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!

My Rhinebeck

I want to tell you a secret. It’s not a scary secret but I haven’t said it much to anyone, so I’m telling YOU. It’s this: I’m jealous of all of the people who got to go to Rhinebeck AKA The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival.

I know what you are thinking. You are sure I was there. You saw me in photos or you saw my name on the workshop instructors list or you heard me talking about getting ready to go.

I was technically there. It’s true. But here’s the sad part of my story. I didn’t even see one sheep. Not one! I don’t even have very many photos because they all would have looked very similar to this one:



I also saw the inside of the bathroom but that doesn’t make a very interesting picture at all.

Here is the plus side. I got to meet a lot of amazing people who were my students. New ones this year and some who had been in my classes before. Also, I spent very little money. (We aren’t counting the fleeces I bought because most of those are for more class materials.) Also, I had dinner with Jacey and Abby and Esther A LOT! And I got to meet Jackie Graf who is a most awesome dyer and Tove Skolseg who also loves to buy wool and is from Norway.

Spinning friends!

Spinning friends!

So, no, I have no sheep photos, nope, not even one lovely leaf color picture. Didn’t even make it up the hill to see what was for sale. but I made some new friends, taught some lovely people what I know about spinning and wool preparation and signed a lot of books!

So back to the beginning. I’m jealous of some people’s Rhinebeck experiences but I don’t think I would trade mine.

Here is my favorite photo of the weekend though. It’s Lauren. And if you ever see her, tell her I said hi.



Craftsy loves us: Ply to knit class

Hey Spinners, Craftsy loves us! Have you noticed? Our own Jillian Moreno recently did a craftsy class called PLY to Knit (okay, it’s really just called Ply to Knit but I like writing PLY!) and I’m watching it now. Literally, right now! There’s Jillian with her great hair, dazzling smile, and cat-eyed glasses being just barely over-shadowed by all the smartness coming out of her mouth!

I’m going to try and give this a true and honest review but since I just think Jillian is super brilliant and a wonderfully talented spinner, it might be biased. A bit.


First, Craftsy has gotten really good. The way they put together lessons is super easy and intuitive to follow, which is important to me. I don’t want to have to figure out how to use the platform while I’m trying to figure out my spinning and they’ve done a great job making it easy to use. I also really like that you can interact with the teacher.  Second, Jillian is comfortable and charming during all the lessons. She’s likable and I think that’s a really important piece in the puzzle. Can you imagine if you had to watch a grouchy teacher for 3 hours? Yeesh.

This PLY to knit class has 7 lessons ranging in length but averaging about 30 minutes each. Each lesson is broken up into main ideas that make sense. In Jillian’s case those lessons are:

An Intro to PLY: This is a kind of setting of the stage. We meet Jillian (charming) and she goes over what plying is, what it does for us, and what some of the terminology she’ll use means.

How to PLY: This is a big big lesson. This is where she gets into the meat of plying. How to sit, how to set up, how to actually ply. She talks about resting and rewinding bobbins and plying from your hand too. I found myself nodding along with much of what she said, thinking, yes, I agree with that.

SONY DSCLesson #3 and Lesson #4 cover everything your might want to know about 2-ply and 3-ply yarn, from plying to knitting to balance and unbalance to chainplying. She even compares 3-ply and chainplying. It’s good stuff. I think it’s really important that she shows examples in knitted swatches so we can see exactly how the different plys effect our knitting. Following her lead, because it’s fun to spin along with her, here’s the samples I spun and knit during these 2 lessons.  The one on the left is chain-plied, the one on the right is 3-ply.  Both are from the same fiber.  I was really careful to match up my color on the 3-ply and when I made my loops on the chain-ply, I really tried to have very little color mixing. In the end,  I like the gradual color change of the 3-ply swatch but know that it had more to do with my chain-plying technique than chain-plying in general.  Both are great techniques and Jillian is good at explaining why.

One of my favorite lessons is #5, fixing mistakes. I make a lot of mistakes, almost all the ones she mentions, so I squinched up my face and watched extra hard during this part.

Plus, she says this great line: “the answer to this mistake is a sandwich.”   I really like when the answer to my mistake is a sandwich!

She rounds out the entire class with a lesson on finishing and a lesson on measuring. And if I didn’t love the class already, she uses a WPI tool shaped like a tardis! Sandwiches and tardises! She’s a lady after my own heart.

Altogether, it’s a solid class on plying to knit. While I watched I tried to think if there is stuff that I’d have included that she left out and there isn’t any glaring omissions. Of course, not everything about plying is in here but that be silly to expect. Spinning is a giant and long-standing craft. If everything could be taught in 3 hours, PLY Magazine wouldn’t make it very long, right? And really, what that means, at least what I hope that means, is that craftsy will do lots more spinning classes!  Let them know we want more, okay?

If you want to ply to knit, this class will teach you a lot, no matter how long you’ve been spinning.  Here’s a link (with a little discount).



Swing Step Cardi fiber give-a-way

It’s a gorgeous sweater, no doubt.  I’ve actually worn it.  Twice.  It’s so fitted and comfortable and warm.  Much of that goes to Amy Herzog, no doubt, she’s a fantastic designer, but the fiber had something to do with it too.

Glynda McIver got to spin the fiber for Amy’s Swing Step and while it was nice and the yarn was pretty great, I’m holding the fiber that you’ll get to spin for your own Swing Step and it’s even better!  I’m not sure what Mary changed with her processing but this stuff is like buttah!  So perfectly processed, no vm, no lumps, no bumps, no neps, nothing!  It’s like a homogenized pound of fiber heaven.  I even think it’s softer.

This pound (yes, 16 ounces) Suriland (Shetland and Suri 50/50) from Mary at Fancy Fibers can be yours!  All you have to do is leave a review for this issue of PLY here (not in the comments, but here, on the issue page under reviews).  Be honest, give it a star rating and leave a review and you’ll be entered in the drawing for the fiber.  I’ll announce the winner on October 15th.


Community in a Flower

Because the new issue of PLY is all about community, I’ve had the spinning community on my mind for a little bit.

When Beth , Rita and I held a retreat a couple of weekends ago and I got the opportunity to immerse myself in everything I love about our world of spinning.

The passion we have for our craft, we shout it from the rooftops. The opinions we hold, no one ever has to ask a spinner what they think about a wheel, a fiber, a tool or a method of spinning. The respect we have for each other, for while we are an opinionated lot and may argue a point or two, it’s never nasty or personal. Our openness and generosity, spinners are always willing to try something new or a new way around an old technique. Spinners are always sharing what they know, what they have. The joy we find in our craft, spinners are happy when they are spinning or around other spinners and it’s infectious. We are an amazing community of people and I feel so grateful to be a part of it.

I was full of this feeling of wonder, gratitude and belonging on my daily walk this week and I found a perfect representation of our spinning world in a flower. Tiny flowers clustered in small groups like individual spinners in their local groups and guilds and those groups forming a large beautiful flower, like our world wide community.

community flower