Spin Off Winter 2022: The Blends Issue

Join us as we explore fiber combinations that bring out the best in each other.

Kate Larson Dec 3, 2021 - 3 min read

Spin Off Winter 2022: The Blends Issue Primary Image

A blend of blends. See what Kate is doing with leftovers at Photo by Kate Larson

Blends—from the familiar Merino/silk top to the small-batch roving with 10 ingredients—are one of the many things that seem to come and go in popularity. Two decades ago, I started traveling outside of my local area to visit fiber festivals and was amazed at how the offerings varied. In one part of the country, there might be dozens of rovings available that included soy silk, SeaCell, Ingeo, silk noil, Firestar, and more. In another region, it might mostly be combed top with tussah available in dozens of colors—no SeaCell in sight.


Lisa Mitchell raises guanacos on Whidbey Island. See her blending experiment using their exquisite and rare fiber in this issue. Photo by Jane Bear.

As I crisscrossed the country each year teaching workshops (until COVID, of course), I still saw some of these regional differences despite the changes in our digital connectivity. Fascinating, I tell you! In one guild, everyone might have a drumcarder or two. Another guild might not have drumcarders, but most spinners had several sets of combs. Some guilds were a mix, others less interested in blending tools in general. We all have so much to learn from one another!


Discover Stefanie Johnson's natural alternative to man-made nylon, resulting in a pair of durable knitted socks.

In this issue, more than a dozen makers share their work and experience with you. Emily Wohlscheid walks you through the design and sampling steps for four different blends, and Lisa Mitchell uses her homegrown guanaco to create a set of batts that test luxury fiber blending ratios. Stefanie Johnson develops natural-fiber blends for tough, no-nylon socks; and physical therapist Carson Demers explains why some blends stress your hands and what you can do about it. I hope you love learning from these authors as much as I do.

Wishing you peace and perfectly filled bobbins,


Pick up a copy of Spin Off Winter 2022 today.

Kate Larson is the editor of Spin Off and spends as many hours as life allows in the barn with her beloved flock of Border Leicesters.