Nashville Part 2: Super Summer Knitogether

Teaching at SSK 2017 was so much fun! Leslie and Laura (and Sara and Gwen) put on a great retreat.

I had superb students that were game for anything. Look at them draped in wool when it's 100 degrees outside and we had wobbly air conditioning in our classroom! They even took their free time to knit swatches of our class spun yarns.

One of the great things that Laura and Leslie do is to have many, many things available to try. One night it's knitted things, one room of sweaters, one room of accessories - all to try on and fondle.

One night it's tools - two rooms full of knitting needles, fiber processing tools and other goodies and a ginormous circle of spinning wheels to try. I helped sell a couple of wheels that night.

We were in Nashville and we ate well! Our dining hall looked like the Hogwarts great hall and it had a soft serve ice cream machine. I ate barbecue with Ross Farms and wish I had ordered the same sandwich as Lee Meredith (mac and cheese with pimento cheese) at a grilled cheese restaurant. I drank a lot of sweet tea.

And of course my loot! This is a decidedly unsexy picture of my haul from the mighty SSK marketplace, but I will talk about most of it separately in other blog posts.

Ready? Clockwise from top left: Hipstrings Corriedale top, Two bags from the Fat Squirrel (I could have bought them all), battlings and top from Hobbeldehoy, my SSK goodie bag, Hipstrings WPI and twist angle tools, two bags of dyed locks from Hopkins Fiber Studio, two Akerworks bobbins for my Hansen, a Wonder Woman bag from Whimzee Stitches (this has already been stolen by my daughter), and this year's tour shirt from Ross Farm.  Not shown a Turkish spindle from Jeri Brock and some yummy smellies from Tuft Woolens.

I wrote about the Hobbeldehoy battlings and Jeri Brock's Flying Pig spindle on the the KnittyBlog yesterday.

SSK is one of those rare retreats where everyone helps each other, questions just get thrown out and everyone contributes an answer or demonstration without bickering and everyone laughs. There were so many jokes and songs and so much laughing. I hope I get to go back!

What Do You Call This Style of Color on Fiber


I bought this fab Corriedale from Jill at Hipstrings at the SSK marketplace, the color is called Warm Woolen Mittens.

What do you call the way the color is presented on the fiber? It's done at the mill rather than in dyepots, though the dyers still choose and sometimes dye the colors. Jill calls it blended.

I might call it striped. It looks like Grandma's candydish ribbon candy to me.

I've been excited to see how it spins up. Since I only have one braid (silly me), I waited a bit to see if it asked to be something specific.

Nothing really came to me, so decided to spin a little just to see how the colors blended. I spun a quarter of the braid, woolen but finer than usual for me.




And boy did those colors blend. The colors get duller becasue of the intermingling, true, but it makes a glorious heathered yarn.

As soon as I saw a bit on my bobbin I knew what yarn I wanted to spin.

Yep, I want to see this type of blended color spun into a cabled yarn.

What yarns do you make out of this type of striped fiber?


Corefun - Playing with Yarn

This week I needed a little yarn play time.

I'm trying to spend some time every day crafting without a deadline. Just whatever occurs to me that day. Sometimes it will last over a couple of days, but usually never more than three.

I found that I've been crafting solely for deadlines and while I don't enjoy it less, there was a little something missing.

So random crafting has become a thing at my house.

I spun some corespun yarn and turned it into two different yarns.

I used a batt from Mork Made Fiber Co and corespun it on Jaggerspun Zephyr wool/silk lace weight yarn. I don't corespin particularly evenly and this helped me practice that.

I intended to chain-ply the whole bit, but my love of spiral plying got in the way.

I chain plied as much as I could stand. I am just not a huge fan of the structure of chain-ply. I do use it and I keep trying to find ways to like it, but it's definitely not a go-to structure for me.

I tend to over twist in the ply, which leads to harder yarn, that's one reason for being, meh on the chain. The other is the constant comparison to 3-ply. Nope. I find the more I think about it as completely separate from 3-ply the more I can accept it into my spinning repertoire. It's a personal spinning weirdness.

I spiral plied most of the yarn. I used the Zephyr as the core- it's stronger than it looks. Of the three yarns, I like it the best.

Right now spiral plying is my favorite. It's just fun to do an so fast!



Here's a peek at the three yarns a little closer and side by side. This was a fun diversion from work spinning.

What did you do for fun this week?

Nashville Pt. 1 and PLY News

Mason Dixon Knitting World Headquarters!

Mason Dixon Knitting World Headquarters!

Now I tried to fit everything that happened in Nashville last weekend into one post, but when I tried to combine all that is SSK and MDK it was just too much goodness.

My first adventure was with Ann Shayne of Mason Dixon Knitting. Ann is my kind of woman, with limited time to play and sass she knew just where to take me. Lunch to swap stories, Parnassus Books and Mason Dixon Knitting Headquarters to fondle yarn and spin ideas.

Before I get to the yarn, just a couple of words about Parnassus Books - Holy crap what a great store! This one, co-owned by author Ann Patchett, is up there with Powells, Book People and the Tattered Cover.

