Category Archives: Fiber/Yarn

Discussions on the fiber arts: Spinning, Weaving, Knitting, etc….

Teresa’s Tips – Felting and Felt

I know you’ve done it.  If not, some man in your household has done it for you.  That special sweater that is supposed to be dryed flat…. now fits a toddler.  So how and why does wool shrink when dryed?

First of all, the wool did not shrink.  It has however changed shape and may or maynot ever be the same again. 
Secondly, many people think it is the heat of the dryer that caused the damage.  This is not true.  When wool is dyed it is brought to near boiling temperatures, yet does not ‘shrink’ or felt at all. 

So what does happen and why?

Take a look at these wool fibers up close.  See the scales on them? 

When wool is wet and agitated, these scales begin to connect together and interlock.  The more they are agitated, the more tangled and locked they become until they are densely felted.  Your sweater has an even great tendency to felt because heat and detergent cause the scales to open more readily.  Plus the knit of the sweater gives the wool a ‘head start’ on the tangling process.

But what about needle felting?  The wool is dry for that and yet it still felts. 

With needle felting, the effect is the same, but the cause is different.  A specially designed felting needle is used.  At the tip of the needle are very tiny barbs, or scales.  These barbs lift the edge of the wool scales, allowing them to interlock and the felting action to take place.

Can felting be ‘un felted’. 
I’ve never tried to unfelt something that is firmly felted, but since what has happened is a tangling and interlocking of the wool, some gentle tugging and maybe even a mist of fabric softner could help your unintentionally felted object.  But a fully felted object is pretty permanantly changed.

Oh!  And be careful with those needles!  They are sharp!


Knitting For The Troops

My church knitting group is going to knit helmet liners for the troops serving in the war. I am very excited about this since my son-in-law is in Afghanistan at this moment. I want him to have everything he needs, and of course the very best of what he needs.

I was given a pattern and looked it over. It was a poor copy so I got online and tried to find a good pdf to download so that I could have a nice clean copy to pass along to others as well. What I found was a lot of frustration.
The pattern I was given had outdated information. Based on feedback from the troops, they are no longer accepting the crocheted version of the helmet liner, which is what I had planned to make. They also no longer want the olive drab color as it doesn’t work with the dessert uniforms. Online, The majority of the links went to a geocities site that is no longer in service.
So I thought I would share the info I have and hopefully save you some time and effort and make sure that the troops are getting what they need.

First – Citizen Sam is the best website to use!! There are patterns and pictures availalble for all the project that are currently being worked on. This is also where you will mail your finished projects.

Please note that only 100% wool yarn can be used!!  This can be any animal wool – sheep, llama, alpaca, cashmere, etc… But it should be soft as it will be right against the soldiers face.   I know it is tempting to use cheap yarn since you are doing this for charity, but please remember that these men are giving their best.  Let’s give them ours.  Acrylic yarn can melt to their face in a bad situation.  Wool is naturally flame retardent.

I personally am using Shepherd’s Wool Brand yarn.  It is 100% merino wool and is made in the USA.  It is very very soft and easy to work with.  These are the approved colors that are available.

To help get more of the very best to the troops, I am offering a discounted package.  It includes 2 skeins of approved colored Shepherd’s Wool yarn and the patterns from the Citizen Sam website.  These are large, 250 yard skeins and it should be just enough to make 2 helmet liners and 1 neck gator. 

To take advantagle of this special offer, here – for Etsy.

or Here – for my new eCrater store –

Tea Towels To Risk Your Life For….

I woke up to a snow storm!  Can you believe it?  We haven’t had any snow yet this year at all, but of course it is a tradition to have a major snow during the Arts Market.  After all, it wouldn’t be any fun unless you had to risk your life to see all the lovely scarves, ornaments, and tea towels.  And if there was ever a tea towel worth risking your life for, it will be found at the Textile Arts Market.

