Classes

Where I’ll Be

 

January 21-22, 2017

A Good Yarn

Sarasota, FL

 

February 18-19, 2017

Peachtree handspinners Guild

Atlanta, GA

 

March 13, 2017

Kalamazoo Weaver’s Guild

Kalamazoo MI

March 30 – April 2

Yarn Fest

Loveland, CO

 

April 25-29, 2017

Plyaway

Kansas City, MO

 

May 4-7, 2017

CNCH

Pacific Grove, CA

 

July 20-23, 2017

Midatlantic Fiber Association

Millersville University, PA

 

September 29- October 1, 2017

Webs

Northampton, MA

 

Classes I offer

This is not the full list. If you are interested in having me come to your shop, guild or festival please contact me for the current class list.

All in the Fleece [ 1 or 2 day – 2 day includes Fleecing]

Why would a spinner want to spin Southdown? What is the best way to prepare a Longwool for spinning? Why is Merino such a fussy fiber? This class demystifies the what, why and how of sheep breeds.breeds study1

Luxuriate in 12 (1 day) or 18 (2 day) different sheep breeds and learn how to choose the best breed for any project you have in mind. You’ll also learn the best preparation and spinning method for the type of yarn you want to make from the breed you choose.

We’ll start with an overview of sheep breeds and their 5 categories. Get your hands wet learning to wash raw wool to maintain the lock structure, washing lock by lock as well as washing in small batches.

Next, you will try a variety of processing tools – handcards, flick cards, combs and even just your hands, to learn which methods work best for which breed types.  Now it’s time to spin! We’ll use different spinning techniques, to create yarns for specific types of knitting and we’ll spin some weaving yarns. There will be lots time for you to experiment with different processing tools and spinning techniques, to see what works for you and your style of spinning.

When you finish with this class you’ll never look at a sheep breed the same way again!

2 day workshop includes theFleece buying class called Fleecing.

Please Bring: Hand Cards, Flick, Hand Held Combs (if you don’t have them a few will be available to lend) Spinning wheel in good working order or a spindle, pen, one empty bobbin, a lap cloth is useful for flicking.

Spinning Level: Students must be able to spin a continuous thread.

Maximum students: 20

 

Fleecing (3 hours)

How to buy a good fleece. It’s more than shoving and kicking. We won’t go over tackling in this class but we will learn how to select a fleece perfect for a project you have in mind. We’ll walk through the steps of choosing a sound fleece including a hearing test, considering lock length and a closer look for hidden problems. We’ll also learn what makes a superior fleece and fleece barn etiquette (no shoving). Then it’s off to the fleece barn for the hands on portion of the class, actual fleece shopping. SHOPPING!!! Come to class with a fleece worthy project in mind.

Come to class with a fleece worthy project in mind.

Please Bring: Note taking materials

Spinning Level: All levels20130911_115430

Maximum students: 20

 

Spinning So Fine! (6 hours)
Stuck in a rut with your yarns? This class will get you spinning finer than you ever thought possible! You will learn the mechanics of spinning fine yarn and the types of drafting methods that make spinning fine yarn easier. We’ll work with the finest of fibers like cashmere to wools you never would have thought of for fine yarn. You’ll also learn how different fiber preparations will give the great results for fine yarn, and how to best utilize those hand combs, hand cards and flick cards. You’ll go from spinning DK weight yarn to cobweb lace in no time at all.

Please Bring: A Spinning Wheel in good working order, hand held combs, flick and hand cards if you have them (Some tools will be available to share), note taking materials, small bags for extra fibers, hang tags for labeling. Please bring your wheel’s original flyer to use during class, Woolee Winders are not recommended for getting the most out of this class.

Spinning Level: Students must be able to spin a continuous thread.

Maximum students: 20

 

Spindle 101 –(3 hours)

Most knitters dream of the perfect yarn. We can’t always rely on manufacturers to make just what we want but we can learn to do it on our own! Using this simple little tool we’ll get you going on making your yarn dream come true.

