Giddy Up Handspun

Finished my first handspun yarn of 2016! Now to figure out what to make with it. | Giddy Up Handspun -

My first handspun of 2016 is officially finished! I’m thrilled with how it turned out, but I have to admit something.  Sometimes I buy fiber because I like the look of it and want to try working with something new without much thought to what the finished yarn will look like. That’s definitely what happened when I bought the roving that became this single. Doesn’t always work out, but it did this time. 

Finished my first handspun yarn of 2016! Now to figure out what to make with it. | Giddy Up Handspun -

I loved the smooth single I saw on the bobbins and didn’t want to fuzz it up during finishing. So, the yarn got a good 20 minute soak in cool water. I snapped the yarn over my arms to even out the twist, but skipped giving the yarn a good thwack it again the shower wall - didn’t want the halo that can come from thwacking. Then I hung it up to dry. The single did plump up a little after it’s bath, but it still has a smooth surface which helped the seacell keep its luster.  

Finished my first handspun yarn of 2016! Now to figure out what to make with it. | Giddy Up Handspun -

Time for my second admission. If I saw this yarn at a shop I’d think it was pretty, but I wouldn’t buy it. Why? Simple. I’d have no idea how to make the most of it. Not going to let that stop me this time though. I’m sketching and swatching up a storm. The good thing about making all my sketches on post-it notes is that I can put them all up on the wall and see what sticks. I might not use the single for the eventual design, but I’m glad to have the challenge.

Finished my first handspun yarn of 2016! Now to figure out what to make with it. | Giddy Up Handspun -

Fiber: 4 oz Spun Right Round Blended Roving - Giddy Up

Yardage: 526 yds

Plies & Weight: Sport Weight Single

Start - Finish: January 21 - February 14, 2016


The First Handspun of 2016

The First Handspun of 2016 -

I made a lot of grand plans and overarching intentions for 2016. All of them were inspiring at first, but every one of them became overwhelming at January marched on. I couldn’t decide where to start, which step to take first, or even what project to work on. I needed to clear my head. Spinning has helped me focus in the past so I thought I’d try it again. The wheel came out of the closet and got a good dusting and a bit of oil. Next, I went rummaging through my fiber stash, and pulled out a blended roving from Spun Right Round

The First Handspun of 2016 -

I’ve never spun anything quite like those 4 oz, and they turned out to be the perfect project to kickstart the year. Instead of single chunk of dyed fiber, this roving was a combination of orange, teal, and navy merino with shiny, white seacell. The colors weren’t blended into a heather - more like they hung out next to each other. I probably could have separated the colors, but where would the fun have been in that? If anything, the roving was comparable to a batt with big chunks of solid color.

The First Handspun of 2016 -

I split the fiber in half at the mid-point, and started spinning without an end goal in mind. I just wanted to spin and let the fiber call the shots. The first few yards that went on the bobbin made it pretty clear that would be no plying. I was drafting back and forth like a typewriter which mixed the colors together two and three at a time. White twisted up with orange. Teal pulled in navy and seacell. Plying the single would only muddy the colors and hide the distinct combinations. The single was interesting enough by itself. Plus, those first few yards were thick and thin. The single did get more consistent as I went along but I let the thick and thin happen without fussing over the differences.

The First Handspun of 2016 -

I wish I could say that I used the process of spinning as some sort of daily meditation. I did no such thing. I throughly enjoyed spinning it for 30 minutes before stepping away from the wheel for weeks. It wasn’t until I read the Singles issue of Ply cover to cover that I felt the urge to get spinning again. The enthusiasm in the magazine is rather infectious after all. I sat down, got drafting, and didn’t stop until every last gram was on the bobbin. Well, not the stray seacell that stuck to my pants and my hands, but you get the idea. 

The First Handspun of 2016 -
The First Handspun of 2016 -

When I started spinning, I did so with the intention of having no intention. There was no plan, no deadline, no blog post. There was nothing that tied the process of making yarn to anything else. I was able to spin for the joy of spinning and play with fiber. Now I’m going to let you in on a little secret: it made me happy - like playing with kittens happy. This project was a great antidote to stressing out about everything, good and bad, that 2016 has in store. 

