Virtual Shetland Wool Week 2021

Shetland Wool Week is online this year so you can enjoy the offerings from the comfort of your home. (Though I’m sure we’d all much rather be able to see the sheep and feel the fiber in person!) From their website: “For nine days from 25 September – 3 October, we’ll be bringing Shetland Wool Week to you. There will be films, talks, tours and classes – some pre-recorded and others live, as well as music and a market.”

If you purchase a SWW membership, you’ll gain access to a film series with videos such as the following: Carol Christiansen on “A Guide to Rooing,” Sue Arthur on Preparing Shetland Fleece for Handspinning, and Bunchy Casey on “A Shetland Dye Garden.”

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Tweaking My E-Spinner for Angora

words and photos by Terry Clemo

“I’m not new at this spinning thing,” I think to myself. “Why am I having such a strange beginner experience with my new Ashford E-3 electric spinner?” After setting up my new machine, I start to play with some dyed wool. I didn’t think changing from a manual, foot-driven spinning wheel to a little electric spinner would be such a challenge. But it has been, and not for the reasons one might think. I’m not missing the treadling; in fact, I’m so happy to be able to put my legs up. I’m so much more comfortable now – hey, I can spin in bed!

“So what’s your problem,” you might ask. Well, I’m having trouble getting my spun yarn to wind on, and when I stop, the bobbin keeps turning and the single wraps around the bobbin and is going the wrong way. Ugh, now to unwind and correct the path of my spun single. I’ve not ever had the bobbin on my double treadle Lendrum do that before. “Hmmm, Lendrum bobbins are so little looking compared to the jumbo bobbins that came with the new E-3.” I’m not used to their weight turning around with the flyer either. So I slightly tighten up the Scotch tension to make a bit more resistance on the bobbin and try again. Same thing happens, so I add a tiny bit more tension, and the draw in of the single is starting to work, but just barely. Okay, now maybe I can get somewhere.

At the same time I’m playing with the speed controller of the flyer to see how it reacts with my takeup. It’s adding another variable to my dilemma. In comparison, both spinners are flyer-led and have Scotch tension, but why are they behaving so differently? Time for a cocktail. The DT Lendrum has the drive band on the flyer, and when I press the treadle I get the immediate response of the flyer turning. The E-3 has the centre spindle of the flyer resting in a keyed bushing that is the centre hub of the motor, so I have to turn up the speed dial to get it turning. As I’m playing with the speed control, I find it needs to be turned up almost to 15–20% to get the flyer to move when I have some resistance on the single and so that there is some torque force to be able to pull the single so it wants to wind on.

By now I’m using more flyer speed and more tension, and the bobbin stops after spinning. But now there’s too much pull for my liking and I can’t get the amount of twist into my single that I need before it wants to be swallowed by the orifice. Normally, I would back off the tension, but I can’t really; there doesn’t seem to be a sweet spot. I can’t fine tune this setup with the original heavy, stiff fishing line that came with the machine. And I’m not spinning with a grabby fibre or a short draw, which might help get this spinner working well.

Side journey through angora spinning

You see, my spinning journey flourished at the same time my love of very fuzzy rabbits was fulfilled. My first angora was an English that I named Flurry. She was “fur in a hurry”! Needless to say, pretty much all of my spinning has something to do with angora from rabbits.

My favorite thing is to spin angora from a cloud (which is basically a fluffed up, or carded, small handful of airy angora fibre, which can be organized or not); it can be so magical. I especially like how the tips of the individual fibres protrude and spiral out from the centre of the single when they are drawn out and not smoothed down. It’s exactly what blooming spun angora should look like. This texture is accentuated by the long draw.

