Friday, April 4, 2008

Etsy Featured Shop - Sheknitigans!

I recently realized that despite being such a knitting fiend that I have never featured a yarn, fiber, or knitting store on my blog. Well, the saying goes that it's better late than never, so here we go!

For this feature, I interviewed Coley from Sheknitigans, an Etsy store featuring some truly beautiful hand-spun yarn. I have been sitting here this week waiting patiently for my own drop spindle and wool to get here so that I can start spinning myself. I find the beautiful yarns in Coley's shop to be inspiring as someone who has just decided to learn to spin!
How did you get your start spinning?
A few years ago while visiting my first fiber festival, in Rhinebeck, NY, I purchased my first drop spindle and rovings. I tried to spin this way to no avail, but still really wanted to spin, I was truly fascinated by it. After retiring the spindle for two years, my parents gave me the best gift ever - an Ashford Traveller. Three hours of assembly later, I tied on my first leader yarn and haven't stopped spinning since!

Can you give a brief description of the spinning process for those who may not know?
Spinning involves the drafting and spinning of fibers in precise (or not so precise) amounts to make different varieties of yarn. It is a combination of hand movements and foot treadling to make all the magic happen.

How long does it take for you to create an average skein?
The average skein takes me approximately three hours to spin, and then there is time involved to set the twist with a wash, whack, and dry. My upstairs neighbors really love the whacking part I'm sure.

Who dyes the yarns that you create?
I love to support other Etsians and buy 95% of my rovings and batts from Etsy Sellers such as Freckle Face Fibers, Poppy Flower Fibers, and Loop!

Do you let them create the colorways or do you design the colors with them?
Typically I let the dyers do what they do best, and I purchase the color blends that I can envision as a finished product. On occasion, I have recommended a colorway and they have been kind enough to oblige me. (Ok, I had a dream about roving. I admit it.)

What is your favorite thing about handspun yarn?
In a world of me-too's, everyone is searching for their own creative touch. Hand-spun yarn is always unique and original, no two skeins are ever exactly alike. Using hand-spun in a generic pattern or your favorite pattern can make a regular project really outstanding.

What is your favorite thing about this yarn?
Forest Fantasy is such a fun yarn out of my typical color range. My favorite thing about this yarn is the sparkles, and how soft the yarn is! You would never expect anything that sparkles like this to be next-to-skin soft, but it is really incredible!

How do you decide on the names for your yarns?
I am always inspired by my surroundings, which typically involve food and Starbucks. My favorite drinks and flavors are always making their way into my colorway names. I also try to incorporate literary devices such as alliteration - its the business marketing major in me ;)

What suggestions might you have for someone that is thinking about trying to learn spinning?
Try to find someone who spins - it might be someone in your knitting group, or in an online forum. They can provide encouragement or an opportunity to try spinning, as well as tips and support. The fiber community has been so amazing and helpful, supportive at every turn. It's incredible how much everyone is wanting to help and see you succeed. I am entirely self taught and people are always amazed to the learn that. Find a wheel and give it a whirl!

Do you do any other fiber arts?
Besides spinning, I knit at every spare moment - at red lights, in restaurants, on the plane. Spinning has given me the ability to make a popular pattern really unique by using my own handspun yarn to make it special.

To learn more about Coley and her yarns, also visit her website -

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