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Winter 2020

You’ll discover helpful techniques that are designed to help everyone, from the beginning spinner to the most advanced. Learn how to dye your own fibers, plying basics, fiber preparation and combining colored fibers to make novelty yarns. Plus great patterns to show off your handspun yarns.

United States
Long Thread Media LLC
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4 Issues

In this issue

1 min.
editor’s letter

When I began developing this issue of Spin Off more than a year ago, I never anticipated all the changes that would take place before I would see it on printed pages. Little did I know that the Into the Wild issue would be brought forth as Spin Off broke new ground and blazed new trails. On August 1, Spin Off, Handwoven, and PieceWork magazines settled into their new home at Long Thread Media. I’m eager and excited to see what the future holds for these publications and the community of makers they support! The heady question that flows through this annual natural fiber issue is, “What is wild?” In our spinner-centric world, does “wild” always mean fiber gleaned from nature? Not necessarily. What connects the work of the authors in this…

1 min.

EDITORIAL EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Anne Merrow EDITOR Kate Larson MANAGING AND ASSOCIATE EDITOR Elizabeth Prose TECHNICAL EDITORS Karen Frisa, Deanna Deeds COPY EDITOR Katie Bright PROOFREADER Nancy Arndt EDITORS EMERITAE Anne Bliss, Anne Merrow, Amy Clarke Moore, Deborah Robson EDITORIAL ADVISORS Halcyon Blake, Maggie Casey, Sophia Gfroerer, Elisabeth Hill, Sara Lamb, Amy Norris, Sarah Wroot CREATIVE SERVICES ART DIRECTOR Kit Kinseth PRODUCTION DESIGNER Mark Dobroth PHOTOGRAPHER Matt Graves VISUAL STYLIST & ILLUSTRATOR Ann Sabin Swanson long thread MEDIA FOUNDERS Linda Ligon, Anne Merrow, John Bolton MEDIA SALES Sommer Street Associates DIRECTOR OF MARKETING Haydn Strauss…

2 min.

Raising Animals for Fiber: Producing Wool from Sheep, Goats, Alpacas, and Rabbits in Your Backyard By Chris McLaughlin Many handspinners fantasize about raising their own fiber animals. If you’ve decided to take the leap from dream to reality or just want to know more about what goes into the production of your favorite spinning fiber, crack open a copy of Chris McLaughlin’s new book. McLaughlin writes for those new to fiber farming and focuses on the four main fiber-producing livestock animals most popular in the United States: sheep, goats, alpacas, and Angora rabbits. For each one, she gives tips for finding good breeders, an overview of the basic characteristics of the species, costs of housing and caring for your livestock, and a list of common vocabulary terms associated with fiber farming. McLaughlin…

2 min.
get this


3 min.
meet a resident artist at john c. campbell folk school: martha owen

The John C. Campbell Folk School opened its doors in 1925. Over the years, the school and its community of makers have grown. Fiber artist and musician Martha Owen was first a student at the Folk School and then, about 35 years ago, became one of its teachers and then a resident artist in the late 1980s. We asked Martha to tell us what it’s like working at the well-known school. Spin Off (SO): How did you become a handspinner? Martha Owen (MO): My mother gave me a spinning wheel, which she had gotten from my great-aunt Sally. I was told it was of no family significance, meaning Aunt Sally bought it somewhere. Momma brought home the wheel, set it down in front of me, and said, “There, you always did like…

2 min.
it’s the season for a mitt-along!

Even when the sun starts returning after the Winter Solstice, there are still months of frosty weather to come—mornings of scraping ice and shoveling snow, afternoons of stiff typing, nights of fumbling the housekeys with frozen fingers. Spin Off is continuing our recent tradition of a spring knitalong, this time with a mitt-along! Not just for knitting, this two-month event welcomes spinners to crochet, weave, tat, or create any kind of warm handcovering your heart desires. For chilly fingers while typing, try Jane’s Half Gloves. For maximum thermal advantage, try Thrummed Fleece-Stuffed Mittens. And if you like a challenge, how about Josefin Waltin’s twined Heartwarming Mitts? Why mittens? Besides keeping your hands warm at this time of year, they’re an achievable challenge for most spinners…but they do have a few hidden requirements,…