Spin Wherever You Go!

Later this month, we’ll be heading to the Ply Away retreat in Kansas City, Missouri, and we hope to see you there! We know that many spinners will be packing up their spinning wheels to participate in this weekend of fiber, fun, workshops, and more (you can find out more about the Ply Away retreat here on one of our recent blog posts).

How spinners pack.

This got us thinking about traveling to other fibery destinations such as workshops, retreats and sheep and wool festivals, specifically when it comes to the logistics of packing everything you’ll need for your trip. Obviously, clothes and toiletries will be at the top of your list, but if you plan on taking a spinning workshop while you’re traveling, you’re probably going to need some supplies. Most classes will let you know what you need to bring ahead of time, so be sure to consult your class list to make sure that you don’t forget any of the required supplies.

We recommend the foldable S95 Victoria spinning wheel, which folds down to some very suitcase-friendly dimensions (14 x 36 x 55 cm / 5 1/2″ x 14 1/4″ x 21 3/4″). The Victoria includes a lazy kate which can also easily be stowed away in your luggage, and spinning fiber makes great packing material to keep your wheel, kate, and bobbins safe and secure while you’re in transit. We do recommend a specially-made carrying case (shown below) to make sure your wheel survives the journey with nary a scratch, however!

If you’ll be taking  a class on fiber prep, you’ll probably want to take your own hand carders so that you can learn the techniques on familiar equiopment. Another travel-friendly option is our blending board, which is compact and could make the trip safely wrapped in a couple of bath towels to ensure that none of the other items in your luggage snag on the carding cloth. Obviously, we wouldn’t recommend this as a carry-on for air travel, but if you’re driving, taking the train, or planning to check your bag for your flight, the blending board can be a great travel companion!

We are planning to attend these upcoming spinning and weaving events:

Ply Away – Kansas City, Missouri

April 21-24, 2016

Convergence Conference – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

July 30-August 6, 2016

To find an upcoming fiber festival or spinning/weaving event near you, click here to visit the Spinning and Weaving group website to view events by location.

Calling all members of #TeamLouet for Spinzilla 2015! If you will be attending the Ply Away retreat, let us know! Our team captain Stefanie is planning a meetup for any team members who helped us spin to our victory last year;  look for a message from her in your email inbox, or get in touch with her via Ravelry PM for details. Not only will you get to meet your fellow teammates in person, you’ll also get to see the golden niddy noddy you worked so hard to win!

Guest Post: Spinning Art Yarn with Jill Nickolene Sanders

On today’s guest post with Jill Nickolene Sanders of Saori Santa Cruz, you’ll learn how you can turn your scotch tension S95 Victoria wheel into a Irish tension wheel using the Victoria Art Yarn Head This makes it easy to spin both art yarns and bulky-weight yarns on your Victoria.

 

I get a lot of emails from my Etsy shop asking about the conversion of the Victoria scotch tension wheel into new art head Irish tension wheel. The instructions that come with the head are very clear and easy to follow, but here is a sequential photo showing how I switch over my Victoria to give folks a better understanding:

How to switch your Louet S95 Victoria Wheel over to Irish Tension using the Art Yarn Head for Victoria.

The wonderful design of the Victoria Art yarn head allows for easy and quick removal so that your Victoria wheel is still very portable – plus, there are no holes to drill to mar your wheel! At first, you will need to oil the flyer rod often to break it in; after a few weeks, you can oil it less frequently. The lazy kate that comes with the Victoria wheel will not fit the Irish tension bobbins, as they are too thick. I use my Louet tensioned lazy kate, which I absolutely love because I can use if with all of my Louet wheels!

Another plus is that any of the Louet Irish Tension wheel accessories such as flyers, bobbins, and lace high speed bobbins will also work on the Victoria Art yarn head. While some will only use the the art yarn flyer and bulky bobbins to ply their yarns from scotch tension spinning, others will embrace the freedom to create new and exciting yarns with it. I have included a few “get your feet wet “ art yarn ideas for beginners using my Louet Victoria art yarn flyer.

One of my favorite projects uses Louet’s Northern Lights wool top with Louet’s 8/2 organic cotton as a ply. Of course you can use any roving and thread or finer crochet cottons, but the the Northern Lights is so much fun and easy to use!

First, spin a single from the entire roving with a Z-twist; you will be spinning it “as-is” from the bag, no need to predraft or split the roving vertically before you spin. Then, put your 8/2 cotton cone or spool of black thread onto your lazy kate and ply it with the Northern Lights singles with an S-twist. That’s all there is to it!

Combine singles of Northern Lights with cotton yarn or thread to create a colorful art yarn!

