Category Archives: spinning

Fiber Arts Party debrief

Word Lily knitsWord Lily spinsSo, I had this party. I had the idea for a fiber arts party for my birthday this year, but I wanted all these people to come. And with a February birthday, I didn’t think asking people to drive and drive was a good idea. They’d end up not able to come — or stuck — and I’d end up disappointed. Instead of throwing away my plans, we just decided to move it to a time of year that usually has better, more drivable weather.

The party finally happened last weekend.

Not everyone I wanted to attend was able to make it, but we still had a really good time (as far as I can tell; I said afterward that I wasn’t able to step back and get a good perspective on everyone’s experience or the party as a whole because I was running around the entire time). Since I never took a step back from the action, though — and because the decorations didn’t really finish going up until after the party started — I don’t have good photos of all the things we did. Living in the moment, friends!

The set up /slash/ overview

I invited friends and family from near and far. All the moms were allowed to bring their children (After all, I’d have A with me!). I figured there were a few activities the older kids could do, and we’d bring toys to hopefully keep the littler ones occupied.

We had several stations with different activities. The pompom-making station was in use nearly all day. (The party went from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

I demonstrated wet felting, and quite a few people took a turn or two at the towels positioned in front of containers of hot and cold water.

A few of the girls were brave enough to attempt spinning on a drop spindle after my demonstration. My wheel got at least a small workout, but only from me.

One person learned to knit, a few others tried their hands at crochet for the first time.

We ate lunch and later had cake.

My fabulous husband made a set of giant knitting needles out of larger-than-a-broomstick dowels, and there was some rope on hand to knit with them. He also made the cake — chocolate with a peanut butter cookie layer in the middle, graced by peanut butter cream cheese frosting. It was yummy and pretty.

The decorations

Way back in January, when I started thinking of this party, I started pinning decoration ideas. Partly I was browsing for ideas, but a few of them came to me and then I found a pin to represent that.

We made a chandelier, except upon installation it changed to more of a waterfall.

chandelier, from below

The yarn … bubbles? hang from the 12-foot ceiling.

This was super messy to make. And practically required two people. You might want to wear and apron. And remove your rings. Also, we made up about 15 balloons, and we used a full two bottles of glue. So be prepared. It took awhile to get a system worked out for how to get the yarn through the paste and then out without it getting all knotted. And the instructions didn’t mention any starting points for how much yarn to use per balloon. I ended up with a range from 12 to 25 yards, I think. (And: yarn weight matters. Fingering weight yarn takes more yardage to give a similar visual coverage that can be achieved with fewer yards of a heavier yarn. It sounds like common sense, but it wasn’t included in the directions.) The first few balloons we made, we had cut too short of a yarn length.

We worked in a variety of shades of white, including creams and off-whites and winter whites and even a taupe or two. I thought the more subdued color palette would work, since the space where we hung it has bright walls.

I made pompoms, anchored them to chopsticks and stuck them in vases.

Pompom flowers of various sizes.

Pompom flowers of various sizes.

DSC_0048There are tons of pompom tutorials out there, but all the ones that used the poms as flowers seemed to require hot gluing the pom to the stem. I wanted to use our gigantic supply of plastic chopsticks, and I didn’t want to use glue, since I figured this was a more temporary installation than the chandelier/waterfall.

Instead, I left the strings I’d used to tie the pompoms long. I inserted the tip of a chopstick (thought about using bamboo skewers, too, which might have worked better on the smaller pompoms) into the center of a pom and used the long ends to firmly criss-cross down the stem a ways and ended with a knot. I just left the yarn ends, as a nod to leaves.

Also, I used little balls of yarn I had around in the bottoms of the vases to help situate the stems and give them a bit more height (the vases were taller than my stems, oops). And hey, more color!

I hung garlands of shawls on two walls.

Sarah knits plus garland of shawls

My sister learned to knit! Also, this is the best photo I have of the garlands of shawls. We were apparently having too much fun to remember to take photos.

