The Last Make, Wear, Love Retreat

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This past weekend, I was lucky enough to teach at the last Make, Wear, Love retreat, run by Amy Herzog.

I am grateful to have participated in such a tight-knit retreat. Everyone supported each other, students and teachers. There was joy, and silliness. A lot of relaxing happened, and learning and shopping.

I took a few pictures, but nothing can capture the feeling of being among people who have come together for several years thankful to be together one last time.

If you’d like a taste of it, take a look at #makewearloveretreat on Instagram.

There was a fantastic fashion show, hosted by Patty Lyons, who kept everyone laughing and moving quickly.

I fell for the sweater Twitch by Kim Mc Brien Evans (the fabulous dyer Indigo Dragonfly). I bought the yarn from her too, the amazing Chameleon Sock. I like the sweater so much I’m willing to knit at a gauge of 7.5 to the inch.

The retreat has been in Maine since it started, and the state gave us beautiful days and glorious views.

I want to thank Amy for having me teach, my students, and the other teachers for being so welcoming to a first-timer.

October Teaching: River Colors Studio and WEBS

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Do you live near Cleveland, Ohio or Northampton, Massachusetts and are in the mood for a little spinning or knitting in October?

In October I’m teaching in Cleveland at River Colors Studio. I’m teaching Yarnitecture all day on Sunday October 13. On Saturday October 12, I’m teaching knitters about the construction of yarn in my Yarn Detective Class in the morning, and about yarn swapping in my Yarn Substitution class in the afternoon. If you follow my posts on Mason Dixon Knitting, these are live versions of all that goodness.

Later in October, right after Rhinebeck, I’m teaching at WEBS for the weekend of October 26th and 27th. I’m teaching four classes, Draft-O-Rama (woolen and worsted drafting), the Gist of Grist, Intuitive Spinning, and True Color: Exploring Dye Patterns in Braids. Any (or all) of those classes will help you spin your new Rhinebeck acquisitions.

I’m always happy to answer any questions about my classes. I hope to see some of you this fall!

Sparkly Threads

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The end of the summer in the US usually means all kinds of sales. I went to a sale at one of the big box craft stores and came home a happy women with a pocket full of sparkly threads. It’s almost as good as sunshine, but not as catchy. I bought rayon threads, some holo threads, a glow in the dark thread, and some sparkly embroidery floss. They make me so happy that they are still sitting where I took this photo so I can look at them every day.

No, I haven’t started anything with them, but I have plans. Because plans with yarn and thread are what I love.

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Here are two of the plans I have for these fabu threads. Two Cozyblue Handmade patterns to stitch, Galaxy Girl and maybe Lunar Blossom.

Other plans I have for those sparklies are spinning some thread plied yarn, some spirals and boucle featuring the glitz for scarf weaving and knitting.

I may do a touch of mending on a commercial sweater with one or one plied with a fine yarn for grip.

Clearly a little shine was key to finding some new ideas for myself. Have you made anything sparkly lately?

Dye Patterns and the Process of Thinking about Color

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This week I’ve been spinning and thinking about different dye patterns in braids. I don’t know that I will ever get shot of my need to study and experiment with color. Not necessarily how to make it, the dyeing part, but how colors work together in spinning, and how it looks used in knitting or weaving or stitching.

I’m not alone. There are a lot articles and books that have been written about color, and color and spinning. Yesterday I stumbled on an article written a decade ago by Maggie Casey that had I read it when it came out, it could have cut out the need for a lot of my sampling. But I don’t think I would know as much if I hadn’t done the samples myself.

I am definitely a process spinner, I am happiest figuring out how things work, and how I can make them work for me. It makes me happy to pick apart puzzles, it’s why I like to read mysteries too.

My spinning right now is working through five different styles of dyed braids. First seeing how they look spun as a singles, then working through manipulating them a little, and adding a few things in. I see such beauty in the minute changes we can make to our yarn. It’s been a wonderful week of spinning.

A Case and Little Tools for My Nano

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I still am having a great time spinning on my Nano. I seem to not have a lot of the noise and take-up issues some folks have. I’m currently spinning some Cormo, usually with the Nano just sitting on my lap.

If you have a Nano, or are thinking about a Nano I’d encourage you to join the Electric Eel Wheel Group on Facebook , there is so much good information being shared.