The First Handspun of 2016 -

Next time you get wrapped up and stressed over future plans, try making something for the fun of it. Ditch the deadlines and the self-imposed rules. Stop imagining all those future projects. Jump in and see what happens. You can be retrospective when you’re done, just like I’m doing with this post. Happy making!  

The First Handspun of 2016 -

Spinzilla Eye Candy

Last year I was living in a different city and, having just gotten my Sidekick, still getting to know my wheel. Spinzilla was just a fun challenge. I had a few ounces of Perendale that I spun and chain-plied into 310 yards (there was no plying credit that year). After the competition was finished, I read about other spinner’s yardage and it was obvious that they took it far more seriously than I did. To put it mildly, my 310 yards seemed a bit lacking. Still, I was and felt like I’d leveled up a spinner anyway. Spinning 3 consistent skeins was something that I’d never accomplished before. 

This year, I started Spinzilla with a little intention, not that I got up early or anything, and set a few goals for myself. 

  • Spin (or ply) everyday.

  • Spin more yardage than I did last year and aim for at least 1 mile, 1,760 yards.

  • Not hurt myself.  During Tour de Fleece this year, I hurt my shoulder spinning long-draw, thanks to poor posture and technique. Didn’t want to repeat that.

  • Have fun. What good is a week full of spinning if it feels like a chore?

By Sunday night, I’d done all of those things even if my shoulders were a little sore. Plus, I had yarn to show for it, 933 yards - 2,533 with the plying credit - of Targhee, BFL, and Polworth. Since I was going for speed and ease of spinning, I stuck with my favorite fibers that I could spin long-draw because it’s my fastest default method. Even better, I love the resulting yarn. Why churn out the yardage if you’re not going to love it and want to use it in the end? The only exception is the neon pink single which I spun inch-worm style in hopes of a smoother finish and a little more durability.  

My numbers aren’t record breaking by any comparison but I had one other goal, to only spin against myself. It was one that I had to remind myself of every time I read a number more than twice mine. “Spinning against myself. Spinning against myself. Just spinning against myself.” A hard mantra to repeat and remember while reading other’s yardage but, at the same time, the right one for me. I’m proud of what I accomplished during Spinzilla and the yarn I made. Plus, I don’t have to recover from  sleep deprivation or aches and pains . So, there’s that.

Empty Those Bobbins for Spinzilla

Last week I signed up for Spinzilla, a week long event with the goal to spin as much handspun yardage as possible. This year, just like last year, I’m going Rogue which means I’m not spinning with a team. It was a lot of fun in 2013 since I got to know my new wheel and level up as a spinner. Spinzilla 2014 kicks off next week on October 6th and there’s still time to sign up as a Rogue if you too want to spin all the things. The proceeds go towards TNNA’s Needle Arts Mentoring Program which teaches stitching and fiber crafts to kids and teenagers.

There are only a few days left to prep for the challenge and step one is emptying my bobbins. I only have 4 that I can use on my wheel as well as 4 storage bobbins. Pretty sure that I’m going to need every one of them. 2 of the bobbins have been holding singles since July and that’s way too long. My plan when I started spinning the singles was to make a 2-ply fingering yarn. As I worked I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to match the colors without performing a lot of surgery. The urge to easily preserve the colors won out and I chain-plied instead. My 2 singles turned into 2 matching skeins of yarn. Won’t be sure until after the skeins dry after their bath but I’m pretty sure I made the right decision. 

The only change I’d make next time would be wearing a bandaid during plying. The constant friction and tensioning made the soft single cut into my thumb. I’m keeping lotion (might not have had a problem if my skin was softer) and bandaids in my spinning kit from now on. 

Weekend Wrap Up: Disneyland and Beyond


The Bearded One took Friday off and we made a split-second trip to Disneyland and California Adventure. On 5 hours of sleep, we covered 17 miles, walked over 35,000 steps, did everything we wanted too, and somehow didn’t get sunburned. We rode Space Mountain 3 times and even got to see the inside of it during a shut down. With the lights on, Space Mountain is even more impressive. Later in the day we tackled The Tower of Terror, which was even more fun than I remembered, and California Screamin’.  Only got to ride it once but Screamin’ is definitely my new favorite roller coaster.

August Break 2014 also kicked off Friday and I had fun looking around for interesting details to capture. Forgot to pick a photo for the first 2 days but I think I’m finally getting into the swing of a daily photography project.