That's Ann up there in the photo and I want you to imagine that she offers a bouquet of Jill Draper mini skeins to everyone that walks through the door at Mason Dixon, it's just the neighborly thing to do.

The MDK offices are full of yarn and I pet and squeezed all of it. They pack and ship every skein they sell from this office. Not one skein of yarn would get sold or shipped, and I believe that Ann and Kay might have trouble finding their own butts without the help of Liz, the woman on the right with her dog Daisy. She is the most organized woman I've ever met. Look at the color coded binders on her desk, frightening.

Bonus visit: Fringe Association is in the same building as MDK. I got to hug Karen Templer and she didn't even comment on my strings of drool as I surveyed her mighty inventory. I could have easily bought one of everything. As beautiful as things look on her site, in person it's even better.

I got some sneak previews of new Mason Dixon Knitting kits and the upcoming Field Guides, so many cool things! There was also some plotting and planning, I'm super excited.


Did you see the PLY news, today? PLY Magazine is going to start publishing books! And guess who has two thumbs and is on the book publishing team, yep, me. Again, with the excited!

Have a spinning book you want to write or an idea for a great book that you want someone else to write? The announcement and info about all of those things are on the PLY blog today.




More Batt Spinning - Layered Batts and Color

I've been spinning fresh samples for my Batts in the Belfry:Spinning Batts class. Spinning samples never gets old because I always see something a little differently.

This is a layered batt from Essential Fiber. It's brown, green and white. I wanted to see how the colors would play out, depending on the direction I spun the batt.

I divided the batt in two horizontally and pulled one half into roving in the direction of the batt's grain. The other half I rolled with the grain and pulled into roving against the grain. I spun them both into chubby singles and knit stockinette swatches.

The yarn and swatch on the left is the with the grain and the yarn and swatch on the right is against the grain. The yarn looks very similar color-wise, but the yarn spun against the grain mixes the colors, they look sprinkled. The colors in the yarn spun from the end are blotchier, there are areas of distinct colors rather than heathery color. Today I like my colors more mixed, but I may have a project in the future that wants the broken up colors, so I'm happy to have this as a reference.


Stone Fabric in the Louvre

On our family vacation this summer I spent a tiny (2 hours) amount of time in the Louvre. We saw some of the greatest hits, but what really struck me were the sculptures.

When I visit an art museum I tend to fixate on one thing - color, texture, particular animals in pictures, beautiful fat women, beards, just about anything can strike me on a particular day.

I think it's my way of not being overwhelmed in a museum with so much to look at.




On this trip, at this museum, it was the depiction of fabric in Greek and Roman sculpture.

The detail and drape, the motion, it's amazing. I've never been much interested in sculpture and have no idea how the sculptors manage the fluidity in something rigid.

 I was mesmerized by it, going from one to the next. Here are few pictures I took while I tried not to touch the sculptures.

Batt Spinning for the Tour de Fleece

batt bundle collage.jpg

I ordered this Mork Made Fiber Co. batt a while ago. I fell in love with it online, bought it and never took it out of the box. I didn't want it to get squashed in my stash or extra fuzzed by being tossed around.

I finally decided to spin it for the Tour de Fleece this year, and cracked the box. It's still gorgeous. Plus a found a surprise inside - thank you Nicole!

I opened the batt and spent some time petting it and studying the color layout. The fibers are alpaca, silk, wool, sparkle and other sexy smooth things.

The back of the batt is black alpaca. I was attracted to this batt because of the brightness, so I stripped away a bit of the black.

I pulled off a strip, divided it horizontally and spun it two ways, with the grain of the batt and from the fold. Even with a little sample like that I was able to tell that it would look different. The yarn on the left is spun with the grain and the colors are more mixed together. The yarn on the right is from the fold and the colors separated, especially the black. They did not want to hang together spun from the fold.

I like my colors mixed and tweedy,  spinning with the grain of the batt won. I pulled the batt into roving, spun it from the end and plied it on itself.

I wish I had bought the second batt in this colorway, I really like this yarn and the batt was such an effortless spin, over much too soon!

My Tour de Fleece spinning this year has nothing to do with quantity. It's all about squeaking in spinning between the business of our summer. Right now I'm working on another Mork Made batt, core spun and chain plied.

What are you spinning?



A Quick Vacation Update



I'm back from my vacation and it was as wonderful as everyone said it would be.

The part I didn't anticipate was how hard it would be to jump into life and work when I got back.

My brain rested, it saw beautiful things and spoke to new people and thought about things other than email and dinner. It just doesn't want to get back to details, so I am slow even a week after getting back.

The whole family is rested and happy.

Later I will dig deeper into what I saw and can't stop thinking about. But for now here are some very random photos from our foray.

The Eiffel Tower. We had perfect weather like this for our whole trip.

How did sculptors manage to make hair look so real?

The modern stained glass windows at Notre Dame really want to be a weaving.

I can't go into a castle without think of Monty Python.

We drank a lot of beer.

How is Prague such a magical city? Parts of it are Disneyland-crowded and touristy, but I can't wait to go back.

And Hild is an excellent novel, I highly recommend it!