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I found a great case for my Nano, it’s a Namaste Maker’s Train Case. Right now it’s the perfect fit, for the wheel, cords, a few bobbins, and fiber. I still would like to get a small firm case that just holds the wheel, protected inside my bigger knitting bag for when I want to travel with multiple craft projects.


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I’ve bought a few tools for my wheel, all were suggestions from the Nano group. I repurposed a battery from my Hansen (and got a bigger battery for my Hansen), a USB light to keep the battery from switching off, a foot switch, and some sticky mat to keep from my wheel from sliding around.

I’m using the stuff I use to keep rugs (and bigger spinning wheels) from sliding on wooden floors, but lots of people are using silicone pot holders under their Nanos.

The next time I’m at Michael’s I’ll be picking up a few beads to mark my brake band.


Stitching Again

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A want-to-do for August happened with a little help from my girlie.

She said something about embroidering before we went on vacation and I jumped online and bought us each a kit from Embroidery and Sage. Her kits are straight forward,well explained, use only a few stitches, and have everything you need including a display hoop and backing felt. You do need your own scissors. She got the cactus kit and I got the forest kit.

Of course, we had no time to stitch on our vacation, but when we got home all the stitching happened. My daughter was a woman on a mission. I set her up with books, videos, a practice hoop and a stitch sampler, which she tore through until she felt she had enough stitches under her belt to tackle her kit. She certainly got the hang of it faster than I did.

I haven’t really stitched for about a year, but I remember that have-to-stitch feeling, and how relaxing it is to stitch. I sat beside her as much as I could answering questions, tying, and untying knots, and stitching.

I even revealed to her all of the preprinted samplers and kits I have in my embroidery stash, and let her rummage through all of my floss. I’m so excited that she’s stitching I let her pick one of my Fat Squirrel bags to keep her projects in.

I bought her the Dropcloth starter kit with two samplers. We took a tour through just a few online shops, Dropcloth, Cozyblue, and Embroidery and Sage. She didn’t really want to look, she wanted to keep stitching.

I was hoping to get back to stitching, but wouldn’t allow myself the time to relax into it. I’m thankful to my girl for leading me back.

I’m teaching at WEBS the weekend after Rhinebeck, October 26/27. They have just posted my classes on their site. Come spin with me!

Electric Eel Wheel Nano - First Thoughts

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I’ve spun on my Nano for only a couple of hours, but I know lots of folks are wondering about how it spins.

I didn’t buy the Nano to replace my Hanson (in fact having the Nano may have cemented my desire to upgrade to the Hansen Pro), they are very different machines. I am certainly not comparing them when I spin.

The Nano is tiny, it fits in my small-handed palm. It really likes to spin fine. I spun Merino/silk and some Falkland in several different sizes. Fine was my sweet spot.

It’s very light for good and not so good. It will be lovely to find the perfect carrying box, and be able just to toss it in my bag. But, I was constantly pulling it around while I spun. I’ll be shopping for tiny bungee cords today. There are holes built into the base to help attach the spinner to something heavier.

It only has so much power. Of course, I turned it up as hight as it will go. This is not the machine for spinner who want super fast high twist yarns or giant heavy yarns. I could get high twist and fat yarns on the Nano, but it took more time.

It is so clever and so quiet. The motor is close to silent, it hums. The bit noise from the spinner comes from bobbins rattling slightly on the bobbin shaft. The controls are intuitive for me, and it has magnets to keep the tiny orifice hook in place. I am always losing my orifice hooks.

I bought the Nano for a couple of reasons, to demonstrate how yarn is made when I teach knitters about yarn construction, and to spin yarns to stitch with. Right out of the box I knew the Nano fit the bill perfectly. I’m looking forward to getting to know her a little better, and will write more then.

Also it’s SO CUTE! Even my husband and son who are immune to the siren song of any new fiber tools, were drawn to the Nano’s adorableness.

Here’s a short video of me spinning on it. I’m holding my phone with one hand, so I’m doing a little long draw. You can hear that it’s quiet, I like the little chugging sound it makes. You can see see that when I wind on and try to pull back, the spinner wants to come along. Plus you can see how adorable it is.

Adventuring

As I write this the kids are still sleeping. We are on a family adventure in the southwest. We’ve explored Mesa Verde and now we are in Santa Fe. This trip is showing me how hard I’ve been working, and how much I will enjoy my August slow down.

I may post here every so often in August, but I’ll be back in full weekly swing in September.

I hope you find a way to recharge this summer!

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