I’ve spent the entire week getting ready for the Textile Arts Market and it is finally here.  I love this day even though it seems to always snow.  Last night I was up until about 1 am putting the finishing touches on the ornaments I’d made and getting everything tagged and inventoried.  Now I’m ready, though dragging from sleep deprivation.

Join me at The Textile Arts Market!


Friday, December 4, 2009 5p to 8p
Saturday, December 5, 2009 10a to 4:30p


From the North (Cadillac and/or Big Rapids Area):
Take US 131 South to I-96. Take I-96 East toward Lansing to the East Beltline (Exit# 38). The exit will immediately be after I-196 merges with I-96. Take a right at the traffic light and go south on the East Beltline for 3 miles (4 traffic lights). Exit to the right onto Calvin College ‘s campus (just before the Bridge Walkway). Follow the signs to the Prince Conference Center.

From the North West (Muskegon Area):
Take I-96 East toward Lansing to the East Beltline (Exit# 38). The exit will immediately be after I-196 merges with I-96. Take a right at the traffic light and go south on the East Beltline for 3 miles (4 traffic lights). Exit to the right onto Calvin College ‘s campus (just before the Bridge Walkway). Follow the signs to the Prince Conference Center.

From the West (Holland/South Haven Area):
Take I-196 East toward Grand Rapids to the East Beltline (Exit# 38). The exit will immediately be after I-196 merges with I-96. Take a right at the traffic light and go south on the East Beltline for 3 miles (4 traffic lights). Exit to the right onto Calvin College ‘s campus (just before the Bridge Walkway). Follow the signs to the Prince Conference Center.

From The South (Kalamazoo/Battle Creek Area):
Take US131 North to Burton Street (Exit# 82). Go east on Burton Street about 4 miles to just before the East Beltline (10 traffic lights from the Expressway). You will see the Calvin College entrance sign on your left. Follow the signs to the Prince Conference Center.

From the East (Lansing/Detroit Area):
Take I96 west to the 28th Street (Exit# 43a). Go west on 28th Street about 3 miles to the East Beltline . Take a right on the East Beltline and go north about a mile (4 traffic lights). Exit to the right (after the Bridge Walkway) for Calvin College and follow the signs to the Prince Conference Center.

My Right Brain Wrestles with My Left Brain

I’m sitting at my computer feeling guilty about not having blogged in ‘forever’…. and trying to think of a topic that would be interesting and also supportive of my peers in business. I am an artist trying to be a business owner. My right brain and left brain trip over eachother often, yet I think as an artist I have a perspective that benefits my customers.

I recently had a custom request for some roving for a spinner who wanted to make yarn that was inspired by coffee foam. As an artist, I knew exactly what she meant. So we started talking color and texture and exchanging photos. 23 emails later, we came up with this blend of 7 different wool fibers that will emmulate a steamy cup o’ cappuccino.

Coffee Foam Roving

Cappuccino Roving

So, my office is a mess and I always push the deadline to the bitter edge (or just past) and I’m constantly running to and fro.  But I can speak the same language as my customers because we share a creative connection.  My business has become an extension of my art.  I can’t wait to see what the Coffee Foam yarn looks like, or whatever the next inspired project may be.  Custom orders are no problem because I understand when someone says “can we add a ‘pinch’ of a cinnamon colored wool to that?”
Whatever your art, consider where you shop.  By shopping from another artisan who is trying to ‘make a living’ as a supplier, you are supporting “the little guy” and helping someone’s dream come true.  At the same time, you should find that you get excellent customer service because your supplier understands what you are doing. 
So if you can deal with the fact that we organize in piles instead of in files… make an artist your supplier.
Team ESST is the Supply Team on Etsy.  Many of the suppliers are also artists.  Whether you are looking for beads, paper, tools, fabric or wool; you can find it at Team ESST on Etsy. 

The New Shop is Open (Mostly!)

