Mary Ellen Joe: Cowichan Knitter by Phil Ives

As fiber enthusiasts, finding a good documentary on the craft is always a good thing. Enjoy!

A short film by Phil Ives


Spin15aday 1

We are going to do it again, though some of you have never stopped! #spin15aday is coming up starting January 1 and we’ll be taking the #spin15aday2018challenge! Are you in?

What to do:

Spin. 15 minutes a day. Simple.

You get to decide what you are spinning, how you are spinning, when you are spinning. All we want to do is promote everyone to spin 15 minutes a day. It adds up, really it does.

There will be gift-aways to keep folks motivated as well as small project purpose challenges during the year that if you want to join in and do, great, if not, not worries. Just keep spinning.

Note: there are no yardage requirements, there is no race, it’s just about the hygge of enjoying the time spinning fiber.  

Spin with a wheel, a spindle or a rock and stick! It’s up to you!  We just want you to share when you can on Instagram using hashtags #spin15aday , #spin15aday2018challenge or whatever hashtag is up for the small project challenge.

I’m excited. Are you excited? I sure hope so.


Spin 15 a day 2





Wool Breed: Colored Ryeland

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, nearly five months.  Time to get back at it.

This week’s wool breed is Colored Ryeland.

Ryeland Sheep

Picture from Wikipedia

I’ll be spinning up this 20 grams  @bakewell_hearts shared with me awhile back.

Historically, the Ryeland sheep are thought to be from as early as the 1300’s, where monks raise the Ryeland sheep among ryeland pastures.

As for the royalty of Queen Elizabeth I (reign: 1553 – 1603), rumor was she had a love of Ryeland stockings.  It would be interesting to know how the wool was spun for the stockings and how they wore.  With the shorter staple length, I can see a woolen spin but just not stockings that would last long.

What I have learned about the current Ryeland breed is that the sheep in Great Britain/Australia are thought to be closer to the original breed, where as the Ryeland in New Zealand are producing a heavier, coarser wool.


Here’s the Great Britain/Australian wool facts:

Weight: 4.5 – 6.5 lbs (2-3 kg)

Staple Length: 2 – 5 inches (5 – 12.5 cm)

Microns: 25-28

Lock structure: dense, blocky lock with pointed tips

Fiber Prep: card, spin woolen.



Until next time…

Harris Spinner

What would you do if you ran across a bulky spinner for $40 on Craigslist?

A. Admire the photos and move on.

B. Ask yourself why you would even need another spinning wheel

C. Contact the seller, find out if it’s available, then drive an hour one way to buy it.

The answer: C


This is the Harris Spinner by a H. C. Harris.  Not much is known about the maker through internet searches, though there is another spinner @threadbender on IG that had gotten one about 11 years ago and she shared what bit she could.  It was most likely made in the 1970’s somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.  If you happen to have any information I would be ever so grateful if you would share it with me.


It took a bit of waxing, oiling, lubing and a few supplies to get it up and working.

Here’s a short video of it doing what it was made for:

Until next time….

Inkle Weaving and Books!

There is nothing fiber-wise that I won’t jump in headfirst when it comes to trying.  The inkle weaving loom is no exception.


I’ve noticed a few weavers posting about their inkle weaving and looms on Instagram lately, which made me sit up and take notice.

Before I ordered my inkle loom, I binge watched YouTube on how to warp, weave, finish and do lots of other nifty tricks on a very old form of weaving.

My loom arrived last Friday night and I was able to get some warping and weaving done on Saturday.


I still need more experience on getting a good, quality edging, though I’m okay with how things are going. It’s all about the learning, yes?


I also ordered The Weaver’s Inkle Pattern Directory, which arrived today, along with this wonderful little book, When Coyote Walked The Earth by Corrine Running.

I first found this book of Pacific Northwest indian folktales at my local library and decided it would be a great book to have to read to my new granddaughter. Lucky for me, I found a used hardcover copy on Amazon. I had no clue it would have the original book jacket, be in good shape and be a first printing from the original copyright year, 1949.

I think this will be a book that we both treasure.

Off to weave a bit. Until next time…

Flax vs. Wool Wheel

Today I brought home another wheel, a flax wheel.

Flax Wheel before cleanup

Before cleaning and waxing

Amazing that it was still available having been posted for more than 20 hours before I contacted the seller.

For about the price of a small fleece, this little handmade flax wheel was mine.  Total cost, $65 plus the drive into Tacoma to pick it up.  Actually, it was to my advantage as I stopped to see both of my daughter’s while I was in the area.

Look at the size of the smallest bobbin I have ever seen.  The bobbin opening measures 2 5/8″.  That just blows my mind that there is a bobbin that tiny in the fiber world.

What are my plans for this yet-to-be-named wheel?  Silk embroidery thread. It has a 13.5/1 ratio and with the bobbin being so small, I believe creating embroidery thread would be the perfect duty for it.

As I have not had a flax wheel before, I went out on the web to search the differences between a flax and wool wheel.

Here is what I found:

The difference is a flax wheel will have a distaff and the oriface is much smaller.

All types of fiber (flax, silk, cotton, wool) can be spun on any wheel.

Flax wheel end

Now, to figure out how old it is. Here is what I came up with:

It is handmade.  Hand notched on the ends of the table.  Though it has scribed markings, none of them lined up exactly the same. Machine-cut pieces are more uniform and were not made until 1860.  Though it is handmade, someone took their time to do so.

