Winter 2022

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
4 Issues

in this issue

1 min
editor’s letter

Blends—from the familiar Merino/silk top to the small-batch roving with 10 ingredients—are one of the many things that seem to come and go in popularity. Two decades ago, I started traveling outside of my local area to visit fiber festivals and was amazed at how the offerings varied. In one part of the country, there might be dozens of rovings available that included soy silk, SeaCell, Ingeo, silk noil, Firestar, and more. In another region, it might mostly be combed top with tussah available in dozens of colors—no SeaCell in sight. As I crisscrossed the country each year teaching workshops (until COVID, of course), I still saw some of these regional differences despite the changes in our digital connectivity. Fascinating, I tell you! In one guild, everyone might have a drumcarder…

1 min
frost yarn: batt carding masterclass (digital book + video)

Nicole Frost Nicole Frost’s multimedia approach in this virtual offering combines video instruction with a digital book download filled with samples that are sure to inspire. The video portion covers various techniques including striped, ombré, double-carded, variegated, marled, tweed, and fleece batts. The course is geared toward students with some familiarity with the drumcarder, skipping the basics and going directly into the blending process. Frost shows how she preps fiber prior to carding for each technique, and care is taken to give students natural pause points to prepare their own fibers before resuming video instruction on the carding process. Frost is well known for her use of bright, bold colors for her business, Frost Yarn, so it’s no surprise that her class samples make use of her signature neon rainbow palette. The…

1 min
women’s work: the first 20,000 years; women, cloth, and society in early times

Elizabeth Wayland Barber This textile history classic is well worth revisiting in the context of living through (and spinning through) a pandemic. Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years traces the development of ancient textiles back to the invention of string twenty to thirty thousand years ago. As professor emerita of archaeology and linguistics at Occidental College, Dr. Elizabeth Wayland Barber pulls from wide-ranging sources, including ancient Greek poetry, Indo-European linguistics, prehistoric art, and archaeology, for her research. A maker herself, Barber’s approach to history places real value on the knowledge that comes with practicing a craft, mining her sources for milestones in human civilization and women’s key role in it—told through the story of spinning and weaving textiles. Alone in a house with a three-year-old with the world shut down over the…

1 min
pamper yourself

Textile company yarn&whiskey offers handmade project bags and pouches in a variety of bright, bold African-print fabrics. Available in five sizes, the elegant Pop Up Pouch folds flat when empty and expands to hold all your supplies. A full-length metal zipper allows access to everything inside. The Boomerang colorway shown here is a size small. yarnandwhiskey.com Organize your stash with Stash Markers from TheFiberSprite. These customizable laser-cut wooden labels rest on your shelves with wooden bases to keep them upright. Order a pack of 5 or 10 and customize the text on your markers. The text can be any terms you use to organize your fiber stash. Markers are sanded and finished with linseed oil; however, you can request unfinished markers to customize them even more. thefibersprite.etsy.com The Spinning Wheel Charm from…

6 min
navajo-churro sheep and shepherds meet the rainbow fiber co-op

On a crisp July morning a few weeks ago, I sat amongst the red rocks in my backyard, watching the sun rise and the sheep graze as smoke from a local wildfire began to settle in the valley. I listened to the soft mutters that the sheep made as they ate, and my eyes began to swell with tears as I reflected on the tough year that we had in 2020. COVID-19 swept the globe and at one point the Navajo Nation led in cases per capita in the US—many Diné lost their lives and many Diné flocks lost their shepherds. The smoke, now thick in the air, was a stark reminder that the Southwest is still in a devastating drought. A curious lamb comes my way, she sniffs my face…

2 min
rare-breed tweed

Editor’s Note: Holly wrote a wonderful article for Spin Off Fall 2021 about processing fleeces from her Hog Island sheep. She mentions in the article that she saves these precious nepps to create what she calls rare-breed tweed. We asked her to tell us more about it! Working with heritage-breed fleece, especially whole fleeces, means you end up with lots of leftover bits. In addition to unused portions from the neck or britch areas, Hog Island wool often contains nepps. They’re created during processing when the natural wool break occurs. I pull out and save them for rare-breed tweed. When I have accumulated a few handfuls of nepps, I add them to an acid-dye bath. I like to have at least three different colors of nepps before I begin blending, but subtle…