Fiber Sandwich

q8~Yesterday was the last spinning class for the term. A tradition for the last day of class is to make a fiber sandwich. Super yum. Everyone who wants to participate brings in fiber from their stash that they are willing to contribute to the sandwich.What a delight to watch the sandwich grow as each member added a new contribution. What was interesting is the bottom layer was neutrals, then people came in and added colors, then back to neutrals, then colors, quite interesting. A wide variety of fibers were represented: dyed Lincoln locks, corriedale, merino, alpaca, shetland, blended tops, silk, etc. So very much fun.

Finished Sandwich

Finished Sandwich

Fiber Closeup

Fiber Closeup

This is my share. The stack was divided into 17 equal parts, so you get an idea of how much fiber was in the sandwich!

My Fiber

My Fiber

To spin this, I’ll just keep picking up samples and spin, blending would just change the total flavor of this fiber. I plan on Navajo plying the finished spun single so that the integrity of each fiber type stays together. Don’t worry, I’ll share the finished result. Queen Anne Lace Scarf pattern was used by Jane, one of the other students, to make a fabulous scarf from the fiber sandwich from last term. Absolutely beautiful, I forgot to take a picture of it. Although it is crochet, I’m thinking of using the pattern for my spun sandwich. Don’t get me wrong crocheters, I like crochet, but it really hurts my arthritic right hand.

Don’t Judge A Store By It’s Cover

q~Do not be fooled by the unassuming outside view of this store, the inside is a cornucopia of yarn and fiber delights. If you are in Hill Country, Happy Ewe in Jonestown, Texas is not to be missed!

happy ewe

One side of the store is filled with oodles of yarn just waiting to be fondled and knitting/crocheting supplies and patterns. The other half of the store is devoted to spinning and weaving and has fabulous fibers to longingly finger.  I could have remained in the store for the entire day, unfortunately Hubs was in the car patiently waiting.


The owner, Misty, is delightful, friendly, and super helpful. Ok, I’ll admit that she’s ringing up my purchases.

Two of the fibers I purchased were dyed by Heather Cabanas of Western Sky Knits (WSK) located in Woodlands, Texas. I wanted to purchase fiber from a Texas artisan. There was also an Ashford fire in colors of purple, orange, and black which I could not pass up. I cannot wait to card it in with some hand dyed purple, orange and black fiber. Super yum for Halloween.


A few of the knitted items on display that I was quite taken with:

Half Moon Shawl knit in Alp Oriental – free pattern
Austermann #30 shawl knit in Egytptian Mercerized Cotton – pattern free at Austermann’s website
Milanese Wrap knit in Jojoland Rhythm – pattern for purchase
Striped Shrug knit in Taiyo by Noro – pattern in Noro Magazine Premiere Issue

Oh great! Now there are even more things for me to do. 😎 If you’re ever headed through Hill Country, this is a great store in a tiny town.

Worsted vs. Woolen- What a Difference a Name Makes

For ever I have seen the term “worsted wool”. Never bothering to look up the term, I thought it just referred to that yarn with a “heavier feel” used to make sweaters and jackets. Taking the spinning seminar from Cecilia Quinn I learned the difference between worsted and woolen is in the way the fibers were treated and spun. Taking out my notes this is what I have. Please know that this is short and simple, I’m not undertaking a book with all of the varieties. 😎 I’m just going to write about the two I learned about. I know, I know, this is quick and dirty, and there are all sorts of exceptions.

First, a staple is an individual lock of wool length.  The length determines the type of spinning it is suited for: worsted or woolen, or in-between. For various reasons, wool can have both long and short fibers.

Worsted yarn has a long-staple and has been finished by combing the fibers so that they are parallel and all of the short fibers have been removed.   During the spinning process these fibers are kept parallel. This wool should be spun using the short forward draft, without the twist entering the drafting zone.  This method removes the air from the fiber, making it dense. Worsted yarn is best used in outerwear, hats and mittens. Since it doesn’t have air, it does not tend to be “fuzzy”.

Woolen yarn consists of fibers of varying length that are carded so the fibers are not parallel.  This leaves both short and long fibers which are at different angles. This wool should be spun using the long draft. This leaves air in the fibers making a fluffy, softer yarn that can be used for objects such as shawls, baby clothes, etc. The yarn can look “fuzzy”.

Before spinning, hold up a staple sample to the light, are the fibers of equal length and parallel? Spin worsted.  Are the fibers “helter skelter”? Spin woolen. (Why do my fingers keep typing wollen?)

My point in going back through my notes is the spinning instructions that came with Crabby McCrabby Pants: “You need a fine single and we are spinning for worsted, not woolen.” So, it looks as if this will be a short forward draft spinning project! Good thing I had the class so this was familiar to me! 😎 Of course, I’ve been practicing long draw because that’s what we focused on in the class. 😎

Something mentioned in the instructions that I had not run across before is “To set the twist” before knitting.  I haven’t done that before. Have any of you?  Did I miss something in Spinning 101? I mean, something else? 😎 So after I soak the spun yarn, I hang it up and hang a weight from it.

Crabby McCrabby Pants.  I just LOVE that name!