I couldn’t help myself… here’s a quick tutorial on a lockspun yarn.

So, I promised a tutorial on how to spin a super bulky single thick and thin yarn…. It’s in the post – promise!

What happened?  Well, I’ve been washing wool, fleeces and fleeces going through the process, and I’ve put myself on a spinning ban until I had made some headway.  It was totally necessary, since the backlog of unprocessed fleece was creating a household problem.  No space to move, and a sheepy smell lingering in my hallway.  Lingering?  Ok, I’m kidding no-one, and my kids were getting a little outspoken about it.  My guests were more diplomatic, but it was still mentioned. So, once I’ve washed a few fleeces that are now happily drying – and hoorah, today is sunny and beautiful, so outdoor drying will happen – I sat down to spin.  And oh, I had this beautiful bundle of hand dyed Teeswater locks, calling my name.

I couldn’t resist.  I simply have to floof them out and turn them into a yarn.  It is just an ordinary lock-spun yarn, but these yarns are so beautiful, since they use the natural curl and length of the locks to create texture. Here’s a little how-to if you happen to have some locks, and want to give this a try. Although this is not a complicated yarn to make, I do want to say this is not really a beginners yarn.  I think it helps having your draft and twist under control before you attempt a lockspun yarn, otherwise you may end up with something that doesn’t hold together.  There’s actually not a whole lot of drafting happening, however, the occasional tug and pull has to take place to prevent huge clumpy underspun bits. Most longwool types with good definition works for this yarn:  Teeswater, Wensleydale, Mohair, Gottland… oh, short attention span in this sentence, but I have some gloriously soft shearling Gottland waiting too… now where was I ..?  Yes!  Longwool.  Don’t be restricted by my list.  If you have a longwool type at hand, go on and try making this yarn.

Step one:

Fluff your fleece.  Pull the fleece slightly apart, and take a good handful of locks out to flick card, so that you can add them for longer textures throughout your spin.  Hold on to that lock at the end, hold on to the fleece, and pull.

I used some different locks here to show you the process, as the first pics were a bit blah.

How to separate a lock

How to separate a lock

Flick card the ends of the locks to give the fiber a place to grip onto your yarn in the making.  I use a dog brush.  The main thing to remember is to hold that lock tightly, to keep it’s lovely structure, and to use a flick, flick, flick motion with your chosen brush.

Use a flicking motion. And hold onto that lock very firmly

Use a flicking motion. And hold onto that lock very firmly

And spin.  Add your flicked locks at a 45 degree angle.  The twist is in the process of grabbing and securing this lock onto my yarn.

Add the lock by holding at 45 degree angle.  This leaves a tail bit hanging and spices up the bits where locks are scarce, or drafting evened your wool out too much.

Add the lock by holding at 45 degree angle. This leaves a tail bit hanging and spices up the bits where locks are scarce, or drafting evened your wool out too much.

Spinning some more, keep going….

spin spiiiiiiin a bit of drafting, a bit of allowing locks to pass through your fingers for that gorgeous curly texture…

Spin, spin….

DSC_0792 DSC_0785

And TADAAA!  Here’s a lockspun yarn on the skein winder.  Waiting for a post-spun wash.

And here it is, textured,  natural, and allowing the characteristics of your longwool to shine through.

And here it is, textured, natural, and allowing the characteristics of your longwool to shine through.

If you want to see more handspun yarns art yarns, or some goreous hand dyed locks for your new project, head on over to my etsy shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/clovetree

Art yarns like this one are great to embellish a knitting or crochet project, and awesome to weave with.


I have tried many different media in which to express my creativity.  I think the fact that I have an urge to do this is a given.  Even when working with something like metal.  I’m using this as an example, because it isn’t a medium that I have a natural feel for.  But if you put the tools in metal in the same room as me, sooner or later I will gravitate in that direction and start making something.

I think buying a spinning wheel and learning how to use it has been an absolute catalyst in my life,  and it has changed how I look at my life.  Yes, that is quite a bold statement!   Absolutely true though,  because I now live according to my creativity.  When I create yarns, or when I help to make a new spinner in my classes.  I am living by what I love doing, and that is a blessed place to be.


Auto ply super chunky thick and thin merino


Hyper texture. A huge array of wool, silk, fabric scraps, thread, to make a crazy batt to spin just how it presents itself.

Pastel coils resembling little seed pearls.

Pastel coils resembling little seed pearls.

Bulky squishy super coils with all the colour

Bulky squishy super coils with all the colour


Loose and wild Masham locks in a tailspun yarn. Currently being woven into a scarf.

Laburnum 011

Inspired by Laburnum trees in bloom. Silk rods, yellow silk, shetland and felt inclusions. Textural joy.

Wisteria Gimp3

Beautiful Teeswater tailspun on a Corriedale Core. Wisteria now lives somewhere in Maine with a happy new owner.


Creative Hiatus? Not quite….

Seeing the potential...