I saw this photo of shawls on a clothesline, blowing in the breeze, in an online magazine. They were using it to showcase/introduce a knitting pattern. I thought it would be fun to replicate it with shawls I’ve made as decorations for the party. We ended up with two lines, on opposite walls, filled with shawls of all shapes, sizes and colors. (I like knitting shawls.)

We hung a photo poster in a frame, kind of.

This one did double duty: We had the photo up at A’s birthday party (since it’s a photo of him, after all), and then we hung it for this party, on a wall large enough to accomodate the giant frame, too. It didn’t seem like too much of a stretch. 🙂 (For reference: The photo is 16×20.)



I had a blast, despite the running around like crazy. (I knit and entire half a round on the sock project I brought with me.) We made a knitter and introduced a few people to crochet. Some current knitters hopefully gained some confidence in their abilities.

If you’re counting for #PinItDoIt, that’s four pins completed (in addition to the two from A’s party and the cookie one from my sign-up post, so, seven total).

There was talk of doing this again, maybe even regularly. Sounds like a good idea to me!


Swap hat

Word Lily knitsOne of my groups on Ravelry is having a hat swap for our babies, and my swap partner received the hat I made, so I can finally unveil this secret!

I made Leethal’s Wobble Bass hat.

Seen here modeled on my little guy.


My project page on Ravelry.

I used Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky in color Blue Flannel for the main color, and a little bit of my handspun (n-plied merino, hand-dyed by Hello Yarn, in a Yarn School colorway, I forget which one). (Man, I should really look that up.)


This was a tough project for me, but I’m pretty thrilled with how it turned out, although it’s not without its flaws. I might have been pushing the envelope a bit, using super bulky yarn to make a baby/toddler-sized hat, but it still worked. The pattern is awesome, a very engaging (heh) knit and the finished object is pretty fun, if you ask me.

You can see my kitchener in garter stitch here, it didn't completely disappear. My tension must have been off.

You can see my kitchener in garter stitch here, it didn’t completely disappear. My tension must have been off.

Here are a couple more photos, just for grins.


I’ve wanted to try my hand at Leethal’s patterns for quite a while, and this won’t be my only foray. But I might have to make this hat again first, so I don’t have to rely on (digital) photographs as proof of this summit conquered.

The recipient, elpalchica, posted about the hat today, too. I’m so glad she likes it!

Have you participated in swaps before?

Wanna see more? Check out FO Friday and Fiber Arts Friday.

Back to spinning

bluepurple sparkle singles close

Word Lily spinsNext time, if you notice it’s been a while since I’ve posted about my spinning? Bug me. Because, Why, why, why do I go so long without doing something I so love? Spinning this was … blissful. The process brought tears to my eyes, it was so splendid. I do love the yarn, but the experience of spinning, having my hands literally in color, is even more worthwhile to me. I know this, and yet, it had been more than a year since I’d pulled my spinning wheel out of its cubbyhole. Shameful.

This photo is truer, color-wise:
skein of bluepurple sparkle singles

It’s soo fluffy and squishy and soft and cozy! I have no idea what I’m going to make with it yet, I just had to make.

Stats on the yarn: 60.4 grams, 122 yards (pre-bath, so it’ll likely shrink/puff a bit) from a batt I made at Yarn School, the last of those. I don’t remember what all I put in on the carder, but obviously quite a bit of sparkle. I have the details somewhere, but I wanted to post, not hunt for details, this morning.

Do you ever find yourself avoiding things you love?

Fiber Arts Friday: Project Spectrum, week 1

Word Lily spins

I’ve been really enjoying Project Spectrum this first week. Red isn’t exactly a color I gravitate toward, but the project is certainly making me more mindful of it, so far. Not all my Project Spectrum endeavors are fiber-related; I started a Tumblr as a sort of homebase for my Project Spectrum — although I may end up posting other things there as well, who knows?

