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A fibre-filled day….is a good day!

Today I am juggling a few fibre balls in the air. There is: a shawl soaking so I can block it, I have started scouring skeins of bare yarn for the workshop I am teaching at Kalamalka Guild in September (I need 1080 grams, so I start well ahead of time) and I just finished plying some high twist yarn for a friend who is experimenting for a collapsed weave project.

Scouring non-superwash wool
Painters tape at 12 o’clock indicates the yarn is pre-soaking before scouring.

I thought this tip might prove handy for those of you, who like me, do a lot of dyeing during the summer months. The painters tape at 12 o’clock, tells me at a glance that the yarn is pre-soaking before it is scoured. When I finish the pre-soak, I turn the lid so the tape sits at 3 o’clock to indicate I am bringing the yarn up to my target temperature. Then once my target temperature is reached, I turn the lid so the tape sits at 6 o’clock and I set the timer for the allotted scouring time. Why do I bother with this mind jogger? Because it allows me to process four pots at once and know at a glance where I am at with each one.

The yarn I am scouring is 100% non-superwash wool. I pre-soak 100g of wool yarn for a minimum of 45 minutes in about 6 litres of water to which I have added 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of a neutral detergent (the amount depends upon how much spinning oil there seems to be in the yarn). I bring the pot up to a target temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit over 40 minutes and then keep it at the target temperature for 1 hour. The yarn is allowed to cool down to 120 degrees, before it is transferred to a pot of clear rinse water which is also 120 degrees. Once the rinse water is completely cooled, I remove the yarn and lay it out to dry.

Happy dyeing all! Now I must get to my spinning wheel to test some fibre for a project I have in mind…..

3 Spots Left – Sanjo Silk Spinning Workshop

On my wheel this evening. Mulberry Silk / Bombyx 50/50 Blend

I am teaching a Mulberry silk spinning workshop, April 28, 2019 at Sanjo Silk on Granville Island. If you have been tempted at all, there are three spots left. Details and a link to Eventbrite can be found under the Upcoming Workshops Tab. Look forward to seeing you there!

Cheers, Kim


Rainbow Shawls

Continued from last post……

To lend visual interest, the body of the shawl alternates between stockinette and garter stitch. The edging, a natural-coloured 2 ply handspun, is knit in an interrupted rib stitch which I think works nicely to emulate a mineral, known as Gypsum Flowers or Ram’s Horn. As I knit the shawl, I had a glimmer of an idea; a shawl design which would put small 10-20 gram skeins of nature dyed yarns to good use.

As I knit the third sample shawl, a memory from my childhood I had all but forgotten was awakened. I was reminded of the mittens my grandmother used to knit for us. Every winter each of us girls were treated to a brand new pair of rainbow coloured mittens, complete with “idiot strings”. They were knit from leftover bits and bobs, but somehow the colours always looked great together. 


A glimmer of an idea, and four shawls later, I think I have come up with a design template.

The shawls seen here were knit using commercially spun and dyed yarn to test the same basic design, in different colourways.

Hand spun/hand dyed versions will follow once we return to B.C. and I have my dyepots and wheel back in action.

Following Glimmers of Inspiration……

It is always so interesting to see where one wee twinkle of an idea can lead us.  As I set up for one of my workshops last year, I took a hat box filled to the brim with nature dyed sample skeins and spilled them all out onto the table.

The intent was to inspire; to help students appreciate the potential in those sprays of leafy branches and bouquets of flowers waiting to be dyed on the table before them. To give them a sense of some the beautiful, rich colours to be coaxed from nature’s bounty. 


Looking out over the table I noticed three distinct divisions of colour. There were: soft neutrals that went beautifully with the greens; a band of yellows and yellow golds that complimented the greys; and a vibrant series of reds, oranges and pinks. The jumble of a hundred plus 10 gram skeins morphed; distilling into three colourways and better yet, three potential projects.

Here is a photo of the first project. In the next few posts I will share the glimmers of inspiration the colours aroused, the steps I was compelled to take and where this simple shawl has led me.

Gypsum flowers and Lilac blossoms.

Harmony Cashmere


Harmony Cashmere

I showed great restraint this year at Fibres West and limited myself to two purchases. Here is the first – 56 grams of 100% Canadian Cashmere cloud from Heide at Harmony Cashmere. I have never been happy with my spinning of cashmere and decided this is the year to return to this gorgeous fibre to see what I can do. I spent yesterday and this morning exploring which fibre prep and spinning draft works best for me. In the end I decided to use my Schacht 208 cotton cards, a worsted backward draft and I am finally in my happy place with cashmere.