You know when a big project seems like it won’t be that big… and it turns out to be even bigger than you’d imagined possible?  Well, that is what it is like moving a fiber artisan store and studio into your home.

My family was tired of my being gone so much and we had a buyer for our commercial building… so why not move the business to the house.  After all, we live downtown and we have plenty of room… maybe I can offer more hours and expand my product line too. 

I picture my kids helping me wind skeins of yarn and card roving.  We all sit in a circle by the fire and spin on Sunday afternoon.  The dog lays peacefully at my feet and my dining room is always ready to receive guests and students.


First I have to make a space.  The side porch is perfect.  It is light and breezy and actually bigger than the space I had before.  It is also a major disaster area as it has served as our families catch all for the last 5 years. 

Then there is the parking.  My husband’s collection of junker cars has got to go!  (This is the good part!) Woo Hoo!!

Now we are in the middle of moving and organizing.  I took a few pictures after stage one and posted them on the website.

At this moment I have had a relapse with a sudden onslaught of stuff brought from the old location.  It arrived faster than I could put it away.  But hopefully by Thursday, the next Knit -n- Spin, I’ll be ready for the public once again.

Find out when we meet at  Class schedules too!


See the New Selection of Michigan Made Shepherd’s Wool yarn!!



Over 100 Skeins of Yarn on Sale This Weekend Only!!

I don’t do a lot of sales since I offer hard to find quality products at already great prices.  But my Etsy Team ESST is having their Weekend Shopping Extravaganza and I felt inspired to have a sale.

So, for this weekend, August 1 & 2, 2009, I am putting ALL yarn on sale!  I will refund via paypal, 10% of your yarn purchase, Even on already reduced sale and destash yarns!!  That can add up to a huge Savings!


I will refund all Shipping Fees WORLDWIDE on orders over $50!!

I’ve never offered this before and I don’t know if I will ever do it again… so stock up now!  I’m working on getting more yarn listed all weekend long!  I just hope I don’t lose my shirt on this great offer.

Why I Joined Etsy’s Supply Street Team – ESST!

I opened my first Etsy shop, Yarn To Spin,  in early 2008 and my second, Yarn 2 Spin in 2009.  I knew nothing… accept that I love the textile arts and I needed a venue to be able to sell the angora that I get from my herd of angora rabbits. 

It has been a long road… one that I haven’t traveled alone.  I found out about teams on Etsy.  Places where artists with a commonality could network.  I started off joining a local team… Etsywmi Team.  All artisan’s from West Michigan.  That was fun and helpful.  These were people that I could actually get to meet.  And many have now become my friends.

As my business grew, I seperated my supplies from my finished products and now run two stores. – offers supplies and equipment for Textile Artisans.  Spinners, Weavers, Felters, Knitters, etc.  I work hard to find the best supplies and offer them at a fair price.  As a fellow artisan, I am glad to offer help and opinions whenever asked. – is the home of my products that I make and the occassional vintage treasure that I find.  A great place to see some of the things that can be made from the products I sell.

I heard about Team ESST from a West Michigan artist.  A team dedicated to supplying artists with quality materials.  A team that promotes Etsy and the Artists of Etsy to the world.  As both an artisan and a supplier, I loved how the team would pull together to promote Etsy as a whole, not just each individual shop.  The Etsy Supply Street Team is truely a strengthening force to the artisan community. 

So, as an artisan… I shop Etsy first for my supplies.  I want to support the shops that support the Etsy community.  If you are an artisan, I’d encourage you to search etsy with “team esst” in your search field when you are looking for supplies.  You can also find the Yellow Pages of the Etsy Supply world on the Team ESST page.

As a supplier, Team ESST has challenged me to be intentional about my business and professional in all areas.  This is essential if I am ever to realize my dream of being a fulltime artisan/supplier.  I appreciate the encouragement and occassional ‘kick in the pants’ from my team members.  It has helped me be a better shop owner and Etsian.