My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Other Spinning

Roseann asked via a comment on my last blog entry:
Any thing special going on your Gem? I hope it worked well for you on your trip!

Yes, my Gem worked very well for me last weekend — it came with me to Graves Mountain for my fiber weekend with L-B. I spun this:


It doesn’t look like a whole lot, but I’m very proud of it. It’s a 50/50 merino/tencel blend and the plied yarn totals about 60 yards. L-B got the roving from the very talented ladies at Blue Moon Fiber Arts and the colorway is called Hot Flash.


L-B told me beforehand she had procured some merino/tencel and I was dubious about my ability to spin such a soft, slippery fiber on my Gem, because I’m not as adept spinning on the Gem as my Lendrum. But the pointers Roseann gave me when she came over to play on the spinning wheels a few weeks ago have really helped me. I think the flyer with the regular orifice (which Roseann suggested might be helpful) has helped a lot too.

I am very happy to be able to make decent yarn on the Gem — it’s such a nice compact little wheel. Very easy to pick up and take on the road! This past weekend I just popped her in the back seat of my car and put the seatbelt on her — didn’t even bother to fold her up and put her in her case.

Astabeth asked:
How do you determine yardage? I would like to eventually buy a yarn balance, but I don’t think my spinning is even enough yet for it to work.

I use a niddy-noddy — I actually have two of them. (My spinning isn’t even enough for an accurate measure on a yarn balance either!) You wind the yarn on it and then count how many strands in each skein you wind. I have a small niddy noddy that makes a 30″ skein, and a large one that makes a 70″ skein. You multiply the number of strands in your skein by either 30 or 70 (depending on which niddy-noddy you are using) and then divide by 36 to determine the number of yards. I always subtract a couple of yards from the final total so that I have my skein slightly underestimated.


I spun up another Blue Moon roving:


This is 50/50 silk and superfine merino and the colorway is called Alina. Here are the singles:


And here it is plied:


It’s a 2.5 ounce skein, 164 yards. The colors remind me of a stained glass window.


It’s a dark and rainy day, so not a great day for photo-taking. But here’s the front of Elizabeth I, fresh off the needles.


And here is my knitting supervisor:


Pssst! Look over in the sidebar at the donations so far for our Heifer project. Woot!


  1. Your spinning looks lovely! I love the front of the Elizabeth I. I can’t wait to see it put together and I hope I get to see how it fits. I think it will be just gorgeous.

  2. Hey Wendy- is it possible to donate in someone else’s name? (i.e. I donate, but the name/email that goes into the drawings belongs to a different knitter…)


  3. Niddy noddies work great for me too. I am one of Nature’s natural counters (I count EVERYTHING), so it’s not really hard to count wraps on my niddies. I prefer a 2-yard niddy. I have a couple of hefty old Reeves (I think) niddies that work great for me.

  4. I just have to know!!!

    How many hours a day do you knit?

    I am amazed at your productivity!!!

  5. Those colors remind me of stained glass windows too, I really like it!!! I just finished plying for the first time ever on a wheel myself. It was so much fun!

  6. I love that yarn that you spun up… reminds me of the loveliness you see in the Trekking XXL.

  7. please educate us newbies about spinning. what is the difference in a single and plies? thanks!
    enjoy your site and learn a lot here. experience is the best teacher…

  8. A stained glass window… that’s a perfect description.

    Any plans for another book????

  9. Nice spinning, there! I’ve been getting used to my Gem, too . . . it really does have a completely different feel from the Lendrum, but I LOVE its portability! I don’t mind the Delta orifice, though . . .

  10. I love the look of the ‘stained glass’ yarn. Do you have any plans for it?

    Also, that has got to be the most adorable picture of Lucy that I’ve ever seen!

  11. I am thrilled at your Gem success!!! You have made such beautiful yarn and are clearly getting along very well with your wheel, I just couldn’t be happier. I spindle spun some of the Guanaco you shared with me, and as Cartman would say, “Sweeeet!”

  12. I’m curious…Is there someplace a person could buy the Elizabeth I pattern? I checked and the Tudor Roses book (if you can get it) is about $115. A little rich for my tastes.

  13. To Judy in MN – Tudor Roses is available right now on the Destash blog for $105 if you hurry.

    LOVE the spinning Wendy! Does the silk content make the yarn more drapey than 100% wool? I haven’t spun with silk yet.

  14. gorgeous yarn you spun there…it comes off as very shadowy, i like that. correct me if i’m wrong, but it seems you are a fellow VA knitter? (Graves Mt. gave you away, I love that place) Also, beautiful cat, btw.

  15. I love the silk/merino blend. The colors are wonderful. Do you have anything in mind for the yarn? I love discovering the results of spinning intensely colored roving or top. Sometimes I don’t like the yarn but magically it turns out when knitted up.

  16. I really love the yarn you spun in the Alina colorway. It does look a bit like stained glass.

  17. Louise in Maryland says:

    Love the Alina. I have a skein of the lightweight yarn in the same colorway – it looks very different spun and plied from the painted roving. I played arouind a little with a drop spindle many years ago and out it down, but now with all the cool roving available I might take the plunge.

  18. Wendy your stained glass yarn is beautiful! Where did you get the roving? I looked online and I can’t find any Blue Moon roving anywhere… ๐Ÿ™

  19. Your yarn looks beautiful. It was fun to read some spinning content today since I just started learning a couple of weeks ago. Did you find it hard to ply at first when you were learning. I did it for the first time this weekend, and it did not come naturally! Do you have any tips that make it easier to keep the tension on the singles while plying? Please tell me that it takes some time before that yarn starts looking as good as yours! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Gorgeous!

  21. Oh your right, the spinning looks like a stained glass window. It reminds me of this window my grandmother did of a view over a lake with a bridge and a sunrise in the back. All the same colors! Thanks for the memory.

  22. I am not worthy! Just looking at your completed work list for 2006 makes me hyperventilate. Do you ever sleep?

    I LOVE the Elizabeth I sweater. I’m going to have to add the Tudor book to my Starmore collection if it can be made in my size (tres grande).

    Thanks for inspiring (and chastening)us all.


  23. Beautiful spinning! I love all those barber poley bits. Really lush! What are you going to make with it????

  24. The yarn you spun up is gorgeous — beautiful colors!

  25. I need help, and as your my personal authority on my favorite thing to do, maybe you’ve got some idea. I cannot crochet – at all. Well, a simple chain, with difficulty. Must be a lefty thing. Anyway, I make a beautiful Irish-stich & cable afghan, knit in strips & sewn together. An elderly neighbor, who gave me the pattern, used to crochet around it and do something beautiful at each end for fringe. Alas, she’s dead. And I don’t have one of her afghans to show anyone else! So I have to come up with a finishing technique myself. Please advise me – I’ve got 3 finished afghans with no border!