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Draft to the side

Spinning Woolen: The Many Names of Long Draw

I became a knitter because I was cold. I had moved to Wisconsin, and knitting was the perfect year-round activity to make wooly things to keep my family and me warm and toasty. (Please ignore the fact that most of my family lives in Oklahoma and Texas; they do not usually need warm and wooly…

Processing flax. Photo courtesy of Vävstuga Weaving School.

Learning to Spin Flax

Have you tried spinning flax? I love opening a new strick and imagining all of the textile possibilities for the long, lustrous fibers. While I have visions of weaving towels with my handspun linen yarns, for now I am spinning for narrow woven bands that incorporate both linen and woolen yarns. They are so much…

Spinzilla-logo-CROP

How Spinning is Like Yoga

It’s almost Labor Day, and we’re getting excited for Spinzilla spinner registration to open (September 1!). Spinzilla was conceived when two spinning professionals sat together and wished for more time just to enjoy the pleasure of spinning yarn. Set aside a whole week to make yarn–whether you think of it as a competition (go Team…

Romney is British breed that thrives in a variety of environments. Photo courtesy of Ace Vandenack.

California Wool and Fiber Festival: Celebrating Romney

The mission of the California Wool and Fiber Festival (CWFF) has long been to support textile crafts and natural fiber production. The event will be held September 16‒18, 2016 and is a wonderful mix of local fiber producers, fiber artists, and craftspeople vending and demonstrating their skills. Organizers pack the event schedule each year because…

Palindrome swatches by Janel Laidman.

Reading Hand-Painted Roving and Top

Do you remember your first issue of Spin Off? Although I grew up around Interweave magazines, my mother is a tapestry weaver; I didn’t purchase my first issue until the summer of 2007. Nine years ago this month, my friends and I gathered in our friend Eileen’s living room. Sitting me in front of a…

This Wensleydale lamb, who belonged to Roy & Myrtle Dow, has a lot to say about her beautiful fleece.

Your New Favorite Natural Fiber: Longwools

This week I had a chance to dip into the lovely Spinning Longwools Kit at a weekend spinning to weave class with Sara Lamb (who wrote the book on how to Spin to Weave!). A picture doesn’t do the yarns I made justice—they look like 6 samples of creamy white wool plus one lovely charcoal,…

What's on your wheel this summer? Photo: Kate Larson.

Good Fibrations—August Fiber Festivals

    Earlier this week, I was excited to share a bit about the British Wool Show in York, England. If you are in North America this August, there are great wool festivals on the calendar for you, too. Here are just a few of this month’s many fiber festivals: Festival Twist Complexe Whissell Saint-André-Avellin,…

Using the inherent energy of singles yarns, many colors, and a variety of knit stitches as creative tools, Kathryn Alexander creates awe-inspiring artistic garments.

The Seven Days of Spinzilla

Okay, I’ll admit it. I can be a bit of a “default spinner.” I spin to relax and take pleasure in the process of making the yarn. I usually pick a lovely braid or bump from my stash and spin a standard 2-ply yarn. It is satisfying, but I am in a bit of a…

Draft the same distance to be consistent.

Spinning Consistent Singles Yarns

Before I became a spinner, singles yarns were one of my favorite yarns to knit with. When I became a spinner, I tried to replicate these millspun yarns. Eventually, I co-wrote a couple of articles with Carol Huebscher Rhoades about spinning single-ply yarns and replicating millspun yarns for Spin Off. I am not alone in…

Mats woven out of Herdwick wool. Photo: June Ongibanjo.

British Wool Show 2016

Fancy a woolly weekend in beautiful Yorkshire? The British Wool Show will once again draw crowds of fiber enthusiasts to York, England, on August 5 and 6, 2016. Formerly known as the British Wool Weekend, the event seeks to “raise the profile of British wool and the many products produced by the British textile industry.”…