Ply Away 2017 -All the Fun!

It was fun! There was spinning, shopping and a man on a seven-foot unicycle. I had incredible classes, my students were the best. We learned all about yarn in Yarnitecture, explored using color in singles in Kaleidoscope Yarns and spun and ate cheese (my students even brought wine) in Sheep Sampler. They even gave me a great idea for a new class - two days spinning painted braids. Maybe I'll teach it next year at Ply Away. I've made a collage of classes, marketplace, my students and even the unicycle guy.

I didn't have much time for shopping, but I managed to grab some lovely things.  I finally bought the new Clemes and Clemes JMac Lazy Kate in maple. I also got a sampling niddy noddy. After missing out at two shows I was able to snag some Shetland/Tussah from Sincere Sheep. I got a lovely big batt from Hello Purl. I bought two braids from October House, I've never spun her fiber before and I'm excited to see how her colors play out. I bought some BFL/silk and a little Cashmere/silk from Fiber Optic Yarns and two braids that will look fantastic worked together from Fiber Obsessions.

It was a whirlwind and I can't wait to do it again!

Crochet Urchins in Singapore

Look at these giant crocheted Urchins that the architectural firm Choi+Shine put together for the ILight festival in Singapore!

 Urchins photo  @choi+shine2017

Urchins photo @choi+shine2017

Aren't they beautiful? It took 50 artisans to crochet the pieces for these. You can read about the project and see the process of construction on the Choi+Shine website. I love how lace out of a familiar context really makes you look.

Here's a quote from the designers about the installation that I particularity like:

Seeing hovering and glowing lacy objects against majestic skyscrapers and dark water would make them pause and gaze.  This momentary pause of the mundane routine of our life would hopefully give us an opportunity to find the poetry around us.

Today I'm off to find more poetry.



Dyeing to Teach

It's a most excellent thing to have a friend that is a dyer. Not only do I get beautiful fiber to use for teaching, but I get my butt saved again and again. Carla of Cjkohodesigns and I have been friends for more than 20 years. We met in a weaving class in the basement of the Ann Arbor Art Center it's always been all about the fiber for us.

She'd had a fiber and yarn business for about 10 years, when I started teaching hers was the first fiber I used. I've branched out to use other dyers, but her fiber is part of almost every class I teach.

This past weekend she dyed several pounds of fiber for me for one of the two classes I'm premiering at PLY Away next week, Sheep Sampler: Spin & Nosh. It's part spinning, part sheep cheese tasting and 100% fun.

As I hung out in her studio with her watching her expertly dye my fiber, I couldn't help but remember that first weaving class.

We had weeks to talk about a how much we enjoyed working with fiber and how lucky we would be if one day we could somehow do it as a job. What we didn't know then was how lucky we would be to see that goal together as friends.



Yarnitecture: My Editor

It's time to get back to writing more about the people who helped me to make my book.

The person who made Yarnitecture a delight to read is my editor, Gwen Steege. It is her masterful word shuffling and pruning and her ability to ask just the right question that keeps Yarnitecture flowing.

She made my words come alive in a way that makes sense to everyone, not just to the spinning gremlins in my head. She kept me on task and off the edge in the kindest of ways. She edited, reedited and edited some more, yet the book still sounds like me. I think that is true talent.

I am in the company of some of my spinning heroines having Gwen for an editor. She also edited Deb Robson's Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, Sarah Anderson's A Spinner's Book of Yarn Designs, and Beth Smith's A Spinner's Guide to Fleece.

Thank you Gwen!


Yarn Fest 2017

Yarn Fest 2017 was a blast! It's relaxing and invigorating at the same time. I have about a million more ideas thanks to my very curious students and fellow teachers. Here's a quickie recap. Of course, I didn't take many pictures

Look at this sweater! Renee made Julia Farwell-Clay's  Tetris from Yarnitecture from her handspun. It's gorgeous and perfect!