We will learn about all the different spindle types and have an introduction to all kinds of wools. I will help you get the basics to figuring out how to make the yarn you want and then get you on to spinning your very own yarn.

Three hours is all you need to get you on your way and to give you the tools you need to get on the road to that perfect yarn. If you have already begun but feel like you need a little more help, please join us.

Please bring a spindle if you have one. Some will be available to use in class.248519163_b74c44702c

Spinning Level: All are welcome

Maximum Students: 15

 

Going Steady (3 hours)-

If you want more consistent yarns this is the class for you.  I will show you important tricks to spinning more consistent yarns. We will get hands on with some glorious fibers and explore how drafting, twist and ply effect a finished yarn and how to manage each one for a consistent yarn in grist and twist.

But it’s not just all class and learning.  You will have an opportunity to play “What Went Wrong” a spinners game that diagnoses the specific problems in finished yarns that aren’t quite right.

Please Bring: A spinning wheel in good working order, 3 empty bobbins, lazy kate, and note taking materials.

Spinning Level: Students must be able to spin a continuous thread.

Maximum students: 20

 

Colorwheel Carding
It’s all about getting the perfect color. We can do that simply with a little fiber and a pair of hand cards. We will begin with just the primary colors and black and white. We will learn how to adjust and blend just the right amount of these colors to make a wide range of colors for your projects. You will leave the class with more faith in your ability to use hand cards as well as a knowledge of how to blend colors consistently for even the largest of projects.

Students should bring a spinning wheel in good working order or a spindle, a pair of general purpose hand cards (72 up to 112 tpi) and a battery powered scale that can measure in 0.1 ounce quantities if you have one.

Maximum Students: 20color wheel

 

Caught in the Draft (3 hours)

Woolen? Worsted? Semi-woolen? What is it? How do you do it? What kind of yarn does it make? Can’t I just draft the same way I always do? This class will answer all of your questions and teach you a bunch of different drafting methods to expand your spinning horizons!

But it doesn’t stop there. We will discuss which drafting methods work best for different types of fiber and which method of drafting will give you the best type of yarn for your knitting or weaving project.

Get out of your drafting rut!

Please Bring: A spinning wheel in good working order, bobbins, note taking materials.

Spinning Level: Students must be able to make a continuous thread.

Maximum students: 20

 

Finish that Skein – 3 Hours

Do you spend time deciding what drafting and plying method you will use to get a specific yarn? Then do you use the same one finishing method you always do?

There are many ways to finish those freshly spun skeins. It can be a bit confusing and overwhelming deciding how to choose the finishing technique. Some finishing techniques work beautifully with certain spinning techniques to get exactly the yarn you want. At other times, that tried and true finishing method is not the best.

In this class I will teach you 4 different finishing method and talk about what the benefits and drawbacks are of each method.

I’ll show you how to choose which finishing method is best for the type of yarn and type of project you are spinning for. We’ll spin different yarn and different fibers and see what works beautifully and what doesn’t work at all.

You will leave this class with a new set of ideas and information about finishing your skeins.

Please Bring: Spinning Wheel in good working order, at least 3 bobbins, lazy kate, note taking materials.

Spinning Level: Must be able to spin a continuous thread.

Maximum students: 20

 

For the Love of Longwools – 3 Hours

The Longwools category of wool sometimes gets a bad rap. What do you think Masham or Lincoln or Wensleydale is good for? Many spinners will say it’s too scratchy and is really only good for upholstery or carpets.

It is good for both of those things if you spin it for those purposes BUT there is so much more to this category. It makes wonderful lace that really shows off all of those important holes. It is great for outerwear because it spins into a denser yarn that pills much less than other shorter stapled fibers.

This class will focus on the preparation and spinning 3 to 4 breeds with a 5”staple or longer .  We will learn how to get this fiber to do the things you want, including the secret to getting next-to-the-skin yarns from longwools. We will use commercially prepared fibers as well as prepare our own from washed fleece. By comparing and contrasting you’ll see what benefit there is to processing your own Longwool fleece and how bring out the best in these wools.

