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Spinning Daisies: Chinese Fireweed
More than a decade ago, my son sent photos he had taken while hiking through Yunnan Province in southeast China of a woman making thread, somehow, from a leaf. I’ve spent the past 10 years trying to determine what the leaf was: rhododendron? Probably
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Teaching at Sätergläntan: A Spindle a Day
Whenever I visit Sätergläntan Institute of Crafts, I see a love for all things craft everywhere I look. It is a place dedicated to education and to the people who have a passion for making. Students, teachers, and staff who come to Sätergläntan are t
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Lilly’s Blanket
Fiber preparation I used hand-dyed roving, making rolags and mixing different colors on my handcards. The new blends became slight variations of the original colorways. Wheel system/spindle I used suspended and Turkish spindles. My preferred spindles
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Loft & Crimp Rejuvenating Processed Fibers
Until five years ago, I did not often use commercially prepared fiber for my own projects. Why? Because these processed fibers did not seem as lively or responsive to my touch as my own freshly combed or carded preps. However, through experiments and
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Opposing Plies And The Quest For Elasticity
One of a handspinner’s greatest superpowers is the ability to create new and intriguing yarn designs. It simply requires a fresh perspective, some basic skills, and throwing caution to the wind. My eyes were first opened to the realm of possibilities
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Luscious Lace Searching for the Perfect Blend
I knitted my first lace shawl in 2008, and I was hooked. Something about the confluence of angled stitches, open spaces, and plain knitting captured my heart. When I became a spinner in 2010, I knew I wanted to eventually spin yarns to make amazing k
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Uncoiling the Spiral of Gimp Yarns
Spiral yarns are quite possibly my favorite types of yarn to create. I enjoy seeing the mesmerizing cascade of coils undulating from my basket of handspun. Although I admit that many of my handspun yarns remain in my basket for quite some time before
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Alpaca Farrow-Rib Mittens
After exploring the variety of gimp yarns (see page 36) I could spin—from subtle spirals to super spirals—I decided to knit a pair of mittens with a naturally colored alpaca gimp yarn. The interlocking nature of the gimp yarn’s bumps made for a sturd
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The Settlers of Cape Breton Nova Scotia’s History Stitched in Stockings
Nova Scotia, “New Scotland” in Latin, received the bulk of its Scottish population between roughly 1770 and 1850. The Scottish Hebrideans left their homelands because of general industrial depression and the forcible removal of people from the Scotti
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Eighteenth-Century Cape Breton Kilt Stockings
As a professional historical interpreter at the Fortress of Louisbourg and a specialist in eighteenth-century history, I find it fascinating that there was a time when ladies’ elbows were risqué and men’s calves were sexy. The fashion of the time emp
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Sixty-Four Sheep in a Blanket Stretching Beyond My Merino Mindset
Australia’s baby boomers, including myself, grew up with a strong awareness of sheep. The country was “riding on the sheep’s back” to the extent that in 1951 wool production accounted for over 50 percent of the value of production of all agricultural
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Editor’s Letter
Spinners are a wildly creative group. For some, this is expressed in bold, textured skeins drenched in vivid hues. Other spinners might not think of themselves as artistic types as they unflinchingly adapt a combed top into a lofty batt or knit their
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Flexible Embroidery and Decorative Darning Stretchy Stitches for Knitted Fabric
Sometimes plain gray mittens are just the thing, but sometimes you want more—a shot of color, a little jazz, or the texture and character of slow cloth. Embroidery is a great way to add color—one or many—to the surface of your knits. While some embro
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Editorial Director Anne Merrow Editor Kate Larson Associate Editor Elizabeth Prose Managing Editor Laura Rintala Technical Editor Karen Frisa Copy Editors Katie Bright, Rachel Koon, Trish Faubion Proofreader Nancy Arndt Editors Emeritae Anne Bliss, A
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Stitch Primer Flexible Embroidery and Decorative Darning
Small stitch samplers worked on knitted swatches are an easy way to begin exploring handspun and embroidered knits. You can use my swatches here as a reference for embroidery placement or doodle with only the stitches that interest you. The smaller s
