Kim's Blog

Archive for Workshops

Question #1

Why does my freshly washed fleece still feel tacky?

More often than not a freshly scoured fleece that feels tacky is the result of:

Polworth Fleece. Scoured and ready to comb.

  • Water being too cool to remove all the grease.
  • Not using enough of a neutral pH soap.
  • The soap you are using is not very effective on grease removal.
  • The fleece has been allowed to cool down in water that still contains some grease.

When scouring remember different fleeces contain different amounts of “grease” and they cannot all be scoured the same way. What works with one breed may not work with another. It is best to sample before embarking on scouring a whole fleece.

I will post some thoughts/answers to the above bulleted points in my next post.

Until then, take good care and happy spinning.

Cheers, Kim

Questions I am Often Asked

As I prepare for workshops over the coming year, I have been thinking about those questions most often asked by students. Hopefully some of their questions and my thoughts/answers will be of interest to you too over the next few posts.

Cheers, Kim

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


ANWG 2019, Prince George

Confluences Conference : June 11-16, 2019

On-line Registration begins on January 27, 2019 at 9 am PST

The Prince George Fibre Arts Guild is hosting the 2019 ANWG Conference. I have posted the list of the seminars as well as a description of the Distaff workshop I will be leading under my “Upcoming Workshops” tab.

Further information regarding: the Conference Theme, the Event Schedule, Design Challenges, Conference Colours, Instructors’ Bios and last but not least and a full list of the workshops and seminars being offered can be found here.

The Conference is being held in Prince George’s downtown core. So as well as conference activities, shopping, the museum and some great dining can be found close by.

Look forward to seeing you there! Cheers, Kim

Spinning Record Cards

My system for record keeping has morphed over the years to the system described in my September 2 and December 1 posts. Having the luxury of time over the next while, I decided to replace the older Spinning Record Sheet under the Downloads tab with the Spinning Record Card (SRC) I currently use for my own FO’s.

I keep my records in a binder, but the sheet, which displays 2 records per page, could also be cut in half and filed in a box.

I like information that can be picked out at a glance. Here are a few notes to explain how I use these cards.

  • Ratio ____ LMS. My Majacraft wheel has three whorls. Instead of recording the ratio, I highlight which whorl is presently on the wheel. One of my last spins was Gotland for a shawl that will soon be on my needles. I highlighted M and on the adjacent line wrote 4/4. “M” indicates my medium-sized whorl and 4/4 tells me that my drive band was sitting on the fourth groves; both on the medium whorl above and on the drive wheel below.
  • Fibre Prep, Draft Twist, S/Z: A simple stroke of a a highlighter records my information.
  • Folded TPI and WPI: This is where I record the tpi and wpi of the folded sample taken from the bobbin side of the orifice (see December 1st post).
  • Finished TPI and WPI: This is where I record the tpi and wpi of my handspun after it has been finished.
  • Dashed Cyan Circle: Records my spinning project number. My last handspun FO for example is #18-3.
  • I attach plying and finished yarn samples to my SRC (see December 1st post)
  • and last, but not least, I staple my Sample Card (see September 2nd post) to the back of my SRC.

I hope these cards prove as useful to you as they are for me.

Cheers, Kim



This year I will be leading two workshops at SANJO SILK Ltd., 1531 Johnston Street, Granville Island, Vancouver, B.C.
Each one-day workshop is limited to 6 students.
The registration fees are: $120 for one workshop or $215 for both workshops. The registration fee for each workshop includes 150 grams of fibre, a full set of comprehensive notes as well as a binder for notes and samples.
Expanded workshop descriptions may be found under Claddagh Fibre Arts “Upcoming Workshops” tab.  

You can register through Eventbrite. Links can be found under “Upcoming Workshops”. 

April 28th : Mulberry Silk

This workshop  explores mulberry silk and the host of spinning preparations available to hand spinners. Over the course of the day you will have the pleasure of working with Mawata silk, spun silk, silk sliver, silk oil and a few of my favourite mulberry silk blends available from SANJO SILK’ s Studio.