Angora is a finicky fibre; the more you fuss with it – try to handcard it or blend it with itself or other fibres – the more likely you are to put more nepps in it than it had from off the rabbit. Since angora is so fine (in the range from 7–8 microns to mid-teens, with an average of 10–12 microns), it easily tangles. Also, the average staple length is 4–7 inches for the blanket of the rabbit, the longest fur from their back, and unless its harvested correctly, it can get new tangles in it. Angora bunnies also have some lovely textured fur on their chest, belly, and legs; it’s shorter at 2–3 inches or so and it’s not as dark as the top side colour, mostly. As you spin their fibre, there will be colour changes as you go because the colour varies on the bunny. This colour changing ability is quite beautiful and gives angora yarns their character.

Some angora spinners don’t mix the two basic types, mostly because of the length difference, but colour differences can be the main reason. For some of my spinning projects, having both can make the yarn more textured, and it will be fuzzier. My favourite way to spin is straight from the storage box, loose and fluffy whatever comes so I may end up with some shorter fibres mixed with longer silkier ones. So I try to fluff up and mix the two so I hold a couple of staple lengths at the base with my thumbs and fingers and I pull apart from so it separates into one layer in each hand. I lay it back on top of the other layer, hold the base end, pull it apart, and this time I put the new layer on the bottom. I’ll put many of these little bundles aside in a smooth container to spin later.

I like my angora spun with tiny slubs and uneven blending, and with a long draw technique that lends to loose airy preparations. So with my long draw technique, I need some tension to pull against to draft out the fibres as the twist is holding everything together just enough to be a thread.

Back to the e-spinner

So my secret is out, I’m a long draw girl. Now I get to play around with my new toy and translate this style of long draw to the e-spinner. I need to have very little take-up tension while I’m drafting so my single doesn’t prematurely feed onto the bobbin before it gets sufficient twist. The single when using short draft is basically always moving through the orifice, but not with a long draw. My long draw draft is about 14–16 inches, so there’s a lag in time before I can wind on. I don’t want the flyer to pull too hard and pull apart the newly forming single. I like to use a supported long draw. My right hand helps me control twist to the cloud of fiber and gives me something to pull (draft) against. I stop drafting to let my twist come into the single and I visually check for my chosen angle of twist and then slowly push the thread into the orifice, and the bobbin starts to wind the single and it seems to gather a bit of momentum till I stop. Leaving my leader out with extra twist building up in it and again having very little draw in, I start drafting out again.

So after all this is said, remember that I’m spinning Angora at 100 percent or about 20–25 percent in a blend with very fine wool (22 microns or less) and silk or maybe some alpaca or other fine fibres. Angora is very slippery, hence the very light takeup on the bobbin, and it lets me get more twist in my single. I usually spin from laceweight to fingering weight, so I’m spinning fine. My plies for my yarns are made of one or two singles of angora and the others are a blend of dyed wools, silks, and angora or dyed wool, all the while playing with colours. Depending on the project and how much angora I want, I can use different combinations of these, but I usually stick to 2 or 3 plies per yarn.

How do I fix my dilemma as to how to make this machine work the way I need it to?

Planning my attack, depending on how and what I wanted to spin, I could use cords of different materials for the brake band to give more slipperiness. I might try a finer nylon filament or the plastic coated stainless steel jewellery wire, some nylon threads, or high end fishing lines made of plies from titanium or other advanced materials. I also wanted to try adding a bit more drag to increase tension and help with spin-on of the bobbin, so I’ve tried cords that were a bit rough like hemp (thin and thick) and whatever else I could think of. I’ve even tried something similar to the traditional cotton. I tried the string that sealed the rabbit feed bags, which seemed to be more slippery than the usual cotton. It’s probably a form of polyester, which is more durable than the cotton. The diameter of a cord also comes into play. I need to be able to quickly snap different brake bands into place to find my favourite band.

I realized that if I wanted to experiment with different bands it wasn’t going to be so easy to untie knots attached to the springs. I decided to make different quick-connect brake bands. I used small lobster clasps approximately 10mm and crimps beads or tubes, 1.5mm size. I also had foldover crimp ends (with connector eye) in various sizes, which would close better with crimpers.