No sign of lacquer or varnish, so I’ve crossed off it was made after the 1850’s. There may have been a wood oil used, but none of the wood was shiny or glossy until I put some wax to it.

Some of the wood is spelted.  The legs, the uprights and parts of the mother of all.

There are no manufacturer marks.

The distaff was missing, though we can see in the above photo there was a place for it.

I currently have eight wheels in my life, having had six others come and go.  I have never had a true flax wheel before.

I’m am overjoyed with my find today. I’m closer to understanding my fiber purpose when I bring home wonderful finds like this.

Flax Wheel after Waxing

After cleaning and waxing

Until next time….

Flashback Friday – Episode 140 of Belle of the Ball Podcast

Belle of the Ball Button Aug 09


This came through my playlist driving up to Bellingham last weekend and I thought I would share it.

It’s audio only, so grab a cup of tea and your knitting and spinning for about 10 minutes of an old episode of Belle of the Ball Podcast, a throwback to when I podcast for about six years.  I believe I recorded it around Thanksgiving time, November 2011.

Until next time…thought it’s been a while.

Loop Pile Washcloths

I recently found the  Spa Wash Cloth for Rigid Heddle weaving on

It looked like fun and a new technique I had not tried, so I stash dove and came up with a ball of Peaches & Creme Cotton in yellow and a cone of the same brand in white.

The weaving pattern called for 72 epi with a 2 yard warp.  I was only able to come up with 56 epi with a 2 yard warp.


Since the warp was not as wide, I didn’t make the length of each cloth as long as the instructions for the original.  I was able to get six washcloths from the 2 yard warp.

Here are the basic instructions, modify to your need:

Sett: 8 ends per inch
Use cotton, linen or hemp
56 – 72 epi (2 yard length warp)

Pick 10 rows (for hemming)

Throw one row and pick up with a crochet hook the weft between the top shaft warp threads (leave at least two threads on each side as is) and place on a knitting needle. Beat and change shed, picking 1-3 rows to keep loops in place.

Continue until 1.5″  from length desired.

Pick 10 rows.
Leave a space between wash cloths to cut apart.


Here is the video from Weavezine for reference:

and the video I made as I was creating these small, stash busting washcloths:

Until next time…

The Pacific Northwest Fiber Web

A great 12 minute mini documentary of fiber-minded folks in the Pacific Northwest.

A few friends, Heidi and Jenny, are in the video, which does my heart good. They are the best of fiber-folk I know.

Take a break from your chores. Grab your wheel or knitting and a cup of tea and take a fiber-break.

Until next time…

A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

There seems to be a slight case of mistaken identity for the 1 ounce sample of Suffolk I had purchased.


The best place to read up on why the “gray/grey Suffolk” is not really Suffolk is in a blog post by Deb Robson, “The gray/grey Suffolk Puzzle.

I loved her final comment about the bunny near the end.  It will only take a couple minutes to read, but I think it will give you a lifetime of wool education.

Until next time…

Wool Breed: Suffolk


Image from

History: The Suffolk sheep became a recognized breed in 1810 from crossing Southdown rams with old-style Norfolk Horn ewes per the Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook. The first documented import to North America was made in 1888.

Fleece Facts:

Size:  Ram: 275-400 pounds  Ewe: 200-300 pounds

Horns: Hornless

Fleece Weight:  4-8 pounds (1.8-3.6 kg)

Staple Length: 2-3.5 inches (5-7 cm)

Fiber Diameters:  46s to 58s by the Bradford count, 26-33 micron count.

Coloring: White.  There may be some black fibers, as these sheep have colored faces.  Any off-color fibers lower the commercial value of the wool per the Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook.

Spinning:  Keep the drafting light and moderate twist to preserve loftiness.

Note: My 1 oz. sample from Woolgatherings is a grey Suffolk.  There is information in the Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook that states there is a processed fiber sold as “grey Suffolk” that demonstrates few of the qualities that characterize Suffolk wool.  It goes on to say: Spinners who use it should not make assumptions about Suffolk based on their experiences with this fiber.

Good to know.  I will need to find some “true” Suffolk for sampling.

Off to read an old post by Deb Robson regarding this…I’m sure to share.

Until next time…


North Cascades

Now available on Ravelry: North Cascades


The North Cascades is a national park in Northern Washington State. I’ve created a hat to celebrate this wilderness of tree-clad mountains, glaciers and lakes full of trails, bears and gray wolves.

North Cascades is an easy, colorful knit with simple, easy to follow charting. Simple knit and purl stitches start off the corrugated ribbing into the mountains, then trees, ending with a snowy top for this warm, colorwork beanie.

Sizes include child through adults. Finished sizes allow for the traditional negative ease of hats. The stranded colorwork makes for double the warmth.

Yarn: Six colors of fingering weight wool. Sample uses Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, which can make a multiple of hats when using for colorwork.

Needle Size:
US 2 (2.75 mm) & US 3 (3.25 mm) 16” circular needles (or size to meet gauge)
US 3 (3.25 mm) double point needles (or size to meet gauge)

Gauge: 6.5 sts / inch in colorwork pattern on larger needles

Finished Measurements (with 2” negative ease): 18.5”, 20”, & 21.5”

Fits Approximate Head Size: 20,5”, 22” & 23.5”


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