It’s that time of the year: Tour de Fleece.

Except I’m not spinning from a fleece. Not even remotely.

I’ve been honing my skills at spinning flax. Several years ago I spun quite a bit of flax though mostly with a wheel. This time around I’m using an Egret.

The flax I bought from Carolina Homespun, at Black Sheep Gathering, is the longest line flax – or strick, that I’ve spun. Such long fibers present a different type of challenge. It’s been a fun learning experience!


Ed made a small spindle wheel in May. He adapted this wheel from pictures in the excellent source book, Spinning Wheels & Accessories by David Pennington & Michael Taylor. He still want to make small spindle wheels someday, just not this style. It took me getting down on the floor, rather than at a table, for me to become enamored with this cotton spinner.

The day I introduced this wheel to the monthly spinning group was also the debut of the rose linen shirt.
Pattern: Feather and Fan Ribbed Tee by Judy Croucher.
Yarn: M&K Linen 50 g= ca 125 m
Needles: #5 (my gauge determined a smaller size was necessary)
I added 5 pattern repeats to the sleeves as well as knitting an extra inch up to the neck line. If I knit another one, which I am tempted to since it was a fun shirt to knit, I’d stop after the 7th sleeve repeat. Other changes I’d make: knit farther up the neckline and make the shoulder straps wider before binding off so they stay on my narrow shoulders better. The longer, heavier, sleeves probably contribute to the tendency to slip over my shoulders.

DSC09368With this shirt off the needles I’m temporarily between knitting projects. A very strange feeling! I’ve been looking through back issues of my Handwoven magazines for curtain ideas. The living room door, kitchen, and bathroom windows all need new curtains which I fancy weaving. The lacy valance does nothing to deter the summer sun blasting its heat through the kitchen window in the late afternoon.

We had an unusually hot June and early July with 9 consecutive days of temps in the mid to high 90’s F (35+ C) with no rain in 36 days! Clouds covered the sky all day today and we hoped for rain but so far there has been none. Our poor creek looks like it does at the end of August.

Tomorrow afternoon I’ll be demonstrating spinning again at the Silver Falls State Park historical days. (I don’t dress in period clothing, perhaps I’ll get around to sewing a dress & apron someday.) This will be the fourth or fifth year I’ve been asked to participate. It’s always great fun to sit on the wide covered porch of the old lodge and spin while visiting with people from far and near. I’ll take the small spindle wheel for spinning cotton, the spindle with flax and another spindle for wool so that people can see a variety of spinning styles/methods.


Author: Wanda J

I never dreamed my life would be entangled with fiber and the tools used to produce fibery items. When I bought a boat shuttle used in weaving Ed looked at it, decided to make a better one and the rest is history. For a decade he made shuttles, crochet hooks, knitting needles, until his spindles became so popular that he had to devote his time to making them, as well as Walking Wheels. Free time is spent reading, trying to coax food from the ground, and playing in the creek near our place. I love long walks and camping far from crowds. Playing a fiddle beside a stream or with good friends brings sweetness to my soul. Sundays are set aside for worshiping God with our small Quaker meeting.

6 thoughts on “Spinning”

  1. Your rose linen shirt is gorgeous. Glad you’re having fun with Tour de Fleece. The Silver Falls historical event sounds fun, but I’ll be teaching and making music with friends tomorrow, so no go. Have fun!

  2. You’re so clever with your spinning, I don’t have a need to spin flax or cotton, my thinking is that is would be hard on my fingers which are starting to become a bit painful when I am drafting wool 😦 Your top looks so pretty on you, I love the colour. I shall investigate the pattern. An idea to stop it slipping off your narrow shoulders would be to attach a ribbon the width of the neckband, just stitch down both ends and let the ribbon be free along the length of it, or tacked down in the middle, it should be hidden when you wear it…Hope you get some rain soon xox



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  3. You’re right, I’ve been finding that spinning this long strick flax does take more of a toll with my hands. With all your handwork you need to take care of them. I’m hoping that wearing a “hand-eze” glove when I spin today will help the tightness in the base of my thumb and right wrist.
    Thanks for the tip on using a ribbon! Just an hour ago I was contemplating how to fix the problem. I’d put it on to wear today but hated the floppiness around the neckline, which seems to get worse with each washing (warning! this brand of linen does not like to be machine washed. humph)

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