Lazykate Blog

Little things to help you spin

Over the years during Spinning Workshops, I found that breaking up the process into separate sections can help the fledgling spinner grasp each part of the process.  Let’s face it, spinning is a skill and takes a some co-ordination so everything I can do to help make it easier, I will.

Sometimes I will treadle while the new spinner masters the drafting technique, sometimes I’ll draft a little.  For some it doesn’t take long and the penny will drop, for others it might take a few hours for spinning becomes comfortable.

I teach using Ashford Traditional wheels which are steady and slower wheels,  great for beginners.   It helps to have everyone on the same wheel, but on occasion we might have to try something different.

Ashford Spinning Wheel

This is what happened recently at a class in Liverpool but changing the wheel made all the difference and the lady was able to spin.

Kromski Sonata

The difference in the lady’s case was the double treadle. So both feet were used to treadle, evening out the effort made and making it more ergonomic.  She found the treadling gentler with less stress on her back.  

It would be awful if someone came along to spin and thought they didnt have the ability when actually, if they just tried a different type of wheel they might find they can spin comfortably.

So, if you attend one if my workshops, you are welcome to use my wheels, (whether it’s an Ashford or a Kromski) or bring along your own if that would suit you better.

Whatever makes it easier for you to spin….we’ll do it!

Upcoming Spinning Workshops

Friday 17th April, Black Sheep Wools, Glaziers Lane, Culcheth

Friday 1st May Ten Streets Market, Cotton Street Liverpool

Friday 12th June Ten Streets Market, Cotton Street Liverpool L3 7DY

Friday 17th July, Ten Streets Market, Cotton Street, Liverpool L3 7DY

To book click here

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Dyer’s Palette Box Club


Dyer’s Palette Box


I’m so excited about this new venture, the Dyer’s Palette Box Club. It’s something I’ve been talking about for absolutely ages (ask Ovis Yarns who has had her ear chewed off a few times).

Dyeing yarn is such a wonderful process. Quite a simple procedure producing something completely unique.  If you are a spinner it means that you can dye all manner of different fibres and spin them up into art yarn, or 4ply. You can heather those shades with conventional plying or keep your colours true with chain plying.  Either way, something magical happens and beautiful yarn appears.

If you chose to dye yarn you have an element of control to produce bold or soft  colours, bright or muted.  And then sometimes, something crazy happens and you’ll get a happy accident.  That’s the joy of it all.

So this course of boxes are designed to take you through different techniques in dyeing using different yarns so that you can create your own unique yarn or fibre and have as much fun as I do when I dye.

There are six months of boxes and I’ve given three options, monthly payments, two payments of £90 or one of £180 depending on how you would find it easier (or maybe if someone else is footing the bill!)

If you have any questions, ask away and I’ll do my best to answer them and hopefully we’ll start creating together very soon

Dyer’s Palette Box Club click here to join


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Believe None of What You Hear and Half of What You See or Adventures in Flax

I’ve had a bag of flax in my large fibre box for quite a few years.  I found the reputation for flax being a difficult fibre to spin proceeded it and I don’t have a distaff so my bag of fibre remained neglected.

It has been the dyeing of this beautiful yarn that peaked my interest.  This is a baby alpaca/silk/linen mix, it takes dye so readily and has a beautiful sheen due to the silk but it’s the linen that I wanted to experiment with, especially with weaving.

Flax Tow

Well you know how these goes, the yarn is dyed and I love it so its partially woven and is at Ten Streets waiting for me to finish it, wait, what’s that? It was the Tour de Fleece and the challenge of spinning something a little bit out of my comfort zone. Well the alpaca/silk/linen was so beautiful, I wanted to spin my own linen, so the ancient bag of flax fibre was retrieved from the box.

What is flax tow?

It turns out that there are two types of flax, line or sticks which are really long fibres and require a distaff or flax tow, shorter, coarser fibres that are more easily dealt with.  I had flax tow.  So anyone who has had experience of spinning with will should be able to get to grips with flax tow.

The direction is to wet your fingers, the flax is floaty and gets everywhere. I’ve spun with both wrt and dry fingers and I’m sure the wet in better but I’ve not always been bobothered.

How to spin flax?

I found the best way to spin it was to split the length of flax into very thin sections, when drafting, full the fibres until they are very thin, that drafting triangle will be very see through! This way your yarn will be nice and thin when you’ve plied it.

I also read that it can be helpful to spin with your wheel going in the s direction (anti clockwise) but I only read this after I started spinning z wise so I’ll attempt that maybe next time.

So my first ball of yarn was pretty thick while I  got my head around the technique.

Flax spun worsted, z twist, 26wpi for the single 16wpi for the piled yarn.

