LeClerc Cendrel Give-a-way!

It’s that time of issue again, the time when I have something fantastic to give away.  Are you ready?  This is a big one.  A super cool one.  One I really want to keep.  REALLY WANT TO KEEP!

You’ve read the smart and sassy Amy Tyler’s article and project in the worsted issue — holiday inkle band,  right?  Well I’ve never woven on an inkle loom but her project was so cute and she made the loom — the LeClerc Cendrel floor inkle loom — sound pretty darn nice.  I thought you might think the same thing.  The people at LeClerc thought you might think so too.  So we’ve got a brand new one just for you!  Well, just for one of you.  Want it?  All you’ve got to do is leave a review of the worsted issue  on the worsted issue page!  Don’t leave your review here (unless you want to copy and paste it here, make sure you leave it on the worsted issue page!

On Feb 4th I’ll post the randomly chosen winner from all the reviews!


Buying Things

In the Ply Ravelry group in the thread about what people would like to see in Ply, there has a been a bit of discussion going on about the stealth reviews. Some people are happy with them, and some people would like to see more about the downsides of the products being reviewed. It’s a fine line and I think Jacey did a good job of answering concerns and explaining that’s going on. You can check it out here:

It got me to thinking more than usual about buying fiber tools and how to go about it. Since I owned a fiber shop I have thought about this question a lot but in the last year or so I’ve not been so invested in it for other people. But here I am, back again to thinking hard about the whole topic.

Here’s what I see happening. Somebody wants to buy a new thing. There are several makers of this thing and so it’s hard to decide which one to invest in. Fiber tools seem expensive and so this somebody doesn’t want to get it wrong. So they go to Ravelry/Facebook/Twitter/G+ and say, “I’m looking to buy a thing. Which thing do you recommend?” Then the spinner gets 1 million replies with all of the people saying that the thing that they own is the very best and all the other things are poorly made/don’t work/are stupid. Now the spinner is even more confused. What to do?!



Here’s my advice, since not everybody has a spinning shop within a couple of hours of their home where they can try things.

First, if you have a guild, take advantage of it. Ask people there if you can touch the tools they are using to see if they feel comfortable to you. If it’s a spinning wheel, it is not difficult to try the wheel with your own fiber and then take off the length that you spun even if they are in the middle of a bobbin. Most spinners are very happy to help.

If you don’t have a guild and you feel like you are out there on your own, chances are you aren’t – you just haven’t found the people yet, go with your gut. Don’t buy the cheapest thing but buy the best you can afford.

Here’s how this discussion goes in almost every class I teach.

Student: “Really? $75 for hand cards!?”

Me: “yep, that’s what they cost.”

Student: “Can’t I just use a dog brush?”

Me: “yes you can. But the tines aren’t as strong and you will be replacing them often and they cost $10 so once you replace them seven times over 7  years you will have paid the price for hand cards which will last more than 20 years at least. $70 over 20 years works out to $3.50 per year which is way cheaper than dog brushes over time.”

That’s how I feel about almost every spinning tool. Yes, the initial expense feels high but buying the right tool for the job will work better and the tool will last for almost your whole fiber life.

So, now, what if you buy a tool that’s not working for you? Well, there is a giant market for second hand tools. you won’t get what you paid for it but it will be close. Chalk this up to a learning experience. it’s like paying for a class. Now you know. Sell the thing and get a different one. There is somebody out there that will love it.

Also, when you are asking for opinions, be sure to talk to people who have tried more than one kind of thing. So many people will tell you that they just love their xbrand thingamajig and you should ahve one too when they’ve never even touched a different brand. And when people have a negative opinion about a thing, ask them why. It may be because the handle didn’t fit their small hand and you have a bigger hand so it won’t be an issue.

See? Easy.

Or you could just ask me. I have lots of opinions and they are all right.


Those New Year’s Resolutions

Moreno Big Yarn 1

Holy moly, I hate New Year’s Resolutions, but I’ve kept making them for  years. I’ve made huge ones, tiny ones that should be easy to keep, lists of 100 things, on and on. I almost never keep them, even the fun ones. I run out time, I run out of fire, I run out of headspace.

For example, every turn of the year I get all excited about weaving tapestry, every year, why in January, is tapestry so appealing? Over the years I’ve bought the books, biggish looms, I have yarn, I have an idea or two. I have fiery determination to make this my next thing, my next fibery craft.  Every January I get out the books, pet the looms, find new tapestry blogs to read, but I can never fit it in with everything else, it just feels too big and it gets lost again.

Resolutions in general made me feel bad, so I quit. But I also feel like the turn of the year needs to marked in some way, welcomed in some way.

