Friday, March 27, 2015

Spinning class in Sweden are here!

I'm heading to Sweden in late April to see the country and spend time with friends. I'm also offering two spinning classes on May 2 at my friends sheep farm. We're planning to have a very busy and fun day playing with techniques and hard-to-find wools. I'm really looking forward to meeting new spinners, and especially to meeting the new lambs that are arriving daily.

(For my English-speaking friends, fika is coffee and cookies--chocolate chip and Oreo cookies specifically!).

Expand Your Drafting Skills for Spinners
When you learned to spin, you drew out your wool in a certain way. And you are probably still using the same drafting technique. Did you know that there are several ways to handle your wool when spinning? In this class you will learn the best way to spin a combed top for making worsted yarns for long-wearing garments, and how to spin rolags and clouds for making woolen yarns to use for warm mittens and hats. This workshop will cover 5 different drafting techniques.

8:30-10:00am                After a brief introduction we start learning two worsted drafting techniques.

10:00-10:30am              Fika and a chance to stretch your tired hands

10:30-12:00pm              We will work on three woolen drafting techniques.

Limited to 5 students who know how to spin on a wheel or spindle. The teacher will be providing clean colored wool and a pair of handcards. If you have handcards or a blending board, feel free to bring them to class. A spinning wheel or spindle in working order is required; you may want to bring a spare drive band, oil for the wheel, extra bobbins, a niddy noddy or nostepinde for storing yarn.

Date:           May 2, 2015

Time:           8:30am-12:00pm

Location:      Ulvsbo, Sjuntorp

Cost:           885 SEK

Sheep Breed Tasting for Spinners

Looking at online shops to buy a fleece and don’t know what you’ll be getting? Visiting a fiber festival or local farm and puzzled by the selection of wool available? You should have a working knowledge of how to choose the proper wool for your project, and be comfortable spinning it into the best yarn for the job. This workshop will cover 6 breeds from several categories of wool—English Leicester* (longwool), Debouillet* (fine wool), California Red* (medium wool), Black Welsh Mountain lamb* (coarse wool), Icelandic (double-coated) and Suffolk (Down)—and give tips on the best uses for each type.
*Conservation breeds, meaning that the number of sheep has dropped below an acceptable limit.
1:00-2:30pm                  After a brief introduction we start sampling the first three breeds.

2:30-3:00pm                  Fika and a chance to stretch your tired hands

3:00-4:30pm                  We work on the last three breeds.

Limited to 5 students who know how to spin on a wheel or spindle. The teacher will be providing clean fleece, one pair of handcards and one pair of minicombs. If you have handcards or wool combs, feel free to bring them to class. A spinning wheel or spindle in working order is required; you may want to bring a spare drive band, oil for the wheel, extra bobbins, a niddy noddy or nostepinde for storing yarn.

Date:           May 2, 2015

Time:           1:00pm to 4:30pm

Location:     Ulvsbo, Sjuntorp

Cost:           1,050 SEK

Preregistration and payment is required—register for BOTH workshops at the same time and receive a 10% discount on the total cost! Invoicing and payments will be through Paypal, where you can use your credit card if you want. Contact Carol at carol_mcfadden (at) for registration or if you have any questions about the workshop. For questions about the workshop location, contact Elin Dahllov at [elin (at)].


About The Instructor  

Carol McFadden of Feistywoman Designs is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Having learned embroidery, knitting and crochet at Grandma’s knee when she was six years old, she has never been very far from fiber no matter what job she’s held. Carol learned weaving and spinning almost 40 years ago, holds a University degree in Studio Art, co-owned a weaving shop, became a production weaver for a bit, co-chaired a conference fashion show, has earned awards for her spinning and weaving, taught fiber classes, sold her handwovens commercially, and sold handknit accessories, handspun yarn and fiber in an Etsy shop. She has several patterns on Ravelry as Feistywoman Designs, does a bit of writing and designing for Yarnmaker and PLY magazines. But her focus these days is on following my creative muse, playing with color and fiber, and enabling others to do the same.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Not really a blog post, but....

I'm traveling again and was on the road Thursday-Saturday. Sunday was a hike in the woods and relaxing with Husbeast. So here I am on Monday morning, caffeinated, exercised and writing my little fingers off (I have a magazine article due soon).

This is what I drove through in West Virginia--almost the entire length of the state--on Thursday morning. These were the better stretches, I didn't dare try to hold my phone in the dense fog areas.

Saturday evening we hit the local nursery for some supplies, then went to dinner with a couple who are good friends. Sunday, after the hike at Crowder Mountain, we got our hands in the dirt and filled the window boxes and planters with color. It must be spring if Husbeast and I have to dig in dirt?

Till next week...... be good, spin a bunch of yarn and knit till you drop!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Getting ready for Sweden and Hats! Hats! Hats!

I'll be teaching two workshops in Sweden this spring--one on different drafting techniques and one breeds tasting. I've been researching and writing the handouts off-and-on for a month! For the breeds tasting, I'm taking six different breeds, 2 oz. samples of each, for the students to play with. I have spent a good part of today packaging up the six breeds, labeling them, printing out the handouts, tucking in some labels and ribbon for identifying each spun sample--and stuffing all that in big plastic Ziploc bags so each student has a nice packet. For the drafting class I need to prepare rolags, batts and clouds and grab some combed top for each student. But that will happen another day. Then there's the cards, combs and flick carders to pack. Oh! and the chocolate chip cookies I'm taking for fika (coffee break). Hopefully, my host and hostess won't get into the cookies before class (you know you want to!). There has been a lot of other prep work on the part of my hostess and myself, little things like deciding which day and time is best for classes and arranging lunch and registration details. It's been a while since I've done workshops and it has slipped my mind how much prep work they require, but it reminds me to appreciate all those teachers who took the time to prepare materials and themselves for a class, ship equipment for students to use, provide the best of supplies for us to use, and take care of the myriad little things. Thank you!

In my spare time--HaHa!--I've been raiding my handspun stash and knitting hats while I binge-watch British TV series. As an aside, watching these shows is awful if you're a knitter because I want All. The. Sweaters!

These are the wool/silk/alpaca/whatever beanies:

Wool pillbox hats:

And three hats that can be worn as slouchy hats or turn up the brim and wear as a tossle cap:

There's still a TON of handspun yarn in the studio, so I'm sure more hats are in my future as long as the British costume dramas continue. Season 5 of Downton Abbey just arrived in my mailbox  <squee>.