Tuesday, July 17, 2007


The Weekend Whirls blog is now at:


If you are a member and have not yet received instructions to access the new blog (they'll come to the e-mail address you've used with Blogger), drop Rhonna a note and we'll re-send them. Some of your e-mail addresses are bouncing (Anne, you're one) so you may want to use a different e-mail account.


Hi, guys---

The long-discussed is happening, and we're in the process of a move. I'll give you all the information before the evening is out, but in the meantime,


I don't want to lose anything, and this will make life much simpler.

More very soon . . .

Actual Spinning!

I've been majorly slacking on the spinning posts lately - and the spinning, too. I did manage to sit down in front of Amelia this weekend and spin up a bit of the Sock Hop roving from Crown Mountain Farms in the 'Blue Suede Shoes' colorway:

I'm hoping to Navajo ply this into a sport-weight.

I also received my new Wooly Winder on Friday - and a new camera for my birthday on Sunday! This photo was taken with the new camera, it's made me so happy that it's my desktop wallpaper for the moment :o)


Stolen moments

I haven't had much time for fibery fun lately, but over the weekend I finally managed to squeeze in a bit of spinning.

Deadly bobbin?

That's Coopworth fiber in "Nightshade" from Spunky Eclectic. I have about a bobbin and a half of approximately fingering-weight singles. I'm going to attempt to Navajo-ply them, and if there is enough yarn, I might knit a hat... something along the lines of Fake Isle, perhaps.

Another Newbie from the UK

My name is Claire and I am a fibreholic. I spin, knit, dye, sew and have just bought my first loom to try weaving. I also do patchwork and quilting - but that's another story (and mountain of stash)

I am a drop spindler as I cant seem to get the necessary co-ordination to use a wheel - but I live in hope. I am currently spinning some pencil rovings from Natalie and, as you can see from the photo, the colours are beautiful.

My day job is as a spindle and swift maker and I am also apprentice Organ Builder for my DH.
My blog is: www.spin-a-yarn.blogspot.com if you would like to have a look at me and my world .
I am very much a beginner spinner, but learning fast. At the moment I am trying to find out how to spin with a drop spindle with no notch or hook as I have been told by a medieval expert that a notch or hook weakens the shaft and is not 'traditional'. So far I cant make my half-hitch to stay put and not slip off - any ideas welcome!!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Newest Member - here!

Hi you guys! I was so excited to find this website! I am just an average spinner, and mostly love my wheels the most. I have a Jensen Tina II that I absolutely love, love, love and a Majacraft Rose that I have been using mostly for plying lately. I am currently in a Exotic Fiber Club sponsored by Anne at Wooly Wonka Fibers, and the latest batch is white, white cormo. It's fun, but I have almost decided that I don't like Cormo - too many neps! I tend to like nice smooth yarns.

My most recent (prior to WWF cormo) is Romney from Skylines Fibers - I just can't say enough about Melissa's rovings!!!! I am currently spinning to make a Fairisle by Ron Schweitzer - I have just completed skein #3 with 432 yards in my darkest color:

Here are my prior two skeins which brings my total yardage to 1,080 yards with 15wpi approximately.

By the way, hi ya Peggy! I see you are here too! We need to get some of those knitting needles I think!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Just Joined

Hi, I have just joined too. I'm Hannah and I live in SE London, UK. I started spinning three weeks ago, when I got my first spindle. I have a book called Spinning in the Old Way, using a high whorl spindle, by Priscilla A Gibson-Roberts and now I am learning the names and techniques for what I am trying to do. Natalie's great tutorial with lots of colour photographs have really brought it to life and I now have a spindle with a growing cop of bumpy yarn on it. And more roving in the mail.......
I have a husband, three grown up children, four cats and a Giant African Land Snail. I like snails a lot. I hope to add pictures at some stage.

Just Joined

Hey all, I just joined and have only been spinning since around March or so. Here is my first yarn I've spun up so far for the Tour de Fleece.

I'm glad I found this group. Actually my friend from Norway, Heidi, was the one who told me about it. Thanks Heidi!!!!


Today I added some sable roving to the bright roving in the earlier post, and got this.
The sable, which I saw as a soft grey/brown, has acquired an almost olive green cast when mixed up with all the pink and orange in the original roving. I'm really pleased with how it has turned out. There are 54g here and I think it's about 110 metres, so that's about right for the project I have in mind.