This year I made intentions, just a few that are as broad as Lake Michigan. They can be rationalized, shaped and generally messed with to fit any mood or instance. I’m hoping they help on those days come when I wake up feeling a little lost. Do I take the left path or the right?

Two of my intentions fit my crafting life perfectly: Connect and Make. See? Broad, but they feel great. They are reminders to do things I love and talk to people about it, to ask questions and to just fiddle with tapestry or what new interest pops up, making not conquering.


Do you make resolutions? What can you tell me about spinning yarn for tapestry?

The Winter Issue

The Winter issue is on the way!  A few people will be getting it this week but with the holiday mail, it may be stalled.  I know I say this every time but this may be my favorite issue so far.  It’s definitely one of my favorite covers! Golding spindle with Greenwood  Fiberworks fiber!

PLY - Worsted Issue

You may have noticed that I don’t write for every issue (I mean actual articles, I always write copy). Sometimes I just find so many people that have so much to say and I’d rather give them a platform to say it, and sometimes, I just don’t have as many smart things to say as the people that propose articles.  I did, however, write for the worsted issue.  I wrote twice!

Books Are My Thing

pile of books-1I have a thing about books. I was the kid who had Christmas lists that were 80% books. If I don’t read every day something is very wrong. I married a book person; we have book children; I’ve worked in books for 25 years. I like books, I think they are important to us as humans.

I use books to learn about spinning, sure I talk to other spinners and take every class I can afford, but my first stop is always books.  I have a special spot in my heart and on my shelves for older, out of print books. There is a lot of deep knowledge in that pile up there. The folks that wrote those books didn’t have all of the resources at their fingertips like we do now. No internet, not a lot of commercially processed fiber. They had other nearby spinners, shepherds, and they learned by lots of trial and error. They also read books. It didn’t hurt that there was a spinning boom in the 1970s into the early 1980s and lots of books were published.

Craft publishing used to be different too, not everything had to be quick and easy and appeal to the widest variety of crafters. Most of the out of print spinning books I have are more technical, or at least the ones I refer to frequently are more technical. I like to learn the technical when I’m researching something, then I simplify it for my spinning, writing, and teaching.

Here are 3 of my favorites. These are the ones I have a little panic over if I can’t find them.

kill you books-1Mabel Ross and Allen Fannin, don’t ask me to lend them to you. In fact they have a special hiding place. If you want technical spinning information read Mabel Ross, you will learn to count and measure and control your yarn to a very specific degree. I struggle with Mabel, her teaching and writing are hard for my brain to wrap around, but I won’t give up. There is too much to learn there.  Allen Fannin’s was one of the first books that showed super close up photos of yarn and fiber and he has a succinct way of explaining spinning. He is just one of those authors that speak to me.

Here are 2 books that make me smile

2 fav books-1I didn’t know either of these books existed until I ran across them. I will buy and read anything by Paula Simmons, she has an excellent and straight forward way of explaining things. The other was put out by Straw into Gold, a legendary spinning store in the 1970s. It is, as the title suggests, 101 questions for spinners, but they don’t mention on the cover who the spinners answering the questions. Just Susan Druding, Bette Hochberg, and Alden Amos, plus a few more.

I have more than 100 books on spinning and I’m stopping reading and learning any time soon



I love Thanksgiving. I love that it’s the beginning of the Holiday season. So many people celebrate so many things during this part of the year and it’s all great fun. I love that my family gets together most years – except for my one very far away sister who we always miss. I love all the food and I love that I can pretend that I am not constantly concerned about what I’m eating. I love that I can start decorating for Christmas and I love that my mom has taught me how to do it right. (She has 12 trees in her house this year) Here are the three I could see while standing in one spot.


Anyway, just like many of you, I start to think about all the things I’m thankful for and this year I am thankful for my job. I’m thankful that I’m in a position that I can pursue this crazy life. I mean, for what other career could I dress up and go pet a sheep?


And I’m thankful for the friends that I’ve made while working. I’ll just name 2 here but there are so many others.

meandjacey Jacey Boggs! Fantastic teacher, wonderful writer and owner of this magazine that I love so much.



And Jillian Moreno who is also an extraordinary teacher, the kind of writer that makes you laugh and learn at the same time and a person who always is pushing me to be better.

Aren’t they pretty?

Ask me about all the other ones too. I could go on and on. But right now I need to go eat some pie.

