Spiraling Notions


Insubordiknit Spinning Workshop

Insubordiknit Spinning Workshop
Princeton, New Jersey

Please note: you may think that some of my pictures are blurry... but you’re wrong. That is just time itself trying to compensate for Jacey’s spinning awesome-ness!

I was lucky enough (to be annoying enough) to get Jacey Boggs to agree to a New Jersey Workshop here in Princeton. The workshop was this past weekend, April 21 and 22. I can’t speak for everyone, although I’m going to anyway, and say it was a blast. There was fiber and wheels flying everywhere. It was one of the coolest things I have ever gotten to do. I met amazing ladies and learned a lot. And I do mean a lot. It is only when an advanced spinner (and by advanced I mean anyone spinning for 10 minutes more than me) or expert points out that you have been doing something “wrong” for the past two years that you learn and move onto more effective spinning.

I still feel like I got away with something because I was able to obtain a room at my husbands office they use as a Conference/Community Room at no cost to the workshop. Here is a picture of it before we got our weird fibrous fingers on it.

After the workshop though, the angelina was everywhere and I do mean everywhere. It is still probably there because I could not get some of it out. (snicker, snicker - I can see some professional meeting after us and all the participants leaving with glittery butts. It brings me joy.)

Day one covered a lot & day two covered even more. We did Core spinning, Cocoons, Coils, Beehives, Super Coils, and more. Here are some photos:


Joe-Bob (who’s really Robert by the way) fixing the air conditioning because it had the misfortune of sounding like a wounded animal throughout most of the first day.

Discussions on tasty soldiers...

Spinning Ladies!

Ah, yes, and here we come to the fiber table. These are the batts & combed top that Jacey brought for the class to use while learning the techniques. See that fabulous orange batt in the lower left corner... I covet that batt.

Some of Jacey’s example yarns.

And a close up of the heavily coveted batt, sigh. When it was my turn to get one I almost hip checked someone like a grandma christmas shopping at wall-mart.


Here is my sitting post outside the door. It’s not because I was bad, I just needed to make sure everyone got back in after lunch.

Jacey talking about how the outer wraps interact with the core in core spinning.

Spinning Ladies!

Discussion on how the inner core affects the yarn you are core spinning.

This one is Jacey warping time & space or it could be that I had the camera on the wrong setting. I prefer the former because it sounds much better and physics are involved.

Evil, Evil, Sadistic Cocoon/Beehive demonstration.

Here is the “class photo” with all the ladies in the workshop.


Fiber Spree

Maybe it is because people are talking about Tour de Fleece... maybe it is just because the weather is finally good... maybe it is because I have no backbone... but I have been spinning like mad these days and went on a fiber buying spree. I got 11 different braids and I am eyeing several more. I am trying to refine my technique a bit and just practice, practice and practice.

I have recently learned I have a number of allergies to very common things and I realize that they are very commonly used in fiber blends these days. I am trying to be very careful about where the fiber is coming from and what other blends the spinners are also selling. Unfortunately I think I may need to stay away from custom batts from now on... sniff.

Milk, Soy and Corn are all the rage these days and I am hideously allergic to them. Ugh.

But I got me some wonderful wool blends and I am raring to go. I have a feeling I am going to need a stretching schedule for this one.

Drool, all of you drool....


Saturday Night

I love the Misfits. Cannot tell you why and do not have to, thhiiiibbbiiiit.

I was thinking of this yarn and decided that it was going to be a Misfits tribute - or rather psycho-billy-horror-metal - course Misfits just sounds more euphonious doesn’t it?