Please Bring: A spinning wheel in good working order or Spindle, hand held combs, note taking materials. A lap cloth is also helpful.

Spinning Level: Students must be able to spin a continuous thread.

Maximum students: 20

Getting Down with the Down (breeds) – 3 Hours

 When you hear Suffolk, Southdown or Clun Forest do you think about dinner or do you think about cushy, hard to felt handspun yarn?

I am convinced that the Down and Down Type breeds are the most underappreciated and misunderstood of fibers. Even sometimes the shepherds who raise these sheep are unaware of their fabulous powers of spring and loft. In this class we will deconstruct and demystify down and down-type fibers, through hand preparation and sample spinning.

The crimp is the place to start. That spiral crimp that keeps each fiber separated from the next is what makes this wool so fantastic. It is springy and bouncy and airy. It makes the warmest of cardigans and the squooshiest of socks. The natural resistance to felting is an added bonus.

Combs or cards? Washing in a huge batch or by the lock? Spinning worsted or woolen? What knitting stitches work best with these fibers? How should they be spun for weaving? We’ll answer all of these questions and find the gold hidden in these breeds.

Please Bring: A spinning wheel in good working order or Spindle, hand cards, note taking materials, hang tags for samples. If you have a flick and/or hand combs bring those too for experimenting.

Spinning Level: Students must be able to spin a continuous thread.

Maximum students: 20

 

Woolen vs Worsted Cagematch – 3 hours or 6 hours

Woolen and worsted are two simple words that are the core of spinning.  You see them used all the time.  Is it about the fiber preparation or the spinning style? There are so many different ways to look at woolen and worsted. Experts have been arguing for decades about the right and wrong of it.

In this class we will get right in there and explore woolen and worsted wool in both preparation methods and drafting methods. After we look at all the technicalities of the words we will break it down into methods that are easy to understand and then combine the techniques in different ways to get wonderful yarns that are perfect for any project you can imagine.

You will use hand combs, hand cards and flick cards to prepare several different wool breeds and see what happens when you follow the rules and when you learn how to break the rules for a specific effect.

We will spin processed top and roving to look at the differences between machine and hand processed fibers.

You will leave with a deeper understanding of what the words Woolen and Worsted mean in spinning and how those two small words can open up worlds of possibility with their spinning.

Please Bring: A spinning wheel in good working order, hand cards, hand combs, flick if you have them. A few will be available to lend in class, lap cloth, hang tags for labeling and note taking materials.

Spinning Level: Must be able to spin a continuous thread.

Maximum students: 20

 

Cormo In a Nutshell – 3 hrs

Cormo is a fine wool that can do surprising things. It can be a little scary for some spinners but once you learn its secrets you will find that you will want to surround yourself with this wool.

In this 3 hour class we will focus on the most worrisome parts of Cormo (as well as a lot of the very fine wools) which tend to be scouring and processing for best results. We will also practice spinning techniques to help get the yarn you want with a focus on bounciness and yarn thickness.

Students should be able to spin a consistent thread. You should bring a spinning wheel in good working order or a spindle and a flick carder. There will be a few flick carders available to share during class.

Maximum class size 20

 

Cormo: All you need to know – plus a little more – 6hr or 12 hr

If you can work with Cormo, you can work with any wool. So let’s focus a bit and find out what makes this wool so desireable. This class will take Cormo through its paces. We will talk about the breeds history, how to scour it without felting it all the while maintaining that lock structure to make the processing easier.

After the scouring we will flick, comb and hand card it to see what happens in the yarn with all of these different processing methods while we talk about how to choose and what projects all of these yarns would be wonderful for.

We will learn how to make yarns ranging from gossamer to bulky and how much twist is best for each yarn thickness. We will also discuss varying the twist amounts in the singles and the ply to play with bounce and elasticity a bit.

The single day class will be an overview of all of these things while in the 2 day class we will have more time to play and look at everything in depth.

Students should be able to spin a consistent thread.

Students should bring: A spinning wheel in good working order or a spindle, a flick, hand combs good for fine wools, medium or fine hand cards. If these tools aren’t in your collection a few will be available in class to share. Labels or tags for identifying sample skeins would also be useful.

