12 Days of Deals

Jillian's sample fiber, all torn up for spinning.

Jillian’s sample fiber, all torn up for spinning.

If your fiber stash looks anything like mine, it contains a lot of 4-ounce braids. When I say “a lot,” I mean at least two of those 12″x12″ storage cubes full of them. How could anyone resist the lure of a spectacular colorway, hand-painted by an indie dyer, on incredible fiber blends? I don’t even try to say no anymore. But sometimes the colors that originally drew me in don’t turn out so well in the finished yarn. They get muddy, or there’s too much contrast, or something doesn’t work out just right.

It turns out, Jillian Moreno had the same problem, and she figured out how to fix it. Instead of limiting her purchases, she dives into the world of handpaints and seizes control. In 12 Ways to Spin Handpainted Top, she demonstrates how to plan for the desired results with any given braid: keep colors distinct in the finished yarn, blend them into a muted, heathery-looking colorway, or toss in vivid streaks of different hues. Best of all, Jillian didn’t just make yarn—she knitted it up into samples, so we can see how different processes will affect the ultimate project.

Evaluating the colorway and deciding on the final product.

Evaluating the colorway and deciding on the final product.

As luck would have it, I got to watch Jillian tape this video. I was supposed to be learning how to produce videos: prepping Jillian’s trays of fiber, cuing the editor to get the best angles, listening for verbal cues, et cetera. It’s also fun to yell “Cut!” every now and then, just because.

Instead, I couldn’t take my eyes off her hands (until she took a break to set up the next fiber tray. Then it was all about fondling the fiber. Sorry, Jillian.). It had never occurred to me that I could tear a braid into smaller chunks of color to create a new color sequence. Or I could “subtract” all the brown from the braid, either to use it elsewhere or simply to get rid of it for a particular yarn. Now I’ve got the power to truly design my yarn—not just the weight and texture, but the color runs. Soon I’ll be taking over the world right next to Jillian. (Mwahahaha and evil finger-tenting gesture.) There’s no reason to ever stop buying braids!

Thanks, Jillian. I think.

To purchase Jillian’s video:

Barber pole yarn by design.

Barber pole yarn by design.



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