Posts Tagged ‘spinning’

Spring Training

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016
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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.

Fit Fiber Crafters: Good for Your Brain

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016
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As the new year begins, many like to focus on shaping up and getting healthier. Each Tuesday in January, our Fit Fiber Crafters series will give you tips on getting your personal yarn world a little healthier, from the health of your stash to the health of your body while crafting, keeping your finished project looking healthy, and exercising your brain when your craft.

Good for Your Brain Learn a New Technique

We’ve all seen the news stories touting what we’ve all known for a long time – knitting (and other fiber crafts) are good for your brain. Not only does it help cognitive function, these activities can help with depression. We like to think that any learning can’t be bad, so why not take some time this year to help your brain’s health and stretch your knowledge a little.

We challenge everyone to learn one new fiber-related skill this year. If you’re not sure where to start, you can take a look at our class offerings. Another option is checking out that pattern or weaving draft you’ve been eyeing but have always thought, “Oh, that’s too hard.” It’s not. You can do it. Use 2016 as your chance to learn how to do it.

Many of us often try new things and stop immediately because it’s too hard. Stretch yourself this year. Take the time to truly learn something new. Show your friends what you did. Maybe you’ll encourage them to try it too.

What are you going to challenge yourself with this year?

Fit Fiber Crafters: Project Care

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016
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As the new year begins, many like to focus on shaping up and getting healthier. Each Tuesday in January, our Fit Fiber Crafters series will give you tips on getting your personal yarn world a little healthier, from the health of your stash to the health of your body while crafting, keeping your finished project looking healthy, and exercising your brain when your craft.

Project Care Choosing the Right Technique

How do you care for your handmade finished fiber projects? This is a question that gets asked often. Many times, the items we make are outerwear, so they don’t have to be laundered as often, but it’s important to know how you’re going to clean something before you create it.

One of the benefits of swatching or sampling is that you get to practice taking care of your finished project. Launder your swatch or sample they way you plan on taking care of it once it’s done. Taking a little extra time at the beginning of your project helps go a long way towards ensuring that you won’t have a sweater that grows into a dress, or a towel that shrinks so much it becomes a washcloth.

As far as laundering goes, you’ll want to check the care instructions that came with your yarn, then consider what the purpose of the project is. You probably want to be able to machine wash, and even dry, a baby blanket, or a kitchen towel, but a shawl or even an adult sweater would be fine to live its life being hand washed. Before even starting your project, you want to make sure it’s going to last. If your swatch comes out of it’s first trip in the washing machine looking a bit worse for the wear, your entire project will probably behave the same way.

On the other hand, if you throw that swatch or sample in the washing machine and it comes out looking just beautiful, you want to keep the finished project looking that way. Sometimes, especially on wool, our usual laundry detergent can be a little too harsh. A wool wash, like Eucalan is not only great for handwashing, it’s also perfect for using in your machine like regular detergent. It’s great for woolens, but also other delicate items you may have in your life.

Before you wash your project, take a quick look at it (whether your hand or machine washing) and make sure there aren’t any stitches that need fixing or ends that need weaving. You don’t want to wash your gorgeous sweater with a small hole that later becomes a giant, tangled mess, when it could have been prevented.

A little care in the health of your finished projects will go a long way in ensuring they’re in your life for years to come.

Check out this great video about washing your projects, too.

Fit Fiber Crafters: Sitting Pretty

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016
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As the new year begins, many like to focus on shaping up and getting healthier. Each Tuesday in January, our Fit Fiber Crafters series will give you tips on getting your personal yarn world a little healthier, from the health of your stash to the health of your body while crafting, keeping your finished project looking healthy, and exercising your brain when your craft.

Sitting Pretty Good Posture and Breaks Prevent Injury

We all dream about being able to sit down and knit, crochet, spin, or weave all day, but our bodies are not especially excited about that idea, especially if we’re not being careful to take care of them as we craft. It’s important to avoid injury when crafting so you don’t miss out on extended periods of time doing your favorite activity.

Some things to keep in mind when crafting:

Lighting and Seating
You want to make sure your area is well lit. Having to strain your eyes takes the fun out of your favorite activity and can lead to things like headaches. When you choose where you’re going to sit, it’s best to choose a comfortable spot that has plenty of support where you can sit up straight. I’m guilty if sitting on the couch turned sideways without much care for which way I’m sitting, and I know that leads to pain.

