Category Archives: spinning

Late night fiber finds

I’m waiting for something to finish downloading, and found this through the Knitty Blog: a link to the corgi pattern from Knit Your Own Royal Wedding by Fiona Goble. Just a little something for you to celebrate the royal wedding…or not. But the dog is cute!

What’s downloading? Respect the Spindle by Abby Franquemont. Interweave Press currently has this for sale for 10 cents! How could I say no? I have this book, but sometimes a video is worth a thousand words. And the price is definitely right.

No pictures tonight; I wasn’t planning to post!

SEA-PDX yarn train 2011

We interrupt this TNNA blog-fest with a report on the Seattle to Portland Yarn Train Yarn Crawl.

urban fiber arts

I started my day at Urban Fiber Arts, Cindy Abernethy’s shop. It was full of happy knitters. Susan Stambaugh of Abstract Fiber was there, and she brought spinning fiber in a new colorway, Urban Joy, in honor of Cindy’s fairly new shop. Gorgeous!

Urban Joy

The PDXKnitBloggers/PDXSpinnerati were out in force, too: Karen’s mom, Karen, Judy, Bobbie.


I met Kathee of Kathee Nelson Art Yarns, and she showed me some of her pretty fiber.

Art Yarn

I ignored the siren song of the cupcakes at Cupcake Jones (a coupon!) and went over to Knit/Purl next. There were lots of happy knitters there, too. I actually ran into my across the street neighbor who teaches there, too. Hi, Judy! And I saw Jared Flood’s yarn, Shelter, for the first time. The colors were deep and luscious.


After Knit/Purl, I went to Starbucks across the street, and found more PDXKnitBloggers: Camille, Kathy (also a Turkish Delight spindler), Angela, Rachel, Tami. Please note that Tami’s shirt and shawl are raspberry, not pink.

starbux pdxkb

We were discussing where to go next, and talking to the yarnies at the next table, who wanted to know how to get to Yarn Garden. I offered to drive them, and I assured them that I was not an ax murderer. Norma, Sandi and Anna trusted me, and we went to Yarn Garden, where they had a good time.

yarn garden

We also went to Happy Knits, and Twisted, because Sandy wanted to see Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarn, up close and personal. She got her wish! And she definitely got some yarn, too…


OT: Interweave Knits is offering a free download of 7 hat patterns here.

urban fiber arts

There’s a new yarn shop in Portland’s Pearl District, Urban Fiber Arts. Cindy Abernethy, the shop’s owner, carries yarn, spinning fibers, patterns, and accessories from regional dyers, spinners, and other fiber artists, many of whom are local to the Pacific Northwest. Cindy is one of the PDXKnit-bloggers, and she is realizing a life-long dream of having her own shop.


I missed the grand opening last week, but I finally had a chance to visit on Wednesday. I saw fiber from Abstract Fiber and Dicentra, and yarn from StitchJones. The shop will also carry hand-dyed yarn from Knitted Wit and Pico Accuardi. Urban Fiber Art’s focus is “quality yarns and fibers from the Northwest and beyond.” It’s almost like going to OFFF without having to wait. And they now carry most of my PDXKnitterati patterns, too. Thank you, Cindy!


Here’s some fun handspun from Trtlgrl Crafts.


While I was visiting, I bought this drop spindle learn to spin kit from Krafti-Kit.


I love the carved scrollwork on the spindle’s whorl. Pretty! And the alpaca fiber is really soft, like a cloud. It spins pretty easily, too.


In other news, I’m scheduled to teach a class on the Pippi Hat at Twisted the next couple of Thursday evenings. If you’d like an introduction to color work, this hat is a great way to learn. Contact Twisted to register.


Knit on!

Playing with plying

I finally finished spinning my pink (colorway Rose City) Shimmer merino/silk that I got from KnittedWit last summer at Sock Summit.


I spun most of it last year, and then set the spindle aside. Last week I got a bee in my bonnet to finish the spinning, and then I knew I had to ply it because it was so thin. I keep accidentally making laceweight. I had two center pull balls off my Turkish spindle, so I used my Kundert top whorl spindle to ply them together. The 2 ply is the bigger skein on the left.


The singles had been sitting around a long time, so they weren’t very energized any more. This 2 ply is fairly loosely plied, but it didn’t seem to want to be more twisted than this. I like how the color changes cross each other, at least in the skein. This barber poled/marled look is sweet. The yarn is still pretty thin, though.

2ply close

The two center pull balls weren’t close to each other in length; there was a lot left in the second ball after the first was gone. I decided to try Navajo chain plying with the remaining single. It’s basically making long crochet chain with the single, and putting twist in it to hold it together. Jenna showed me how last weekend at OFFF, so why not?