16 wpi plied flax yarn

Plied flax yarn

Woven yarn 16wpi

Flax has no elasticity so very different to weave than a wool yarn so you would need to take that into consideration if you’re weaving for a project but as this is for experimental purposes I used mainly plain weave with a litt,e bit of Brooke’s Bouquet thrown in for interest.

Actually, the fabric was like hessian! Not really sure what I would do with it.  Also, the sample piece was way to long  a small square section of fabric would have been much more useful.

The second attempt was 34 wpi as a single, 19 wpi as a plied yarn

19wpi plied flax

My third attempt was 45 wpi single, 28wpi as a plied yarn, I vlet much more confident to draft really, really thin at this point.

28wpi plied flax yarn

So I’m weaving with this last yarn using a 10dpi Reed and will see how it weaves up in plain weave.  I’m completely addicted.  If you’d like to have a go and I recommend it wholeheartedly, get some flax here and give it a go.

Just because someone tells you something is difficult, may not be the case after all.


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Tour de Fleece 2019

British Fibre Art Tour de Fleece Team


It’s coming up to that time of year again.  Saturday 6th July sees the start of the Tour de France and so spinners will be preparing for the Tour de Fleece.

If this is something that is new to you and you’re spinner, you might like to join in.  The Tour de Fleece is an online spinalong. Spinners can spin on their own or join one of the many teams on ravelry.  I’m going to be spinning along with British Fibre Art team.  There’s all the information you need to know by clicking this link

So I’ve dyed yarn in readiness.  I’ve chosen a Bluefaced Leicester/silk mix.  A couple of years ago a friend asked me to spin fibre for a scarf to be woven for her husband.  I order about 500g of BFL/silk mix, forgot all about it and then used it mistakenly on a workshop.  I couldn’t understand why there were fibres floating around, in my eyes and up my nose and then it dawned on me what I’d used for the class.  That was one expensive workshop.

So I’ve decided to complete the project two years on, bought the fibre and dyed it in a pebble shade of grey.  I love the way the wool takes the dye and the silk doesn’t but spins in adding a sheen and softness to the spun yarn.

Bluefaced Leceister/silk fibre dyed in Pebble

If you’d like to join us, message me and I can send you details, it’s just a fun spin along but you might enjoy it – you don’t even need to watch the tour to do it, you could watch Vera – although don’t tell anyone I told you that.

If you fancy learning to spin, you’re very welcome to join me on the 19th July at Northern Yarn or 20th July at Ten Streets Market or  13th September at Black Sheep Wools. It’s such a wonderful craft and has an amazing community along with it!

Beginners Spinning


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Lazykate Textiles at Ten Streets Market

Ten Streets Market is a venue for artists and small producers to dip a toe into having a retail space.  It’s run by mum and daughter Tina and Georgia who you’ll meet when you visit.  They’ve created a welcoming quirky space filled with vintage and craft stalls and a great little cafe

I’ll be stocking hand dyed yarns and fibre, Kromski looms and accessories and hosting weaving, spinning and dyeing workshops. It’s really exciting to be able to have a space if my own!

If you’re coming over, please message me and I can arrange to be there, the beauty of this space is that because Tina and Georgia man Ten Streets I can be free to carry on with my other workshop commitments around the North West.  I wouldn’t want to miss anyone who has made the journey so let me know you’re on your way and I’ll be able to have a coffee with you.

I’ll post some images of the stand as soon as I’m set up.

Ten Streets Market, Cotton Street, Liverpool, L3 7DY

Opening times Wed-Sun 10.30-18.00

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Yarn Shop Day at Black Sheep Wools


I’m really excited to be taking part in Yarn Shop Day at Black Sheep Wools this year held on the 27th April.

Black Sheep have joined in with Yarn Shop Day since it began in 2014.  As knitters we are all passionate about supporting our local yarn shops so if you’d like to see what’s going on around your area, take a look at the guide here:

In our area, as well as Black Sheep, Northern Yarn in Lancaster is taking part so be sure to support Kate and everyone there as well and you know, in the spirit of the day, if you have a local yarn shop that you want to support that isn’t on the list then please do that too – our lovely yarn shops need our support and the staff who work hard to inspire you with their gorgeous knitty items will appreciate your visit.

I’ll be taking along a spinning wheel or two and an enormous bag of fibre so if you fancy having a try at spinning, this is your opportunity.  Spinning is a wonderful skill and who knows, you might be part of that 00000.1% of the population that sits down and takes to it immediately.  I’m just bitter because that wasn’t me!

Anyway, hopefully I’ll see you on the day, please come over and make yourself known, it’s always nice to know that people read this and I’m not just typing into the void




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Don’t get ready – get started!

For many years I’ve followed Felicia Lo from Sweet Georgia Yarns.  She started off dyeing when I did, around 2005 and went on to scale the heights while I dawdled through!  It’s so exciting to find someone who is on your wavelength and follow their journey.

