Dec 17



Show Notes:

Fiber Pusher Podcast on YouTube

Fiber Pusher Podcast Group on Ravelry

Me on Facebook

Dyed in the Wool

Kethry Sock pattern on Ravelry

Turn a Square hat pattern on Ravelry

Heriome’s Everyday Sock pattern on Ravelry

Honeycomb Wrist Warmers on Ravelry

Starstruck Cat Studio

Gynx Yarns


The Aran Islands by J. M. (John Millington) Synge

Art of a Jewish Woman: The True Story of How a Penniless Holocaust Escapee Became an Influential Modern Art Connoisseur

Dec 15

Because I was gone all day Saturday, which is my scheduled day to record my podcast, I recorded it yesterday, edited it and got it into the upload to YouTube mode by about 9:30 last night.  It is still uploading.  Sheesh!  I need to do more research into compressing video files.  if any of you know a good program for this, please let me know.

I tried to knit for a bit yesterday, but was just not in the mood.  So, I washed the rest of that Shetland fleece from the ewe named Amy.

clean Shetland

Isn’t this beautiful?  It is so soft!  I put this link on Facebook, but if you want to learn something about Shetland wool and the traditional lace spun and knitted from it, this is a great video.

This next weekend, I’ll cook down the yellow onion skins I have been saving and, using alum as the mordant, I’ll dye this fleece and get it ready for the drum carder.  I want to blend it and diz it off into a roving for spinning.  I think it is going to be beautiful.  There are some areas of darker gray in this that you can’t see and I want to be careful at not letting it blend too much so I can get those nice gradients in the finished roving.  What do you think?

I had drawn grids several years ago with a black gutta resist on silk and decided that I was in the mood to experiment and play with color.  So I took each primary and did the tints and shades by 10% increments, then mixed the remaining tint and shade solutions in an opposing manner (10% with 90%, 20% with 80% and so on), then I mixed that primary with the two others in 10% increments.

So, Yellow:

yellow grid


blue grid

And Magenta:

red grid

Man!  Yellow is only yellow unless something else is added.  Even 10% of something else like black, cyan or magenta and it is no longer yellow.  Blue can still seem blueish until you get further along in the other primary additions, but Magenta!  Magenta is magenta down to the last on the yellow or blue additions.  I know the red dyes are the strongest and have a tendency to take over the other dues, but this just proves how much that really is so.

rainbow grid

The last I did (there were 4 grids on one long piece of silk) was started at yellow, went through cyan, went on to magenta, then back to yellow.  Then I did two triads (primary and secondary) and then complimentaries.  The extra areas with the dots were me playing around with wet dye on wet fabric (the rest were wet on dry) using one drop of some of the dyes to see how far it would flow.  There were two white square left over, so I just left them.  A very interesting experiment and just the tip of the iceberg on this color study business.  I have several other grids all prepped and ready to see where I can take this and see what I can learn.

I hope all of you had a great weekend!

Dec 10

These tote bags are huge!!!

Perfect to hold a sweater, throw or to take shopping with you.  And think about that knitter or crocheter in your life.  They’d love this as a gift!  (And that person just might be you!!)


Dec 9

I have finished two pairs of socks in this last week (one last night), so here they are.

amathyst socks

This pair I knit for a co-worker, and she said she had to hide them from her teenaged daughter when she took them home.  It looks like the teenaged daughter now needs a pair so her mom’s socks are safe.  These I knit in about two weeks.  They are from some Deborah Norville Serenity Sock Yarn in the Amethyst colorway that I bought several years ago.  There is still 37 grams of this yarn remaining and I am giving it away in the Fiber Pusher Podcast Ravelry group, but you must be a member to be eligible, so go there, sign up for the group, then say what you would make with the 37 grams in order to have a chance to win it.


And this is the Kethry socks by Spilly Jane that I knitted for me.  I started them back in September, believe it or not.  Did I ever mention that I am not fond of knitting lace?  And this was a pretty easy knit, really, with great charts and clear instructions.


Speaking of lace, here is a close-up of the leg of the socks.  The yarn is 80% Merino/20% Bamboo hand-dyed by A Good Yarn by Maryann.  There is no colorway number, unfortunately.

Tell your friends about the Fiber Pusher Podcast.  I am trying to get my 1st 100 members if the Ravelry group so I can do a special give-away.  And if you haven’t watched the podcasts, yet, then, please, do so and let me know what you think.  I need all the feedback I can get so I can make them better and more informative for you guys.  Also, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.  You might give me ideas for future episodes.