Take Breaks and Stretch.
As much as we love a long session of crafting, breaks are incredibly important. Every half hour or so, get up and take a walk around the house. Go get a glass of water, play with your pet, or go through a stack of mail. Do some stretches. Stretch your hands and wrists, and your shoulders and back. Do some shoulder rolls and get everything a little loosened before you sit back down to go back at it.

Be Mindful
When we’re working on something really complicated, a lot of us hunch up so our shoulders they’re touching our ears. Try to be mindful of where your body is as you craft. A simple readjustment in your body position can also give you a break from a difficult task you’re trying to get done, and it’s long enough to come back at it with new eyes. Maybe a lightbulb will go off!

Most importantly, listen to what your body is telling you. If you’re hand is going numb, or your back is starting to feel funny, it’s time for a break and reevaluation.

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

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015
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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?

Spinning tips – Navajo or Chain plying

Monday, September 28th, 2015
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Time to go back and visit the single that I spun from the fiber that I hand carded. I did a lot of work to create a gradient, or ombre, in that single and I want to maintain those color transitions in my final yarn. To do that I’m going to Navajo ply my single. This is also known as Chain plying because you are basically making a crochet chain with your hands instead of a hook! You can see how to do that in the 6 images below.

How to Navajo/Chain Ply yarn on the WEBS Blog. Read more at blog.yarn.com

1 – I like to start with a leader that ends in a loop, then I catch the end of my single between the strands but keep the loop of the leader open with one hand.

2 – With the hand that is holding the loop open reach through the loop and grab your single

3 – Pull the single through the loop while continuing to hold the loop open

4 – Pull your new loop so it’s rather large and let the upper part of the loop start to ply together with what remains of your leader (that’s your 3 strands!)

5 – Here I’ve paused so you can see just that little bit of leader that’s left

6 – And now you’re right back to where you started.

Keep repeating these steps until you’ve used up your whole single and you’ll have a beautiful 3 ply yarn that keeps the integrity of your ombre spin. There’s are lots of tutorial videos out there for Navajo and chain plying, and lots of variations on the technique. Find the one that works for you and go for it!

Navajo/Chain Ply yarn on the WEBS Blog. Read more at blog.yarn.com

Here’s my finished yarn. Because I spun this worsted from rolags, my single was slightly underspun and I over plied by just a bit to help it all stay together, then I fulled the yarn in the skein. For those of you that don’t spin, I basically felted the surface of my yarn! I know that sounds scary but it really helps to finish a woolen spun yarn. I dropped my finished skein into a bowl of hot water with dish soap and squished and agitated it around for about 30 seconds, rinsed it in cold water and then repeated the wash and rinse twice more. Then I let my yarn soak in a tepid bowl with Eucalan for about 15 minutes, squeezed out the excess water and hung it up to dry. I’ll be crocheting a simple shawl with the finished yarn so you can see those beautiful color changes. Look for that post in mid-October!

Have you ever used Navajo plying? Are you ready for Spinzilla yet? Just one week to go!

Spinning tips – 2-ply without a lazy kate

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015
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When I sat down at my first wheel I was SO excited to get spinning that I didn’t take the time to make sure I had all the tools I’d need. I spun up my first full bobbin of yarn and then I was stuck, I only had one bobbin. I knew that the single on that bobbin wasn’t good enough to survive on it’s own, that it needed to be plied to be a semi-successful yarn. I carefully, and sadly, wound that single off the bobbin with my ball winder thinking that it was a loss until I was able to get my hands on a second and third bobbin and then I would need a lazy kate…

Spinning a 2-ply yarn from a center-pull ball. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

And then I looked at the ball I’d wound, it had 2 ends. I COULD do a 2ply! So I set that ball between my feet, tucked it up to the edge of my treadles and plied away. It wasn’t until a few years later that I learned that this was an actual thing other people did and I wasn’t alone. It’s important to remember that you still have to ply against the twist of your original spin to help balance your yarn, so make sure you check the twist on those ends before you begin plying.

