Random thoughts of a fiber enthusiast - mostly fiber related, sometimes coherent

Month: February 2012 Page 1 of 2

Spinning Floss

During the Undercover Sketchbook class, Sarah Swett talked about how perfect her little Kuchulu was for spinning embroidery floss. Small, compact, and it forms a little center pull ball that you can wind both ends into a plying ball *. Simple. Easy to pack and carry around.

Ah-ha! Says I. I have two little Kuchulus. I can do this too! And in under 5 minutes, I spun and plied that little bit of red floss you see below.

Spinning Floss

I took some scrap watercolor paper I had sitting around for wrapping samples and cut them into little floss holders. The cards are about 1.5″ x 2″ (35 cm x 50 cm). That’s how small these little Kuchulus are.

Turkish Spindles

I had been spinning on my Turkish Delight and Kuchulus for some socks. But it’s been taking a while. I’ve been working on the above on and off for a couple of years now. It’s slow because I’ve been doing other things along the way. And I was a bit disappointment because the singles spun on the Kuchulu were much finer than those on the Delight (duh!). I kept those on the smaller quills so I will remember that they are different.

Now I know what to do with them. I’ll wind them off color by color, and then onto plying balls and turn them into embroidery floss. I’ll keep the stash of Delight spun yarn for the socks that I will eventually get too. I’m in no hurry.

And hopefully, the small quick spinning tasks will help me work through this bottonless bin of merino scraps!

Lots of Fluff!

By the way, I tried two slightly different wind on methods on the Turkish Delight and on the Kuchulus. Here’s a close up. Can you see the difference?

2 wind on methods

They are both under 1, over 2. But on the Delight in the background is the method that I had been using. Quick and efficient. The Kuchulu in the foreground is a method that I had seen floating around on the web. I call it the anal method. You wind on precisely next to the previous thread. It’s pretty on the spindle, but slow going.

I may ply the yarn on the Kuchulu exactly as it. After all, it should be fun to take my needle for a walk, with no destination in mind, using a randomly colored floss.

* Why form a plying ball from a center pull ball? It’s all about control. If you wind it off with even tension all at once, you won’t have to deal with a snarly mess as you get toward the end. You will have a nice consistent plying twist all the way through. And you know what? She’s right. It was easy peasy.


I took a class with Sarah Swett at Madrona last weekend. The class was titled “The Undercover Sketchbook.” We started out by making our own sketchbook with 5 pieces of fabric, 6.5″ x 13″, 4 linen and 1 hemp. I used some of her hand spun silk thread to do a quick and easy sewn binding (similar to this sewn binding method).

Then we were off to start our sketches. We were to sketch with our needle and thread directly into our new sketchbooks. No pencils allowed.

Want to see the results of my class exercises?

Warm up: Taking our needle for a walk.

Sketch of my scissors (a leatherman).

3 items I never leave the house without.


The last exercise was to be a portrait. I chose to do one of Sarah (note the signature glasses!). I decided that it would be perfect for the cover of my sketchbook so I added a sketchbook, Madrona and (20)12. My entire workshop “notes” all bound up and labeled!

This was a fun way to create quick “sketches.” I definitely will be adding this to my bag of tricks!

Guild Exhibit

Every year, our guild puts up an exhibit at the Redwood City Public Library. This year, our Exhibits Chair decided to show case our year long jacket project. If you are in the area, drop by the library on the corner of Main and Middlefield.

And after your visit, you can walk across the street for a margarita at Milagro’s. <grin>

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