Fiber Research

Mystery Yarn

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Trailing behind a friend in a big box craft store (not my yarn place) I couldn’t resist this bag of mystery yarn.

Bargain Yarn Fiber Unknown
Bargain Yarn Fiber Unknown

Thought it would come in hand for some baby project. So why not make it a teachable moment.  I don’t know the fiber or the weight of the yarn.  I am going start with the weight by using the wpi (wraps per inch) to decide the weight (thickness) of the yarn.

WPI's to determine yarn weight
WPI’s to determine yarn weight

So the wrapping and measuring was a bit tricky. The wraps can’t be too loose or to tight. Hmn. Anyway by my calculation the yarn is DK weight. Which is what I thought by sight. Next I will decide the fiber.


Saturday Research —

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There are so many terms to learn when you knit and crochet. Most you won’t learn until you need them.  I have suggested this before but I think it’s worth mentioning again, if you need help with basic stitches and abbreviations visit

One of the things that drive me crazy is when a pattern says M1 and  doesn’t specify which type of increase should be used here. says:

“Make 1. This means to increase a stitch. If the method isn’t specified, use whichever increase you like, for instance M1F.” – See more at:

Just one bit of great advice, they have tons. They also include crochet terms and advice. Visit the next time you have a question.

How Much Should I Spend On Yarn?

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There are people who for the length and breadth of their career will only buy yarn at big box stores. If the yarn is over $4.00 a skein they don’t want to know anything about it. Some of my crochet buddies think I’m a yarn snob or just plain foolish because I will spend considerably more on a nice quality yarn.

I remember my early projects and honestly using a $15.00 hank of nice wool to make a scarf with lots of holes (not intentional) and other glaring imperfections doesn’t make sense to me. I believe that it’s okay to experiment with the cheaper stuff. Once however you begin to make garments or accessories for yourself or for family members begin to spend a bit more money for your yarn.  There are a variety of online sources where you can find intermediate yarns that can take you to the next level. Later you can buy from a  LYS (local yarn stores) like KnitKnack  in Maplewood, New Jersey where I buy my yarn. They  carry yarns of varying prices and as well as being able to see the beautiful yarns I get advice and instruction from the owner.

You will eventually want to show off your skill and nothing makes the point like a nice fabric made from a beautiful good quality yarn.


How To Card Wool

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In my Sheep to Felt series I talked about carding fiber for spinning and making felt. I didn’t think it was a skill that I needed since I don’t intend to spin my own fiber into yarn. However, since that I decided that given the opportunity to buy fiber directly from farm/ranch, I just might need this skill. So the other day I received an email from Spinning Daily and they are selling a video on how to card wool. I think it may be worth it to get this video. It’s $19.95 and be purchased from their website. I am adding it to my short list.

Felting? Well sort of.

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Okay I am still learning to make felt and I still haven’t had the opportunity to take a class from a “professional” yet. So today I used my Alpaca from North Star Alpaca. I added some embellishments with felt I purchased from one of the big “arts & crafts” stores. The Alpaca felted like a dream! It was like magic. The little designs however really didn’t adhere to the main bag. I tried to put them on at the beginning of the process and took them off. I put them on after the main fabric began to felt. Some of them felted some didn’t.

small felted pouch

Then I made a jelly roll with multiple layers of wool felt and the alpaca. Ultimately I am going to cut it into circles and maybe make jewelry, I’m not sure.

okay so it looks more like a felted snake

Anyway baby steps at this time. I will continue to experiment on my own and I am hoping to take a class soon. I will be ordering more Alpaca in the near future.

Monday A Fiber Diet

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I am so excited. I received my first order of Alpaca fiber today. I ordered it from Maple at North Star Alpacas.  The package was waiting for me when I came home this evening and I can’t wait to do something with it. The package smelled good and the natural colors of the fiber have me thinking of things to do. Much more to follow!

Cute label on my package from North Star Alpaca
My Alpaca fiber sampler bag

Saturday Research Felted Soap

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For the last few Saturdays I have talked about the process of taking wool from sheep to felt. We have covered some of the basics  of cleaning and combing the fibers. I will get back to some of the basic information but today I want to talk about felting soap. This is supposed to be a simple project that gives you a bar of soap encased in a scrubby. Great for dirty hands or for exfoliating other areas of the body. All of the things that I’ve read say that the wool will continue to felt as you run the bar of soap through hot water. When the soap is used up you can keep the little scrubby for personal or cleaning use. Halcyon Yarns actually sells a kit and made a video on felted soap rocks. The kit provides fiber in blends of gray that looks like rock. They shave bars of soap into rock shapes and felt them. Cute idea! Anyway I think that I will try this and let you know how it comes out. If you want to see the video click on this link  Halcyon Yarns.