Spindles, Storage, Thread Bowls, and Bullet Journals

This is actually going to be a busy entry I think.  Let’s start from the top!

I believe I told you that my ladies from my Wooly Wednesday classes were lovely and gave me a $100 gift certificate to Woolery.com.  If not, well they did in August of 2017.  I decided to use that certificate to buy up a bunch of different kinds of spindles, supported and drop.  I know, if you don’t spin you’re probably wondering: “How many different kind of spindles are there?”  Suffice it to say, there are a lot.  Right now I have a Navajo Spindle, got on sale from Dharma Trading, Portuguese from Mielke Fiber Arts, Russian, Mayan, and Medieval from Woolery, and a Tibetan Pu Yok from Hipstrings.  I already owned a Tahkli (Made popular by Ghandi for cotton spinning) as well as top and bottom whorl spindles from when I was beginning to spin.  Shockingly this 9 spindle collection is barely scratching the surface, especially since I forgot my Mayan Spinner!  Okay so right now I have 10 spindles that I own personally and haven’t even really started collecting, lol.  Since I Hope to travel with my spindles, I need to find a way to safely transport them.  They are, unfortunately, not cheap.  Fortunately there is something called “Pick Pluck Foam” that can be used to customize a storage solution.

Given this I purchased a Pick Pluck Foam sheet and managed to store all of my expensive, new spindles, except for the Navajo Spindle.  Since that is over 3 feet tall, I think I will just have to carry it.  This did bring up another concern.  If I just transport the Pick Pluck Foam (with bottom) in my bag there is every chance that it will bend and distort thereby putting my spindles in peril.  This will not stand!  So I wound up purchasing a case, that comes with its own pick pluck foam (can you tell I really like that name?).  The case is hard sided, much like a toolbox, and will be a perfect solution in addition to possibly being a good way to transport my other three spindles.  If you are wondering what the foam and cases are usually used for, then the answer is those table top figurines that people use for gaming, guns, cameras, and essentially anything you want to transport without getting it broken.  There is one other item I hope to put into my new case, and that is a bowl for spinning.

Now hipstrings sells some really pretty bowls, and $12 is not a bad price for them.  (Don’t worry, since hipstrings has a new blend called Space Unicorn, they’re getting more of my money anyway). However I believe I mentioned in another post that I am very cheap.  Well really I’m a bargain hound.  I hoped to find a bowl for a dollar or two (at least under $5) at my local craft store (it’s a chain not a Local Yarn Store or I would mention a name).  However instead of finding a bowl I found a “Make your own Thread Bowl” kit.  Well, who am I to pass up on that?  No one, that’s who! I love it.  I am not fond of the fact that the glue was dried out and separated, but that is okay.  They advised that you take cotton fabric to reduce some of the sticky-ness of their double stick tape form that you lay on the bowl first.  That didn’t work for me, so the small bowl form is still really sticky on the form (I peeled a bowl off which is how I know that).  For the second attempt I wound up putting down a fine layer of Trilobal Nylon cut apart, it’s really fine and sparkly so I hope it looks good when I peel the bowl off.  Fortunately my mother is a crafter and has always encouraged creativity so we have glue all over the house.  I found some Sparkly Glue and my first bowl is looking really neat.  A thin layer of the watery stuff out of the kit, then a layer of sparkly glue, then a layer of clear gel glue, then a layer of Aileen’s Tacky Glue, over the course of two days.  I didn’t really let the last layer dry enough before I peeled the bowl off.  Some of the threads stuck to the tape and had to be tapped back in place.  The entire construction is a bit flimsy feeling to me, so I am in the process of reinforcing the inside with more glue.  Starting with, surprise, a sparkly glue layer.  My second attempt, the largest bowl mould, has a thick layer of Aileen’s Tacky Glue as its first layer and I hope that this will add a lot more structure to the overall result.  If I can manage these, not only will I put up a picture, but I hope to teach it along with Spindle Construction at the end of my spinning series.

Speaking of teaching, I warned you this would be a long one, I am currently working on learning how to Bullet Journal.  I hope that I can learn enough to teach it as a class for my local library.  My journal really started with this article from Interweave,  as well as a colleague at the Community College I work at.  She has a really neat notebook that is bound with discs.  There are a few different versions from Levenger, a little out of my pocketbook, to Martha Stewart, to Arc from Staples.  I wound up with Arc from staples and I bought the punch that goes with the set.  It seems a little expensive at first but in reality it will save me a lot of time and trouble in the end.  I have spent these past couple of months working on my organization and trying to keep my every day information close at hand.  This was partially inspired since Apple screwed up their calendar and I cannot see what appointments I have at a glance, and partially out of a desire to keep track of how much I do in a day. I have only started the bullet journal part a week ago but I have already found the value in having pages for thoughts, desires, and wish lists.

