As you can see, I didn’t get very far with my knitting. I’ve been spinning a bluefaced leicester top in preparation for the one of Rita Buchanan’s classes called Plying with a Handspindle. Along with our favorite spindle, we’ve been asked to bring three medium sized center-pull balls of handspun singles. The photo shows one of my balls still on a nostepinne.

This bluefaced leicester top is so much easier to spin than merino, because of it’s 6 inch staple length. The unspun fiber seems so soft that I think it will also make a relatively soft yarn with a bit of luster. The price is right at about $1 an ounce.

This quarter’s Spin-Off magazine arrived a few days ago.  What’s up with Spin-Off? The past few issues really haven’t been very good. I guess I’m not the only one that think the content is lacking good quality in-depth articles. One of the letters to the editor mentioned that Spin-Off’s content  has been a recent topic of discuss on a online discussion group. The editor responded by saying that she would love hearing from readers with specific feedback. I’m already working on my letter.

Spin_off_backissues_1 Over the past six months I’ve been collecting back issues of the magazine and can tell you that there’s a big difference between the ones from the 80’s & 90’s and the ones put out since Amy Clarke Moore took over.  Perhaps Spin-Off has covered everything  there is to know about spinning during the first 25 years and is having trouble coming up with original content.

I did sent an e-mail to Amy in December and mentioned that Rita Buchanan’s articles are among the best and suggested putting them together in a book. She responded, saying that I’m not the first to request this but Rita is enjoying her retirement and doesn’t have time to put a book together. That’s too bad. I’ll suggest it to Rita when I take her class. I don’t see why it would be so much work to compile the articles straight from the magazine without any changes. Heck can’t the Spin-Off staff do it?

Besides the lack of truely interesting content, at the moment, my other top complaint is that covers of the subscriber issues are marred by a big white address box. Good heavens, what were they thinking when they decide to do that. If they keep it up, I’ll let my subscription lapse and perhaps buy it at a bookstore.  They should follow what Saveur magazine does, and use a easy to peel (0ff) address label.

6 thoughts on “Spin-Off

  1. Good luck at Rita Buchanan’s class! It sounds like it will be a lot of fun.
    I really like plying yarn directly from a nostepinne. I tried this for the first time a month ago on some mohair / merino yarn I was spinning. It was very easy to ply, and I only had a little problem right at the end when the yarn snarled a bit.
    I’m not great at winding on a nostepinne, so I wound it on a ball winder first, and slid the resulting ball right onto the nostepinne. Worked like a charm!
    Hmmm yum – bluefaced leicester! That’s on my list of spinning project this year.
    Have a great week and good luck with your sweater. It’s looking great!


  2. I’m glad/sorry to see that I’m not the only one underwhelmed with Spin Off lately. I think I’ll follow your lead, go through the mags old and new, and see if I can find specific constructive criticism to write into a letter. They don’t know until we tell them. Maybe it’s time for me to submit an article myself. How about you? 🙂


  3. Danny, I’ve never plied straight from a nostepinne but I’ll have to give it a try. The bluefaced leicester is so easy to spin, you’ll enjoy it.
    Terri, before I wrote this post the thought crossed my mind that I should offer a solution (instead of complaining) and perhaps manage to submit an article. I’ll start with a letter and then maybe someday actually manage to write an article. I’d highly encourage you to write one.


  4. totally agree with you about the spin-offs. i love grabbing a handful of the older ones and rereading. always find something i didn’t notice before.
    have fun at your class 🙂


  5. The plying is pretty easy. Just knot together the two ends of the ball, and draw off the yarn as you normally would.
    I hold the nostepinne just in front of the ball, and tension the yarn there so both strands are even when I start spinning the spindle.
    It works pretty good for wool and medium to thick singles. Thin singles can be a hassle, and I’ve been told that silk is really annoying.
    It gets a bit finicky near the end of the plying, as the ball is a bit of a yarn jumble. You’ll figure it out though!
    Good luck and have a good week. Danny


  6. Hi Melinda! I took a tip from you recently and ordered a bunch of old Spin-Offs from the 80s and 90s. The magazines arrived on Friday and I’ve been having the best time reading through the articles. Really really a wealth of information there.
    And by the way, I’m loving your handspun anniversary sweater! Fabulous!


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