Craftsy dreams

Did you know I used to make videos? Well, that’s a bit of an overstatement, I guess. I made one video and I had plans to make more. In fact, I had plans to make lots more, not just of me but of other spinners. Grand plans, that is, until I watched my first Craftsy class. I saw right away that they were doing a better job than I could do. They’re the future. I mean, it’s a recorded class, with all the bells and whistles and graphics and easy navigation and perfect sound and wonderful close-ups and different angles but it’s got something that no class on DVD can really have – community. That is, interaction with other students and the instructor. It’s the best of on- and off-line. It’s pretty brilliant and it quickly killed any designs I had on a spinning DVD empire. Killed it dead.

So as you might guess, I was pretty excited when my dream-killer approached me to do a Craftsy class. First I checked out how they treated their instructors and employees. Things like that are important and I’m a firm believer in business-karma. Turns out, pretty darned well. Invariably, everybody I know that did their own Craftsy class had nothing but brilliant things to say about the experience. Everyone I met that works/worked for the company had equally glowing things to say.

The real surprise came when I saw the breakdown of where the money goes. Having worked in different capacities for different companies, I’ve had a bit of experience with royalties and Craftsy is way ahead of anyone I’ve worked with! Sure, you get the standard 12% of net if Craftsy sells your class (via their vast advertising network, emails, or just on the site) but where they really shine is if you, the instructor, sell your own class! Yes, if somebody gets to craftsy via a link the instructor put up, say, like this one, the instructor get 30% of whatever class(es) that person enrolls in, even if they’re not the instructor’s class! It’s generous. It’s really generous. It’s what gets them great instructors.

And so I said yes. I may have squealed it, honestly.

You know what I found out? The other reason they get great instructors is that they treat them amazingly! So well. You never feel lost or alone or like you’re not sure what’s happening. They are a well-oiled craft-class-making machine over there. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the experience. Levi and I spent 4 days there and it was great! We loved it. I’d do another in a heartbeat. I’d do 10 more.

So, if you’re interested in a pretty darned comprehensive drafting class, check out my craftsy debut!

We’re biggering!

I don’t think change is just the nature of a new business as much as the nature of all businesses, perhaps, all things. Things are changing here at PLY. We’re evolving and figuring and growing and learning and we’re biggering. We’ve moved up in a few areas. The biggest change is that we’re no longer using multiple excel sheets to clumsily keep track of all of our subscriptions. We’ve moved to a subscription management program, which, I hope, makes my and your life easier. Y’all can manage your account now – add issues, resubscribe, auto-subscribe, check how many issues left, change your address, etc. It’s the kind of organizational triumph that makes me a little weak-kneed.

And because, apparently, PLY evolving is really just us transferring work from us to you, we also moved to an online ad system to manage our website ads that allows you to manage your own ads! But it’s cool. Kinda like on Ravelry, you buy a spot, you upload it, link it, change it if you want, check your stats, etc. I’m really excited about it and am crossing my fingers it works like magic.

But what this blog post is really about is that PLY is hiring. Kind of. I need 1-2 freelance copy editors to be at my beck and call. Okay, not really my beck and call, but I do need you. I need you so much.

The Job

What I’d like is to find a couple of spinners that are copy-editing firecrackers. By the time the articles get to you they’ll have gone through the heavy editing and will be shaped organizationally so it’s not really heavy editing, more light-medium. It’ll involve double-checking accuracy, grammatical issues, article and issue consistency, fact checking, and pointing out any areas that might be unclear or confusing for readers/spinners. Of course, you’ll have access to the always evolving live PLY style sheet and a fairly over-the-top explanation of what each kind of article should look/read like. Because I’m nothing if not overly thorough.

If things go well, there’s also the possibility of doing a final proofread of the entire issue in PDF form before it goes to press. We’ll see, we might have to do some trust exercises before I make that leap.

The Schedule

You’ve probably guessed that it’s not a full time job but it’s steady in its hit-and-miss-ed-ness. Four times a year for about 3-4 weeks, we need you. Those times are pretty darned predictable though, essentially the months of February, May, August, and November. In each of those months we’ll have roughly 25 articles that need your red pen. Some of these articles are 800 words and others are 2500 words, some are instructional and some are informational, some are stories and some are other kinds of stories, but it works out to about 25,000 words edited in that given month which also works out to roughly 25 hours. I’m not married to the idea of it being 1 person or 2 people. I don’t want to overwhelm one person but I also don’t want to have too little work for more. That’s a detail we can talk about but if it’s a deal-breaker for you either way, be sure to mention that to me.

