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Winter 2021

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.

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United States
Long Thread Media LLC
4 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
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 handspun into a sweater that is peppered with creative modifications. In fact, there are so many different ways to be creative as a handspinner that it can all feel a bit daunting at times. Adding structure to your practice—a framework as individual as yourself—can help you explore further afield. Adding structure to the creative process can make us all more creative! A great example is Brian McCarthy’s “Sixty-Four Sheep in a Blanket” article, which is featured in this issue. Brian set out to collect and spin as many breeds…

1 min.

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 second blanket (bottom left) from scratch and started with raw fleece. It measures 38 × 62 inches. I dyed the Corriedale with used tea bags. As I used the tea bags, I put them in the freezer until I had enough. Marguerite Porter Davison’s book, A Handweaver’s Pattern Book, has The Blooming Leaf pattern, which is my favorite. I repeated the Blooming Leaf with a little twill on each edge. The warp and weft of both blankets are thin two-ply yarns. I sized the warps with hairspray, finished…

2 min.

The Art of Tapestry Weaving: 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 introduces budding tapestry weavers to the basics in her latest book. Rebecca aims to provide a strong foundation in the fundamentals but also encourages new weavers to follow their own curiosity. Weaving, like any craft, has a language of its own, so Rebecca shares vital terminology in chapter one, helping new weavers pick up terms early. Along with plenty of information about weaving techniques, the book contains chapters dedicated to yarn construction and color theory. This information is especially useful for handspinners who want to spin and…

1 min.
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 hand-dyers with a special surface on which to explore color. The natural white and black fibers of Jakira Farms handpainted mixed Bluefaced Leicester braid give acid dyes added dimension. jakirafarms.etsy.com A gift of essential tools will always be appreciated! The Knitting Tool Kit from Akerworks contains everything a stitcher needs for finishing handspun knitting projects—from a darning needle to a pair of mini snips. akerworks.com Abundant Earth Fiber mills their 100% non-superwash Merino as pin-drafted roving. The fiber drafts evenly and comes in 22 semisolid colors—perfect for handspun, handknitted colorwork. abundantearthfiber.com Shawl weather calls for a modern closure. Birdie…

2 min.
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 not, even though their leaves are of a similar shape, and the backs are velvety. Lambs ears? No. Both sides are hairy, and it just doesn’t work. I’ve tried it. A Miao indigo dyer I met recently in Szechuan Province identified it as firegrass, which translates as ramie. Clearly, this is not ramie. Finally, a random internet search turned up a widely cited paper by a group of Chinese researchers showing some ceremonial garments woven of … gerbera! It’s best known here as African Daisy, that common,…

5 min.
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 there for the joy of crafting. Sätergläntan is a craft and education center in the county of Dalarna in Sweden. Students can enroll in one- to three-year programs, immersing themselves in weaving, sewing, woodworking, and forging with opportunities to specialize in a certain field. The center also offers shorter five- to seven-day workshops in a wide variety of crafts, such as basket weaving, bodice sewing, embroidery techniques, spoon carving, or rya weaving. Sätergläntan attracts students and teachers from near and far. Teaching in a Pandemic In June 2020, I…