A note from Kathleen: After hearing so many stories of the fun everyone had at this year's SOAR (Spin-Off Autumn Retreat), I looked at my Winter 2009 issue of Spin-Off with renewed interest. Spin-Off always provides lots of interesting items for knitters, but I actually read through some of the spinning articles this time. I've been keeping myself from spinning because I can't imagine maintaining another hobby, but maybe...
And since I love a how-to, I've included an article about making a center-pull ball (see the end of this blog post). These little tips are just what we knitters can expect in each issue of Spin-Off.
Now here's Stefanie Berganini, Spin-Off Assistant Editor, to share a little bit about the Winter issue, including a lovely trio of quick-knit patterns.
Spin In the New Year!
Winter might be my favorite season—snowmen, cuddling up with a book and some hot chocolate, lots of time with family and friends, and of course holiday gift making! The Winter 2009 issue of Spin-Off is on its way to mailboxes and newsstands right now, and I think it's a pretty exciting one.
If you're looking for some quick holiday gift ideas to knit, the Winter Spin-Off has you covered with a great trio of small projects. Robin Russo's Polwarth Sock pattern is a lovely Fair Isle design that's fulled slightly to add warmth, durability, and softness. Debbie Grale's Feather and Fan Cowl makes a beautiful gift. And Jill Smith-Mott's Tahoe Caps are a great use of leftover yarn (or small quantities of handspun!).
If you're in the mood for a bigger project, try Amy King's Oatmeal Cardigan—I'm a fairly beginning knitter, but I like this sweater so much I'm thinking about challenging myself and casting this one on.
Thorough information about the handspun yarn used in each project makes it easy to substitute millspun yarn if you aren't ready to try your hand at spinning.
If you've ever considered learning to spin, this is a great issue to get you started. While every issue of Spin-Off is educational, this one really has a lot to teach. There's an article by Jeannine Bakriges that explains seven drafting techniques to get you started on the right foot.
Once you've got the basics down, Jacey Boggs' fabulous tutorial on creating coiled yarns will inspire you to try your hand at making unique and beautiful art yarn.
If you'd rather get your spinning feet wet on the spindle, a preview from Abby Franquemont's new book Respect the Spindle will teach you how to chain-ply and Andean-ply.All in all it's a great issue of Spin-Off, and I'm glad I was given the opportunity to take the helm while editor Amy Clarke Moore was on maternity leave (welcome, little Sarah Moore!).
I hope you like it as much as I do, and that it keeps you company as the weather turns cold.
Making a Center-Pull Ball
from an article by Carol Huebscher Rhoades in the Winter 2009 Spin-Off
Step 1: With left hand palm up, grasp yarn tail between thumb and index finger; let tail (about 9" long) hang across palm at base of fingers.
Step 2: Bring working yarn to back of hand behind index and other fingers and then back to palm around middle finger. Continue wrapping circularly around fingers 12 to 15 times, making sure long tail stays free.
Step 3: Remove wraps from hand, hold bundle horizontal, and wrap center around from bottom to top 4 to 5 times with working end of yarn.
Step 4: Now turn bundle so that the center wrap is horizontal, bundle is vertical, and working yarn comes rightward from back of bundle.
Step 5: Make sure that tail hangs down freely from bundle. Next wrap an egg-shaped ball around bundle, starting at center wraps. Bring yarn from bottom right side diagonally up to left side and around. Every 4 to 5 wraps, shift bundle a quarter turn clockwise so that wraps will be evenly distributed around.
Step 6: Continue until all yarn is used up for ball. Pull on tail to release yarn from center of ball.