The Compensation

PLY likes to pay fairly. It’s something that’s very important to me. I wish we could pay everyone far more than we already do but we’re not even 2 years old so we do what we can do. The compensation for this job, right now and for the first issue edited is $25/hour. We’ve found that the copy-editing averages about an hour an article. If it all works out and the time is roughly what we think, the next issue we’ll raise it to $30/hour.   From there, if it continues to work out and we’re both happy, we’ll try and raise it to $40 by the end of 2015. I’m not saying we’ll stay at $40 forever, but I feel that’s pretty fair pay for the work and from there, we’ll raise it when we can.

Extras: for as long as you copy-edit for PLY you’ll have a subscription. For every issue you work on, you’ll be listed in the masthead.

The Process

If you’re interested in working with us, steady yourself, there’s a bit of a process. PLY is my baby. It’s my favorite thing I’ve ever done and I feel strongly that it’s important, that the knowledge the spinning community pours into it is going to stand longer than anything else I facilitate. It’s important to me and as such, I’m going to give you a few hoops. Forgive me. It’s all for the good of the magazine and my crazy, busy, never-stop brain.

The first step is to let me know you’re interested. Email me. Jacey at plymagazine dot com. I’ll send you a bundle of stuff. In that bundle you’ll find:

  1. A short set of questions about you and your experience.
  2. A copy of the PLY style sheet so you know what grammatical conventions we follow.
  3. Three versions of a past PLY article. The first version is as it came to me, the original. The second version is after I edited it (essentially how it would come to you). The third version is the final version, the version that went to print (essentially what we’d like you to do to the articles).
  4. One article that I’ve edited but needs to be copy edited by you. Please turn on track changes and save it by adding your name to the end in place of mine.

If I get lots of people that are amazing and perfect and I can’t decide, I’ll send out one more short piece to be edited.

I’d like to get this started now. In fact, if it works out, I’d like to have somebody do a bit of editing the last week of November or first week of December (I know that’s not really the time-frame I set above, but I’d like to see how it goes, I could use the help, and maybe a bit of holiday cash is not a bad thing, right?). So let’s start! Yes, let’s do!

Plan b-ing Rhinebeck

It was both my and PLY’s first time to Rhinebeck this past week.  Rhinebeck.  The very word is enough to make me get a little flushed, sitting here in my sweatpants with my bowl of roasted pumpkin seeds and hot tea next to me.  A post-festival stupor, one might say.  I, the teacher part of me (as opposed to the magazine-y part of me) taught 3 days of classes and then the magazine-y part of me was supposed to go around and promote the magazine.  The magazine-y part of me was a bit shy, but the fiber-loving part of me had a great time touching, buying, and eating.

Here’s a few photos, I didn’t take many (soon you’ll see what I held in my outstretched hands instead of a camera). The first are my fiber friends.  The ones I only get to see at festivals like this.  They’re also my every-night dinner companions and the ones that made me laugh and laugh.  Man alive those spinners are funny.  the second is one of my all day classes, I liked them all and the spinning was great.  They were pretty funny too.  The third is my new dream wheel.  Seriously, I want one.  WANT ONE!  If you’re looking for that perfect 40th birthday present for me, you found it!  Finally, the last one was on Sunday night, we were all a bit tired and bleary eyed.  Still funny though!

Okay, back to the Rhinebeck plan.  Here was the well-thought-out plan, and in case you don’t think so, it was a plan. I promise.  I planned.  I planned so far ahead I even had PLY post cards made.  They are pretty.  Also informative.  So the plan went like this.  On Sunday, I’d walk around with my stack of postcards and I’d go to all the booths that carried fiber — as opposed to ones that only carried yarn, see, because I know my audience.  I’d walk in, proud and confident, and I’d say “Hi there!  My name is Jacey Boggs Faulkner and I see that you have spinning supplies but your booth is sorely lacking in PLY Magazine department, can I leave this postcard with you and you can look at it at your leisure and see if you might want to carry our magazine or perhaps even advertise in it?  We have very reasonable rates and the spinning community has been very positive about the magazine.”

In my version of the plan, He/she embraces me right there, I blush brightly as the booth owner gushes that she/he was hoping I’d stop by.

That didn’t exactly happen.  Mostly I walked around with my stack of postcards held straight-armed in front of me, like I had a purpose, was on my way somewhere, and hoped that somebody would notice them and ask for one, or mentally tick it away and google it later.

I felt shy.  I’m also not so good at selling things.  I like things to sell themselves.  Until this month, we haven’t really advertised the magazine and we’ve mostly let advertisers and wholesalers come to us when they’re ready.

In the end I had to plan b it.  I put my stack of PLY postcards in the bathroom.  I fanned them out right on top of the trashcan next to the hand sanitizer and I think it really really looked nice.

I’ve got even bigger plans for MDSW!