So far, my favourite band over the rabbit feed bag string was the plastic coated multi-filament beading wire. It’s quite fine and seems to give me varying degrees of tension that I didn’t have before. Like any journey, I’m still playing around with different cords and different fibre blends. There’s not enough time in a day or a week for that matter to ever have enough spinning time.

Terry Clemo has had soft spot for fuzzy animals from a very young age. It seemed to follow that her interests spanned to other fibre arts like knitting and sewing and other textural crafts while still a child. Her mother was an expert machine knitter and told her she needed to hand knit before she would give her any machine knitting lessons. With the lessons came a toolbox of techniques that opened up the door to designing her own knitting patterns. Working with her luscious angora, Terry makes batts, handspun yarns, and semi-precious beaded wire knitting jewellery such as shawl pins. You can find Terry on Facebook and Instagram and at various fibre events.

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Spin Together is coming in October

Spin Together is a week-long spinning competition taking place online and everywhere the week of October 2, 2021. A small group of indie dyers and fiber artists got together in 2019 to create a joy-filled spinning competition with a focus on creative spinning as well as yardage. The goal was to bring spinners from all around the world together for a team-based week of fun and camaraderie and an opportunity to spend a little more time spinning.

Now in its third year, Spin Together has yardage contests for spinners using spindles, spinning wheels, and e-spinners. There are also creative contests for Most Beautiful Skein and Wildest Art Yarn. Most of the teams are led by local yarn stores, guilds, and online yarn and fiber shops. New teams are being formed through August 30th, and then individual spinners can join teams throughout September. You can learn more and sign up on the website at

There’s also a warm and friendly Facebook group at that is active all year long with new and experienced spinners helping each other out and sharing what they make.

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Handspinning Touchscreen Gloves

words and photos by Christie Schulze

Alberta winters can be brutally cold, which makes having a good pair of mittens or gloves an absolute necessity. After trying several pairs of gloves claiming to be compatible with touchscreens that either did not work as advertised or were nowhere near warm enough (seriously, how am I supposed to scroll through Insta while waiting for the bus without losing a thumb to frostbite?), I decided that if I wanted touchscreen gloves, I would have to make my own.

I researched my fiber options. I found some conductive thread and purchased it with the intention of holding it double with my yarn when knitting the end of the fingers, but when it arrived it was much thicker than I realized – nearly the same size as my fingering weight yarn – and a light beige colour that was going to contrast significantly against my darker yarn. Thankfully, one of the great advantages to being a handspinner is being able to make exactly the yarn you need.

I took a closer look at the conductive thread to see how it was made. It appeared to be a metallic strand plied with cotton. I had stumbled across a listing for spinnable stainless steel fibre on Etsy some years back and bought it as a novelty. Knowing it was conductive, I started my experiments there.

A previous bad experience told me that I didn’t want to just spin the stainless steel by itself and ply it with my wool. I had previously worked with a commercial yarn made of two plies of wool and one of stainless steel. The yarn was lovely and looked amazing, but as I worked with it, the strand of stainless steel seemed like it was cutting through the wool. I had to splice that yarn with great frequency – and what was meant to be a gift for my mother-in-law to wear to my wedding ended up being finished closer to our third anniversary. I decided to try blending the stainless steel into wool.

As so often happens with my fibre arts experiments, I experimented on my partner first by making him a pair of gloves. In my defense, he had asked for a pair of gloves in orange and grey, which seemed perfect colour-wise for blending in some stainless steel. Plus, the fibre I had set aside for my own gloves was a limited edition colourway from a dyer no longer dyeing – I wasn’t about to experiment with that!

I blended the stainless steel into the grey shade of wool for the gloves. I had no idea what ratio I should start with for my blend, so I decided on an 80/20 wool/stainless steel blend, thinking anything higher than that for the stainless steel might noticeably impact the warmth. I weighed my fibres and blended the stainless steel with the wool using hand cards. I rolled my fibre so as to keep the fibres as parallel as possible to maintain consistency with the rest of the commercially prepared top. My first experiment was a success: I had a yarn that could be used with a touchscreen!

