Mixing Colors in a 3-ply Yarn

In my Knittyspin column in the new issue of Knitty I compare an overplied 2-ply to a 3-ply yarn (top photo).

I didn't plan very well for my samples fiber-wise. I got very excited spinning my 2-ply yarns and didn't have a lot of fiber left over for my 3-ply (second photo).

I divided each of the three hunks into three pieces, along the natural breaks in the fiber (photos three and four).

Then I rearranged them in three different orders (photo five).

When I spun and plied the fiber the colors inyarn are more mixed up than if I had just spun them as they were (top photo yarn on the right).

Next time I'll plan a little better!


Don't Smoosh Your Gauge Swatch

Are you a smoosher? Do you press down when you measure your gauge? It can cause real problems, especially with bulky or lofty yarns. I measured a bulky swatch twice. In the top photo I just placed the swatch gauge on my knitting and measured - 5.25 stitches to 2". I measured the same knitting again and pressed down.  Yike!  4.25-4.5 stitches to 2", that would give me trouble if I needed to have a specific gauge for a garment or anything I wanted to fit. I press down sometimes when I measure gauge, thinking that it would keep my swatch from shifting - never again!

What Should I Read on My Trip?

I'm counting the days until I leave on my almost two week trip. I'm sorting the odds and ends, what to knit and what to read. I'd like to take just three fiction books, I think that's the most I can hope to read, plus I've got some back up on my iPad.

I'm thinking of Hild and another book. I'd like something fat, but available in paperback. I've only once picked the right fat book at the right time for a vacation in my life.  A Solider of the Great War for a week long back country camping trip.

What do you suggest?


A small word of caution for those of you thinking about winnowing your stash. Keep a few of all the basics.  I went through my stash not too long ago, medium-aggressively. For this trip I got it in my head I want to knit socks (it's been years). I went hunting for some Regia or Opal yarn, plain, perfect, easy. One, that's all I left myself in my clearing out, one skein of Opal. I'm hoping this lack of sock yarn won't set me on a Regia/Opal buying frenzy in Germany.

I'm Going on a River Cruise!

In a couple of weeks I'm going on a Viking River Cruise. No, I've never been on a cruise, never really wanted to go on a cruise, but I am so excited to be going.

My in-laws are taking our family on the Cities of Light cruise to celebrate Isobel's high school graduation and to do something unforgettable together, as there is some dementia rearing it's ugly head in the family. It truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

We're starting in Paris and ending up in Prague, floating the Moselle, the Rhine and the Main, with some bus trips to get to and from the ship. Here's a map of where we'll be sailing. Our stops are pretty short, usually long half days with optional guided excursions.

Has anyone who has been on one of these cruises offer any tips? How about tips on being jet lagged, but only having a day and a half in Paris?

I wonder if they'll be screening Masterpiece Mystery on board and if Alan Cumming will be there.....

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!