I did a tiny bit of shopping. A little natural Yak/Cashmere/Silk and dyed Cashmere from Lisa Souza - I may just roll in it all, it's so soft, a spindle from Greensleeves - because Stephanie made me, three sets of yak/silk gradients from Greenwood Fiberworks - they just glow, and from Redfish Dyeworks Merino/Silk, BFL/silk and Alpaca/silk - one is for my Fibershare buddy, but I'm not telling which one.









I witnessed the best thing I've ever seen in a marketplace at this Yarn Fest. When I was shopping in the Greensleeves booth there was a woman from Belgium who has a best friend in Berlin, both are avid Greensleeves spindle collectors. Elizabeth and the woman from Belgium were helping the friend in Berlin choose spindles via FACETIME. I have never heard so much happy squealing come from a phone as each group of spindles were held up. So much fun and so much joy!

I Have Relaxed Into Two Games

 Monument Valley screenshot

Monument Valley screenshot

I try not to keep games on my phone. I know I will spend much too much time playing. Even when I try to just use them as a carrot for work or when I'm waiting, time morphs and I find my 10 minute treat has spanned 45 minutes.

But every so often I treat myself. This weekend I bought two games, and I love them equally, Prune and Monument Valley. Both are Apple and Android friendly and both are puzzle type of games. What they have in common is that they are peaceful. The graphics are stunning, there is soft music and infinate do overs.

This weekend I spent quite a bit of time helping a tree bloom and navigating Ida through twisty mazes and a stressed out spot in my brain relaxed.

Do you have any similar games that you reccomend?

Abundant Earth Yarn - Swatching!

I finally made the time to sit down and swatch my Abundant Earth tweedy yarn. I swatched 6 different stitch patterns. Some didn't make it past a couple of repeats, they didn't show up or showcase the yarn well.

From the bottom:

  1. stockinette
  2. a butterfly/stem stitch - completely disappears, sad trombone.
  3. twisted lines on rev stockinette - boring!
  4. a puff stitch - interesting, but eats yarn.
  5. triangular lace - like it!
  6. lattice lace - like it, maybe more!







Here's a peek at the butterfly/stem stitch that didn't show up in the tweedy yarn, right above the stockinette. It needs something less textured and more smoothly colored. And the twisted stitch on a rev stst background, it's fine and I like it,but not for this yarn. I want something a little more interesting visually.



Here are the two stitch patterns that are the contenders.

Maybe it's the combination of the woolen prep and woolen spin, or something in the the stitch pattern, but the top lattice pattern (#6) looks so textural to me. I think it really shows off the yarn .

The other pattern (#5) below, looks smoother, probably because of the the reverse stockinette of the triangles. I like it as a pattern, the combination the rev stst triangles and the stockinette diagonal lines, but not for this yarn. This might look cool in a speckled variegated yarn.


I think the lattice pattern (#6) wins! What do you think?

This is going to be the perfect travel knitting project for my flight to Denver for Yarn Fest next week. That's one project sorted.


WEBS Is Having a Spinning Summit and an Interview

 Downtown Northampton

Downtown Northampton

Today WEBS announced their first Spinning Summit! It's being held September 29-October 1, kicking off Spinning and Weaving week and leaf peeping season. 

Come and spin with me, Beth Smith, Amy King and Abby Franquemont; we're teaching 12 classes over 3 days, color, breeds, spindles and lots more.

There will be spinners yoga, a spin in, a super swag bag and yes, a special Spinning Summit-only shopping spree, after hours, at WEBS.

Beth, Amy, Abby and I are all friends and we rarely get to teach together, so there are going to be some serious shenanigans. More info and registration can be found here.


Penny Shima Glanz of Little Acorn Creations interviewed me this week about my book, teaching and creativity. Penny is a hero of mine, she is a master planner. There are days I just don't want to work, but when I see her daily planning pictures on Instagram  they always get me off of my couch. Plus, she will always talk paper, pens, planning and planners with me! Thank you Penny, for letting me talk about things I love.