A Litte Weaving

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Remember this Nest BFL fiber I spun and knit a tiny sample out of becasue I thought I might want to weave it?

Well I bought a weft yarn, naturally dyed, laceweight, merino/silk from Sincere Sheep. 1,200 yards will get me a lot of weaving.

I am crazy about the color Kung Hei Fat Choi, a red tht's more than just a red. Natural dyeing will do that, it has so much else happening. To me it's red with some electric pink pour into it, and maybe a little orange or gold around the edges

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Before I just jump on my loom I wanted to make sure that the red of Sincere Sheep will go with the red in the Nest BFL, so I wove a tiny swatch.

The sett is 8 epi on a Purl and Loop Wee Weaver. I wove it at about the same picks per inch. The swatch is tiny but I can see the reds play very well together.

When I weave it on my Cricket I'll keep it at 8 epi, and maybe weave it less than a balanced weave, a little more open.

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The rest of my yarn is outside drying. It's above freezing! In Michigan! Then it's math time before the warping and spinning.

It's going to be a scarf with some twisted fringe. Right now, I'm happy with the idea of just weaving scarves.

Blending Natural Colors at the Wheel


I had a student recently ask me, "Do you ever use natural colors?" And she didn't mean naturally dyed colors.

I do use naturals and there are some I'm quite fond of, humbug BFL and oatmeal BFL, have always excited me. Greys and browns make me quite swoony.

I've been spinning a bit of commercial Shetland from Dashing Mouse, and I recently ordered some moorit Shetland - the lighter redish-brown in the photo.


It’s gorgeous by itself, but I got the idea of blending the moorit with the other colors. I drafted it with white, grey and dark brown Shetland (bottom to top) into chunky 2-ply.

The moorit makes an nice accompaniment to all three of the naturals but the dark brown and moorit is my favorite today.

The white is too much contrast for me and I wish the grey were darker, more like oatmeal BFL.

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Here’s a close up of the white and grey (left) and the grey and dark brown (right) all drafted with the moorit.

What I really like about all of these, and why I like drafting fiber together rather than carding or combing into a new color is the randomness of the color placement.

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I like the visual motion that the random placement gives the knitted fabric. It’s like the colors are skittering across the swatch.

I do want to spin some of each of these thinner to get the colors to blend more and then knit and weave them. I’m dying to know if the colors skitter in woven cloth too.

As a last fun thing, I drafted the moorit, grey and dark brown together. It was just a whim, but I think I like it the best of all.

Teaching at Susan's Spinning Retreat

Fabulous teaching photos by Ann Krieg!

Fabulous teaching photos by Ann Krieg!

I taught at Susan’s Fiber Shop retreat this past weekend. We cozied up in a hotel while the temps outside dipped below zero.

A whole bunch of spinners filled a ballroom and some of them gathered round while a did a blending board demo. A few more took classes with me for the next two days.

We had a great time, they were skilled spinners with a lot of questions. We covered our class material and a lot more.

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There was a field trip one afternoon to Susan’s Fiber Shop. Holy cow!

It’s giant and there is everything a fiber fanatic would want, knitting yarn, spinning fiber, beads, weaving yarn, and so many books.

The book section is biggest I’ve seen in a shop. She has new books and a lot of out of print books.

It was a great way to spend the afternoon!


Then there’s was pie.

The spinners of Wisconsin whisked me away to the Nordske Nook where I had a slice of lingonberry sour cream. It was divine.

An Article Worth Your Time

I am home after teaching in Iowa City (Hi Greg!) for 48 hours before I jump in the Stash Mobile™ and head to Susan’s Fiber Retreat outside of Madison.

I wanted to make sure every fiber person I know sees this article by Jaya Saxena on Vox.com.

It’s really the best overview that I have read of the discussions and work that has been going on on social media about racism in the fiber community.

It tells important truths about what has happened recently on social media and about the racism that has been going on in fiber shops, fiber shows, and magazines for far too long.

A Different Diz, Just in Case

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I think it’s ok to say I have color on the brain right now. I’ve been working on playing, practicing , and sampling color blending on combs and cards.

This particular day I had a blue that I wanted to lift to lighter with white.

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I layered the fiber on my comb, just eyeballing it to about 50% blue, 50% white.

I layered the fiber to get the colors to blend quicker and more heathered. If I had put in on in stripes the colors would have been more flecked, unless I did more passes.

You know me, the shortest distance between fiber and sample is my sweet spot, unless I’m wandering the neighborhood like Billy in Family Circus. You can see the layers in my comb waste.

I didn’t want to spin from the combs, mostly because I’ve had a bout of insomnia (yay, menopause) and I’ve been tired-clumsy. I know I would poke myself somehow while spinning. So I decided to make top by pulling the fiber slowly through a diz.

