Archive for the ‘Spinning’ Category

Ready, Set, Knit! 477: Kathy talks with Leslie Ann Bestor

Saturday, February 18th, 2017
Share Button

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This week Kathy talks with Leslie Ann Bestor. Kathy and Leslie Ann talk about the upcoming Spring Training spinning event happening at on Sunday, March 12th at WEBS. Get geared up for Spinzilla later in the fall with this fun event! Join us for a full day of spinning, with special fiber packs from Louet and in-store deals!

Learn more about the event, including a list of workshops here. Sign up in store, online, or by calling customer service.

rsk2-18-17

 

Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week:

Check out our Spring catalog online!

Reminder:

New Class from Vickie Howell called Intro to Knitting, take advantage of the pre-order discount!

Winter Classes are live! Sign up today.

Upcoming Events

Registration for the WEBS Retreat opened this week and filled! If you missed out, please consider signing up for the waitlist. We had many people come off the waitlist last year!

STITCHES West is coming February 23-26, 2017!

WEBS will be at the DFW Fiber Fest from April 7-9!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for lots of great new products, contests and fun!

Check out all of our upcoming Events here.

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

It’s the little things

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016
Share Button

I love unusual little things – handy tools that tuck into pockets or small pouches, ordinary accessories that are made with a special touch, small gifts that don’t break the bank yet bring smiles and joy. Naturally, that means I delight in the holiday season and the chance to search for little treasures to surprise my family and friends. Part of the joy for me is finding something special that the giftee can use in creating things. Don’t get me wrong, nothing beats a box of bonbons, but I am a practical person and want the gift to be useful and long lasting.

With that in mind, I cast my eye around the weaving and spinning realm to see what little delights fit the bill. First there are the unsung heroines of weaving – the Floating Sues, made by Jim Hokett. These beautiful gadgets fall into the category of “that’s so simple, I could have made it myself”, which then leads to “but why would I make them when these are so beautiful and such a great deal”. Floating Sues look like a spindle with hooks on both ends and a beautiful chunk of wood in the middle. They are made to hang on floating selvages or to weight down broken warp ends. After years of dealing with canisters of pennies and fishing weights, I love the simplicity and ease of these. They come in 2 size options and if I need more weight I can add something on the bottom hook.

Floating Sues from Hokett make a wonderful addition to any weaver's tool box. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

For spinners, we recently started carrying Snyder Spindles, wonderful little Turkish drop spindles made from beautiful woods or with colorful 3D printed arms. I wrote about them in the this post last month, so it felt like cheating to go on about them again, so I turned my gaze farther afield and spied the shimmery braids of 50/50 Merino Tencel Top from Frabjous Fibers. I know it’s a bit fluffy to stuff into a pocket, but it’s a wonderful gift, nonetheless. It’s something new and different, the colorways are dreamy and that shine! I envision spinning a lightweight 2-ply to knit into a sensuous shawl.

And for those of you in our neck of the woods, drop by the store to see the gift table up front. There are many small trinkets we brought in just for the holidays, all of them fiber-related and fun – gift tags, mugs, laser-carved wooden gauges and ornaments and more. They are here for now and in small quantities, so you will only find them in the store. Come in and take a look!

3D What??!!

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016
Share Button

When I was at Convergence this summer I looked across the aisle and saw a table piled with what looked brightly colored UFOs. Imagine my surprise when I saw the person at the booth pick one up at start spinning yarn with one! My curiosity was piqued and I went over to check it out.

Snyder Spindles now available at yarn.com  Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

I met Scott Snyder, the spindlemaker, and he told me the brightly colored arms on his drop spindles are made on a 3D printer. Talk about a modern twist on an ancient craft! I wondered about the plastic he used and he said he uses Polylactic acid (PLA), which is derived from renewable resources like cornstarch and tapioca roots and is biodegradable.