I blended enough to use for the forefinger and thumb of each glove. Next came the true experiment. I knew the grey stainless steel blend would work with a touchscreen on its own, but I wasn’t sure if it would work when combined with the orange in the colourwork pattern. I made a small swatch and … success again! When knit together in the pattern, the yarn maintained its touchscreen properties, and my partner was able to swipe through his phone in comfortable warmth.

It’s been about a year since I made those gloves, and they have held up to the Alberta winters. I also made a hat to match! As for my own gloves, they’re still in the queue. I’ll get to them right after I finish this shawl…

Fibre used:

Grey – 50/50 Merino/Corriedale commercial top from Hilltop Cloud in the Storm colourway, blended with 20% stainless steel fibre (purchased from Divinity Fibers)

Orange – 100% Corriedale commercial top from Ashford (purchased from Stash Lounge) in Orange, Pumpkin Pie, and Nutmeg colourways, blended on a hackle.

Pattern: Deep in the Forest Mittens by Tuulia Salmela, adapted to gloves by me.

Christie Schulze is a handspinner living in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. She holds a Master Handspinner Certificate from Olds College. Wool is her fibre of choice, but she’s always open to a good experiment. She can be found around the internet as madebyxie and documents her fibre adventures at

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Send us your announcements!

Do you have or know about a new product, event, fiber, or tool you think the spinning community should know about? Tell us all about it here and we’ll share it on the blog or in the newsletter.

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PLY Magazine believes that Black lives matter, as well as LBGTQI+ lives. Those most vulnerable and persecuted in our communities deserve our love and support. Please be good to each other.

Hacking Yarn Tools: How to Twist Skeins with a Power Drill

words and photos by Carrie Sundra

Twisting skeins – it’s a deceptively tricky process which generally takes some practice to produce consistently tight and tidy results. Even so, I definitely encourage everyone who handles yarn to put the time into learning how to do this by hand. When you get it down, it can be a very quick and easy way to package your yarn into a non-tangling, easy-to-store, and easy-to-ship bundle.

That said, there are many reasons as to why a person may seek mechanical help with this task. One of the most common pieces of feedback I hear after a yarn dyer uses our production tool, the SkeinTwister, is that it has enabled them to perform this task without pain. Many people have injuries, arthritis, or other medical conditions that affect their shoulder, elbow, wrist, or finger joints, and the process of manually twisting skeins can by physically painful. Eliminating the majority of the twisting motions can reduce, if not entirely eliminate, that.

Hand-twisting skeins can also be a special kind of terrible when the weather is humid. The yarn should slide easily around your fingers (or thumbs if you’re a thumb-twister!), but in humid weather, it can stick to your skin and bind. Not only can you get blisters if you’re twisting a lot of skeins, but because of the binding and uneven tension, your twisted skeins won’t come out as nice and tidy-looking.

So I’m sharing with you a DIY method for twisting the occasional skein with some mechanical help – a power drill! You can also find these instructions on our page and we’ve made a short video showing you the whole process:

Step 1: Hook the drill

You’ll need a power drill with a typical 3-jaw clamping chuck and a hook. I did a survey of the hooks available at our local hardware store, and even though it’s a little smaller than ideal, I liked the metal one best, even better if you can find one with a pointed tip. I do NOT recommend a bicycle hook – the plastic coating on these isn’t slick enough and the yarn is more difficult to remove.

Clamp the hook tightly in your power drill, threads and all.

Note: It’s possible to use an electric screwdriver instead, but only if it has clamping jaws. Most have magnetic hex chucks, which won’t hold a threaded hook.