Spinning a 2-ply yarn from a center-pull ball. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Thankfully my Ladybug has an attached lazy kate and I’ve always got at least 5 bobbins now, but every once in a while I like to wind up a single and ply from the ball. This method is actually how I’ve plied the fractal yarn I’m spinning from this post. I’ll be knitting this up into a simple cowl so you can see the fractal effect on the color changes. Look for that post in mid-October!

Have you ever plied from a center-pull ball? What’s your favorite plying method?

Spinning Tips – fractal spinning

Thursday, September 17th, 2015
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When I first learned how to spin fractal spinning was my favorite fancy thing to do. While it’s based on complicated mathematical sets, an endless pattern of fragmented geometric shapes that can be split into parts, each of which is a reduced-size copy of the whole, it’s actually quite simple!

Creating a fractal yarn from hand dyed fiber. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

You will want to start with fiber that is dyed in bold and contrasting colors, I’m using Frabjous Fibers Hand-dyed Merino in the kaleidoscope colorway. If your fiber color progression/combo is too subtle then you’ll miss out on the fantastic effect this has in your final yarn. Loosen your braid or bundle and then split it, as evenly as possible, lengthwise into two parts and set one half aside. Now split the remaining half in half again(you now have 3 lengths of fiber), and each of those in half again (giving you 5 lengths of fiber). Be careful to keep all 5 lengths of fiber oriented the same way, you can lay them together and make sure that the colors match, you’re going to want to spin each length starting at the same end. Now spin that first half all by itself from beginning to end onto one bobbin, then spin the other 4 lengths, one at a time, onto a second bobbin.

Creating a fractal yarn from hand dyed fiber. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

When these two singles get plied together you’ll end up with a yarn that has varying sections of solid colors and barber-poling because of how the split fibers line up, but which colors are solid and which barber-pole will change because of the way you split and spun the fiber! Keep an eye on the blog later in the month and I’ll show you how it’s done! Are you planning on any special spinning techniques, or new fibers to try out during this year’s Spinzilla?

Check out this post to see how the finished yarn looks in the skein and to learn how it was plied!

Spinning Tips – making a gradient from a hand dyed braid

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015
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This month we’ll be offering a few tips and tricks to make your spinning for Spinzilla, and the rest of the year, even more fun and interesting. First up, rearranging the colors in a pre-dyed fiber braid. You will need a braid of fiber with distinct colors and a set of hand cards for this.

Creating a gradient yarn from hand dyed fiber. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

I love the colors in this Gaston colorway on Targhee from Abstract Fiber but I wish they were more gradual, like an ombre, so I decided to make that happen. I unwound the braid and then fluffed the fibers at each color change before gently pulling them apart, don’t worry if you don’t get a clean color separation you can blend that out. Then I made piles with each major color. Once I had the whole braid separated I began laying fiber on one hand carder until it was full, but not so full that I couldn’t see the tines anymore, and used the other card to blend with a few strokes. Remove the fiber from the carder (pay attention to how the tines are bent and roll with that bend to get the fiber off the carders) and roll up your fiber into a rolag for spinning. If your fiber isn’t blended enough for you, or feels a bit rough, you can re-card it until you’re happy. Once I got halfway through carding and rolling I was able to layout all my little rolags in a clear gradient!

Creating a gradient yarn from hand dyed fiber. Read more on the WEBS Blog at blog.yarn.com

Now I just have to finish carding so I can get to spinning! I’m going to want to preserve the gradient that I worked so hard to make, so I’ll navajo ply the single into my finished yarn. Keep an eye on the blog later in the month and I’ll show you how it’s done! You can now see the finished yarn here!

Are you planning on any special preparations or different spinning techniques to try out during this year’s Spinzilla?

Have you registered for Spinzilla yet?

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
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Remember all that fun we had back in July during Tour de Fleece? Well, we get one more week of prize-winning, spinning fun with Spinzilla!

Spinzilla_website_banner1-1024x233

Registration is open now, and you’d better go register for your team, they’re filling fast. You can always spin on your own as a rogue and still compete for prizes. Go here to register now! And keep an eye on the blog in the coming weeks. We’re going to have some great spinning tips and tricks for you to get ready for all that spinning excitement. We’ll have all kinds of things happening in our store that week so keep an eye on our website and if you’re local come join us. In October we’ll even have some great posts about what to do with your handspun for knitters, crocheters and weavers!