These spindles are like a Turkish-style drop spindle, with arms that slide out of the cop, giving you a beautiful center-pull ball of handspun yarn.The Destiny features 4 arms that interlock on the shaft and is a hybrid variable weight spindle. It’s made of 3D printed plastic arms, hand turned hardwood shafts and steel screws. The combination of materials used allows for the mass to be on the outside of the spindle, to increase duration of the spin. The screws are removable so you can fine tune the weight of the spindle. You can choose either Mini or Medium depending on your size needs.

Scott also makes a Turkish Glider, available with either 3D printed arms or finely polished wood. The Glider arms swoop outward with a slight upward tilt at the end, allowing the spinner to spin a lot of fiber in one cop.

In addition to the fun and playful colors of the 3D printed spindles, we are also carrying the beautiful wood spindles that Scott makes. These also feature a shaft that is hand-turned on a lathe and have a small final at the top to hold the half-hitch. The wooden spindles are available in turkish and glider styles and, because I love anything sheep-ish, we brought in some that have sheep cut outs on the arms.

If you like to carry your spinning with you and want a beautiful, portable tool, be sure to check out our new toys!

Spinning my Wheels

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016
Share Button

My passion for fiber and color runs deep and I love to knit, weave and crochet, but I resisted the siren song of spinning because I was afraid. And then, two years ago I accidentally volunteered to be captain of the WEBS Spinzilla team and my worst fears were realized – I loved spinning! Down the rabbit hole I went and another fiber obsession has been added to my bag of tricks. I was afraid that spinning would distract me from weaving – and it has – but it has also given me another way to create and deepened my understanding of fiber and yarn and how they work and interact – useful information for my other creative outlets.

Of course, learning to spin opened me to a whole new world of color, texture and fiber and the overwhelming desire to have it all at my fingertips! I kept finding more things I wanted WEBS to carry and started organizing spinning events to learn more about the craft. More fiber, more spinners, life is good, right? The success of Spinzilla and the feedback from spinners at our events has brought a resurgence in spinning at WEBS. Steve and Kathy want to further strengthen our spinning area and decided to create a position to oversee that. I am honored that they asked me and excited to add spinning to my role at WEBS as Weaving and Spinning Manager.

Spinning fibers from Louet, Spunky Eclectic and more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

We still have a few fiber specials from Spinzilla to take advantage of. The fiber packs we put together with Louet are a great way to learn about how to spin different breeds. Each pack has just enough of each breed  to develop your skill in spinning and enough variety to keep boredom at bay. There’s also some great colorful braids from Spunky Eclectic in the Autumn Welcome colorway she designed for us with 2 fiber options – easy to love and spin BFL or a luscious Polwarth/Mohair/Silk blend. To round out the sweet deals, we have what my friend Liz calls a box of crayons – the Lamb’s Tail Medleys from Frabjous Fibers. Also in 2 bases – superwash BFL or Merino/Bamboo/Nylon – these are a random assortment of colors with unlimited possibilities.

I am looking forward to expanding the fibers, tools and classes for spinners. Please feel free to contact me with suggestions; I want to hear what you’d like to see here!

Monster Miles to Go Before I Sleep

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016
Share Button

Yes, folks, we have circled the wheel of seasons and it’s time to get geared up for Spinzilla! It is a large event (worldwide!), but I do realize that some may not have the slightest inkling of what I’m talking about, so let me explain: Spinzilla is a friendly competition sponsored by the Spinning and Weaving Group of TNNA (The National Needle Arts Association) that takes place during the first week of October. The challenge is to see who can spin the most yarn in one week, either in the team category or as an individual (“Rogue”) spinner. The underlying purpose, beyond showing the world just how amazing spinners are, is to deepen our spinning skills by pushing ourselves to spin, spin, spin – practice makes us better, right? And the fringe benefit of the event is that all the registration fees go support the NeedleArts Mentoring Program.

Find out how to join Team WEBS for the 2016 Spinzilla events. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

 

WEBS has sponsored a team for the last 2 years and we are looking forward to another week of fun and fiber-full gatherings. Our team is already full but we know there are many more who’d like to join the fun as well as those who want to play but don’t want the pressure of competition (um, yeah, it can get a little intense on the team – last year we spun 126,000 yards!). So we invite you to go Rogue! Sign up as a Rogue spinner on the Spinzilla site and join us at our spin ins at the store. It’s a great way to meet local spinners, get inspired and pick up some tips, and share the laughter and camaraderie of other fiber-loving folk.