Having put my new wheel together, I promptly took it apart again (Noooo dis-a-sem-ble!)

It has had two coats of Danish oil and after that has dried, I am going to wax it. So no spinning until tomorrow, at least.

The wheel now has a name: Constance. She was almost Patience, and briefly was Prudence, but she's staying Constance now.

I'm hoping for a series, one day. In fact, the mythical "one day" Schacht Matchless is already christened "Hope" ! I am much aggrieved that to buy one here costs £750 - on the far side of the pond, it's a "mere" $850. A huge difference - and almost possible to believe that it could be achieved :-)

For the full tale, see my Demiurge blog.

My latest yarn.

My packet from US came yesterday and it was just in time since I was finish with angora&silk yarn. Because in the packet was the Yarn Meter, so this time I got a accurate measureing. You can read more in my blog about all the other wonderful stuff I got from US :)

It is 130 gram (4.59 ounce), 35 wpi and 635 m (694 yards).

No I just need to found out if I am going to dye it ore not. What doe you think, guys?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Spinning Blunders or SPINNERS S.O.S.

Okay everyone, I'm spinning up some absolutely gorgeous roving from Poppy Flower Fibers, I love the color of the domestic wool roving: Kaleidoscope, I believe, but I've got a major problem. where the heck is it? I snapped off the roving while spinning, and now I can't find an end to latch it onto!

So far, I've tried scotch tape and using an old tooth brush to try to tease the end up. Nothing has worked. I've even tried using a DPN to try to pull up the snapped off end, no luck.

Do I just cut up and throw away the wool that I've worked so hard to spin? I've got a really small amount to finish spinning onto the bobbin... Almost done, dag nabbit! *sigh*

Help. Please. I plan to spin up another bobbin today while I decide what I'm going to do with this first one. Everytime I look at it, I want to scream, LOL!

Thanks for any and all help in advance.

Oops, I guess I should introduce myself too. My name's A
nna of Anna's Yarn Mansion. I took my first spinning class mid-month last month, and I've been the proud owner of an Ashford Joy for about a week now. Great to meet you all and see all the fantastic rovings that you've been spinning up! :-)


Thursday, July 12, 2007

New arrival

Hello, just popped in to say... er, "hello"

My name is Beth, but I note that you have at least one Beth already, and so I shall remain plumbum just to save confusion. I live on a small Scottish island, off the north coast and up and to the right a bit (but stop before you get to Fair Isle). I don't originate from here and arrived only last September but I love it and don't intend to move ever again. I've settled in quickly and one of the things I have done since I got here is to learn to spin.

I'm really not very good at it yet. Here's my first (and only) three balls of yarn - it's Jacob, spun from a raw local fleece clipped in 2006.

Feel free to giggle.

I shall get better.

I hope.


Let's not get maudlin..

I'll pull myself together soon...

OK. Where was I? Ah yes. We spin in a small group, in each other's houses, not at a weekend, but every Wednesday morning. There is coffee. And cake. Oh, there is cake. And much laughter.

I was shown how to spin on a friend's Ashford Joy. I immediately hunted down an eBay bargain and Hebbie, the Haldane Hebridean wheel, came to live with us. It has been a love/hate relationship. My partner took pity on me and a brand new Ashford Trad has joined my spinning stable. We assembled it just yesterday and I have every hope of making some rapid progress. (I don't have a name for the Trad yet and am open to all suggestions.)

In my defence, I should point out that, as soon as I got my first wheel, I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism - a condition that led to tremors in my hands and legs and which have made it very difficult to learn to spin. The meds are now taking care of it and I am fast running out of excuses for my inept work. I have to admit that the secret now is actual practice, as opposed to pretending to be a spinner :-)

I was introduced to this group by Natalie, who has discovered my blog, and I would like to thank her for sending me this way.

I'll go read some posts now.


I'm back, the cases are unpacked, the second load is in the laundry, and the house is a complete disaster and I'm buried in e-mails, but I thought I'd take a moment to upload a shot or two while I run backups.

Remember this?

Which looked like this when it was spun?

