Love the look of spinning fiber but don’t you don’t spin? Do you have a ton of fiber odds and ends that are too precious to toss, but aren’t quite enough to make a skein of yarn?
I bought a pack of empty clear glass ornaments at Target – I think it was $6 for a pack of 9 ornaments, although I’m pretty sure you could find them cheaper elsewhere. In the office, we have samples of the Hanks in the Hood layered spinning batts that just launched on the website, and they come in a really beautiful spectrum of colors and textures and sparkle.
This week, Kelley talks about the other half of her fiber life – creating handspun yarn with a spinning wheel! Hear all about Kelley’s advice for those new to spinning with a spindle or a wheel in addition to all …
The idea that a simple walk down the street or through a park can take
you past a dozen different plants able to color your yarn in a stunning
range of shades has piqued my interest since I was gifted a guide to
natural dyes two years ago. Since then I have tried onions, indigo,
coreopsis, goldenrod and scotch broom to dye my handspun.
I recently finished spinning a bunch of the roving that I had dyed with Greener Shades dyes back in February. I was trying to work my way through a bin of older fiber before I allowed myself to play with my new goodies – thinking about it, it’s kind of weird that I create so many rules for myself while working on tasks that are supposed to be purely recreational.
Anyway, I ended up pulling out several braids of dyed Merino that seemed the most fun, then spun them each into a lofty 2-ply bulky weight yarn. I had split each braid in half and then predrafted the fiber without splitting it further, resulting in long color repeats for each single ply. When I plied them together, I got a nice barberpole effect that should work up as subtly shifting stripes.
During the last weekend in September, the Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival took place here in Canby, Oregon! OFFF is one of Alison’s favorite fiber festivals and this year, she was able to get Kelley, who has never attended OFFF before, to join along! Hear all about the different fibers, yarns, animals, and other treats Alison and Kelley discovered at OFFF. Next, Kelley talks about about reworking a pair of socks currently on her needles and shares her own stitch pattern that she created for the socks (see pattern below). Lastly, if you have too much fiber or undyed yarn that you have spun up, Kelley reviews two books on natural dyeing and how you can use what you find in your backyard or kitchen to create unique yarns.
Harvesting Color by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts
Dyes from Kitchen Produce by Setsuko Ishii
3 easy ways to listen…
Last week, we posted about the book signing event for My Grandmother’s Knitting that was being put on by Andersen Fiber Works in Gresham, Oregon. A bunch of us from Knit Picks were able to attend the event and it was such a wonderful evening! Not only did I get to visit a new yarn store, but I also got a chance to hang out with other knitters and see Jen who does the Hanks in the Hood batts for Knit Picks.
For me, the evening started off by wondering around and admiring all of the yarn and fiber. Then, we moved upstairs to see Larissa Brown, Chrissy Gardiner,
Leigh Radford, Joan McGowan Micheal, and Stevanie Pico for the book signing of My Grandmother’s Knitting. Kelley (and Xena), Alison, Hannah and myself found a cozy spot to settle in and work on a bit of knitting as the karaoke was getting started.
Yes, I know, that is really thick yarn! It is a photo of two irresistable braids of 80% Merino/20% from Wonderland Dye Works that were my first purchase of the day.
After sorting through my stash a couple of weeks ago, I realized that
I still had fingering weight sock yarns from the first Sock Summit! The
good news is that I was still completely in love with those yarns. That
got me to thinking about the first Sock Summit and what I say to people
when they ask me about it.
I always explain it as being like visiting a large art museum. Each
independent dyer has her, or his, color sensibility. Seeing booth after
booth made that clear in a way I couldn’t resist. Sort of like Monet and
Picasso and Degas.
I’ve been mostly knitting and crocheting as of late, so the start of Le Tour de Fleece was a great opportunity to pull out my wheel and get back into my peaceful Zen square of handspinning. Spinning yarn seems to occupy a different part of my brain than other fiber crafts; I find it especially calming when I have a really hectic week.
First, I spun some BFL (Bluefaced Leicester) that I got at Andersen Fiber Works a couple of weeks ago. The indie dyer is Dicentra Designs, and I just love their bright, clear colors. I predrafted this fiber without splitting it up in order to preserve the super-long color repeats, and then I chain plied it to make a bouncy 3-ply yarn. When I knit this one up, I should see stripes that transition gently from shade to shade.
Kelley and Alison chat about new colors in wool and alpaca yarn for fall, the new cashmere-merino blend Capra, and spinning supplies. 3 easy ways to listen…
I finished spinning all 500g of the Wool of the Andes roving
that I dyed!
I did end up plying the lighter blue bobbins (the top two in the photo above) with the darker purple-and-blue bobbins so that the color would even out among the skeins. It worked for the most part, and I ended up with 5 skeins that varied only slightly – one is more purple, one more dark blue, etc.