Dec 7


Show Notes:

The Fiber Pusher Podcast on Ravelry

The Fiber Pusher Podcast on YouTube

Kethry Socks by Spilly Jane

Turn A Square Hat by Jarod Flood

Dancing Geek Podcast

Knitworthy Podcast

Confessions of a Turtle Wife by Anita Salzberg

Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl by Carol Bodensteiner

Starstruck Cat Studio

Dyed in the Wool

Madder Gradation Dye Experiment

Dec 3

Last night at the intermediate spinning class I teach, a new-to-me student, Kate, came.  Now, Kate has been spinning for about 12 years, but she has been only spinning long-draw.  She was ready to learn some new techniques to take her spinning projects in other directions.

When I arrived, she was plying some singles so she could clean off some bobbins for the class.  I watched her ply and knew what I wanted to do with her that evening.

We discussed spinning top, and she said she had tried it many years before, but she hated it because it didn’t work with how she spins.  I took out some lovely (we think Coopworth) top I had picked up at Ohio Valley Natural Fibers last week, sat at her wheel and showed her how to spin across the top of the fiber and how to keep the twist in front of the front hand, not allowing any of the twist to run up into the rest of the fiber.  This keeps the combed fiber nice and straight and smooth with a little air as possible.

She took over, and after a few minutes, she got it – as long as she concentrated.  ;)

Within about an hour, she spun up a very nice, smooth and consistent single.


After that, I showed her how to take that lovely single and ply it into a consistent, smooth, 2-ply by counting treadle strokes as she plied.  She loved it!  She said she had never spun such a smooth yarn before.  And it was about as perfect as one could get, believe me.  It was beautiful yarn!!!

After that, I asked her about spinning suri top.  Again, she had tried spinning suri many years before, but couldn’t get it to work.  Using the same technique she just learned, I handed her some suri I had with me and she gave it a try.  And she was amazed at how easy it was to spin a worsted single.  I sent about an ounce home with her to finish practicing.

Next month, she is coming to the advanced class and will be bringing two 2-ply yarns on bobbins to learn cable plying as well as a bobbin-full of a colorful combed top of Merino, silk and cashmere to learn Navajo plying.  She’s already talking about what she wants to enter into the state fair this summer.

Kate owns sheep and alpacas, and I think she is now looking at them in a whole new light today. :)

Dec 1

This past Saturday, Starstruck Cat Studio had a Spin-In from 10-4.  I was there the whole day and what a great, fun day it was!

Soon after getting there and set up, a new, beginner student brought in a wheel she bought from a yard sale along with several other items (cards, flax, silk, etc) for $70.

Fricke wheel front

Here is the wheel from the front.

Fricke wheel side

And here it is from the side.  The wheel needs some work – for one, the wood is very dry, so I suggested getting some tung oil and giving it several coats after giving it a thorough cleaning with some Murphy’s Oil Soap.

Then the student showed me the label and I have to admit, I squealed with delight.  Why?

Frick label

This is the very first Fricke wheel I have ever seen.  I’ve heard about them, heard that they are great workhorse wheels and that they are hard to find.  I looked at their website and this wheel is old enough to not be sold any longer, but what a find!!!  I think this wheel, as-is, could be worth $400 and with some cleaning and oiling, she will have a gem of a wheel to last her for many happy years of spinning.  Even as-is, the treadling was so smooth and easy.  One of her daughters (who looked to be about 10 or 11) was already telling her that she wanted the wheel when her mom died ( we all laughed at that).  Oh, yes, I will be teaching her two daughters to spin starting on drop spindles as well.  Woohoo!!!!!!!!!

One of my advanced students, Pat, brought in her finished yarn and the beginning of the shawl is it to become.

Pat's shawl begins

Isn’t that lovely?  It’s so soft and skooshy, too.  I just love the color.  This third is Navajo plied and the other two cakes are 3-plied.

3 wheels all in a row

Pat let Heather try out her Matchless wheel, and Heather really liked the double treadle.  The Ashford in the foreground is Heather’s wheel.  Also, I have the feeling a Woolee Winder is in Heather’s future.

BFL Butterscotch Long Draw

Heather won this BLF batt in our Butterscotch colorway from YARNO this past summer, and she is spinning it long-draw for a hat.  I think it is beautiful!

hand knit socks

And Pat, Heather and I decided to get a shot of our hand-knit socks before the end of the day.  Pat’s are on the left, mine are at the bottom and Heather’s mis-matched ones are at the top.  Heather had been teaching a knit-two-at-once class and had the socks in different colors to make the class easier to understand.  So…  :)

I came so close to spinning the rest of the Raspberry Ice 80% Merino/20% silk that I started over a year ago while I was there.  In fact, it only took me about half an hour once I got home to finish spinning the last bobbin of singles.  Then I started plying the two bobbins together.


When I went to bed, I had this done.

I had a slight issue with plying at first.  I could not find my lazy kate.  I still need to do some organizing on my studio, and with all of the searching I did, I decided I needed to come up with an alternative so I could get the plying done while I had the time.  So, what could I do?