Step 2: Rig something solid to pull against

The drill and hook is going to be in your hand, on one end of the skein. The other end will need to be firmly fixed to a table, rod, or shelf, enough that you can pull with 10–15 pounds of force against it. I settled on two different ways of doing this.

Method 1: Clamp a post/peg to a sturdy table. I used both a wide paper towel holder (without a bulb at the top) and a PVC niddy-noddy (“release” arm pointed up). It’s important that your post or peg be at least 1 inch in diameter because you want the skein to be held a bit open at this end, even after it’s twisted.

Method 2: S-hook to a very sturdy shelf or rod. This way isn’t bad either. I used the largest S-hook I could find at the hardware store and also tried a large plastic hanger S-hook. This method tends to be a little fussier because the skein isn’t held as open at this end, and the ball at the end of the plastic S-hook dragged against the yarn a little when un-hooking it. I prefer Method 1 but wanted to give you the option to use other items you might already have around the house.

I do NOT recommend having a friend hold the other end of the skein – with a power drill, it’s easy to overshoot and end up painfully squeezing their fingers. You have been warned!

Step 3: Hook the yarn

First, snap the skein between your hands a bit. This will even out some of the strands and help with consistent tension. Then hook one end of the skein around either your peg or S-hook. Hook the other end of the skein around the hook in the power drill. Take a few steps backwards so there’s a slight bit of tension on the skein.

Step 4: Twist!

First, make sure that your power drill is on the slowest speed setting. Then gently pull the trigger just for a second or two. Power drills can spin very fast, so go easy at first and don’t overdo it! As the twist builds up, you’ll have to pull against the skein more and more to keep tension on it. If you don’t, the skein will twist up on itself like a phone cord. Once this has happened, it’s almost impossible to undo, so just pull the skein off the hook, let it untwist, and start over. The right amount of twist is reasonably tight but not hard as a rock. You’ll have to practice this to get the feel for how much twist you like, and it’ll vary with fiber content and skein size.

Step 5: Fold the skein

You now have a skein that’s twisted just right, still attached to the power drill. Keeping tension on the skein, pinch it at the power drill using your free hand. Slide the hook out of the skein, and set the drill down (or hook it on your belt loop for a sweet yarnslinger look!). Still keeping tension on the skein, take your newly free hand and pinch the skein an inch or two over the middle, closer to the peg or S-hook end. Also keeping tension with that middle-holding hand, fold the skein in half. The end that’s in your other hand should be an inch or two past the peg or S-hook. Release the hand in the middle. If you’ve done a good job keeping good tension on the skein the entire time, it should perfectly twist back up on itself. You may find that releasing the tension slowly and twisting a smidge helps guide the twist and produces a more consistent result.

Step 6: Tuck tail

Everyone does this last step a little differently, and it depends on your setup, whether you’re using a peg or a hook at this end, and what feels comfortable. I like removing the skein from the peg or hook in a way that allows me to keep that end an open loop with both hands, and I push the tail through the loop with both thumbs. Others like to hold the loop open with the thumb and forefinger of one hand, grab the tail from the other hand, and pull it through. There is no right or wrong way of doing this. This step also requires motions that are totally different from hand-twisting, so expect to practice and experiment a bit before finding the way that’s right for you.

Happy twisting!

P.S. Sometimes people mix up terminology, which can be very confusing. This process is called twisting, not winding. Winding is the process of wrapping yarn around something in a circular motion, like winding yarn on a bobbin or winding a skein from a cone with a skein winder. Twisting is the process of wrapping two things around each other – like twisting fibers together to make yarn or twisting strands of yarn together to ply them, or twisting a skein back on itself to make it a tidy bundle.

Carrie Sundra is an engineer with a serious yarn addiction, who decided to leave a life of electronics and high-tech spy planes for hand-dyeing and knitting. Alpenglow Yarn started in 2009 with 3 words: Glowing Natural Color. Her most well-known products, the SkeinMinder and SkeinTwister, add automation to winding and twisting operations, make the process more efficient, and help scale up production. You can find out more at

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PLY Magazine believes that Black lives matter, as well as LBGTQI+ lives. Those most vulnerable and persecuted in our communities deserve our love and support. Please be good to each other.