I love it! The three strands in the chain plying make this a more rounded, fatter yarn. And because chain plying is so linear, the color changes keep to themselves; there’s no barber poling. I’m sure there’s a lot more finesse to this technique; I’m still playing with it and learning how it works. I think I could make the chain loops a lot bigger as I do this, but haven’t figured it out yet. But I will.

Friends and Fiber

A perfect combination! It was a glorious sunny day at OFFF today, perfect for a fiber festival. I never did sit down to knit, but I became reacquainted with my Turkish drop spindle. I had forgotten how much I like it. Several people reminded me!


I saw lots of old friends, and some that I hadn’t met in person before. I’d like to especially welcome PeacefulKnitter to Oregon; she just moved here. What a lovely way to get to know the local fiber scene.


PeacefulBaby and Sweetie were here with her, too. PeacefulBaby seemed quite taken with Lorajean’s Baby O.


I got to see Rachel‘s finished Pacific shawl. She used Malabrigo Sock yarn in Abril.



Our shawls hung out together. Thanks for test knitting for me, Rachel! The pattern is available on Ravelry, and I have some paper copies at the Knitted Wit booth at OFFF.


And I broke my “I don’t stash” rule for this:


Constellation beaded worsted, 50/50 merino and silk, with beads from StitchJones.

I believe this is the first yarn I’ve ever bought that didn’t have a plan for it. And I probably won’t knit with it for a long time. I just want to look at it, pet it, and admire it. Thank you, Sharon!


A few more scenes from today:




Off to OFFF

The big fiber event this weekend is the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds in Canby. I helped Lorajean (KnittedWit) set up her booth today.


She’s sharing her booth with Pico Accuardi Dyeworks, so there is a lot of fabulous fiber in one small space! I’ll have patterns for sale there, too, including a few copies of my new Pacific Shawl pattern. It hasn’t even gone up for sale online yet, but I was doing a big print session for OFFF, and it told me that it wanted to go, too.

There’ll be some Lantern Moon product in the booth, including Sox Stix (their 6 inch ebony needles are my favorite dpns). Lantern Moon doesn’t have an official presence of its own at OFFF, but I sweet talked them in to having some of their super-cute fans there. It’s going to be 80 degrees and sunny, so it’s the right place at the right time. The fans are at the Knitted Wit/Pico Accuardi booth, and are a gift with a purchase of $10 or more.


We got the booth set up in record time. We had good help! (LJ’s youngest)


Also this weekend, Lantern Moon is extending their warehouse sale. There are still a lot of cute things left, including lots of silk needle cases, lanterns, wall fans (still have to put mine up and take a picture), ceramic pots. doormats. I even saw things this morning that I didn’t see last weekend, like this laptop case.


Cute! (It’s actually black, but I took the picture with my phone in my back yard, so it’s not quite WYSIWYG.)

Now I just need to pick a project or two to bring with me, so I can hang out with the PDXKnitBloggers, and dust off my poor neglected spindles so I can hang out with the Spinnerati. And find my Ravelry button. And…

Have a great weekend!

Spring fever…

This week I finished a couple projects, including the straps for the felted slip stitch tote. I felted it last night. It’s drying, so I’ll take pictures tomorrow. This project took more yarn in the heavier Brown Sheep Lanaloft than the original KnitPicks Wool of the Andes; I’ll edit the pattern notes to make reflect that.


I had a fun day at Pico Accuardi Dyeworks. I taught an entrelac class in the morning. We even purled back without turning our work! This saves so much time when you’re working stockinette over a small number of stitches.


I also took a drop spindle class with Deb Accuardi. We worked with wool roving and with top, and mixed in some other fiber, too. My goal was to spin a more consistent single, and I did. And then we plyed some of it, too.


dye 2

Stevanie Pico taught dyeing. All in all, a fun day.

The days are getting longer and lighter, and the air is getting warmer. Weeds are springing up like crazy in the garden. The boys helped me weed the front flowerbeds, and we’re in the process of taking out all the Japanese anemone. It was only slightly invasive when we had a big birch tree to shade it, but when we had to remove the tree, the anemone got too happy in the full sun and took over the garden. Buh-bye.

With spring, I’m also feeling the urge to jettison my unfinished Heather Hoodie (bulky yarn) and cast on something breezy and new! But I’m afraid if I set it aside, I’ll never go back to it. Yikes. I think it’s all a result of spring break.

