This year, my wish list is full of fibery goodies. But what I would really love (and I think just about any spinner would agree!), is the Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook!
This book is so much more than just a spinning how-to. Beautiful imagery and an incredible wealth of information await inside. With this book as your guide, you’ll learn not only how to spin, but why, and what to spin for what purpose.
Moving from a drop spindle to a spinning wheel can be a fun and exciting change – but if you are completely new to spinning wheels, it can also feel a bit overwhelming. Not only are you changing from a small, portable tool to one that is larger and more stationary – but there is also a whole new world of terminology to learn.
Although there are different styles and variations, the main parts
and mechanics of a spinning wheel remain fairly consistent. So if you’re new to scotch tension, break bands, and mother-of-alls; we’ve made a video tutorial that shows just how easy it is to assemble the Kromski Sonata spinning wheel.
It was just about this time last year when I created a little list of crafting resolutions for myself. Looking back over my list just a year later, I have to admit that it felt pretty good to see my goals in relation to all of the things that I’ve been able to try over the past year. I’ve explored the world of crochet more and have a few projects under my belt (including an in-progress blanket!), I learned a lot about fiber and silk hankies, but my number one goal was to move from a drop spindle to a spinning wheel. And I’m pleased to report that I’ve utterly and completely gone head over heels for spinning! I’m collecting fiber just as fast as yarn, and having so much fun pairing my handspun yarns for special projects and gifts.
If you’re like me and are ready to (or have just made) the transition from spindle to wheel, but need a bit of extra guidance – be sure to check out Kelley’s Wheel Spinning class! This 6-part video class covers everything from the basics to fiber choices and the mechanics of your wheel to spinning and plying.
One of my crafting goals that I set for myself way back at the beginning of the year was to learn how to spin. I had used a spindle on and off for a while, and felt that it was finally time to step it up a notch and try spinning with a wheel. It took a few bumpy starts, but once I got the feel for it I knew that I was completely hooked. I’ve been spinning up yarn faster than I can use it, and have gotten quite the ever-expanding fiber collection already!
However, the one thing I have noticed is that I am still in the learning process for spinning with a specific weight of yarn in mind. So far, I have been spinning away, happy to see how the fiber twists up and plies together – all with no specific end goals or projects in mind.
But for now, I am left with many skeins of yarn ranging from light sport all the way up through super bulky. So far, I’ve found myself spinning from 4oz. batts and rovings, which means that my finished product is going to be a single one-of-a-kind skein. This makes it tricky when it comes to using up my handspun yarn. I don’t want to fuss with too many gauge swatches to find out what weight of yarn I have, since it is already a limited quantity.
This is when I turned to wraps per inch as a tool to help me gauge my yarn!
Thanks to some wheel oil, audiobooks and too many trips to fiber festivals, I’ve been doing a lot of spinning!
I finally plied up the Hanks in the Hood singles, too – it’s just so shiny and bouncy. I really wasn’t sure how the ply would come out, but I am impressed.
I really love the way the colors came out in that yarn. But that
leaves the question that I always have lingering over my handspun…
These mesmorizingly gorgeous silk hankies from Hanks in the Hood are irrisistable. You don’t have to be a hand-spinner to enjoy their beauty. You can actually knit directly from the hankies.
A while back, I got to spend the day with Jen, from Hanks in the Hood and learn all about how she makes those goregous spinning batts
of hers! Additionally, Jen was kind enough to take some time to share a
bit about herself, how she got drawn into the wonderful world of fiber,
and her inspiration. And it was awesome! I find it so amazing that so
many different people can connect with something as simple as fiber and
yarn, in such a lovely and inspiring way.
I simply love hearing these stories from everyone I meet. Which is
why I was thrilled when Jen asked if I would like to also spend time
with Lisa from Dicentra Designs! My answer was a resounding yes, the
more – the merrier! I got a chance to sit down with Lisa, an amazing
fiber artist, to chat with her about her love of all things color,
fiber, spinning and of course dyeing. In addition to dyeing her own yarn
line, Dicentra Designs, Lisa also helps Jen, from Hanks in the Hood, with the processing and dyeing of the stunning silk hankies!
And with Lisa’s love for bright and vibrant colors, it’s no wonder that
her color sense is a perfect match for working with Jen’s fearless
color combinations. Just look at all of the amazing colors you’ll find
in the silk hankies from Hanks in the Hood to see for yourself!
To hear more about Lisa’s color inspiration, the process for dyeing the silk hankies, and some of Lisa’s favorite ways of working with silk hankies – be sure to check out Lisa’s video!
There are certain people that you meet in your fiber travels that simply beam with a passion for what they do, and no one embodies this like Jen Anderson, the face behind Hanks in the Hood. It is a quality that is infectious in person and hard to express in words. And since Jen is a local to us here in Portland (she is based out of Gresham, Oregon), I was so excited when I was able to spend a day at her shop (Andersen Fiber Works) and her fiber processing studio for a little video interview! All of us here at the office love Jen and of course, her rovings and batts from Hanks in the Hood. And personally, I am thrilled to be able to share Jen’s story in addition to her enthusiasm, drive, and passion for what she does everyday.
I hope this little video lets you get to know Jen a little bit better, I am sure you’ll love her as much as we all do!
As some of you know, I live with a delightful little (well, fairly large) angora rabbit named Linus. He was the little spokes-bunny for our Special Reserve Sugarbunny line
when I first started working here and periodically comes to work with
me here at the office! Every three months I give him a big shave and
wind up with about 2-3 ounces of useable fiber. I’ve had several years
to practice spinning angora fiber and have figured out a few things
about this specific fiber type that I thought I’d share today!
You’re spinning? Isn’t it just too much fun?
Once you are confident with your skills, I know you are going to be happy for years as you feel all sorts of fibers slip through your fingers. But, handspinning isn’t just a tactile experience. Color is a whole other world of spinning. I think it is even more fun because it is a way for you to add your own color preferences to spinning.
Color in Spinning by Deb Menz is a large book but Deb’s lessons make working with color completely approachable. The page sizes and quality paper provide a excellent canvas for the large, colorful, detailed photos.