July Vlog with Jacey and Jillian

For this quarter’s vlog, Jacey and Jillian share their favorite parts of the Electric issue, including the story of the creation of the cover. Then Jillian spotlights the vendors who contributed fiber, wheels, or other items to this issue. Following the Electric theme, Jacey and Jillian take a spin on their new Hansen miniSpinner Pros; Jillian has been spinning on it for a little while and this was Jacey’s first spin. They discuss the advantages of this wheel and how it differs from the Classic. Laura Linneman, who researched the information for the chart of e-spinners in this issue was on hand to answer questions about e-spinners. Can you spin singles on a treadle wheel but ply on an e-spinner? And can you leave an e-spinner made of plastic in a hot car? (Yes, as long as it’s a specific type of plastic—those differences in plastic are also discussed.) Next up is information about next year’s PLYAway (finally, we’ll get to be together in person again!), including some teasers on the teachers and some of the classes that will be offered. (Classes will be listed on the website in late August and registration will be in October.) The vlog ends with teasers for the upcoming Autumn issue on Consistency.

Links mentioned in this quarter’s video

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PLY Magazine believes that Black lives matter, as well as LBGTQI+ lives. Those most vulnerable and persecuted in our communities deserve our love and support. Please be good to each other.

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Send Us Your Tips

We often spin yarns to cover the heads and hands of kinds, what is the best handspun for these high-wear but low-care projects? Blends, structures, fibers?

Share your tip by going to our Tip Jar submission page.

We share tips in every issue of PLY; these tips will for the Head and Hands Winter 2021 issue.

The person who submits our favorite tip will get a prize from us! It’s our way of saying thanks for sharing your wisdom with the PLY readers.

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PLY Magazine believes that Black lives matter, as well as LBGTQI+ lives. Those most vulnerable and persecuted in our communities deserve our love and support. Please be good to each other.

3D-Printing Spinning Tools

words and photos by Sissel Brun Ellevseth

When the Coronavirus cancelled our plans for summer vacation, I decided to invest the airfare refund in a 3D printer. The initial thought was to print fun stuff for the kids, useful things for the house, and bobbins for my EEW Nano and other tools for spinning and weaving. The printer is useful for all sorts of projects. Where I earlier had to make things of wood or metal, I can draw up my project on the computer and some hours later the finished thing is ready. Now, I must admit, it not always quite as easy as that. There have been a lot of trials and errors, a lot of hours cursing the computer for not understanding what I want it to do for me in the design program, and the occasional spaghetti incidents.

A lot of finished designs for spinners are available on sites like Thingiverse, ranging from simple drop spindles to entire plans for electric spinners. On Thingiverse, all files are free to use, and some you can even print for sale. Just be sure the designer has released the design with such a license. It is never fun to find your design being sold on Etsy by someone else if your intent is just to share designs for personal use.

The first 3D-printed spindles I saw in a spinning forum was Chivampi’s dealgan back in 2016. I had never even seen a spindle like that, and 3D-printing itself was quite new to me. The dealgan spindle is of Scottish origin from the 18th century and doubles as a nostepinne if you wind your yarn right. A dealgan is an easy to print, easy to use spindle (once you get your leader attached), and the spindle can be used just as is, straight from the printer. You can find a couple more dealgan designs on Thingiverse too if you should want a little more curved look. There are often many different options on a theme, and it is always encouraged to post makes and adaptions to a design; just remember to be nice and credit the designer if you use an existing design as a template.

Another fun and easy printed spindle project is Scott Snyder’s little Mayan paddle spindle. The design requires a 22mm bearing and a stick to get going, but if you have some of those fidget spinners lying around, you can easily pop out a bearing from the center of one. Since you now have a fidget spinner with no spinner action in sight, why not check out Scott’s other designs and print up a top whorl fidget spinner adaptor? Find a dowel and a hook and you will have two cool new spindle toys to play with.