Lazy Kate Alternative

Extra-long, straight knitting needles sure come in handy.  I just stacked my full bobbins, used the top hand as a break, and plied away.  And, you know, it worked very well.


This is my two-ply yarn.  I am very pleased with how it turned out.  I ended up with 9.5 ounces of this yarn, which means the 1/2 pound of fiber was actually closer to 10 ounces when I began.  There was some veg to be pulled out (but very little actually).  It spun up so easily.  I have more of this in a different color that I think will have to be spun up as soon as I finish the other two spinning projects I am in the middle of – time to clean off some bobbins!!!

I think we need to do these Spin-Ins once a month.  Susan?  ;)


Nov 27

On this, Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful for the following:

  1. I am healthy.
  2. I have a nice home, food on the table and can pay my bills.
  3. I am loved by my husband and family.
  4. I have lots of friends.
  5. I have hobbies and activities about which I am passionate.
  6. I have enough confidence in myself to try new ventures and not be afraid to learn as I go.
  7. I can rely on God for all my needs and most of my wants. He knows the wants that I do not need in my life (sheep!).
  8. I am happy. No, I mean, truly, truly happy. Not many people can say that, but I can.
  9. I can teach. I love teaching. I love my students. I love bringing joy into others’ lives.
  10. I am thankful that I can be thankful of these and many other things. I am thankful for the feeling of gratitude in my heart.
Nov 24

The second episode of The Fiber Pusher Podcast came out a lot darker than the first one.  I’ll need to see about the lighting for the next one.

Show notes:

Podcast on Ravelry – Please join the group and introduce yourself.

Kethry socks by Spilly Jane on Ravelry

Turn a Square Hat pattern by Jarrod Flood on Ravelry

Starstruck Cat Studio

Dyed in the Wool

A Good Yarn by Maryann

History of Ireland on YouTube

Call the Nurse on Amazon

Suburban Stitcher

Yarnspinners Tales

Richert Ranch

LaMar Springs Farm Shetlands email:

Nov 20

Last night was the advanced spinning class +1 at Starstruck Cat Studio.  The “+1″ part is a beginning student who can’t come to the beginning class due to a schedule conflict, but that’s just fine with us.

When I got there last night, I saw the finalized yarn-bombed spinning wheel sitting out front.


At least it will be warm this winter. :)

Pat was the first to show me what she brought with her.


This is all of the singles for her spin-to-order shawl.  Since the requirement is a three-ply yarn, her next task is to get it all plied together on her jumbo flyer.  I think it is going to make a lovely 3-ply yarn.  There is an entire pound spun up here.


Next, Pat showed me a felted bag made with her hand-spun yarns from the classes.  The bottom is superwash, so it didn’t felt, but the rest of the bag did nicely.  She’s debating on whether to make the opening into a gather for a draw-string bag, or to put a large zipper across the top.  What do you think?


Then she showed me the last of the Kool-Aid dyed yarn from the left-over Kool-aid that she took home last month.  I really like that top on!


Brenda, on the other hand, purchased this lovely pack of cotton from Cotton Clouds and it contained several types of cotton in several formats.


Spinning it was a lot different than spinning wool, or even short-stapled fibers like yak.  It’s going to take some concentration and work to get it thin and with enough twist in it.


Still, I think she’s getting it just fine.


Brenda has 12.4 ounces of her three-ply all done for her spin-to-order sweater.  Each ply of this yarn is a different protein fiber (cormo, alpaca and I forget what the other one is) so when she washed it, each ply shrank at different ratios giving her this lovely textured yarn.  She wants to dye it (maybe with indigo) before she knits it up, but she still has about a pound or so to spin up before we break out the dye pots.

After the Kool-aid dyeing experiment from last week, Brenda was elected to take the rest home (she has a blending board) and see what she could make with the dyed fibers.


She had several batts that looked like this one, and I think they are going to make a beautiful yarn.


She also had this batt.  Ooooo!!!!  Pretty!!!  I really look forward to seeing them all spun up.

The beginning student was up for an evening of learning long draw and I started her with a great Corriedale top in a grayish color.  She did very well with it and had this done by the end of class.


Seriously, this is her first attempt at long-draw spinning.  She took home enough of the Corriedale to spin up, ply and make at least one, if not two hats out of.  She and her husband are going to walk the Appalachian Trail this next year, and she wants to make some light-weight, but warm clothing to take with her.


I love the look of concentration on Heather’s face as she tries long-draw with a very fluffy Dorset roving.

I am taking the Month of December off from teaching (except for the postponed intermediate class on December 2nd) so I can get some things taken care of at home and to prep for tax season.  I am going to miss it (teaching, not tax season).

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