September 8 : Non-mulberry Silk

I will introduce you to the world of non-mulberry silks. In this workshop you will spin exotic silk fibres such as Chinese tussah, Indian Tasar, Eri, Muga, Indian peduncle silk and some of their blends.


Upcoming Workshops 2019

Spinning and Dyeing workshops I am teaching in 2019 are now posted on my “Upcoming Workshops” page. Looking forward to another great year!

Nature Dyeing with Kim McKenna

June 20th, 2014

This workshop takes place Wednesday and Thursday (August 13 & 14) from 2 – 4:30 pm each day at the Surrey Museum in Cloverdale.

Description:  During the course of our exploration into the extraction of colour from plant materials we will work only with safe, non-toxic, eco-friendly mordanting and dyeing procedures.  You will be taught how to prepare and use mordants as well as how to garner a variety of beautiful colours from roots, wood chips, leaves, bark and seeds.  We will work with some historically significant plant materials such as madder and logwood as well as with plant materials found in: our own kitchens, gardens, fields and forests.

Thanks to those of you who let me know you were having a few problems navigating the Museum website to register.  Hopefully this helps.

Goggle Surrey Museum.  Then on the right hand side of the first page you will see the heading Surrey Museum and under that click on Textile Programs.  On the following page under Museum Textile Programs click on Summer 2014 Textile Programs.  On the new page under the search function enter the program number…….4366370.  This takes you the Museum workshop info which includes description, date, time, cost……and when you press the green button that says “my cart”….you will be directed to the page where you can register.  

Failing this you can always phone the Surrey Museum at 604.592-6956 to register.  


Nature Dyeing Workshop

June 16th, 2014

Jan Tuytel's White Irises
Jan Tuytel’s White Irises


If you are interested in exploring nature dyes, I will be teaching a Nature Dyeing Workshop August 13 – 14 from 2 – 4:30 pm through the Surrey Museum in Cloverdale, B.C.

To register go to the Surrey Museum website or call tel:(604)592-6956 to inquire about program #4366370.

Fibres West – 2014

February 13, 2014

White and Red Eri  Cocoons

White and Red Eri Silk Cocoons

The Seduction of Silk  – March 21   8:30 – 12:30 pm

Warning:  Silk spinning is highly addictive!   Handspun silk yarns are soft, lustrous and have incredible drape.  In this 4 hour workshop you will spin silk fibre preparations from both mulberry and non-mulberry silks.  Mulberry silk, also known as cultivated or domesticated silk, is a beautiful fine creamy white silk.  In this workshop you will work with two forms of mulberry silk, A1 sliver and mawata silk hankies.

The three non-mulberry silks, also referred to as wild silks, provided for this workshop offer the handspinner an eclectic array of texture, hand and colour.  You will work with silky tawny coloured tussah sliver from the Chinese Oak silk moth, golden strands of silk from the muga silk moth and fine soft white silk from the eri silk moth.  The workshop will wrap up with a review on plying, finishing and dyeing of handspun silk yarns.

“Spinning Fat Singles”  –  March 22   1:30 – 5:30 pm

Fat Singles  Hand dyed/Hand spun by Kislan Coderre

Fat Singles
Hand dyed/Hand spun by Kislan Coderre

I have the pleasure of co-facilitating this workshop with the talented Kislan Coderre of Kinfolk Yarn & Fibre. 

Learn to spin hand dyed rovings into thick, squishy, soft, fat singles yarns.  Fat singles not only spin and knit up quickly, they are a great way to showcase multi-coloured rovings. You’ll start the day spinning with natural coloured rovings while you learn a few simple techniques.  Once you have mastered the basics, you will move on to the “good stuff”……Kislan’s special edition colourway.  This colourway was developed to celebrate Fibres West and reflects the colour trends forecast for 2014.  The workshop will wrap up with a demonstration of finishing techniques and a discussion regarding practical uses for fat singles yarns.Students will leave with handouts, samples for future reference and their own hand spun skein of fat singles which they will “finish” at home.

Students should be able to spin a continuous singles yarn and have a working knowledge of the operation of their wheels.


To check out the great line up of instructors, interesting workshops and vendors at the 2014 Fibres West Conference….go to