Some of you might like a small distaff to help manage the wool while spindling. Verdrus uploaded a nice finger distaff a while back. I printed this design in wood-filament which is plastic containing real wood fibers. A print in wood filament can be sanded and oiled like real wood. I find this filament needs a lot of sanding and finishing while other plastic filaments are much easier to use, like the most common in use polylactide (PLA) family.

PLA comes in a wide array of colors and finishes. It prints on fairly low temperatures and can be used on the simplest of printers. PLA is a renewable thermoplastic and a polymer. It is “processed” from the starch of plants such as corn, sugar cane, and sugar beet, making it environmentally friendly and sustainable. It will not stand well for heat so it should not be used for things that will need to withstand the heat from the sun.

Now that you have made your spindles, you might need a niddy-noddy to skein your yarn? You have several designs to choose
from, like this quite easy to print, one-yard niddy-noddy from Sarahspins.

Are you going to knit with your yarn? Check out the sock blockers, stitch markers, yarn bobbins, and even several yarn ball winder designs available out there. Some even have full plans to motorize the winder. Now, not all designs available will hold water. There are incomplete files and downright awkward designs, but there are also perfect designs. You just have to go exploring. Be aware though, time flies when you’re down the rabbit hole… Other than Thingiverse, several other sites offer printing files both for free and for payment. and are useful search engines that will help you search multiple sites at once.

You can also find a lot of different bobbins and some other wheel accessories for various wheels to print too, like for the EEW e-spinner family. In addition to the EEW community’s designs, Maurice Ribble – the inventor of the EEW e-spinners – has made all design files for bobbins and accessories available to print and customize the spinners. He even allows people with 3D-printers to print and sell his designs. The EEW Nano has a lot of gadgets to choose from like battery boxes, various lazy kates, bobbins and yarn guides. With the new EEW 6.0 with its big bobbin capacity, I expect we are going to see some very cool bobbin designs in the future.

For the much smaller Nano, you have a lot to choose from if you want to buy finished fancy bobbins. Swedish Wool and Yarns as well as Snyder Spindles on Etsy sell fun bobbins, as do Snortimers Hub and Theresa Ehlers from their own web shops, and there are others out there offering the standard bobbins Maurice has designed.

Designing for 3D-printing can be done in various programs. I like Fusion360, which is free for personal use with limited functionality. It is quite an advanced program, and I don’t need the limited functions for my designs in any case, so the light version is good for me. One other commonly used program from the same developer is Tinkercad, a simpler program which also is free to use. Any design program will take some time to learn to use, but when you master designing on the computer there is little limit on what you can make. My husband is my best customer, often coming home with ideas of what I could make to hang this and that to the walls in his home brewery. I have also repaired toys for the kids by replacing a water tank in a loved fire truck, rebuilding the trailer hitch on a small car model, and making tons of Among Us miniatures for the tween.

I find the 3D-printer especially useful for making band weaving heddles in all sizes imaginable, and I have made loads of the different Turkish spindles on Thingiverse to gift my friends who are interested in spindling.

3D-printing as a hobby is both fun and challenging. A lot of resources are available online to master both designing and how to perfect your prints, and a lot of forums are available online to get answers to problems. There are a lot of different printers available in all price ranges, so if you are in the market for a printer, be sure to use your time to choose the right one. If you don’t want to invest in a printer yourself, some libraries have printers and will let you use them, sometimes for a fee. Also, if you have a Makerspace community in your area, go check them out! Makerspaces usually have printers and all the other cool toys and tools, and Makerspace people are usually super cool people.

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PLY Magazine believes that Black lives matter, as well as LBGTQI+ lives. Those most vulnerable and persecuted in our communities deserve our love and support. Please be good to each other.