And how we were wondering what it would look like when it was knitted? Well, here's the answer:

This isn't the best shot (the color is a bit faded), and I'm posting it just so you can see how the colors striped across the fabric. I'll upload better shots of the shawl itself on my own blog, but this is the thing I thought you'd find interesting---if only because *I* did. :-)

Remember that when I drafted the roving, I decided that I should break it up into color chunks if I wanted to preserve any of the color. It made sense to create strips which were predominately red, predominately yellow, or pure green. In other words, when I stripped the roving, I made a point of NOT getting pure yellow or pure red; there was always a bit of green in every strip. That gave me different hues of green rather than different colors, and I think that really worked out nicely. Now that I understand how it handles, I won't be afraid to do the same with other multicolor rovings where the colors run lengthwise in the fiber. I think that overall green tone kept the lace from disappearing in color shifts.

The one really critical thing I've learned by knitting this shawl is that I really do like a firmly-plied yarn, so I need to focus on getting things even during the ply. If I don't do that, then the singles separate a bit here and there. The second thing I discovered was that knitting hides a multitude of spinning sins. :-)

On other fronts, this is what was in the suitcases. (It's amazing how much fiber you can cram into a suitcase or so---even when you're packing it around a carder, books and a couple of training DVDs, four extra bobbins, a jumbo flyer and two of those bobbins, replacement parts for the wheel, and PVC for a niddy noddy.) I couldn't quite fit everything; there's superwash, dye, and raw fleece in a box making its slow way across the Atlantic. Do you reckon that this will keep me busy for a bit? ;-)


Wanda, the shaft to the new spindle was safely tucked in a PVC pipe---complete with caps---and put in my backpack. Airport security didn't even blink. :-) And have I told you yet that it's beautiful? Or that even my non-spinning family that it was a truly cool gizmo? :-)

And on a last note . . . . WOW! You guys have been busy over the past month! I'm soooo impressed!

Spinning around Scotland

Well after one of the best holiday's we have ever had touring around Scotland, we are home over a week now and its back to reality . Oh how I love Scotland and the Isles , every time we go its different. We spent most of the time on Skye and Mull this time and the weather was good with only one morning of rain; unbelievable as the rest of the country were having floods.. My wheel came along and I knitted socks whilst we were travelling and spun in the evenings. I had dyed some BFL roving's I bought when I first had my wheel to take along with me rather than fleece.

I am in a purpley phase at the moment , maybe its my age !! Do you know that poem about when you get old? LOL No I think in reality its all the purple heather on the hills at the moment that has inspired me with this colour. Do others of you choose colours that are around you at different times of the year ?

I ended up with over 1,000 yds of DK weight and it is destined to become a more heavy weight stole . I have to say that its not as even as I would wish. I was distracted a few times as I spun outside the van in the evenings either by the scenery or folks who were fascinated by seeing someone spin.There was heather on the hills in Scotland also so this is now my souvenir yarn which will bring back sweet memories of our time there.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

100th Post Drawing

To celebrate the 100th posting, and over 5000 visitors to The Weekend Whirls since beginning in April, we will have a drawing.

Make that two drawings. :-)

In the mix for the two drawings:

You will have your choice of a 1.9 oz Carob spindle (pictured) or a 2.1 Purpleheart spindleWe have to do something with all that yarn we spin so Ed's offering a set of Bolivian Rosewood circs. Your choice of which size and length. We've had buyers describe these as the Royce Rolls of knitting needles!
The picture doesn't do justice to the sharp tips Ed puts on these babies.To have your name entered you need to be a Weekend Whirl member and to comment on this post by July 18th.

Answer these questions:
1. When did you begin spinning?
2. What is your favorite fiber to spin at this time?
3. Spindle or needles?

Drawings will be on July 19th.
Best of luck to all of you!

We are dealing with major internet connection issues and my online time is very limited right now. More than likely I will not be able respond directly to comments. ~ Wanda (Fiberjoy)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Spinning Maniac

I just can't get enough of this spinning lark! What did I do with my time before I got my wheel two months ago? This is my latest project - pencil roving from Natalie . I plied 100g of colourful hand paint above with 100g semi solid lilac roving and produced this lovely subtly toned yarn. I have made about 500m which I think is enough for a small shoulder shawl which should show off the subtlety of the yarn. Believe it or not, the yardage of both singles was almost identical - I'm sure it has to have been more luck than judgement!
It has been a complete revelation to me that spinning has opened up so many possibilities for playing with colour. It is certainly a dimension of the craft that I am keen to explore further.