Sunday, after a week and a half break,  I was finally able to get back to my spinning. My shoulder and wrist are back to 100% so I finished the first Color Bot single from Tour de Fleece. Spinning the second single is on this week’s to-do list. Going to use this technique again and also trick myself into a decent spinning posture to spare my shoulder from the pain of poor spinning. You know, so I can spin more and not hurt myself.

Spinning Color Bot

Color Bot arrived in my mailbox in March from the Spun Right Round fiber club. The green, blue, gold, and purple were right at home in my stash. The neon pink and red? Not so much. This bump definitely isn’t something I would have picked out for myself but it’s good to step out of one’s comfort zone every so often. Still, neon pink is light years outside of my comfort zone.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to spin it since opening the package. I wanted to downplay the pink while making the blues and green pop. Spin it fractal? Let it barber pole? Split it and let the fiber do what it will anyway? Even with fiber I’m not initially fond of, I usually love the final handspun but that didn’t seem likely this time. Neon pink just isn’t a color I’m drawn too or wear on a regular basis.


I had one other idea but immediately dismissed it - completely removing the pink/red. Would taking out the pink solve the problem? Definitely but it seemed like defeat. If I couldn’t spin colors, even colors I didn’t like, into something I thought was great, then I must be a failure as a spinner. But, I told myself, “I’m smart and have the internet at my fingers. I should be able to find some trick to spin all 4 oz in a badass skein of yarn.” What I found instead of this post on Woolen Diversions(interesting blog, by the way). She had a bump of fiber she wasn’t fond of either. So, she ripped out the colors she didn’t like and spun the ones that she did. Reading about her process gave me a new perspective. Maybe removing colors I didn’t like didn’t make me a failure. Maybe it wasn’t defeat. Maybe it was just another trick in a spinner’s toolbox. 

When I finally unchained the top, I ripped out the pink with gusto. The fiber was dyed in a clear repeat so getting the colors I wanted wasn’t hard.  There were just 3 oz left to spin and I decided to use those 3 oz to attempt one of my Tour de Fleece goals. Since I got my wheel last September, I’ve been trying to spin a fingering weight yarn. Come close over the past few months but haven’t spun anything smaller than sport weight. Then I saw this trick for spinning fine singles that involved threading the single across opposite flyer hooks which is supposed lessen the tension/slow the uptake. After spinning the first color repeat, my single is intentionally and consistently thin. It isn’t falling apart and I’ve only put enough twist to snap the single once or twice. Won’t know for sure if I’ve succeeded spinning a fingering yarn until after the singles are plied and the twist is set but I’m hopeful. If not, I’ll still end up with great yarn I actually want to knit. 


Spun Right Round in May

Beware! There are spoilers ahead for May 2014 shipment of the Spun Right Round Fiber Club. Scroll on at your own risk.








Last week I remembered that it was almost time for the latest club shipment to show up in my mailbox. April’s package, Olivia, was still hanging out on the wheel and I thought there’d be just enough time to finish. Didn’t happen. When the package arrived, there was still yard after yard of single to spin but May’s colors were the perfect kick in the butt to finish. The sooner Olivia is off the wheel, the sooner I can start spinning up Potted.

Potted’s greens, blues, reds, creams, and even browns are right up my color alley. Might even be my new favorite color way from Spun Right Round and I have a lot of favorites. A little note said that the inspiration for this color was “potted plants, foliage, and hanging baskets”. Pretty sure she nailed it since the colors remind me more and more of my Mom’s plant covered porch. The fiber, Falkland, is one of my favorites to spin and I’m already planning what to do with this bump. Shawl? Fingerless Mitts? Mystery pattern?  

Also included in the package were two adorable little BFL punis. I’ve seen punis before but never handled them. This pair is small, just 4 grams, but are surprisingly plump and firm. Can’t wait to spin them up to see what cute little mini skeins they become.

