Friday, June 3, 2011


I’m getting ready to teach five days of workshops at the Midwest Weavers Conference, “Northern Wefts”, in Hancock, Michigan.
And my dreams are filling with the preparations. I am especially looking forward to my pre-conference workshop, “The Spin-Knit Nexus”. I see this workshop as central to my spinning and knitting approach: I often explore the point where spinning and knitting come together by spinning a series of yarns that are different but compatible and that can then be knitted into one unified project.

One of my first attempts to create such a nexus project was my “Before and After” jacket. Many years ago, when I was a “young” spinner, I wondered why some spinners preferred to dye the fiber and then spin it, and some spinners preferred to spin the fiber and then dye it.

I decided to try both approaches and put them into one project.

I got myself three or so pounds of Bluefaced Leicester wool combed top. I spun up about half of it into a heavy worsted weight yarn. Now, I’m not a dyer, so I commissioned Nancy Finn of “Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks”
to dye the yarn I had spun plus the rest of the combed top. I wanted her to dye both the yarn and the top in the same colorway. I suggested spice colors (you know….cayenne, cinnamon, clove, cumin). She did a magnificent job. I then went on to spin up the top she’d dyed, and then I designed and knitted a jacket that combined the yarn that was spun-and-then-dyed and the yarn that was dyed-and-then-spun. The jacket now belongs to my friend, Carol S. Here she is wearing the jacket:

For the upcoming workshop, I want to give the students a similar opportunity to play with this combination. I took some more Bluefaced Leicester wool top, and spun up half of it. Then I commissioned my friend, Elizabeth K., to dye both the yarn and the wool in the same colorway. I let her decide on the colors. I picked up the dyed wool and yarn the other day. Here’s what the workshop participants get to play with:

There are several nexus approaches that I cover in this workshop. I will write about more in the days to come.

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