Spin Cycle

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016
Share Button

We are nearly halfway through July and the Tour de Fleece. The what?! You mean you haven’t heard that spinners are spinning along with the Tour de France? We are and it’s great fun as well as a great way to get into a rhythm of spinning every day. I know it is making a big difference for me as the daily workout helps me spin more consistent yarn and improve my technique. I made some adjustments in my hand position after our workshops with Beth Smith last month and having dedicated time every day allows me to practice and become comfortable with that. On the challenge days I am working on plying, trying some new methods to spin a 3-ply. There’s still some room in our Tour de Fleece SpinShops on July 17th, so check out the event page for descriptions of the array of fantastic spinning workshops and join us for some fiber fun!

Tour de Fleece Spinshops at WEBS retail store. Details on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

I’m also looking lustfully at some of the travel wheels we have in our spinning section, thinking about upcoming summer trips. We have 2 nice options with another on the horizon. The Louet Victoria is delightfully compact and light, folds with ease and even has a built in carrying handle. The spinning is smooth and it has accessories including a jumbo flyer for plying or creating art yarns. The Sidekick by Schacht is another contender that features its own carrying strap, folds easily into a snug shape and is a dream to spin on. Later this summer we will have a new loom from Schacht – the Flatiron, which is a folding Saxony wheel with many options for set up. I plan to try it out as soon as it arrives and will let you know how it spins.

Will you be taking your spinning on the road this summer?

 

Tour de Fleece

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
Share Button

Most people know about the Tour de France, but – hang onto your yellow jersey – have you heard of the Tour de Fleece? Spinners have taken it upon themselves to take their wheels (and spindles) for a spin and follow the great race. Unlike what happens in France, this Tour has no rules, just guidelines: spin each day the cyclists ride and rest on their rest days; on the mountain climb days challenge yourself with a new fiber, technique or yardage. Mostly just have fun and use the race as a way to pace yourself and spin almost daily for a month.

Tour de Fleece events at WEBS. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

WEBS is hosting a team again this year, so check our thread on our Ravelry page to join and be part of the fun. We will encourage and inspire each other to spin and have fun, share pictures and chat about spinning and why we love it so much.

And because I love a party with a purpose, we’ll be hosting a day of workshops and activities on July 17th at our store in Northampton. Join us for the day and spend time learning, shopping, gathering and spinning together with the folks that understand our love of twisting fiber into yarn. The daylong event (10 am – 4 pm) will feature workshops in the morning and afternoon with a slate of 4 different classes for both time slots. Options include hand carding, Navajo plying, spinning lace yarns, long draw, fractal spinning and more. All workshops are hands on and you will be able to sign up for your choices ahead of time.

The mid-day break will provide more activities as well as a chance for lunch (bring your own and we will provide cookies and fruit). Sit and spin, relax and shop (special spinning deals for the day), chat with spinning friends old and new. And because we’re trying to pack in as much as possible (it is a challenge day for the Tour, after all), we’ve got a couple more activities. Gather ’round the wheel display to hear about why spinning wheels have different drive styles and tensioning options and learn which features work best for the types of yarns you want to spin. Or stretch out with some gentle yoga focused on the muscles we use in spinning.

We hope you can join us for our special spinning day. I know I’m looking forward to it and to spinning along with the cyclists throughout the month of July.

Special Fiber Packs for Spring Training!

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016
Share Button

We are going all in with the sports metaphors this year. We already have the Tour de Fleece in July; we needed a spring equivalent and what better event to represent skill building than Spring Training? In my last post I talked about the event we are having on March 13 – be sure to check it out and sign up if you are in the area.

Spring training is about more than the event, however. We created some great fiber pack specials to add excitement and zip to your spinning life. We started with an assortment of fibers and blends from Louet to keep things interesting and encourage spinners to try new fibers. Then we asked our friends at Frabjous Fibers to dye an exclusive colorway just for Spring Training and we added that to the pack. And because we love bonuses, we added a (not so) little bag as the icing on the cake.