Unfortunately, my 3 months in the Spun Right Round Fiber club are up. I can honestly say that I have throughly enjoyed it and would recommend it. The colors are beautiful even if they are out of my usual green and grey spectrum. The base fibers are lovely and soft. The one bump that I’ve started spinning has been a pleasure to work with. Plus, how awesome is it to get pretty fiber in the mail every month? I’m incredibly tempted to sign up for another month or another 3 months; however, I’m also tempted to sign up to a different fiber club with a completely different color palate. 3 months and 12 oz of fiber is a good sample of a dyer’s wares. I know for certain that Spun Right Round’s fiber is exemplary and I’m sure I’ll buy it again. In the meantime, there are so many other amazing dyers that make amazing art as well. I’d be remiss to not try them out as well. 

Who are your favorite dyers? Or do you dye yarn and fiber yourself? I’d love to know.

Spinning Up Olivia


2 weeks ago, I couldn’t decide what to spin so I asked Instagram to pick for me. Olivia, the April shipment from the Spun Right Round Fiber Club, was the unanimous choice. Then it was time to take a closer look at the bump.


Freshly unchained, the colors seemed to be all over the place…

...but a little organizing set them right…

...before I coiled them up again.

The steady repeats would have been perfect for fractal spinning but I wanted to try something new, yet still simple. The easiest thing to do turned out to be splitting the roving in half lengthwise and spinning the singles from opposite ends. Seems like articles and spinning tutorials always always mention spinning from the same direction when it comes to manipulating color. I’m interested to see what happens when you go in the opposite direction. With the first single finished and the second underway, I’m hoping the long repeats turn into a spectacular barber pole. 

Spun Right Round in April

If you’re a member of the Spun Right Round Fiber Club and haven’t received April’s package yet, there be spoilers ahead. Read on at your own risk.




Just this morning I had the random thought that it was time for the Spun Right Round Club to show up at my door. I checked the my mailbox on a whim and there was a puffy envelope with my name on it. 

I wasted no time ripping open the paper. Inside was a lovely bump of fiber named Olivia. The colors - a mix of purple, pink, white, blue, and yellow - are a bit more subdued than last month’s Color Bot. Not something I would have picked for myself but the mix is swiftly growing on me. I want to spin it into a simple 2-ply just to see how how the dark purple blends with the bright pink and yellow. 


The fiber itself, Rambouillet, is a special treat since this is the first time it’s ever graced my stash. I keep draping it around my neck because it is marvelously soft. Never mind that it’s 70º both outside and inside my apartment. The more I handle the fiber, the closer this bump is getting to the very top of my spinning list. It’s even beating out that bit of Malabrigo Nube

Stash Documentation


In February, I signed up for the Spun Right Round Fiber club as soon as it popped up in the Etsy shop. Doesn’t hurt to obsessively stalk a shop’s RSS feed, right? Please tell me I’m not the only one that does this. Joining the club was a consolation prize, albeit an awesome one, for not being able to make the trip to Stitches West. Eventually, the shipping notification arrived in my inbox and I waited none too patiently for March’s shipment to show up in my mailbox. The fiber is soft and the colors are definitely outside of my usual color spectrum. Riotous neon pink doesn’t often make it into my stash but this bump makes it look fun. Can’t wait to start spinning it up. 

When I went to add the fiber, appropriately named Color Bot, to my Ravelry stash, it looked it was the only fiber I’ve bought in months. Definitely not true. I was also pretty sure that I’ve made more than 21 skeins of handspun. Oh, Ravelry, I have not forsaken you! I’ve just been a little distracted by spinning and writing and websites and knitting and video games and…you get the point. Over the past few days I’ve been adding to, photographing for, and updating the stash catalog. The whole process can be slow going but it’s worth it and I recommend it. A happy, up to date Ravelry stash let’s you see all your fiber at the click of a finger. Makes it easier to decide what to spin next. No need to drag it all unless you want to. Plus, it’s a great reference when you’re trying to decide how to further enhance the stash. 

I almost forgot I had some this stuff. Shame on me. 

Malabrigo Nube - Glitter Colorway. This Merino is ridiculously soft and the colors are everything you’d expect from Malabrigo. 

CosyMakes Falkland - Flight of Fancy


More CosyMakes Falkland in Honey Bear. Before and After.

Gale’s Art Corriedale Top - Limited Edition Color

6 oz of un-dyed Corriedale Cross. Sometimes you just need a few neutrals to balance out all the color. Thinking about about pairing it with the purples, greens, and blues of the Corriedale from Gale’s Art. Maybe I’ll try spinning my first skein of sock yarn.