the default spin

emily asked what book i would recommend for a beginning spinner?

i’m going to have to say maggie casey’s start spinning. maggie taught spinning 101 at SOAR when i was there and she’s brilliant.

amy asked me to describe my default spinning method. i actually get asked this a lot.  apparently my yarn is unusually squishy and fluffy?!?


first i look at the wool i will be spinning. this is 3 oz brown sheep mill ends dyed with the new organic dyes i’ve been playing with. i need to decide several things: single or plied? intentional colors or all spun up? what colors do i want to blend and which do i want to pop? this decision effects how i prepare the roving to spin. this sample had so much white in it that i decided to split it down into pretty small sections in order to retain the darker and brighter greens and not lose them into the white. there ended up being 9 in all.

default spin

i split these into two roughly equal batches, so i remember to work them on separate bobbins for plying. then, i pre-draft. light as a cloud, my friends, light as a cloud. i do a lot of spinning and this is easier on my hands than spinning straight from top. i also do this so that my yarn has some air in it going into the orifice.  the wool you have may very well be already fluffy if it’s farm wool, then this step might be unnecessary.

default spin

then i spin. my default hand movement is worsted. i make sure the yarn has some extra twist, although not enough to make the singles hard. when all the singles are spun up, i ply. i don’t ply super tightly, but i did put the extra twist in so that i can use the energy from that when i ply to make the yarn more spoingy.  i certainly don’t ply loosely.


after plying, i niddy noddy it and it gets thrown into the pile to be washed. to wash i soak in cold or room temp water for 20 min., spin cycle it in my washer, and twack it a good 3 times on my leg. let it dry and knit (or sell)!  if i’ve left anything out that you want to know about, let me know and i’ll try my best to show/answer.

doing things like this always make me curious about others.  if you’re a spinner, i’d love to know your default spin. what’s your routine?  or, if you don’t want to do the long process that i did here, what’s one thing that you do differently than me?

default spin sample

color combining

cosymakes: answering your questions since early 2009 ;)

margie over at the buzz A roni blog asked what my favorite color combination is.

currently the fave is homeland inspired – green pines and blue blue skies, plus a bit of dirt/bark throw in is good
green and blue

and another old standby – because valentines is soon – purple and red and or red and pink
red and purple

what about you? has any color combo been haunting you lately?

favorite fo(s)

first of all, thanks for all of your questions over at the question game! feel free to keep on asking if you come up with something.

abby asked about what my favorite FO is and why. i am going to cheat a bit on this one… and give you an FO that is from someone else’s pattern and one that is one of my own creations.

for my own creation, i choose the waterlily hat
waterlily hat

this is made out of some very early handspun and hand dyed yarn. it was back in the beginning when i was just a beginning spinner and dyer… and i was just figuring out how knitting could be creative and interesting. this hat symbolizes to me the fresh new world that sprung upon me at the beginning of the fiber arts career. here’s a modeled shot and some detail.

as to my favorite from another’s pattern, i must say the feather and fan triangle shawl (original entry)
feather and fan triangle shawl

i just started making another of these, but this one will always be my favorite. it turned out so well, i loved the pattern. garter+feather and fan? how can i resist. what i think makes it most special to me is the fact that it was the perfect combination of pattern, yarn, and recipient.  the yarn was a recycled sweater that my friend sarah mailed to me – soft, lovely, and a great color – and the very proud and happy recipient was my grandma. she is a very distinctly picky woman who i thought i would never find the perfect knit for.  kismet! when she’s not wearing it, it is thrown over the back of the couch.

so. what is your favorite fo(s)?