Thus ends my really long post. Happy Crafting!

Weaving Tools


This is a brief article to promote the free pdf guide to weaving tools.  I thought that the article, though I really recommend the PDF as well, was thought provoking.

The author, Interweave Editorial Staff, I guess they know who wrote it, begins with an interaction they had with a very enthusiastic “Earth-Mother” Type.  *I like to think of them as the Simplicities.*  Those that eschew any tools that are above the bare bones basic.  Those that say “I didn’t buy a Niddy Noddy, I just use my foot.” Or “I’ll never buy a wheel, why waste the money when I can just spin with a stick.”  Or, “There isn’t any need to buy a big loom, I can do anything I need with Backstrap Weaving!”  (Okay, the last is an exaggeration but you get the idea.) *

So the author is being lectured about how tools can be very simple and don’t have to be complicated, then they ask the killer question.  Why?  Why would you want to stick with the simple tools when there are more sophisticated tools out there?  *Not that we should all go out and buy a Golding Loom, though that would be pretty neat.* If there are tools out there that help you be a better crafter, and let you get the results you need, then take advantage of them.

*If you have foot, ankle, knee, joint issues, and want to spin then either a drop spindle or an electric wheel might be better for you.  If you have rotary cuff problems then you probably don’t want to mess with a drop or supported spindle too much but a nice wheel or electric wheel might do the trick.  For weaving, if you have knee, etc. problems then a floor loom with treadles that you have to push down might not be the thing for you, a table loom where you can just flick a switch and the shafts respond might work.  If you have shoulder issues then a backstrap, inkle, or perhaps rigid heddle loom might do you more good than a table or floor loom.  (I”m not an expert, this is just some advice, for more information contact a guild, health professional, or support group.)

If you just HAVE to try everything in existence out, (and  can afford it) then go for it.  Honestly you don’t know if something works for you unless you try it out.*

This synopsis is almost longer than the article.  But, in conclusion, don’t let anyone shame you.  There is NO Cheating in crafting.  Even if you haven’t shorn the sheep, washed, processed, and dyed the wool, then spun it, finished it, wove it, cut the cloth, and sewn the shirt, your project is still handmade no matter which step you started your process on and no matter what tools you had to utilize.

Happy Crafting!

Slow Start, Working on It

I want to start by mentioning a really neat article I read about keeping your handspinning resolutions: by Interweave Press.  I can tell you right now, I have already invested in a new spinning too, a Portuguese Spindle I obtained from Mielkes Fiber Arts and I absolutely LOVE IT! However I told myself that since I got the hang of it a bit I would just leave it alone rather than spin all of that lovely merino silk on it so that I had a pre-made piece to show my students….but now that I am thinking about it…that’s downright stupid!

The more I practice with it the better I will get.  The more likely I will remember what I am doing with it.  Frankly I’m not doing much with my yarn right now anyway so if the skein winds up really little, who cares?  I’m going to master the Portuguese Spindle, which is a modified support spindle since you are supposed to have it in your hand the entire time, before I start teaching my classes in April.  I am also going to buy several other types of spindles and do my best with them in the next couple of months, including but not limited to a Russian Spindle, Navajo Spindle, and Tibetan Spindle (all three of these are support spindles).  I hope to get another Turkish Spindle and a Delegan (Scottish Style Drop Spindle) so that I have a very wide variety of spindles to show my students.

My next work project is to start typing out mini-lectures on different aspects of spinning for my classes.  I would like them to go away with not only a basic knowledge of How to spin but a basic appreciation Of Spinning, as a craft, history, way of life, building block that civilization was created from.

The mini-lectures are on the following topics:  History of yarn, types of wool, trusting your twist, exploring fiber preps, prepping your fiber, plying your singles and why, And Finally Creating your own spindle and whorl.

For the History of Yarn I plan on emphasizing how important yarn and spinning really is, every culture around the world does some form of spinning, and many have modified their own version of appropriate tools to do so.  Spinning can require amazing tools or just fiber and your leg.  It really is as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.  I will give a wide variety of demonstrations as we go through the lecture, at the end all of my students will be using a top whorl drop spindle to learn how to create yarn.

You get the idea, there really is a lot to spinning and I am very excited to begin to share this amazing craft with my students.  My group from last year seemed to be very excited, and I am using the gift certificate they provided me with to buy three of my spindles for this year!  As for creative things I have done, well I used a tissue box and some printed paper to make a donation box at the suggestion of my library board.

Happy Crafting!

Have a Very Crafty New Year

Right now my New Year looks to be full of crafts.

