Posts Tagged ‘spinning’

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
“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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!


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!

No New Ready, Set, Knit This Week – What are you listening to?

Saturday, July 11th, 2015
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There’s no new Ready, Set, Knit this week, so check out the archives and listen to your favorite episode, or catch up on some you’ve missed. Not having a new podcast this week got me to thinking about the different things I like to do when I’m crafting. I watch TV, listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks, and sometimes I just like to enjoy the silence. I have a backlog of podcasts that I need to catch up on and a pile of audiobooks that are waiting to be listened to. I think this weekend will be a good time to slow the go-go-go that’s been happening, take a little time to craft, and catch up on listening.

What’s your favorite “noise” to listen to while knitting, crocheting, weaving, or spinning?


Are you ready to spin? It’s Tour de Fleece time!

Monday, June 29th, 2015
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Team WEBS Tour de Fleece spinning challenge, read more on the WEBS Blog -

Attention Spinners! Team WEBS Tour de Fleece 2015 registration is now open! If you’ve never heard of the Tour de Fleece, it’s a Ravelry spin-along that shadows the Tour de France bike race during the month of July. This is not a competition! It’s a chance to come together with other spinners, set personal challenges for yourself but, most importantly, have fun.  If you don’t have a consistent spinning habit, the Tour is a great incentive to spin on a regular basis for a month.  You’re welcome to use wheels and/or spindles and there will be prizes at the end of the Tour.  If you’d like to join us, please pop over to the All Things WEBS group on Ravelry and let us know you’re participating by this Friday, July 3.

Here are some guidelines, not rules,  for those of you just joining in this year – and a refresher for returning spinners:

  • Try to spin every day that the Tour is riding, July 4-26. There are days of rest, July 13th and 21st, so feel free to take those days off.
  • There are challenge days, when the riders are climbing. Give yourself a challenge on those days by spinning a new fiber or try a new spinning style, but save your biggest challenges for the second climbing stage, like when they tackle Alpe d’Huez on July 25th  – seriously LOOK at the climb up that mountain! See the full route here.
    • Climbing stages 10 -12 from July 14, to 16
    • Climbing stages 17-20 from July 22, to 25
  • Celebrate as you go with the colors you wear.
    • Wear Green: green is for sprinters, if you’ve been spinning FAST this color is for you!
    • Wear Polka-dots: dots are for climbing so break them out whenever you’re taking on a challenge!
    • Wear White: white is for rookies so this is the color for you if this is your first Tour!
    • Wear Yellow: the leaders wear the Maillot jauneor Yellow Jersey, following each stage of the race, so wear it whenever you feel particularly successful. And be sure to wear it on July 26th to announce your victory in completing the Tour!

The Tour runs Saturday July 4th through Sunday July 26th, this year. And don’t worry about how much you have to do to participate! There is no minimum, or maximum amount of fiber you need to spin through. You don’t have to spin every day and you don’t even have to measure what you DO spin. The whole idea is just to get you spinning and to have fun with it! However we will be announcing some prizes on July 1st and there will be specific minimums or types of fibers and yarns you’ll need to spin to win. Keep an eye on the Ravelry group for specifics!

I’ll be spinning from my stash which includes Hello Yarn club fiber, some Spunky Eclectic fiber, some great stuff from Into the Whirled, and maybe something from Abstract Fibers or Frabjous Fibers! What will you be spinning and what will you challenge yourself with?

A New Spin on Things

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015
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The new Spinning Area at WEBS retail store in Northampton MA, chock full of color and fiber! read more at

As the craft of spinning continues to grow in popularity, we wanted to re-vamp our existing space into a beautiful, welcoming area in the store. And we’ve done just that. It’s our hope that experienced spinners and beginners alike will visit us to explore our enticing fibers on offer from workhorses like Blue Faced Leiceister and Romney to more luxurious blends like Frog Tree Meriboo Top (which comes in 10 shades and is on closeout for $2.29 per ounce, by the way). There’s an open space to try out a variety of wheels from Schacht’s popular Ladybug and elegant Matchless to the staff favorite, the Lendrum DT Complete. The back wall features an array of eye-popping color which is sure to inspire lots of new spinning projects! We’ve had such fun putting this new space together, and as the sole member of the store management team who does not (yet) spin, I have definitely caught the bug! Next time you visit the store, please stop by our new spinning area – even if you’re not (yet) a spinner, you’ll likely find yourself enticed to learn – ask me how I know…

Craft and Social Media

Friday, April 10th, 2015
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Finding WEBS on the web - social media links and online community on the WEBS Blog - read more at

I’ve realized lately that every time I check my social media sites, the first thing I do is see what WEBS is doing there. There is a rich treasure trove of websites that are devoted to putting people in touch with other people, and you can find someone, for instance, who is a left-handed crocheter who only does stuffed animals in the blink of an eye. Knitting is a pretty social craft, as is crochet; less so, unfortunately, are weaving and spinning. Weavers and spinners, I know you are lovely and sociable, but there aren’t many sightings of folks dragging an 8-harness loom to the local Starbucks for Craft Night. In that way, sometimes it’s easier for knitters and crocheters who don’t know each other to get to know each other. I thought I’d walk you through our social media sites so that you can check out what we post, and who talks to whom through our newsfeed. In this post, I’ll spotlight Ravelry and Facebook, and in some subsequent posts, I’ll walk you through some of our other social media platforms.

Finding WEBS on the web - social media links and online community on the WEBS Blog - read more at

No mention of fiber social media is complete without Ravelry. This is the first place I look each day. I check our “All Things WEBS” group to see how the knitters and crocheters doing our Mystery Knit-A-Long and Mystery Crochet-A-Long are doing, what new yarns or needles have been added to our Anniversary Sale, or any information about store events that I might have missed. You can also search for Valley Yarns patterns, or see if anyone is knitting the same design you are, and if they made any modifications to the pattern. You can see how many folks are using Valley Yarns for different projects. And, best of all (to me), you can search for a group that might be tailored to your own particular interest. Once again, left-handed crocheters, I just searched and found not one, but TWO groups devoted to left-handed crocheters, both with large memberships. It’s a wonderful time-suck, and in my position as Education Manager, I’ve tracked down guest teachers, connected with students who’ve requested interesting class ideas, found some great designs to have our instructors use as teaching ideas, and lots more.

Finding WEBS on the web - social media links and online community on the WEBS Blog - read more at

Facebook is a great place to find information but it’s also a fun place to find interesting blog posts from other designers and yarn companies, see some deals before they make it onto the website, and hear from our customers around the world. Dena, who manages our social media presence on all sites, manages to find the most beautiful images our in-house photo and video team has produced to complement each post. I love to read the comments folks post about what we share on Facebook; I’ve learned about locally-sourced, allergy-free yarn as well as some variations on Tunisian Simple Crochet stitch from various customers who chime in with their knowledge from time to time.

What groups do you like on Ravelry? Do you follow any designers or yarn companies on Facebook? Let us know!