Maximum class size: 20

 

Adding Speed to Your Wheel Spinning – 3 hrs

When beginning to spin for a project, I never start with speed, I begin with a good sample. After I have my sample and know where I’m going all bets are off. Join me to learn all of my little tricks to spin a little faster on your spinning wheel and quickly fill those bobbins for that yarn project you can’t wait to begin.

Students should be able to spin a consistent thread and have a spinning wheel in good working order. Please bring any faster whorls for your wheel if you have them.

Maximum class size 20

 

Spinning and Finishing Downy Luxury Fibers – 3hrs

Cashmere, Qiviut, Yak, Bison and others like them are the fibers from which dream projects are made of. They can seem a little daunting and they can be a little pricey. Come with me and touch and play with several of these fibers. We will learn the best ways to spin them and finish the yarns to get the most beautiful end results. Let me help you move past your fear of these fibers. We will look at how much twist they need to make a strong yarn, drafting methods that work best with these shorter stapled fibers, plying methods and how to get more bang for your buck and a surprising way to finish the yarns that brings out all of their glory.

Students should be able to spin a consistent thread and have a spinning wheel in good working order or a Spindle. Woolee Winders are not the best option for this class.

Maximum Class Size: 20

 

American Breeds (3 or 6 hours)
Better than hot dogs, baseball and apple pie. Fleece! Grown right here in the USA. As spinners we often think of Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand as the source of all things wooly. This class will look at breeds that were developed in the United States. That’s right, our very own American Pie Sheep. No, not sheep pie….just American grown fleece and you get to play with them!! These breeds range from next to skin soft all the way to best used only for carpets. All of them are fun to spin and all are extremely interesting to explore the history of what we have right here in the US.
Notes:

The 3 hr class will touch on just 4 breeds, the 6 hour class will include 10 breeds.

Students should be able to spin a consistent thread. This class is good for those who spin on a spindle or a spinning wheel.jacoblamb2

Maximum class size :20

Materials fee: $20 for 3 hr or $45 for 6 hr

 

Rare/Endangered Breed Study – 3hr or 6 hr

So many breeds of sheep (and other livestock too) seem to fall out of favor with the mills or the farmers. It happens for many reasons and most of them are financial. But these old breeds are the foundation of the modern day flocks that we have and so they are extremely important to protect. And the wool is good too. This class will explore a few of the sheep on the endangered breeds lists in both the US and in Great Britain. We will hold them and work with them and explore how valuable they truly are.

All of the breeds will be from fleece. In class we will card, comb and flick the fibers and see what kinds of yarns they want to be. Some hand tools will be available in class to share but if you have your own, please bring them along with a spinning wheel in good working order or a spindle.

Maximum Class Size: 20

 

3 hour Wool Study – 3 hr

Most people categorize wool into three or four or five categories. I like five. In this class we will look at one breed from each of the five categories and talk about why they are in that category. What makes each breeds wool different and how this can influence your decisions about how to spin them. We will talk about crimp, staple length, lock shape and more. This little bit of information can help you make good decisions about what kind of wool to choose for each project you are planning.

Students should be able to spin a consistent thread. Please bring a spinning wheel in good working order or a spindle for sampling. Also, please bring a flick carder. If you don’t have one, there will be a few to borrow during class.

Maximum Class Size: 20

 

Wheel Tuneup – 90 minute, 120 minute

Lots of us buy a spinning wheel and spin away not realizing that the spinning wheel needs regular maintenance if you want it to keep running smoothly for years and years – just like your car. Bring your spinning wheel and let me help you learn how to tighten, oil and grease your wheel until it feels like new. We will also talk about what parts may need to be replaced regularly and what parts to keep on hand in case of emergency.

