Simply Basics: Wind a Center Pull Ball


Ever wonder how people hand wind such neat looking center pull balls? I wanted to learn to make those perfect little parcels myself and tried doing it around my fingers, but just made a mess.  I recently learned how to wind a center pull ball on a nostepinne - a tool originated in Sweden that makes the process a snap. Nostepinne's can be as simple and serviceable as a sanded dowel, or collectors items fashioned from beautifully turned exotic woods. Start by securing yarn by wrapping several times around the center of the nostepinne, then wrap up toward the top in a counter clockwise direction. Wrap about 5 or 6 times, each … [Read more...]

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...]

Be Fearless

Spinning Yarn Fearlessly |

When it comes to spinning  - experimentation is the rule for me these days. I've been taking the time to explore different methods and to play with color. I've had some help and inspiration with a new spinning resource: PLY magazine by spinner extraordinaire - Jacey Boggs. This is a compendium of spinning know-how that has sent my little spinning heart soaring with ideas and plans. Reading the articles and experimenting with the described techniques has provided me with more than one satisfying "aha" moment. I've also enjoyed the wisdom of several spinning podcasters who deliver plenty of well known fibery  facts that I was clueless about  in dozens … [Read more...]

Will Spin for Coffee!

Spinning Yarn for Coffee Cozy |

Sometimes I find that spinning an entire braid of fiber becomes a chore and my bobbins fill up with unfinished singles that I'm tired of spinning. At times like these, it's refreshing to break out my spindles and spin up a small project. A fast little color fix fits my mood this week and I took the opportunity to spin up some yarn for small projects - coffee cozies. Even though winter is waning, my coffee needs to stay warm all year long! Our Pick a Pocket Cozy is a great project for a beginning spinner. Depending on your gauge, you'll need about 50 yards of finished yarn. I calculated that I used 45 yards of my completed sport weight yarn to make the cozy on size 3.25 mm … [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...]

Hello Dolly


I recently spent an afternoon with an old friend, someone I've known for over 45 years, and gave her a little makeover with a leftover ball of handspun and help from another generous knitter. Poor Dolly had been woefully neglected and forgotten. I found her in the bottom of a box of memorabilia in the back of my closet when doing some spring cleaning and organizing. I was really glad to see her, but she stared accusingly at me, "Where have you been?", she seemed to say. I remember when I fashioned outfits for her out of torn napkins, but thought I could do better now, all these years later - so I poked through my handspun leftovers to make her a special vintage style dress to fit her … [Read more...]

A Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl

Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl Knitting Pattern

The Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl is a popular free pattern that's been waiting for my attention for a few years now. I love the feminine, homey stitch pattern that lends itself so well to stripes of coordinating colors and I've dreamed it into existence with so many different combinations! This large shawl came to be using a skein of handspun polworth wool that I blogged about here, along with 4 skeins of light green and one skein of a turquoise  llama/silk blend. They actually played together surprisingly well - combining into a medley of warm glowing tones - just waiting to wrap up a faraway friend in a … [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...]

Wheeee! Navajo Plying on the Wheel

Navajo Plying Yarn on A Spinning Wheel

I've shown before how much I enjoyed the result of Navajo plying on the drop spindle. On the wheel, it's even more rewarding because in comparison, the process is completed in such a short time. I like the look of Navajo plied yarn - how the colors stay together. I must admit that on the wheel, it does take some coordination and practice! After consulting some helpful youtube videos, I started by tying the end of my single, along with a loop made of leader yarn, to the end of my bobbin leader: Using my slowest whorl, I treadled slowly, pulling the singles through my starting loop to create another loop, then grabbing the end of my singles before allowing the twist to move up. In the next … [Read more...]

Handspun Oaklet

Handspun Yarn - Oaklet

After the process of dyeing, spinning and plying a selection of fiber, knitting with it is the absolute icing on the cake for me. This lovely lace shawl started life as a 4 oz length of natural BFL and silk roving that Carli dyed for me in her kitchen! I described my goals for the spin last year about this time in my Tour is On post, and showed you the pretty yarn in my Better Late than Never post. The May Shawl KAL, CAL, WAL (knit along, crochet along or weave along), hosted in our Simply Notable Ravelry Group finally nudged me to choose a pattern and get it knitted up. I used the free Oaklet Shawl pattern by Tricksy Knitter. I've enjoyed many of her patterns, … [Read more...]