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Letters
THIS POLWARTH WOOL BLANKET (top left) was dyed with cochineal and Kool-Aid. The finished size is 28 × 75 inches. This blanket was finished by washing in a machine on the gentle cycle, which gives the fabric a nice tracking appearance. I made the seco
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A Structured Approach to Project Planning
One thing I love about handspun yarn is that it can be spun for fun and left in its yarn state, or it can be transformed further into wonderful garments or artworks. However, extending our creative process beyond just spinning for fun to creating end
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Reviews
A Complete Guide to Mastering the Techniques for Making Images with Yarn Rebecca Mezoff Small tapestry weavings offer an opportunity to use up all of those leftover bits of handspun yarn. Not sure where to start? Weaver and handspinner Rebecca Mezoff
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Fiber Creek Suite 123, 1046 Willow Creek Rd Prescott, AZ 86301 (928) 717-1774 fibercreekprescott.com Tempe Yarn & Fiber 1415 E University Dr Tempe, AZ 85281 (480) 557-9166 tempeyarn.com Babetta’s Yarn & Gifts 4400 San Juan Ave #20 Fair Oaks, CA 95628
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Winter’s Gifts
Stash a SeptemberHouse needle case in your project bag. This metal box holds most needle sizes for finishing, mending, and embroidery. The lid clicks shut so you won’t get poked by the pointy ends. septemberhouse.etsy.com A colored fleece presents ha
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Ginger Clark Forensic DNA Analyst
Tell us about your day job. I am a forensic DNA analyst with the Maples Center for Forensic Medicine at the University of Florida. I work only with animal DNA and mostly within the criminal realm—crime scene investigation (CSI) for animals. I deal wi
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Spinning Cotton for Knitting Advice from a Cotton Lover
Handspun cotton can be used to create cloth with a cool, silky drape or a project that is as warm and luxurious as cashmere. There is so much to love about cotton, and with the proper preparation, spinning techniques, and treatment, cotton can be use
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Melvenea’s Tips for Spinning Cotton
• Trouble drafting? Commercially prepared slivers can easily become compacted. Try carefully splitting them lengthwise into long strips to loosen the preparation without disorganizing the fibers.• Spin faster and more efficiently on a supported spind
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Avocado Ikat: A Spinner Explores Resist Dyeing & Botanical Color
Ikat fabrics range from stripes of beautiful colors that shift slowly across a piece of woven fabric to incredibly detailed patterns and figurative scenes. The Malay word ikat (pronounced ee-kaht) means to bind or knot, and ikat techniques have been
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Editor’s Letter
From the beginning, I was a wool-obsessed spinner. I learned to spin and enjoy cotton, linen, and ramie, but they didn’t fascinate me like wool. As a child, I had a habit of naming special sheep in my family’s flock after vegetables, so Broccoli and
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The Study in Pink Scarf
Structure Plain weave. Equipment Rigid-heddle loom, 10" weaving width; 7½-dent reed; 1 shuttle. Fiber 85% Polwarth/15% silk combed top, 12 oz. Yarns Warp and weft yarns were created from the same handspun yarn that was dyed after spinning: 2-ply, 327
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Reviews
By Rebecca Burgess, with Courtney White Spinners don’t need much convincing to work with their local wool, but weaver and natural dyer Rebecca Burgess’s new book will have you looking for additional ways to engage with your area’s fiber producers. Bu
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Ramie: Blending, Plying, and Natural Dyeing
Bast fibers, such as flax, hemp, and ramie, are some of my favorite handspinning fibers. In addition to the pleasure I find in spinning such long, silky fibers, I also appreciate that they are easily grown in most climates and soils and have less neg
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Perfect Pair
Open a package of Wound Up Fiber Arts Scrappy Sock Bundles and joyful little bumps of color spill forth. The 100% superwash Merino “scraps” spin up into a unique yarn for an unmatched pair of socks. Half the fun is in choosing which itty-bitty bump t
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Blending Ramie with Other Fibers
Ramie can add some very desirable characteristics to blends, such as resistance to bacteria, mildew, and insect attack. It is extremely absorbent, dyes fairly easily, increases in strength when wet, withstands high water temperatures during launderin
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