Monthly Archives: January 2013

100-mile skirt update

As a result of a great effort, and I kid you not, I now have two decent sized skeins of 2 x 2 cabled yarn.  It is a total of 400 m and 212 g. I know I don’t have enough to make the entire skirt, but I have enough to get started, and maybe even get mid-thigh. But it’s a darned good start and that’s exactly what I need.
As a reminder, this yarn is made up of two strands of 2-ply yarn. In each strand there is a singles of grey alpaca and a singles of blue merino/silk/bamboo.Yes, that’s singles with an “s”, the single strand of yarn that you spin is called a singles. Don’t argue with me, I didn’t make up this spinning language.  
When you spin the singles for a cabled yarn, it’s a good idea to put a gentle twist into it. The fibres I am/was working with are fine fibres and I was spinning a thin yarn, so I made sure that there was enough twist to just lock the fibres into place, that’s a way to ensure a gentle twist.  Then I plied the grey and blue together putting a lot of twist into the ply. A lot of twist into it. So much that I had to take breaks because my treadling leg got tired. Seriously.  And I’m a runner. 
Then I plied those over/super plied yarns together and got a 2 x 2 cabled yarn.  Why all this work you ask?
I am making a skirt that I want to last and look good.  The seat of a skirt gets wear and tear so I wanted a structure that can take wear and tear and bounce back.  A cabled yarn is the answer.  At least that’s what I have been lead to believe.

Here are the finished skeins all washed, bashed and ready to be made into balls and knit up. They are soft, surprisingly light and from a distance they look like denim.  There’s 400 m of it, so it’s enough to really get going on this skirt and then only (hopefully) have a wee bit to spin up to finish.

And then I’ll have a 100-mile skirt.

Imagine that.

Spinning workshop: Session two

Here are two photos of what my dining room table looked like after our second spinning lesson. In addition to learning and practicing  basic spinning techniques, we also talked about fibre preparations — drum carding, hand carding and wool combs. The most popular fibre preparation was combing, so we got out the combs and practiced.  This (mostly) always gives a lovely and surprising result as the combs get rid of so much of the debris.
And yes, that is a bowl of homemade cookies off on the left.  Thanks to my neighbour Hilary.

We are going to do more spinning next week and will also finally get around to some plying techniques:  double and chain plying (Navajo). There is such an interest in fibre preparation that I think we’ll pull out the drum carders and make some fun batts.

It was a fun day. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

At least for now.

Introduction to Spinning with Drop Spindles: workshop

Another announcement about workshops being offered at Fibreswest 2013.  Sign up before March 8th to make sure you can get a spot.

Introduction to Spinning with Drop Spindles, Diana Twiss. Saturday, March 23, 2013, 9am-1pm. $45.00. Class held at Shannon Hall, at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds.

In this introduction to the spindle as a tool for making yarn, you will learn about the properties of wool as a protein fibre for yarn. You will also learn drafting techniques, and how to spin, ply and set yarn. 

In this 4-hour workshop, you’ll be introduced to basic spinning techniques for suspended spinning. These techniques will allow you to further explore making a variety of interesting yarns with these noble tools. This class is for absolute beginning spinners or for those who know how to spin with a wheel, but not with a spindle.


  • Suspended spindle, top or bottom whorl. Spindles available from instructor for $45.00 (Top Whorl Spindle from Houndesign). 
  • Any fibre preparation equipment that you may have, such as hand carders or wool combs. 
  • Empty shoebox – to be used as a Lazy Kate and to hold your materials.

You will be supplied with all the fibre (and more) needed for the workshop – there will be a $10 materials fee to be paid to the instructor.
For information about registering for this workshop and to see a list of other workshops, please visit Fibreswest 2013.