RED that’s been through my hands


Remember those two batts I posted two weeks ago? I finally got them skeined and photographed. They’re both composed of the same mix of fibers and colors, but the more homogeneous was carded twice and the yarn with more distinct colors was carded once.

handspun from my hand dyed, hand carded, wool
50.2 grams of fiber yielded 114 yards, pre-bath.

55.6 grams of fiber yielded 100 yards of thick and thin, pre-bath.

I also spun up 4 ounces of a wool/silk blend fiber:

handspun wool-silk blend

Plying this is on the agenda for today.

Planning ahead

I think I’ll also be ordering beads today, for my first-ever beaded knitting project, the large-size Aeolian Shawl (Ravelry). I’m looking at these beads, to go with the Jaggerspun Zephyr wool/silk in mahogany I already have. I certainly won’t finish this within the month, but I’m looking forward to the challenge, regardless.

Where are you noticing red today?

Have you crafted a finished object this week? Check out the roundup of other people’s finished objects for the week at Tami’s Amis.

Fiber Arts Friday
Also, see the Fiber Arts Friday roundup at Wisdom Begins in Wonder to see what other people are crafting this week.

Spinning my wheel

Instead of spending a lot of time telling you what I’ve been doing fiber-wise, I’m going to spend that time actually pursuing my fibery pursuits today. 😀

drum-carded batts

These batts are both made from the same mix of fiber and color, but one was carded twice and the other was carded once. I plan to make a two-ply yarn.

New yarns

Word Lily spins

I’ve spun up a couple new yarns recently. (All photos can be viewed larger by clicking on them.)

Word Lily Fiber Arts batt

Word Lily Fiber Arts batt, end view
• 60 gram batt, made on my drum carder.
• Composed of domestic wool mill ends, mohair, icicle, silk noil, fake cashmere.

became this.
handspun yarn

handspun yarn
• Spun on my slowest ratio, two-plied at my second-fastest ratio, from a center-pull ball.
• 88 yards, pre-bath

And this

Frabjous Fibers, BFL top, colorway: #123 Patina, 4 ounces
Purchased at Iowa Sheep and Wool, 2010

became this.
Handspun, thick and thin singles, BFL

Handspun, thick and thin singles, BFL
• Thick and thin BFL singles
• Spun on my second-fastest ratio
• 252 yards, pre-bath
Oh, how I love BFL!

I’m already itching to get back to the wheel, but I can’t decide what to spin up next! Happy Friday.

Have you crafted a finished object this week? Check out the roundup of other people’s finished objects for the week at Tami’s Amis.

Fiber Arts Friday
Also, see the Fiber Arts Friday roundup at Wisdom Begins in Wonder to see what other people are crafting this week.

From the Dyelab: Sneak peek

Word Lily spins
[Well, it’s about spinning fiber, does that count?]

I’ve been dyeing. I was holding off telling you, waiting to do a big reveal — just the right moment — but I can’t contain it any longer.

Just a bit of the wool I've dyed.

This is so much fun!

What is/are your favorite color(s)?

Fiber Arts Friday

Check out the Fiber Arts Friday roundup at Wisdom Begins in Wonder to see what other people are crafting this week.

Word Lily’s 2010 in fiber arts: A retrospective

I experienced quite a few fiber arts firsts in the last year. I intentionally stretched myself. Although I didn’t quite accomplish every single goal, I’m happy with the progress I made.

    In 2010 I:

  • Began designing
    • released Hedgerows as a free pattern
    • Hedgerows in greys

    • and have several other patterns in various stages of completion.
  • Knit with my own handspun yarn for the first time (and several subsequent times).
  • Did some intensive spinning, including spinning every day of the Tour de Fleece.
  • Attended Yarn School and my first fiber festival.
    • Took my first forays into dyeing and fiber prep.
    • I fell in love with drum carding, spinning from batts, and dyeing fiber.

I plan to continue branching out in these directions — I was surprised with a drum carder for Christmas!