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

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Spinning, Supported Style

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Click for full size

There are many sources of inspiration at SOAR. One of them is the Spinners’ Gallery.

This pair of shawls were spun and knitted by Denise Bartels. These beauties were spun on supported spindles and plied on the spinning wheel. The spinning, the knitting, and the blocking were absolutely perfect.

They inspired me to pull out my supported spindle collection and spin on them again.  I have never been able to spin more than a few yards here an there (other than cotton on tahklis). I’m not sure why. It just seemed such a slow way to make yarn. But then, 2 years to spin and ply 2 oz of silk isn’t exactly blazingly fast either.

It also has never occurred to me to spin wool on supported spindles either. I don’t know why but I only associate short fibers with supported spinning.

Once I returned home, I pulled out my supported spindle collection. I only have 3 in my collection so I took them out for a test drive. One of them has some cashmere that I started at SOAR in 2012. I didn’t get very far with them. I spun a bit, and it was a bit of a slog.

I pulled out another spindle and a small bit of merino/silk that was leftover from another project. This went much better, especially once I pre-drafted the heck out of it before spinning over the fold. But the spindle shaft was too fat at the tip. I will need to sand it down.


Spun Singles!

Then I went to the 3rd supported spindle I have. It is one of a pair that I purchased years ago at another SOAR. One is maple (cashmere project) and one is walnut. Both gorgeous, but heavy. Really heavy.

Feeling a bit like Goldilocks, I looked around and found the stone bead supported spindle I made years ago and a bit of sample fluff from Corgi Hill Farm, I sat down to spin.

I think I’m finally getting it! It will be a while before I gain proficiency, but it’s definitely looking like lace weight yarn!

Will this take over as my preferred spinning method? No. I doubt it, but it is nice to have this successfully in my spinning repertoire.

On The Go Spinning Kit

This post falls under “Things you learn at SOAR, but not during class”.


John pulled one of these out one night while we were yakking and spinning. What is it? It looks like a giant suppository, doesn’t it.

It’s an extension cord safety seal for outdoor extension cords. It keeps the cords from pulling apart and protects the junction from the elements..


But, as you can see, it’s also the perfect size to hold a Golding Micro 2″ RingSpindle along with some silk.


And here it is with my Golding Napalese Manadala spindle.

You know what I like best about it? It keeps the hook end of the business away from my silk supply and messing it up!

Creativity Happens

Felted Beads Bracelet

Felted Beads Bracelet

So much of SOAR happens outside of the official activities. So much is shared over a cup of coffee, tea, glass of wine or meal.

Above bracelet is an example. As we were enjoying our cup of tea after lunch, I noticed the bracelet on Loyce’s wrist. Next thing I knew, we had an impromptu mini session scheduled for that evening. Someone ran out to buy some paper clips. (Yes! Paper clips!) We reconvened with little bits of fluff we had around, some soap and warm water. That’s it. With some instruction from Loyce, we were chatting, chaining paper clips, and rubbing wool in soapy water.

More ideas came out of this bracelet tutorial — fat round beads, smaller/bigger paper clips, use of findings for closures, necklaces, earrings. Quick and easy stocking stuffers! Finally, a use for all those scrappy fits of fiber waste from spinning.

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