I had all these colors I am not too fond of. I am a rabid Sheep Shed fan. Their shipping is on crack, but everything else is pretty good. If you order the correct amount the shipping balances and it works out less that a lot of places. Anyway... I had soppers and samples and left overs from several bags of items and realized what I was looking at:

  • pink lipstick
  • apricot cottons
  • blue denim
  • cigarette smoke
  • black leather
  • blood

In short, all of the qualities that make up a psycho-billy-horror-metal girl. This was the first time I sat down and really thought about a yarn, what I wanted it to look like and how I wanted to blend the fibers to get what I wanted. Strange for me. I like controlled chaos. I imagine my yarns to be a bit like water color. You can direct the water color but not control it entirely (unless you cheat and use gouache). But this time I paid attention to all of it. It was still like water color. I could mold and not always control everything - but it was planned out and similar to what I wanted to achieve.

I decided I am going to work up the greaser/psycho-metal aspect and knit the intolerable cruelty skirt. I can envision this with the ruffle done in the saturday night yarn and even further I can see a young girl wearing it with a black leather jacket -> smoking a cigarette -> putting on pink lipstick -> waiting at the drive in... so we will see how it comes out. I am working on the gauge right now... it is making me irritated. I am two needles down from the suggested size and next is lace needles. I think I need to adjust the yarn - poop.

Although, to be honest, I do not know if I am a proficient enough spinner to veer into this area. I can spin a number of weights (worsted and woolen) and have used several fibers (even dyed my own), carded, drummed... but I only have since last march under my belt. I also do not like knitting or crochet as much as I like spinning so I am not sure what I spin in the context of its use.

I thought about taking my store down until I have more time on my clock - but I am not doing this to sell the yarn. I am spinning because I “need” to spin. I have stacks of yarn that are not used because of my knit/crochet problem. Maybe I should try weaving instead.

Best Yarn Tool Ever

This is the greatest yarn tool ever.

I have started using my kids Bilibo constantly. In fact I use it so much I had to buy another one. The bowl is fantastic for keeping yarns in place and there are two holes that are great for plying. You can use it upside down or right side up and then throw everything in it and move to another room...

I am constantly using this thing...

Ōkami Fiber Series

Totally jumping on this bandwagon... because I think it is awesome. I have been trying to come up with a good way to create color-schemes for my fibers. I decided on one of my favorite things. I am a gamer. A hard core gamer. We have almost every known console or platform, yes including Apple IIc, for gaming. But this game, Ōkami, is the most unique and beautiful game I have ever seen. It is the best game you never played... you know who you are.

The entire game is rendered in a numi-e style painting and follows Amaterasu, a Japanese Sun Goddes. She appears in the form of a white wolf and seeks out the dark forces claiming the land of Nippon, or Japan. The game play follows traditional stores and folklore in Japanese culture. But the artistry of the game is really so exceptional it lends itself to the fibers I want to create. Here are several drawings from the game:

SO! At some point soon There will be an Ōkami series. I have already created a few colorways - but I want to experiment some more before putting them up for sale.


Serenity Stitches - Tim Burton Series

I got some wicked fibers from Serenity Stitches. This is the Tim Burton series, following the recent Alice in Wonderland remake. This is, oddly enough, the ONLY Tim Burton film I have not seen. Who knew... It got bad reviews - but then again everything I love gets bad reviews.

The fiber is silk, alpaca and merino... it is, um, slippery. I have never worked with this combination before and honestly had no idea what I was getting into because I based it on color only. I thought it was about time to branch out into other fibers and be adventurous. The fiber feels luxurious to the touch and anything I make from the yarn is definitely going to be close to the skin. The colors are also amazing. They are luminous.

Image © C. Scovel

I have decided to plan this spinning out as well. I normally grab one end or split the roving and see what happens. I love what the colors choose to do. It feels a lot like using water color to be honest. You can only try and control the paint so much because the fluid of the water color chooses its own path, you need to step back and observe. Trying to force it usually ends in disaster or a new painting. A little experiment in controlled chaos. But this time, no, this time we are slowing down and trying deliberate things. I have decided not to split the roving and I am pre-drafting everything down to a sliver. I have not decided if I want a barber pole or even a singles yarn. I did decided on the severe pre-drafting to reduce the amount of color blending and over lap.

I cannot wait to see how this is going to turn out.