Seeing the potential…

I love what I do. So then why am I feeling a little frustrated with myself at the moment?  I am so excited about working towards an exhibition with two other artists, I have wool, skill and ideas. I am not creating… This is my present debacle.  Well.  Not entirely true – I am busy knitting myself a jumper out of hand spun yarn and it will be chunky, beautiful, warm and mostly green.  I am also in the process of knitting up some socks from my hand spun.  I’m testing out Dorset Down wool.  I have quite  a lot of it, and will dye some for selling to spinners specifically those who want to make sock yarn. I am also spinning some awesome soft yarn for bedsocks for myself, out of a merino camel blend that I hand painted.  This is purely a luxury item.  And an absolute treat to spin – I splashed out on a little Snyder spindle last year.  Great spinning tools really turn a pleasure into something totally luxuriously delicious! But still I’m feeling a little antsy…  I’ve been mulling this over in my head, wondering whether I’ve finally encountered creative block.  Then suddenly I realised that I simply have no time at the moment!  It isn’t lack of creativity, it is too many other tasks that are getting in the way.  It is ‘that’ time of year.  Fleeces of all descriptions are coming my way, and I have about 50kg in fleece that I have to wash and card before I’m going to have time to spin too much up.  Yep, and then there’s all the dyeing to be done… (poor me, eh?  I love dyeing!)  And then there will be more fleeces on the way.  Plus the house is in an unholy disarray due to all the fleeces.  The hallway is lined with bags of fleece and my box-room door won’t shut anymore.  Ok,this is a real problem.  I may have to call on some friends to help when the fleeces are clean… I had a huge push towards getting some of my fleeces washed and out of the way today.  Realising that I can get back to spinning some art yarns as soon as I’ve made some space had given me huge incentive to work my way through the wool, and I am planning an awesome tailspun yarn with super-duper long Lincoln locks. And the thought of that gorgeous yarn has wiped all of the doubt from my mind, I’m feeling the inspiration, and impatience to get started.  Plus, my mind has jumped to the exhibition, and I now have a whole host of projects.  Every fleece I’m washing has a purpose or potential. I love what I do!

Wisteria Tail Spun Yarn

I’ve been wanting to spin this one up for about a week now.  I dyed the long Teeswater locks, and gosh, they were so gorgeous with their lilac tips and shiny green ends, where they were to meet with the green Corriedale that I was going to use as a single ply base for the tailspin. And then the kids got sick… and then I started sniffling too.  And sniffles turned into the flu.  And still those locks were sitting there, calling me.  But now we are all feeling sprightly again, and I got to turn my concept into reality.  So here it is:  Wisteria, Teeswater and Corriedale tailspin.  I’m a little bit in love with this decadent yarn!


I’m about to post this on etsy – come and see some more art yarns at http://www.etsy.com/shop/clovetree


Spinning a tree

The yellows and the greens really reminded me of Laburnum trees – and I really wanted recreate the idea of the tree in yarn.  And make something with amazing texture.  This art yarn is a heady mix of silk rods, yellow silk, felt inclusions and uncarded Shetland as well as some Shetland Llanwenog cross breed.  Never knew I’d become as versed in talking about sheep, but then life is full of surprises!

So here is my take on Laburnum – and I’m loving the process of spinning a tree!ImageImageImage

Back again!

It has been ages since I’ve been here.  I have been exploring the world of wool, and I’ve upgraded to the new Aura spinning wheel.  And now I can spin however I like.  Keep an eye out for some gorgeous art yarns.  I’m about to go and play with some hand dyed silk rods, shetland and hemp with occasional bits of silk maybe…  I’ll post some pics when I’m done.  These are the silk rods pre and post dyeing, and for now I’m just planning to use the green, but of course I might change my mind.  I want to spin a tree.



Peace Silk

My little silkworms are not so little anymore, and I am looking forward to these hungry little creatures to start spinning lovely silk.  Most silk is produced when the cocoons are boiled, whilst containing the chrysalis.  This seems rather cruel to me, and after much research, I found a method that will allow me to harvest the silk whilst keeping the chrysalis alive and unharmed.  I can’t wait for my first batch of peace silk, although I am yet to discover how much, or how little silk I will get from about 350 worms.  Although, by the time the next cycle of worms come about, there will be thousands!

Honeycomb Jumper Pattern

Honeycomb Jumper patternIt has taken absolute ages to check, double check and write this pattern out, without any typos.  But at last, here it is.

In the mean time, I built myself a whole new website and shop for my patterns:  clovetree.org is where you will find all my available patterns now.  There’s more to come too.  Hats, wristwarmers and a little wraparound top in Angora.

Wool of the day.

What a day!  (week?)


Did my first craft fair in ages, and decided to show some of my handspun and hand-dyed yarns along with my felted goodies.

Of course colour is my first love, and I had a blast dyeing, mixing, re-dyeing, dip-dyeing, splashing, pouring and spinning.  I discovered the trick of core-spinning and Navajo plying my yarns – a process that makes my poor old spinning wheel groan under the strain of super-chunky yarns.  So, I will have to look into some new spinning accessories.  It seems to me that my growth as yarn-maker comes with a price-tag… every time. (Groan!)

I’m particularly chuffed with my handspun silks.  The graded colours are lovely, random and the silk just sings.  Very difficult to photograph silk’s secrets – it seems to throw light at my lense, although the naked eye doesn’t quite perceive the silk in that way.

I’m contemplating selling these on Etsy.  What do you think?