My husband is a regular Reddit user and he came across this thing called RedditGifts. They were having a yarn exchange, which I though was an awesome idea! The way it works is you sign up, give some information about what you like and details about you. Reddit will match you with someone and someone else is matched for you, it is not a one to one exchange.

My match happened to live not to far, just a couple towns over. This was great because I got her some yarn from a local yarn shop pretty close to both of us. She is actually a crocheter, so that was a little challenging in figuring out what she would like. But, I think I did well.

wowi-sure-got-spoiled-i-love-it-all-1427335721-937612583738I got her some yarn called “Lova”, this looked liked a yarn that could make a cool crochet project. I also got her some Quince and Co. Lark, one of my favorite yarns! Let’s just say I think she loved it, see her post in the Yarn Exchange 2015 here.

I got my package the other day and I was just amazed at the thoughtfulness of the contents.


I got some sock yarn which is great because I would love to start making more socks. Some yarn from Nice and Knit, which is lovely hand dyed yarn. I have been following their blog for a while and just haven’t purchased their yarn yet. This color is exactly my taste and I can’t wait to knit something up. There was also a Miss Bab’s Hand Dyed Yarn & Fiber mini skein, it’s so cute! There was also some Nice and Knit Stitch Markers, you can never have too many stitch markers. You can see my post in the Yarn Exchange 2015 Gallery here.

This was just an awesome experience and I could feel the love and passion in this amazing fiber community. I’m so glad to be a part of it.


Spinning 101

Back in January I was looking around in search of a spinning class in my area. Any type of spinning class. I just wanted to get my foot in the door and try it to see if I even liked it. I happened across the classes page at Esther’s Place Fiber Arts Studio. At first glance, I was very impressed by the variety of classes offered and I found the class for me: Spinning 101. Here is the description:

“Perhaps the crème de la crème of our spinning classes, this class starts at the sheep with washing the fleece, carding and spindling, progressing through the six weeks to cover a wide range of skills and techniques. End the class with a dyeing workshop, making this a very thorough course. Class includes rental of a Schacht Spindle Matchless wheel so you can spin at home during class!”

It was exactly what I was looking for! I found it on a Wednesday and realized it started that Saturday and the location was about 45 minutes from my house. I ran it past my husband, he was thrilled and said go for it! So that next Saturday morning I was in Big Rock, IL at my first spinning class.

Week 1:

I arrived at Esther’s place and it was so cute! We started out learning how to wash fleece just sheered off the sheep. Then we carded with hand carders to make rolags. Finally we learned how to spin those rolags on the drop spindle. Our homework was to card some more in to rolags and make more yarn on the drop spindle.


Esther’s Place


Week 1 homework

Week 2:

This week we learned how to ply on the drop spindle from a center pull ball of yarn the we had done for homework. I made a total of 11 yards! Then we learned the basics on the spinning wheel and got to take it home to practice.


Single plyed yarn from the drop spindle


Left: my two ply yarn from the drop spindle. Right: The Schacht Spindle Matchless


Buckled up in the car


My first time spinning on the wheel

 Week 3:

We learned how to make 2 ply yarn on the spinning wheel


Making the yarn for 2 ply


2 ply yarn off the wheel

Week 3 also happened to be Valentine’s day. Esther’s Place was having an open house and you could needle felt your own love bug. I have never needle felted before, it was a great learning experience and I got to keep this cute little bug.


Week 3 Homework:

We got some yarn to practice plying and I loved the colors!


Week 4:

This week we learned how to add beads and sequins to yarn. It was like plying but little more exciting. We also learned how to woolen spin. That was something I really struggled with. I think I’m going to stick to worsted.


Week 4 Homework:

We had to prepare our yarn in a certain way. We had to do it by colors in order to prepare for Navajo plying. I didn’t really understand the concept of Navajo plying so I just did what made sense to me. After learning what it was I realized i didn’t have to make the different balls of yarn but that was okay, I got practice in joining the yarn!


Week 5:

We learned how to Navajo ply! Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of the other things we did. But we also learned how to add curls to 2 ply yarn and how to spin from the fold.


Week 5 “Homework”:

We didn’t have any home work this week but it was the last week renting the spinning wheel. I wanted to take full advantage of this opportunity so I bought 4 oz of Bluefaced Leicester and made a lofty goal of spinning it all!


Blueface Leicester

 I pretty much spent all my free time spinning and stayed up late on the night before class to finish.


Single Ply


Ready to 2 ply


2 ply!



I finished and I can’t wait to wash it. I’m thinking it will fluff up a little when I wash it. I made about 170 yards of 2 ply and now I need to figure out what project is worthy enough to be made out of my hand spun yarn.

Week 6:

This week we dyed yarn! I had just done a dyeing workshop the previous week so I was excited to get a second shot at it. I went with pinks, oranges and yellows.


Last week I get to ride with the wheel


Prepping fiber to be dyed


My dyed fiber


I really loved this class! It covered a ton of things in just 7 weeks. It was a little sad the next Saturday to not drive 45 minutes to Big Rock. I’m so thankful for Esther’s Place and what they do there! I hope they keep doing what they are doing.

Dyeing Workshop

This past week I had the opportunity to participate in a dyeing workshop at my local yarn shop, Knitche. For the past month they have been hosting Rocking the Wool in their Pop-up shop. They usually do an event along with the pop up shop and this month it was a dyeing workshop. I have been itching to start dyeing yarn so I saw this as a perfect opportunity. I called the day after I got the Knitche newsletter talking about the workshop and there was already a waiting list! I was pretty bummed. But, the next day I got a call saying they were adding another workshop right after the first. I was thrilled and signed right up!

The workshop was nice and simple. We started out with safety. They use a Greener Shades dyes, which are heavy metal free acid dyes. I had never heard of such a thing so I was very interested. We just had to wear gloves and the instructor did all the dye mixes. At the beginning of the workshop we had to pick between kettle dyeing the yarn or hand painting, we all chose hand painting.


It kind of looks like we were doing some kind of experiment. The mason jars had the dye in them and we poured them in to our own cups and made our own color or just used the existing dye. I used color blue and yellow and they bled together and made green!


Wet, newly dyed yarn in a bag.

We laid out the yarn the had been prepared for us on saran wrap and painted on the colors we wanted with spoons. Once we were done “painting” we wrapped the yarn up in the saran wrap and put it in the microwave to set.


When I got home I was told to rinse the yarn with tap water then let it dry. It looked awesome on the hanger!

IMG_3929Kathy, the owner of Knitche, got this awesome shot of us all dyeing. I’m on the top left!


I am beyond thrilled with the result of my dyeing! The colors are just perfect. The yellows are very bright and so are the blues and when they come together they make this beautiful green. I can’t wait to knit something up with this. I had such a great time at this workshop that I think more dyeing might be in my future.

After learning about the acid dyes and how the process works I think I’m going to try and focus on natural dyeing. I have a garden and it would be so fun to make dyes out of what I can plant. Has anyone done any hand dyeing or have any tips about dyeing?