I turned my spinning corner(s) over and couldn’t find my diz. I usually use purpose-made diz or a vintage button with big holes to diz. I couldn’t find either.*

I looked in our house toolbag and all of the washers I found were rusty or grimy. A washers makes a great diz too.

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What else did I have that has holes in it? What did I just buy to put in my knitting tool kit (because it was so cute) that every knitter uses and has at least one in their project bag? A needle gauge!

This one is from my local, Spun, and is made by Katrinkles. Any needle gauge will work, just make sure it’s smooth inside those holes.

I chose a 5.5 mm needle size to diz through and it worked perfectly. I even liked having a bigger surface to hold on to as I pulled my fiber through. Now I’m torn where to put my new needle gauge, in my spinning kit or my knitting kit.

*the mystery of the missing diz and button was solved when I put my combs away in the their storage bag. Yup, both were sitting at the bottom of the bag. I swear I looked there.

On My Mark, Get Set, Write!

It always starts with office supplies…….

It always starts with office supplies…….

I’ve talked about it a little bit here and when I’m teaching, but the time has come to stop talking and start writing.

I’m writing another book. It’s about spinning color, my favorite. It will expand on the parts about color in Yarnitecture, and the work we do in my Colorplay class.

It will be 100% about working with commercially prepared fibers and absolutely no dyeing. If there is something you particularly want me to cover, let me know.

I’ve made an outline, a giant chart on a presentation board (like for science fair), and have a giant 3” binder. It’s all about the office supplies, once I set those up I know there’s no turning back.

I’m excited and super nervous. It’s time to pour a whole lot of words, and some heart and soul onto paper.

Emergency Orifice Hooks

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If my wheel doesn’t have a spot to store an orifice hook, I’m sunk. I constantly misplace orifice hooks, even sometimes when they have a spot on my wheel. I don’t know what it is, I’ve found several in the wash and in between couch cushions.

After spending too much time trying to thread my leader through an orifice without a hook, I figured out a way to make a couple different quick emergency hooks.

I always keep two things in my spinning kit to use as emergency hooks, paper clips and dental floss.

The paper clip hook is quick, but sometimes it can be fiddly, if you have a long orifice. I usually use a small clip because they are the most bendy, which helps getting it into and out of the orifice.

I open the clip all the way and make a small hook at one end. I make the hook with little pliers I have in my spinning kit, by pressing the end against a hard surface (like a table), or sometimes just with my hand.

Dental floss is quick too, and easy to carry around in it’s handy little box. I use my grocery store brand, and make sure that it’s waxed or coated in some way. The coating gives it just enough stiffness to not collapse while I’m threading.

I break off about 12”, fold it in half, and tie it together at the open end. This makes a loop style orifice hook that’s good for especially a long or a sharply curved orifice.

A bonus to having dental floss on hand, it can be used to tie skeins, or as emergency stitch markers.

There aren’t pretty, but they get the job done in a pinch!

3 Reasons I Use a Yarn Ball Holder for Knitting


I’ll admit I’m late to join the admiration society of yarn ball holders.

I used to think a yarn holder was one in a long list of knitting tools that I just didn’t want or need, but after using it for a couple of months I don’t want to knit without one.

A bonus as a spinner, a lot of yarn ball holders can double as a single-bobbin Lazy Kate.

For me, it comes down to three knitting benefits that make it my newest knitting friend.

Smooth yarn. If I'm knitting from a commercial skein, a yarn cake, or a hand wound ball, I always pull my yarn from the outside. Pulling from the inside of a skein, cake or ball adds twist I don’t want in my yarn. A yarn ball holder holds yarn on a spike sitting on a base that turns, so it’s easy to spool yarn off of the outside with no added twist.

Supported yarn. A yarn cake that’s on a yarn ball holder is supported. The shaft holds the cake so it won’t collapse on itself as the cake gets smaller or if the yarn is slippery. The turntable that it sits on spools the yarn off with no tugging, I knit and there is a constant stream of yarn. To me that means the yarn isn’t being stretched as I knit.

Cleaner yarn. My yarn stays where I put it like a baby in a bouncy seat. No more leaping and hopping balls of yarn that get chased by cats and dogs and end up tangled around the leg of the couch covered in grit and fuzz. I knit at movies a lot and using a yarn ball holder means no more accidentally sticky yarn from dropping on the floor.

I’m already thinking about buying another holder, and the two things that it has to have for me are the rotating base (some are a static spike), and it has to pack flat for traveling.

The yarn ball holder (pictured above) that pushed me into knitting bliss is the Flat Pack Yarn Caddy and Butterfly Kate Kit from Akerworks that I was sent to review for the latest Knitty.