Category Archives: spinning

Spin wool into yarn. A fine art that you really can master.

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!

2009 TEXTILE ARTS MARKET
PRINCE CENTER, CALVIN COLLEGE CAMPUS

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

DRIVING DIRECTIONS

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.

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New Stuff is Coming!

I’ve run hot and cold on this whole blogging thing.  But watch out, cuz I’m making plans.

I’m going to be gearing up in December to launch a whole new site in January.  I want to make this a fun and meaningful resource for folks with a passion, or at least a curiosity about the textile arts. 

As we gear up to Christmas though, I’m going to be featuring some items I think would make great gifts for the yarnies in your life.

My #1 Favorite gift for spinners!

Spinner's Control Card

2009 – The International Year of Natural Fibers

Yarn 2 Spin strives to provide quality fibers to textile artisans.   Spinners, Weavers, Knitters, Felters and Crocheters can all find unique fibers to feed their creativity.  95% of the fibers we sell are natural fibers.  We strive to obtain products that are grown and processed with environmentally responsible methods.  Visit the online store to see what we have:   Yarn 2 Spin Store

We are very excited that the UN has declared 2009 as The Year of The Natural Fiber.  This video will show the production and uses of natural fibers around the world and how the industry is changing to meet the demands of today’s market.

The Making of Yarn! Part II

Sorry it has been a few days….  Life does get busy… especially with all my bunnies hoping around.

Part II

After the sheep is shorn and the fleece is skirted, it is generally washed.  Some spinners to spin “in the grease”, but that is a specialty that we won’t get to for now. 

Washing a fleece correctly is important to remove the lanolin and vegetable matter and … uh hummm, other ‘stuff’ that may be stuck in the wool.   After all, wool is a natural product.  The trick is to clean the fiber without felting or damaging the wool. 

You want to try it on your own?  Here is one way… There are several.

Tub Washing

1.  Fill a large tub, basin or bucket with very hot water.  Add 1 cup of detergent.  I use dish detergent.

2. Submerge your fleece in the water.  Do NOT agitate!  Just let it soak for about 45 minutes.

3.  Lift the fleece out of the water and set aside.

4.  Repeat steps 1 and 2. 

5.  Sort the fibers that are clean enough to dry and those that need to go through steps 1 and 2 again.

6.  Before drying…  Fill  your tub one more time with Hot water and about 1 cup of white vinegar and let soak for 30 minutes.

7.  Now remove your fiber, gently squeezing out extra water and lay flat to dry.  I dry mine on the trampoline… but a towel or sheet works fine too.

You can do the above in your washing machine… but be careful not to let it it agitate.  I have found that the lanolin is really not very good for my machine… so now I use a tub.

It is fun to wash your own fleece, but if you want to get to the next step faster, you may want to send it out to be done.  Here are some links to some of the mills I know of.

www.woolmill.com

www.zwool.com

www.stonehedgefibermill.com

http://fibermill.yurtboutique.com/

Upcoming New Series – The Making of a Yarn!

A knitting friend of mine told me that she never thought about where her yarn comes from until she started coming to my shop and watching the spinners.  So let’s take some time to get back to basics and look at yarn from the beginning.

For the sake of simplicity, we will begin with the world’s most popular type of yarn… wool.  By the end of the series we will talk about other fibers and forms of making yarn too…. but first things first.

Baaaa!

Baaaa!

 

Yes, it starts with the sheep… or llama, or goat , or rabbit, or camel, or bison, or some type of wool producing creature.  (Veggie fibers are coming up later). 

There are many different breeds and kinds of sheep fibers that can be spun into yarn.  Two of the major considerations when determining the use of a wool fiber is the coarseness (measured in microns) and the staple length.   A very soft fiber has a micron of 22 or less.  We’ll look at staple length more later.

Sheep must be shorn to harvest the wool fiber.  It doesn’t hurt them, and if it wasn’t done they could have serious health problems.  That is why sheep have always been cared for by a shepherd.  Domestic breeds of sheep are not likely to survive long without the care of people.

I recently had the opportunity to visit Shady Side Farm on Shearing Day!  It was very interesting.  Read about the process of shearing the sheep on their blog.   http://shadysidefarm.blogspot.com/2009/03/shearing-day-photo-report.html

The next in this series will cover the washing and preparing of the shorn fibers. 

Don’t miss anything in this series… Subscribe the the RSS feed now!

Adventures in Hemp!

Today I began spinning the custom order for hemp yarn.  Well, it spins pretty well and I am getting a nice consistant and thin thread.  I haven’t decided yet whether to make a 2 ply yarn or to navajoy ply it into a 3 ply.  I like the navajo ply so much, but I think I want to keep this yarn pretty thin.

One thing that I did do was blend the hemp with a bit of nylon to add strength and elasticity.  If I were looking only for the strenth, I probably would have stayed with a vegetable fiber like Tencel to make it a truely vegan yarn.

Custom orders are always welcome at Yarn2Spin.  Or try this yourself.  Follow this link to my etsy store where you can find hemp, flax, bamboo, tencel and other veggie fibers.  http://www.yarntospin.etsy.com

Never Too Old To Learn Something New!

They say you are never too old to learn something new. And though I don’t know who “they” are… I guess they are right ‘cuz I did learn something new. And it was taught to me by a young whipper snapper by name of Melissa at http://www.rainydayart.etsy.com  Melissa taught me to Navajo Ply. 

Learning to Navajo Ply has been on my to do list for a couple of months. Ever since I bought a really cool roving that I was told would make a self striping yarn if it was Navajo Plyed.  I tried to learn on my own from the description of a friend…. but I practically tied myself to my spinning wheel with the tangled mess I made.

Here is the skein that Melissa taught me on. Not bad, but that is because she did most of it.

Corriedale Yarn Navajo Plyed - Not striped

Corriedale Yarn Navajo Plyed - Not striped

Then I went home and tried it on the cool self-striping roving and here is what I did.  This yarn is for sale at www.yarntospin.etsy.com

Navajo Plyed Striping Yarn

Navajo Plyed Striping Yarn

Now I’m thinking about taking all my Navajo Churro fleeces and Navajo Plying them so I can weave them on a Navajo Loom. 

Thank You Melissa!