Spring Training Fiber Packs at WEBS. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

The Rookie Pack features easy-to-spin fibers that are perfect for newer spinners, with enough variety to keep you from getting bored. There’s a half-pound of Blue Faced Leicester and another half-pound of Falkland, and for some fun color play there are 4 different 4-ounce bags of dyed Corriedale. The Frabjous Fiber Take Me Out to the Ballpark colorway is dyed in BFL and will amaze you with a gradient of luscious hues from the ballpark – green grass, blue skies and a touch of brown (that’s either the pitcher’s mound or the color of your uniform after sliding in to home plate).

The All Star Pack brings some different players to the field with half-pound bags of Masham, Light Grey Romney, and Medium Grey Romney. We added some color with a half-pound bag of dyed Merino/Silk and then sprinkled in a 2 ounce bag of Camel/Silk for a touch of luxury. This pack also contains 4 ounces of the exclusive Take Me Out to the Ballpark colorway, this time in a BFL/Silk base.

Remember the surprise I hinted about? As a special bonus, when you buy either of the fiber packs, you will get a free gift – a cotton tote bag for carrying your fiber and yarn. This bag is sturdy and roomy enough for some serious stash, with great shoulder straps to make it easy to carry and WEBS’ Spring Training logo on the outside pocket.

I’m pretty excited to dive into these packs (um, yeah, I may be buying both packs) and feel what it’s like to spin some fibers I haven’t tried yet. I’m not sure if I’ll start with the Romney (maybe a marled 2-ply with the two shades of grey?) or the Take Me Out to the Ballpark (maybe a Navajo ply?). Which of these would be your first choice?

Spring Training

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016
Share Button

Spring Training. For baseball fans that’s when the teams begin to practice and get ready for the season. Here at WEBS, Spring Training is when spinners continue to practice and get ready for the next Spinzilla! For those not familiar with it, Spinzilla is the friendly spinning competition sponsored by The National Needlearts Association in October. And, yes, you could call it the world series of spinning.

Spring Training Event at WEBS, March 13th. Read more on the WEBS blog at blog.yarn.com

We have had enormous fun sponsoring a team (25 members, yet another baseball parallel) for the last 2 years. So much so that we want to keep the momentum going with a special event and fantastic fiber deals. The event is open to all spinners, we just want to share the fun.

Our 1st Annual Spring Training event will take place at the store on Sunday, March 13 from 12 – 5 pm. We will be offering training clinics from our spinning coaches – Pamela Darrow, WEBS’ spinning instructor and Shannon Herrick of Frabjous Fibers. Learn how to Navajo ply, use long draw to make woolen-spun yarns, fiber prep techniques for faster spinning and more. Register for the event online and take your pick that day of 2 two-hour skill-building clinics.

Of course, we will ply you with snacks, camaraderie and conversation, so bring your wheel and spin with friends, learn something new, shop some of the fiber deals. The store will be closed, but we will have registers open for shopping.

Stay tuned for the announcement of our Spring Training fiber deals coming in March.

Handspun, now what? What to weave with your handspun yarn.

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015
Share Button
Leslie Ann decided to weave with one of the yarns she began during the 2014 Spinzilla. She used Frabjous Fibers BFL Sparkle, one braid of Moulin Rouge.
Spinzilla wrap up, what to weave with your handspun yarn. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com
“My first 2-ply! I had about 300 yds total after plying. For weaving I wanted the handspun to be the focus, so I chose to plain weave with a warp much smaller than the weft. I used a navy 8/2 wool and sett it at 12 epi on my Flip, and beat firmly to create a fabric that would stand up to wear. I chose to make a pillow because I love the colors and I wanted to see it daily. I’m planning more pillows because I love that I can add splashes of color to my home and I love to spin the multicolor braids of roving/top.”
Have you done any weaving with your handspun? Have you used any of the yarns you spun for Spinzilla 2015?