Bedazzle your Spinning!

Add beads to your spinning! |

Spinning with beads is such jazzy, dazzling fun. All those pretty glass baubles catching the light and making your handspun extra special! I get that you can string beads onto thread or yarn and ply it with handspun to get the effect, but always wondered how you'd accomplish it with singles. I recently investigated and gave it a trial run. It was so successful and joyously fun that I thought I'd share. You'll want to select some pretty beads and a large eyed tapestry needle that will fit through the hole in the beads: Pull off a staple length of fiber and twist and fold over the end in order to thread it onto the needle. Sounds impossible, but it's actually surprisingly easy. Once … [Read more...]

Stitches West Finds


Mom Sr and I had such a great time at Stitches West! We loved communing with our fellow knitters and crocheters, learning new tricks in our classes and most especially loved the opportunity to see new indie dyers up close and personal. We found some real winners at the show that we'll be shopping with this year: Dizzy Blonde Studios' gorgeous rack of amazing colorways was the first thing to catch our eye: Phydeaux Designs sure wowed us with amazingly lovely, subtle color shifting combinations: Western Sky Knits colorways were so bright and fun - they all wanted to come home with me! Huckleberry Knits offered both vibrant yarn and deeply saturated fiber. I couldn't … [Read more...]

Road Cotton

Spin Cotton From the Roadside - so neat!

Since I returned to my home in Arizona from Greece, I've really come to appreciate my home state. True, it's too hot much of the year, and there's only a small window of time in which I can enjoy wool hand knits, but the desert is beautiful. I find ways to indulge my passion for knitting and fiber - even in warm country. This is cotton farming country - especially just south of my Phoenix area home. Fields stretch for miles in these areas and large mountains of cotton sit at the cotton gin, waiting for processing. Driving by that area, I noticed that seed cotton, fresh from the fields had blown from the trucks delivering it to the gin and mounded in fluffy little lumps on the side of the … [Read more...]

Solar Dyed Fiber all Spun Up


Because it was so fun to spin up my own handdyed fiber, and because I also promised I would share, here's the Sun Fiber I recently blogged about, dyed in the big Sun Tea jar, now transformed into a beautiful bouncy two ply yarn. From pretty braid: To squishy skein: Although the red dominates - the blending of the other colors took it from rose to deep red, with puddles of pure purple and splashes of white to keep it interesting. I'm continually surprised at how fiber colors translate into yarn. It's a witchy sort of alchemy - this pulling and smoothing of the vibrant fiber into multi shaded strands, twisted … [Read more...]

Sun Fiber

Solar Dying Roving and Fiber

If you've ever made a big jar of sun tea, the concept of solar dyeing will make perfect sense to you. Simple ingredients: water, vinegar, fiber, your choice of dyes and a big tea jar along with a sunny summer day is pretty much all you need. I also used squeeze bottles to mix my dye in and a dedicated set of measuring spoons . If you aren't using food safe dyes such as Kool-Aid or food colors, the containers you use for dyeing should be for dyeing alone, not to be used again for food or drink. Many professional dyes have heavy metals in them that aren't safe to ingest, so keep all dyeing utensils for dyeing only. I pre-soak my fiber right in the jar with tap water … [Read more...]

A New Friend

DIY Yarn Spinning

A fun new friend came to live at my house! She arrived in this over sized box. My new Schacht Ladybug Spinning Wheel! I impatiently pulled her out of the box in parts and got to work putting her together. In the process, I ran across my own sweet little ladybug mascot perched on the side. After a few false starts, I hammered out the basics and spun some lumpy singles. I was amazed at how quickly I could spin compared to my spindles. In just a couple of spinning sessions, I had a bobbin full! I also got the attached lazy kate, so I'm able to slide the full bobbins onto the front of the wheel and ply from there, which is pretty doggone convenient. Disclaimer: I am … [Read more...]

A Long Time Coming

Spinning Yarn on a Turkish Spindle

Good Gravy! After finishing my latest spin, my first on the turkish spindle, I looked back to see when I'd begun and saw that I've been nursing this spin along for nearly 6 months! I am powerfully happy to have it off my spindle! And yes - I learned a valuable lesson I can share with you regarding a turkish spindle. The fiber was merino from Wonderland Dyeworks in the Mountain Meadow colorway, gifted to me by my Dear Daughter in Law Cindee, two years ago on my birthday. Although it was beautiful stuff of the highest quality, it managed to get pretty compressed from it's travels with me to Greece and back again. Compressed fiber can be rescued by thorough pre-drafting and … [Read more...]

The Skinny on Silk Hankies

Spinning Silk Hankies into Yarn

Okay Spinners, if you haven't played with silk hankies yet, I have to recommend the adventure! Facing a stack of sheer , filmy silk hankies  is such a fun and rewarding spinning diversion. Once you've created the sleek shininess that is silk yarn, you'll have a whole new definition of luxury. The singles shine so impressively, that it's difficult to believe how quickly and easily they're spun up. The process is amazingly simple and straight-forward. Pick up a hankie and poke a hole in the middle with your fingers, pulling outward. Draft the hankie into a long loop. You'll notice that you have to keep your hands pretty far apart, since silk has such a long … [Read more...]

Spinning up Tussah Silk

Spinning Silk on a Drop Spindle

I'm not sure why it took me so long to try spinning silk. I was intimidated by the idea, expected it to be slippery and difficult to handle. Nothing could be farther from the truth with tussah silk. The draft is smooth and with the long staple - 7" or more - there's no spindle hitting the floor! So beautifully lustrous, soft and strong - and oh! That shine! Tussah silk comes from the wild silkworm, and although it used to be gathered from the wild, it's now mostly cultivated in China and India. Tussah silk is golden in color and is more durable than mulberry silk. Reading about tussah silk, I noticed that some soap recipes use tussah silk as an ingredient that improves the texture, … [Read more...]