Maximum class size 1520140312_114655

 

Wool Processing – Combing/Flicking 3 hr 6 hr

Worsted and very close to worsted yarn comes from combing and flicking wool. We will talk about which wool breeds and types love these processing methods, which may not respond well and how to decide. We will learn several methods for flicking and work on hand combing using Viking or mini combs. The 3 hour class will be technique focused while the 6 hour class will build on those techniques and we will spin some yarns from the wools we process to compare them and see what kinds of projects they might be best for.

Please bring to class combs and a flick. If you don’t have your own, a few will be available in class to borrow.

For the 6hr class students should bring a spinning wheel in good working order or a spindle in addition to the hand tools.

Maximum Class size: 20

 

Wool Processing – Carding with drum carder and hand cards 3hr or 6 hr

Is there really a difference between yarn spun from hand carded wool and yarn spun from wool that was processed on a drum carder? Let’s try things and see what happens.

In this 3 hour class we will focus on techniques of using these tools. How to get the best prep from each and how different methods of removing the wool from the carding cloth on both can offer different effects.

In the 6 hour class we will expand our knowledge and spin some of the preps we made and see up close and personal what the differences truly are in the final yarns.

3 hr – Students should bring hand cards and a drum carder if they have them. A few will be available in class to share for those who don’t yet have their own.

6hr – In addition to the tools listed above students should bring a spinning wheel in good working order or a spindle for sampling. Students in class should be able to spin a consistent thread.

Maximum Class Size: 20

 

Sampling Party – 90 minutes
Your knitting teacher will tell you to swatch, your weaving teacher will ask you to sample and your spinning teacher will tell you take your wool from yarn to fabric. It feels like such a waste of time when we just want to get to the fun part. Let me show you how to make sampling fun and the things you can learn just by taking that bit of extra time and fiber. We’ll also talk about making a sample library so that future sampling can be cut down as the same fibers are used again and again.

Students should bring note taking materials, a spinning wheel in good working order or a spindle.

Maximum class size: 20

 

Fastest Carder in the East – 90 minutes
Hand carding doesn’t have to be slow or laborous. I have taken all the classes and done research to narrow down a great and fast method. Just for you!!! This is my favorite method and now I can card fiber faster with my hand cards than I can using a drum carder. In this class we will focus on this method that has served me well over the years. You too can be fast with the hand cards.

Students should bring a pair of curved back hand carders. There will be a few available in class to lend if you don’t yet have your own.

Maximum Class Size: 20

 

Raw Wool Basics (2 hours)

You’re wooed by all those sexy fleeces right off the sheep. The smell entices you and they look so full of potential but you don’t want to make a mistake. That worry ends with this class. We will talk about what to look for, what to avoid, what you can sometimes overlook in an otherwise perfect fleece and how to know if the fleece in your hands is the perfect one for your project. But it’s not all talk. You’ll get to lay hands on some great fleece.

Maximum Class Size: 20

 

Long Draw for Beginners – 90 min

Long Draw can be a little scary if you’ve been working with short forward draw for a long time. We will talk about both long Draw and supported long draw as well as what fiber preps can help you or hold you back.

Students should be able to spin a consistent yarn using any drafting method.

Students should bring a spinning wheel in good working order.

Maximum Class Size: 20

 

Featured Breed Study (3 hours) –  [I will give you a list to choose from, or let me know what breed your guild is interested in and I’ll do my best to find the fleece]

Everything you want to know about [featured breed]! We’ll start with the basics the history, the lineage, the ins and outs of fiber – crimp, staple, and category. Then we’ll put our hands on it and comb, card and flick the locks to see what happens. Finally we’ll spin at least 9 different yarns from this one fiber, all along the way learning what it best used for.

Please Bring: a spinning wheel in good working order or a spindle, hand combs, flick, hand cards (if you don’t have these a few will be available to lend), note taking materials.

Spinning Level: Must be able to spin a consistent thread.

Maximum students: 20

2 Responses so far.

  1. […] Oh how I wish I had this book about 2 weeks ago before I ventured into the wooly world of fleece selection and preparation. Luckily I have discovered it as early as I did. The Spinner’s Book of Fleece by Beth Smith is like deep-diving into a breed study workshop.9If you’re lucky enough you could actually study with her in person.) […]