Sheepspot

product reviews

Suffolk Slippers

how to, product reviewsSasha TorresComment

Hi everyone! Danielle, here, back with another installment of knitting with Sheepspot yarn. This time, it’s a pair of slippers using Sasha’s Suffolk Worsted.
 
This yarn is bouncy and durable, and wears very well. I could tell right away from feeling the yarn in its skein that it would make excellent slippers. I’ve worn them most days since I finished them and they still look perfect! They’re very warm, and as you can see, extremely cute.
 
I used the Simple Garter Stitch Slippers pattern, which is a great (and free!) pattern by Hanna Leväniemi. I finished these in a couple of days of light knitting, but they could easily be finished in one day by a speedy knitter. It is truly a simple pattern, knit flat in garter stitch and then seamed together. If you don’t know how to crochet, don’t fret! On the last page of the pattern, Hanna shows you how to do the slip stitch seam, and this video is helpful for learning single crochet edging.

For my slippers I used a skein of the Crown Royal color, which are each one of a kind (OOAK) and look great with a white seam. For some other color combinations in Suffolk Worsted, here are some I quite like:

If you buy two skeins, you’ll be able to make coordinating adult slippers and have enough for some little ones as well (perfect if you know a baby or two). I hope you’ll pick up a skein or two and make yourself a pair of these slippers – they’re simply lovely.
 
Cheers, and happy knitting!

OMG: Lambing Live

product reviewsSasha TorresComment

I need to tell you, as a fellow sheep nut, about a BBC program called Lambing Live that I found on YouTube.

Lambing Live is just what the title would suggest. BBC Two airs it live, on five consecutive nights in the spring. Hosts Kate Humble (above) and Adam Henson cover a different shepherding family in each season. They film as many ewes lambing as they can, filling in the slow periods between births with background footage that they've shot during other crucial periods in the shepherding year (choosing rams, breeding—or "tupping", scanning the ewes with ultrasound to determine how many lambs they are carrying).

In short, Lambing Live is television for sheep nuts. I am completely hooked, and am working my way through the three available seasons. The seasons stop in 2014, but the three seasons on YouTube are just amazing and the lambs!

Now, before you get all excited, one caveat: the videos on YouTube are not high definition, which is a shame. But they are good enough to provide us sheep nuts with plenty of adorable lambs to squee over. 

If you'd like more information like this, along with sneak peeks at upcoming yarns and fibers, delivered right to your inbox each week, sign up here to get my newsletter! You can also opt-in to get my e-course on choosing and using breed-specific wools as a special thank you!

Product Review: Ply Magazine

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Oh boy. I may not have much time to spin, but I've been grabbing time to read about spinning every time I get a new issue of Ply. Have you subscribed yet? If not, run, do not walk, over to their website and do so. Really.

Full disclosure: two of my favorite people in the world, Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno, constitute the editorial board of Ply. And you know that I'm a huge fan of Jacey Boggs, the magazine's editor, as well as of her teaching, her writing and her fantastic if short-lived podcast, Insubordiknit. But really, the folks at Ply are bringing it. Ply is wonderful. Here are three reasons why: 

  1. Focus on intermediate and advanced spinners. Each issue looks at a single topic, like woolen spinning, or spinning for color, or silk, or plying in real depth, and each starts by assuming a reader who has some spinning experience. So the woolen issue assumes that its readers know what "woolen" means, what "worsted" means, and what the difference is. From that starting point, it looks at "woolen" a zillion different ways: Jacey, in an article called "Lying About Longdraw" shares how she "tricks" students in her classes into spinning long draw. Beth explores the elements of "true" woolen spinning—short fiber carded into rolags, spun long draw—but also talks a bit about her own journey from diehard worsted spinner to woolen aficionado. Amy Tyler writes about spinning lopi-style woolen yarns, Amelia Garripoli explains woolen spindle spinning, and Stephanie Gaustad describes double drafting. Also in this issue: James Perry on unsupported longdraw and Abby Franquemont on spinning from the fold. There are also articles by Esther Rodgers and Lacy Ziemkiewicz on preparing fiber for woolen spinning, and one by Jillian on nine ways to spin a batt. See what I mean? Real depth.
  2. New and diverse voices. Ply is doing a fantastic job bringing new voices into the conversation. I'm particularly delighted to see a regular column by ergonomist and spinner Carson Demers on the ergonomics of spinning; the "Tip Jar" feature, with quick tips from spinners on some aspect of the topic at hand; and archaelogist Christina Pappas' articles on spinning history. Two of the highlights of the color issue for me were articles by David Schultz of Southern Cross Fibre on choosing a color palette and Felicia Lo on combining colorways. As I recall none of these authors has yet been tapped by Spin-Off, and it's wonderful to hear from them.
  3. Debate, not orthodoxy. Because every issue of Ply is organized around a topic, with articles that approach that topic from many different angles, it masterfully avoids erecting or reinforcing spinning orthodoxies. As the list of articles in the woolen issue suggests, Ply is built on the notion that there are many different routes to making beautiful yarn. One of my favorite elements of Ply is "Hot Button," in which spinners debate something like predrafting. With opinions ranging from Michelle Boyd's "Predrafting is the devil," to Deb Menz's "I do what I need to do," the magazine manages to undo even the most doctrinaire positions by putting them into the context of a debate. Similarly, the magazine's "Stealth Reviews" section features three anonymous reviews of a single product. I suspect that anonymity makes it easier for them to say what they really think (ask me how I know), and, again, no one voice gets the last word.

I could list more reasons I love Ply: the lovely glossy paper, the highly illustrative photography, the diverse models that grace every issue, the truly lovely and inspiring projects. But the point is you just need to subscribe and join the conversation. As I said: run, do not walk.

If you'd like more information like this, along with sneak peeks at upcoming yarns and fibers, delivered right to your inbox each week, sign up here to get my newsletter! You can also opt-in to get my e-course on choosing and using breed-specific wools as a special thank you!

Product Review: The Lap Thing

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This month I'm reviewing the Lap Thing, a fantastic lap cloth for spinners made by Natasha Puffer and sold in her Etsy shop, FiberCatcher. The Lap Thing comes in lots of different lovely fabrics, but each one is completely reversible and has one dark side and one white side. The thoughtful design really lets you see the drafting zone as you spin no matter what color the fiber is. Even better, each side has a flap into which you can tuck all those little neps and bits of VM that you don't want to get into your yarn; when you're finished spinning for the day, just shake it out over a your trash bin and you're done. Very helpful if you have a cat who likes to patrol the floors for bits of fluff. Not that I know anything about that.

Each Lap Thing has two zippered pockets for tools, one on the dark side and one on the white one. Natasha does a beautiful job on them. They're really well made. If you're tired of having a lap covered with fiber and VM while you spin, I highly recommend that you check them out. While you're at FiberCatcher, have a look at her Carder Keepers as well. They're pieces of fabric that hold your carders teeth-side together.  I think they would be really useful for traveling or classes.

If you'd like more information like this, along with sneak peeks at upcoming yarns and fibers, delivered right to your inbox each week, sign up here to get my newsletter! You can also opt-in to get my e-course on choosing and using breed-specific wools as a special thank you!