The four main things I have done differently this time around:

  1. Taking Heide’s suggestion to heart, I have not treated the cashmere with kid gloves. Her advice “Pretend you are spinning dryer lint.” Mighty fine dryer lint I must say; but shifting my attitude helped reduce the fear factor of ruining something precious, to go with my gut and try a different fibre preparation technique.  Although I am using the cotton cards for the fibre preparation, I am not making puni-type rolags. Instead, I am pulling the fibre off the cards in a worsted fashion.
  2. I am spinning the wee sliver using a backward worsted draft instead of the woollen draft I used the last time around.
  3. Again led by Heide….I am adding way more twist that I ever thought the cashmere could handle.
  4. And last but not least, I keep reminding myself to think tiny movements with a delicate touch. This helps me to bring my spinning skills down to a miniature level if you will and to use a lighter touch than normal.

I will let you know how I fair after the cashmere singles are spun, plied and finished. It may take me a while mind you…a little cashmere goes a very long way!

Cheers all, Kim

PS A few more photos for you to enjoy!

Cashmere cloud before a bit of dehairing.

Small sliver prep’d on handcards ready for spinning.

The beginnings of some finely spun cashmere singles.

For Edith

December 9th

Two photos for you….. and a bit more of a description of my dizing process.  First, I divide the roving lengthwise into 4 pieces.  Next, I tie a loose knot on the end of one of the quarters and then diz my way to the other end.  While dizing I allow the dized roving to loosely pile up in bowl #1.  Then the roving is transferred to bowl #2 and arranged so that the last bit dized is at the bottom and  the knotted end on top ready to spin from.   I lay the knotted ends over the edge of the bowl clockwise to make it easier to find those wispy ends.

Bowl #2 with roving ready to spin

Bowl #2 with roving ready to spin

And here is a close up of the first skein of Shetland……..enjoy!

Freshly spun Shetland

Freshly plied Shetland

Shetland Handspun

December 8, 2014

IMG_2267I am spinning some beautiful Shetland roving purchased earlier in the year from Penelope Fibre Arts.  I enjoy spinning from a thinner roving which I prepare using a metal diz I received as a gift many years ago.  As I was dizing away, I got to thinking about how it would be nice if I could find an affordable alternative to the metal diz I owned.  Then I could have more dizes on hand for students.  Hmmmm….I considered the many ordinary things around the house and then wondered if a sewing bobbin might do the trick……turns out I like the end result even better.    After a bit of experimenting I have found metal sewing bobbins work well with thicker fibres such as Shetland, Romney, Blue faced Leceister and plastic sewing bobbins are better for finer fibres such as merino….and the best part…very affordable at about 50 cents each.



Here is a photo of the Shetland handspun thus far.  It goes into the mordanting pot tomorrow so I can capture some winter (nature dyed) colours over the weekend.

Cheers all!





Knit City 2014

October 3rd

knit city cover

Kislan of Kinfolk Yarn and Fibre just sent me a photo of the yarn she spun and her source of inspiration for her new colourway “Grouse Mountain Sunset”.

Kislan dyed this colourway especially for our Knit City workshop this coming weekend…..”Spinning Fat Singles“.

Absolutely gorgeous….so looking forward to working with her beautifully hand dyed rovings.  Thanks Kislan!

Knit City 2014

 May 16, 2014

Knit City will be here before you know it.  They have listed this year’s instructors on their website and will soon be announcing their classes.  If you want to see some of the fun activities planned for this year, check out Knit City’s blog here

To learn more about the yarn bombing event they have planned for the PNE in August or if you are intersted in attending some of the knit-ins planned around town check out  The first event is a knit-in May 31st from 6:30 – 9:30 pm hosted by our LYS, 88 Stitches in Langley.

Edenvale Knitting & Spinning Retreat

August 1 – 3rd, 2014

I thought I would pass along information for this retreat.  The retreat package includes all meals, shared accommodation and 10 hours of instruction.  Also included is a wine and cheese meet and greet, goody bags, gift exchange, show and tell and lots of fibre and yarn to tempt you from Penelope Fibre Arts on-site shop.  The cost is $395 per person.   A $50 deposit is due now to hold your spot and full payment required by May 30th, 2014.  The cost of supplies will be announced shortly and are expected to come in around the $85 range.

Below are further details regarding the retreat.  To reserve your spot call 778.292-1282.

Hope to see you there!