To spin elastic art yarns, buy a tube or spool of elastic sewing thread. Spin a bobbin of singles from your chosen fiber. You will then use the elastic thread to ply with your singles; I tension the elastic so that when the yarn is taken off of the bobbin, it relaxes into a lovely, textured skein! You can use this to knit, weave or crochet – the resulting yarn has great recovery and will not stretch out.

Here is one more fun idea to try which uses hand carders or a drum carder: first, cut up snips of yarns into 1” pieces – this is great for those eyelash or other novelty yarns you do not know what to do with that have been lurking in your stash! Sprinkle onto your prepared fiber or batt – it’s not necessary to card them in, though you can try that if you so desire. I prefer to fold over my batt and spin it like a burrito – I use it to spin a bobbin full of singles which I then ply with a fun metallic or solid-colored yarn.

There are so many interesting techniques for spinning art yarns – YouTube, books, and workshops can assist you, or you can get creative and dream up your own techniques! Below are a few more yarns that I have spun using my Victoria Art Yarn Head to inspire you.

Coiled Yarn:
Coiled Yarn Spun with the Victoria Art Yarn Head.
Lovely Locks:
Art Yarn Spun with Locks on the Louet Victoria Art Yarn Head.
Lumpy bumpy singles plied with metallic threads:
Lumpy bumpy singles plied with metallic thread with the Louet Victoria Art Yarn Head.

Now you have the best of both worlds: a portable 6-pound scotch tension wheel and a quick conversion head to turn it into a portable Irish tension wheel capable of spinning art yarns, bulky weight yarns and other creative project whenever you want!

Jill’s studio is located in the Californa redwoods, where she teaches and stocks fibers, yarns, weaving equipment and the fantastic Louet spinning wheels. You can find her on Ravelry as Nickolena and on Instagram as saorisantacruz. Her Etsy shop is saorisantacruz, and you can read her blog here.

Back to Basics With The S10 Concept

The wait is over! We are pleased to let you know that the S10 Concept is now online at Louet.com; for those of you wishing to receive a new S10 concept wheel for Christmas, you need to act soon! Orders placed now will be arriving just before the Christmas holiday, and we have a special introductory offer below to sweeten the deal! On today’s post, we’ll give you an overview of the many ways you can customize your S10 to create the spinning wheel of your dreams!

It all starts with these customizable features:

  • Tension: Scotch or Irish (bobbin lead)
  • Treadle System: Double or Single
  • Wheel Style: Classic, 3-Spoke or 5-Spoke

Next, it’s time to select a flyer for your wheel (we offer both fixed-hook and sliding hook options) from the “Related Products” on your wheel’s product page. If you would like to spin heavier-weight yarns or art yarns, consider adding bulky bobbins and an Art Yarn Flyer; for spinning finer yarns, we recommend adding a high speed flyer along with high speed bobbins. Of course, if you already have several Louet bobbins from a different Louet wheel model, you’re in luck – they will work great with your new S10 Concept! Lastly, you will want to select accessories such as a a lazy kate, padded carrying case, or a threading hook, which can also be found in the “Related Products” section on your wheel’s product page. 

Introductory Offer

For over 40 years, the Louët team in Holland has been researching, designing, experimenting, and consulting with fiber artists to create a superior line of spinning wheels. To celebrate our rejuvenation of the original S10 wheel that started it all, we are offering an introductory 10% discount on S10 concepts from now until March 31, 2015 – click here to shop online at Louet.com!

Mix & match flyers, bobbins & other accessories to create the spinning wheel of your dreams!

Spinning Spring Training

We are looking forward to July’s Tour de Fleece and the return of Spinzilla this fall, which promises to be bigger than last year’s inaugural event! We hope to see some familiar faces on #TeamLouet and welcome spinners of all skills to join our ranks!

We’ve joined forces with our friends at The Woolery to embark on a little Spring Training! We hope you will answer the call and challenge yourself to try something new each month!

You can get more details and join in the fun in our Ravelry group – we’ll start spinning on April 1, 2014 (and that’s no joke!). Join our fearless Spinzilla Team Captain to tackle monthly challenges and win great prizes along the way!

Below are our suggested monthly challenges to guide you along the way; in addition to the monthly prizes, we’ll be announcing a GRAND PRIZE soon, so stay tuned! We look forward to seeing your progress each month in the Louet Ravelry group!

 

See our Art Yarn Flyer in Action!

Our new YouTube video is a great way to see the  Louet Art Yarn Flyer in action. Just imagine the possibilities you can explore with this add-on which fits both old and new versions of the S10, S15, S31 and S7 series spinning wheels.

The large orifice, jumbo bobbin and low spinning ratios allow you to spin bulky, novelty and art yarns with ease. It’s also fantastic for plying; you’ll love how much yarn you can ply without changing the bobbin!