Monday, July 9, 2007

100th post!!!

You have been a great group of posters. It's fun to see what others are spinning and to learn as people post their knowledge and experiences.

This is the 100th post. Does this call for a spindle drawing? :-)

Ed recently purchased a Louet Victoria S95, the small traveling one. I've been having fun learning to use it. (I really like it!) I have spun two ounces of corriedale pencil roving on it. The first ounce spun into such a nice thin lace weight I decided this was the perfect opportunity to try chain plying. To make a three ply yarn for socks.

Unfortunately this weekend I took the second ounce with me to a weekend demo at the nearby Silver Creek Falls Park. I didn't get much uninterrupted spinning done on the wheel. Lots of people continually streaming into the log cabin where the demos were held. I had a blast teaching dozens of people how to use a turkish spindle. By the sixth person I had a system down that allowed me to totally focus on one person at a time. We started with one yard length of corriedale roving which I had them thin then showed them how fibers and twist interact then the mechanics of spinnng. They spun the length into a single then the person grasped the center of the single while I took the free end and doubled it back to the slip knot with which I'd anchored the roving to the spindle (it's much quicker, and more efficient than using a piece of yarn). I had them spin the spindle counterclockwise and viola a piece of yarn long enough to wrap around the wrist. Happy spinners one and all. :-)

Back to the green roving. I didn't spin the second ounce at all even like the first due to a number of factors mostly having to do with lack of concentration. I was the only spinner there and when I briefly left to grab some lunch provided for the volunteers I just left everything as it was since there were other demonstrators baking dutch oven biscuits, weaving baskets, tin punching, and butter churning. When I returned after Sunday's lunch it was immediately clear that someone had tried spinning with the wheel and a couple of the spindles. I was not very happy but tried to rectify the spun bits.I chain plyed the singles last evening. It took awhile to figure out how to do it but once my hands and fingers picked up the rhythm it wasn't hard, except some areas are way over twisted. Since the second ounce was much thicker I should have used a centerpull, then wound onto a felt ball then double plyed the yarn. It would have been much more uniform. From high hopes of having enough yarn for a pair of anklets to discouragement as it measured only 117yds and is just not consistent enough for socks.

This spool was the first spun ounce. I so wish I hadn't tried to continue spinning the second ounce at the cabin.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

A roving we shall go...

I started spinning this up today. It's organic 100% merino pencil roving.
It spins beautifully, very soft and easy to use.
I'm spinning it worsted and mixing with a couple of solids as well.
The comments about the Louet Victoria were interesting. I'm a Kiwi user at the moment, but I have a hankering after an S45... I'm seduced by its looks.
Has anyone got one? I'm not a hugely experienced spinner, but I just have the urge to buy a wheel that is a bit less basic. I got the Kiwi when I first started and largely chose it on the basis that if I didn't spin very often then it was the perfect wheel, easy to use, undemanding and inexpensive.
It's hard to get the range of wheels you have in the USA here in the UK, so we are limited to Ashford, Majacraft and Louet really. I'm not a "twiddly-bit" person, I like simple shapes, so the louet appeals. Even the Majacraft wheels are a bit twee for my taste, and since it would live in my open plan "space" it needs to look good. I don't plan to take it anywhere so the foldability thing isn't that important, I can take the Kiwi to my Guild... or just use a spindle.
I am in awe of people like Margaret who can describe the number of twists per inch... maybe one day!

Friday, July 6, 2007

First BFL donut done

I bought this BFL (Blue Faced Leicester) from Amy from Spunky Eclectic along with many others- called Triple Play batts. Each is made up of 3 colors and weighs less than 2 oz. This one was orange, bright raspberry pink and whitish pink. I had contemplated separating out the colors, but wanted to see what would happen if I divided it into 4 slivers and spun them end to end- 2 per bobbin. This is what I got. 170 yards of delicious sherbety barberpoled 2 ply yarn spun on an Ashford Traditional Wheel using a non-tensioned lazy kate.