In the second week in July, I’ve barely recovered from the holidays. The socks I promised my Dad are finally finished (only 18 months late), and all I want is to spin for the Tour de Fleece and think only of myself. But this is the perfect time to start spinning, knitting, or weaving your […]

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Les Tricoteuses: A Bastille Day Yarn

On July 14, France celebrates Bastille Day (or as they call it “Quatorze Juillet”), the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789 that marked a turning point in the French Revolution—well, the first of their revolutions, anyway. Joseph Marie Jacquard was still a decade away from developing his famous punchcard-driven loom, though […]

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A Spinner Explains the Magic of Crochet Thread

Understanding what makes your yarn do what it does is the first step toward a happy yarn/project pairing. As a handspinner, I love thinking about yarn. Even though I didn’t spin the yarn for the projects in this issue I can share a bit about what makes crochet thread perfect for certain projects. YARN = […]

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Just a few days remain until July 7, 2018. What happens then? For spinners and cycling fans, it’s the first day of an exhilarating, challenging, and gorgeous three-week event: the Tour de Fleece. Or France, for those who require two wheels. History of the Tour de Fleece In 2006, spinner and knitwear designer Star Athena […]

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Natural Dyes and Where to Find Them

In 1856, British chemist William Henry Perkin discovered how to make the first synthetic dye, a purple called mauvine, using coal tar. Before that invention, every color of yarn or fabric got its hue from natural dyes—vegetable, mineral, and yes, even animal. Here are a few favorites that are easy for home dyers to find […]

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Natural Dyes and More: Local Color in Spin Off

The theme of the Spin Off Summer 2018 is “local color.” The scenery in Teotitlán del Valle, Mexico, is a study in tan, but the color I remember most vividly from my visit is red. The bold scarlet of cochineal insects, one of the world’s most important natural dyes, colors the rugs for which the […]

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The Hurt Book Sale Bites Back

Our annual Hurt Book Sale began as an opportunity to pick up slightly damaged or creased books at a steep discount. But what if the books could fight back? Imagine books that might hurt you instead of the other way around. Here are a few hurting books you won’t find in the hurt book sale. […]

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Great Scot! The Return of the Scottish Spindle

I look for unusual spinning tools at every festival, and Scott Snyder had a table full at Convergence 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Beside his impressive array of Turkish spindles, stood a tool I’d never seen before: a Scottish spindle. Shaped like an electric toothbrush with grooves in the bottom, the Scottish spindle is the first […]

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Understanding your yarn is the first step toward a happy yarn/project pairing. I love thinking about yarn, so I offered to turn my spinner’s eye to cotton crochet thread for Interweave Crochet. Even though I didn’t spin the yarn for the projects in their Summer 2018 issue, I shared a bit about what makes cotton […]

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In the Craftermath: Picking Up the Pieces

I’ve invented a new type of natural disaster. After a whole weekend spinning on the couch while binge watching and listening to a good book, I walked through the living room and noticed two things: a clear tush-sized space on the couch and a complete disaster in arm’s reach around it. This is the Craftermath, […]

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