Almost every week I will be teaching a craft class at my public library.  They will cover a wide variety of topics from spinning yarn, weaving, making bath bombs, and much more.  I am really looking forward to these Monday’s.

In addition to this, my mother has decided that I need to needle felt a nativity for next year.  I’ve tried to explain that I’ll have to do one animal a month or some similar method to that, she is adamant so assembling the fibers for this project is next.

This year, my crafting goals are a little different.  I hope to work on assembling a collection of types of spindles from around the world.  This should be a ton of fun, and I am really looking forward to discovering how to use all of these different spindles.  In addition to my spindle and spinning exploration (and my new felting projects) I hope to advance my weaving skills in the new year.  With the Nativity I am now going to felt, I was thinking about seeing if it is viable to weave the camel coverings in bright and beautiful colors.  I do not intend for this to be anything too fancy, but I do plan on making several variations and enjoying the process.

The first step in my new year of crafting, in addition to buying the wool I need, is to cut off all of my old warps (since I wasn’t weaving them anyway) and starting fresh in the new year!

Happy Crafting All!

My Crafting Summer

This summer was a ton of fun, I really enjoy reflecting on it.  The classes I taught caused the months to fly by, I cannot believe it is over.  I did manage to get a bit of my own crafting done, though not that much really.

I managed to weave my first two towels, and hem them.  They turned out a bit smaller than I had hoped, but I have learned a lot for the next set I weave.  I wove my first basket in over a decade, when I was working at my first public library they offered a basket weaving class and I became addicted.  They are so much fun and the structures are amazing.

The Buffalo Weavers Guild sold off a few of their items, I managed to score a triangle loom and a 4 shaft table loom for well less than the triangle loom would have cost normally.  I don’t have the table loom pictured, but it really is neat.  I picked up a stainless steel reed for it and cannot wait to try it out.  You can see my first project up on the triangle loom, it turned out really ‘sleezy’ the yarn was too thin for the distance between the nails.  I know better for my next try.

Last, but not least, are a pair of Dodec Wheels I purchased from their creator online.  They are an adorable pair of wheels that I am trying to not despise with every fiber of my being.  I do realize that I just need to take my time, get to know them, and I will probably come to love them too.  It is just so hard when I have Lady, my Schacht Ladybug, sitting there waiting for me to spin beautiful yarn in any thickness I want so very quickly.  Patience is a virtue that I need to learn when it comes to my crafting.

Speaking of which, I loved my WooleeWinder at first, then things started going ‘rattle, clank, clack’ and now I’m about ready to tear my hair out.  Instead of this I am going to send it back to the manufacturer and see if he can fix it up.  ‘Fingers Crossed’.

That is my summer in a nutshell.  Fall Crafting, Here I Come!

Happy Crafting!

Summer is Ending

I cannot, for the life of me, believe that summer is OVER!  It seems like summer just began and here I am looking at my last Wooly Wednesday Class Tomorrow!  We are starting up “Fall Crafting” next Monday during the afternoon but this still seems like the end of an era.

Wooly Wednesday’s could not have gone better if I had tried.  I do have some plans for how to modify these classes for the spring and summer in 2018 so that they are more comprehensive, don’t rush my students as much, and cover more students and class time for the same amount of supplies (my boss will like that one).





This summer of Crafting ROCKED, so did my Wooly Wednesday Ladies. I hope to see you this fall, I miss you already!

Happy Crafting

Making Notebooks with Their Felt

All of the notebooks look so Great!  My students used their wet felted wool to create these amazing notebooks.  Since there were a few issues with thin spots on their felt and a desire to add decoration I introduced some needle felting techniques to the process so that they were able to create the notebooks of their dreams!

Since our spinning class is coming up in a few weeks I decided to look into the plans available for the inexpensive ‘DODEC’ wheel.  They look very easy to use if you are, or know, a woodworker.  However, the gentleman that created the plans also sells the wheels already made.  At $178 for his 2 wheels and 4 spindles you might think that expensive.  Consider this however, an Ashford Kiwi (single drive, bobbin/flyer wheel) starts at $450.  Given this information I have ordered his complete package to be sent to the Library.  These are similar to the old fashioned ‘great wheels’ insofar as they use a spindle instead of a bobbin and flyer to add the twist into the fiber and to store the fiber.  Honestly, for me, they are a beautiful step in between the drop spindle and a wheel, they allow the mechanics of a bobbin flyer wheel to be introduced gradually to the students instead of going from a drop spindle to this complicated looking wheel.

I do hope that they are simple to use, or at least that I can get the hang of them quickly.  I will let you know when they arrive and I stain/assemble them!  The link below is to the store, from there you can purchase a wheel or access the plans.


Happy Crafting!