Watch our video below to see what all the buzz is about, or  click here to view on our YouTube Channel; you can find your nearest Louet dealer by visiting our website.

Guest Blogger: Constance Hall Reviews Our New Art Yarn Flyer

Constance Hall began working with fiber when she was 5 years old when her mother taught her how to crochet.  From that early experience, her fiber interest expanded to include knitting, spinning, weaving, sewing, and felting. Constance  is a passionate teacher who loves introducing students to new skills and sharing in their journey through the world of fiber arts. She recently shared her thoughts about our new S10 Art Yarn Flyer. Enjoy!

“During the National Needlearts Association trade show in Long Beach, CA in February of this year, I stopped in the Louet booth to admire the fibers that were on display. There was a Louet S-10 on display in the booth with a flyer that I didn’t recognize. I own an S-10 Louet and was, of course, interested to see a new flyer for this wheel.

The first thing I noticed was that the bobbin is much bigger than the standard bobbin. It will hold lots of yarn of any kind. Another difference was the flyer itself, it had a new type of yarn guide. There is a smooth rod for the yarn to slide around. Another enhancement is a slot on the flyer arm, where a very large round guide ring is mounted. There is an easily adjustable nut on the bottom of this ring that allows you to loosen the ring and to move it up and down the flyer arm and fill the bobbin very evenly. The large size of the ring allows for all kinds of fun, funky art yarn add-ins to easily be wound on the bobbin. Feathers, felted balls, charms, cocoons; all should slide though this large ring with no problems and there is nothing for your yarn to snag on as it goes onto the bobbin. It is a very smooth transition all the way from the orifice to the bobbin.

According to Louet, the ratios on this new Art Yarn Flyer bobbin are 4.2:1, 5:1 and 6.2:1. The standard ratios are 5.5:1, 7.5:1, and 10.5:1. These new ratios give you more range when you want less twist. It also allows you more time to make the fiddley art yarns. I liked the 4.2:1 ratio very much and had no problem with the drive band stretching to fit that large whorl.

I liked this new flyer so well, that I think I would use my regular bobbin on it, as well as the big bobbin which comes with Art Yarn Flyer. I have an older Louet S-10 and had no problem with this flyer fitting my wheel. It fits a large range of Louets, but not all. One should check to make sure one’s wheel is compatible before ordering. Having this flyer as well as the fast flyer for my S-10 makes it an all purpose wheel for spinning almost any weight or type of yarn I could want to make. It’s a great addition to the options for most Louet wheels.

Breed Specific Fibers + The Return of the S90 Ultimate!

Spinners are always on the lookout for more breed-specific fibers that are handled in such a way as to retain their unique qualities. Look no further! We’re pleased to announce our latest addition to the Louet North America fiber line-up, the Canterbury Prize Wool Group.  Working with Wadsworth Heap Ltd, a fiber supplier in New Zealand, each fleece in this line is grown with passion and great care; each is chosen with a critical eye, scoured in a modern scouring plant, and carded with pride on gentle machinery to maintain the fibre’s integrity and give spinners maximum enjoyment.

Wadsworth Heap will partner with specific farms who will be selected to achieve these criteria and can provide a certificate of authenticity that is included with each bag of fiber. Our first offerings of Romney, BFL and Leicester were not certified under this program that was developed after the fiber was purchased, but discerning spinners will appreciate the fact that these criteria were used while searching out each fiber.

Be on the lookout for three new carded fibers in the Canterbury Prize Wool Group arriving soon–white Jacob, white Wensleydale, and white Cotswold.  Additional breed specific types will be offered throughout this year. Ask for them at your favorite LNA retailer!

The S90 Ultimate is Back!

Our S90 Ultimate Wheel will be making a special appearance for spinning aficionados and wheel collectors alike.  When it was originally released, the S90 was the ultimate wheel for any spinner.  Though previously discontinued, we’re bringing it back for a limited-edition production run of 50 – click here to find our nearest Louet retailer to reserve your wheel today! Here’s a taste of what you have to look forward to:

The S90 Ultimate is a bobbin lead wheel with our standard brake on the flyer.  Compact and portable, it folds up completely assembled – all parts stay on the wheel, including the optional skein winder!  This wheel possesses all of the elements a great spinning wheel should have: three settings for thick, medium and fine yarns; ratios of 6,5:1, 9,5:1 and 15:1; and a wide treadle which alls you to spin with your right or left foot – or both feet, if you prefer!

The built-in lazy kate holds three bobbins sung to the wheel for storage or it can be repositioned out to the left for plying.  The lazy kate is designed to control the speed of the three bobbins automatically without any adjustments!  Made of beautifully-lacquered birch plywood, this wheel comes ready to use, complete with four bobbins.