiber. I’ve only spun their top, and have at least 3 more in my stash that go way back, I need to pull them out soon. This is another case of wonderfully prepared top with no felting whatsoever. Just dreamy to spin.

Now, if you are considering delving into the more intensive spinning activities, such as prepping your own fiber, I’d suggest the Between Ewe And Me  fleece of the month club. You’ll receive washed fleece to prep as you so desire. Often all that is needed is a flick carder if you aren’t sure how you are feeling about fiber prep. While I do have hand cards and a drum carder, the majority of my fleece from this club has been flick carded and then spun from the lock. Be warned that what you get might not always be the highest quality, and it may not be perfectly clean, but that is also the nature of fleece purchasing and at least this way you get to play with something already washed for a fairly good price.

And my final nod goes to Crosby Hill Farm on etsy.  They have top and yarn, but if you are looking to purchase a full fleece and try fleece prep from start to finish? Get one of these. I ended up with one of my nicest fleeces this year from this seller. I haven’t done much with it yet, but what I have done tells me that it is going to be such a joy to work with every step of the way.

Finally, it should probably be noted that I do a lot of my own prep, my own dyeing, and my own fleece washing. If for some reason you are looking for washed fleece or fleece that is in some stage of preparation that is not yet wool top or roving or batts, let me know. I have such options on hand at all times and am often willing to part with some. I don’t put stuff on etsy at this point because I just don’t have time for it. However, wrapping up some fleece and sending it off to an internet friend? I can totally do that. Feel free to ask!

Please use the comments here to add sources for fiber. There are SO MANY and I often get a little gunshy about purchasing from vendors I do not know. From personal experience I know it is easy to felt fiber in the dyeing process and it is easy to not know how something should be prepared if the vendor is not a spinner. So, point *me* in the direction of new vendors as well, I am eager to try new things!


Shiny Silk

The last time I spun silk hankies, years ago, I had a 2 ply laceweight yarn with a ton of texture. And I hated it. I ended up giving it away. And since then I have worked with silk hankies, but never spun them. With the recent spindle spinning obsession, I decided to again try my hand at silk hankies. And since it is the year of spinning thickly, my desire is to spin these up fairly thick, and either leave them as a single or chain ply them into a bulky 3 ply yarn.



I bought 3 stacks of hankies in colors which were similar but not the same. One is a blue with brown, one is shades of blue, and the third is blue with green. They will all look perfectly lovely together and with one color changing into the next it should make a gradient yarn. The yarn is still uneven, as silk hankies are. But, it is also a lot thicker than my first silk hankie spinning attempt and the colors shine beautifully!

I have a stack of undyed hankies hanging around and part of me wonders if maybe I should dye them in a coordinating color to make the resulting yarn go even further.

March Christmas Ornament

I rather thought this might not get done this month. I’ve been completely uninspired to knit, as well as having a good amount of pain while knitting. So I put this off until the last day of March. But, as usual, these knit up quite quickly and I found it enjoyable to sit down and get it done. This one is titled “Greek Cross.”