I headed up to Seattle last weekend to play guitar with a piano friend. Yes, that sounds nonsensical, but it’s true. We met in 2000 at September Sonata, a piano camp in Bennington VT. We were roomies then, and have been friends ever since. In fact, there’s a whole group of us west coast “Piano Babes” that get together at least annually. Some of us aren’t playing the piano a whole lot right now (moi, for one), but we still have a lot in common.

tak girls

Last fall, I bought a new guitar, and Sheryl did, too. They’re both Takamines with the same body style (NEX); mine is cedar and mahogany with a satin finish, and hers is spruce and maple, with a gloss finish. We’ve been trying to get together to compare them, and finally did. Hers sounds warmer/mellower from the back (playing) and more forward/pushy/rock from the front, and mine is mellower from the listener’s point of view, and brighter from the player’s perspective. I happily played them both!

all 4 2

Some of the other piano babes came over on Saturday; we played/sang Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. We also web-surfed to check out kd lang’s version (she opened the Olympics with it), Jeff Buckley’s (hailed by some as the best) version, Bon Jovi’s acoustic version (my favorite), and of course, Leonard Cohen’s version (Live in London). C played this last year in Carmel, so it seemed like good common ground.

tak 2

We had a great time! Thanks to Sheryl for hosting. There was more spring break activity, but I’ll leave that for another post.

What is spring inspiring you to do?

Last of the last of the last minute!

Lorajean thinks she’s last of the last minute, but I’m posting after her…

I’m teaching at a fiber fun day at Pico Accuardi Dyeworks here in Portland tomorrow. There will be classes in spinning, plying, dyeing, and knitting, as well as some shopping opportunities (Lantern Moon, Knitted Wit, Pico Accuardi, of course!).

I’m teaching entrelac in the round, specifically Athena.

athena 4

And hoping to take a drop spindle class with Deb.

Deets on the day are here.

Crafty Mom Weekend 7.0

What I didn’t tell you about the Portland Yarn Crawl: I wasn’t going to be there! I had a Pippi Hat at Happy Knits in the scavenger hunt, but that was it for me. I was at the beach for Crafty Mom weekend. This was the seventh annual getaway; there were 10 of us this year. The weather doesn’t matter much. If it’s nice, I get some good walks in. If it’s not nice, the view from the window is enough.



I had a very productive weekend. I started my Felted Slip Stitch Tote shop sample for Twisted. I love the vibrant colors of Brown Sheep’s Lanaloft. And the pattern just flies along. I would have finished it, but I had a few other projects that needed work, too.


I started and finished a secret project; I’ll tell you about that someday soon. I played the guitar. I wrote lyrics for a song. I did a little spinning with my drop spindle. I enjoyed the view!




I worked on my Heather Hoodie. The cables are lovely. I love how the cable pattern ended at exactly the right place to make an “O” when I joined the shoulders. Serendipity!


But even before the weekend, my hands were already aching from knitting cables with bulky yarn. Manipulating the stitches makes my hands tired. I’m cabling without a cable needle (see tutorials on the sidebar), but I don’t think it would be any better if I used one, because I’d still be manipulating the stitches. I’ve been playing a lot of guitar, too, so my hands feel used and abused!

I joined the fronts to the back, and I did the math to knit sleeves down from the armholes. I’m going to make the sleeves plain stockinette rather than cable some more. I’d like to finish this and wear it before it gets too warm! It snowed on us on the drive back over the Coast Range, so there’s still time…

What did you do this weekend?

OFFF stash enhancement

So what did I get at OFFF?

A few very carefully chosen goodies!


My main goal for this festival was to buy another spindle. I love my Turkish Delight, but I wanted one more spindle so I can experiment with one while the other has an ongoing spinning project. I thought I’d try a top-whorl spindle. I found out that there are a lot of spindles out there, with a wide range of prices. I bought this cherry and red cedar Kundert spindle and the book, Productive Spindling, at the Carolina Homespun booth.


Here’s the underside. The fiber is a sample from Abstract Fiber; it was in the goodie bag from WWSiPDay. (Thanks to Susan for donating, and Tami for organizing!)


It spins for a long time, and I’ve learned to roll it off my leg so it really gets going fast. Just another hint from the Productive Spindling book by Amelia Garripoli. I have a lot to learn!

I also bought four one ounce fiber knots from Knitted Wit. I love the colors, and I could see using handspun from these for colorwork, interspersed on a background of commercial black or white yarn. At $3 a knot, it’s a completely non-threatening experiment fiber (merino, yummy).

My last purchase was a small maple niddy-noddy from Ol Lar’s Drop Spindles. Isn’t it pretty? I almost bought a bubinga top-whorl spindle from them, but it was gone when I went back. That’s probably a good thing, because I was just going to impulse buy it because it was so beautiful! I had already bought the Kundert the day before.


It comes apart and turns into this.


Pretty restrained, huh? Now to go spin all that fluff! And Lorajean gave me a braid of merino/silk in her Rose City colorway to thank me for helping her set up. It’s gorgeous. Thanks, LJ!