So I was excited to watch her You Tube channel and hear her talking about her design process and how sometimes she feels a design paralysis. This is something I’m sure we all experience at times, especially when the stresses of life catch up with us and particularly with the demands that we place on ourselves as a result of social media- seeing other artists produce amazing work at a seemingly alarming rate can be a little disheartening when your own process is a little slower.

So Felicia’s take on it- just weave.  Just knit or just spin.   It doesn’t matter.  The doing of the thing is what helps us to improve, so just do.  It’s not rocket science, we all know that this is the case.  Stop overthinking..   It’s helpful to be reminded of this now and again, that we aren’t perfect, we’re just human.

So I had a lady unable to attend on Saturday’s weaving workshop, she had given me almost free reign to chose the colours of her warp for her so I chose Vintage Rose, Ilsa and Mrs Weston yarns. An almost solid colour, a neutral with a fleck and a variegated with light and darker pinks to bring it all together.  Even as i was warping it I knew i loved it. But rather than start weaving, I kept it for you know, someone else, a better time, when I had more yarn, i.e. a million and one reasons not to start.


So today, I am warping up with those same yarns in the same colours on my rigid heddle loom.  It’s going to be slightly wider but I’m getting started.  Will post how it looks (even if it’s not great), I promise.

Vintage Rose, Mrs Weston and Ilsa hand dyed yarns

Weaving workshops Lancashire

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Why we need Neutrals in Hand Dyed Yarn

Faced with a wall of bright hand dyed yarn with colours that pop, deep and rich purples and blues, cheery yellows and reds, pinks, pinks in every shade and saturation.  Solids, semis and variegated, speckles and spots these  days colours can actually make our mouths start watering and we can only feel pity for those who don’t  share our passion.

But what about the greys, beiges, and barely there creams? What about those shades that people turn their noses up at because they’re muddy, bland or boring? Do these have a place in the hand dyed arsenal of yarn?

Dyers will often plan a palette of colours and then pick the neutrals that will work with those colours, it’s a plan!

Neutrals used in a project whether it be knitting, crochet or weaving will make the brighter colours stand out, drawing attention to the lighter or  brighter yarns you want to show off.  Take this gorgeous shawl by Pook GB and see how the rainbow colours come forward because of the charcoal neutral.

Pook Yarns Rainbow Stripe Shawl

Neutrals are also timeless. That mustard shade that we all absolutely love right now may or may not be around two years from now but a neutral, well that’s an investment piece that will, stand the test of time.  Perhaps mixing the two is the answer.  Isabel Kraemer’s is the master of this

Isabel Kraemer Humulus

Isabel Kraemer’s A Girls Best Friend Shawl

See how the neutral acts as a foil for the brighter colours?  We see neutrals used in Fairisle patterns too.  Do you follow Loritimesfive on Instagram? Such gorgeous inspirational photos taken by Lori Ann Graham-Rushfeldt



In my weaving workshops, fledgling weavers often put neutral in their weaving to balance the scarves with wonderful effect.

So love those neutrals, they’re your foundation to wonderful design! To see my hand dyed neutral and more click here

Lazykate Textiles Granite Yarn

Lazykate Textiles Beach Pebble

Lazykate Textiles Beach Pebble



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Why I Choose to Use Wool

There seems to have been plenty posted around social media in recent months about wool and it’s pros and cons.  As with many issues there is some truth on both sides and at the risk of boring people with this issue that is everywhere, I feel I need to let people know how I operate.


There has been a backlash against using wool, partly driven by the vegan movement and partly by videos that have surfaced showing shearers treating animals unkindly and the use of mulesing in some merino farms in Australia.  These videos can’t be denied and it’s important that issues of animal welfare are raised and put right.  Unethical treatment of sheep is just not acceptable and I would never use fibre from sources that I wasn’t 100% sure of.

That said, to encourage people to use manmade fibres instead of natural fibres seems like a short term view.  Plastics are a huge problem that our planet is struggling to deal with so acrylic yarn, as much as it is a convenient machine washable fabric will not biodegrade or provide nutrients to the soil  as wool does.  Wool is a part of the fibre of this country, it certainly would look like a different place without the sheep that we see dotted on our hillsides.  Take a look at this info from the National Sheep Association:

More than 40% of our breeding flock is based in the uplands of the UK- and it is no accident that our strong sheep areas are also our biggest tourism areas, as sheep have created and continue to maintain our iconic landscapes.

As well as creating beautiful landscapes, sheep also support wildlife and plant biodiversity. Without sheep our grassland, and upland land in particularly, would become overtaken by scrub and coarse vegetation, becoming less valuable to many types of plants, small mammals and ground nesting birds, and at risk of environmental damage by wildfires. areas are also our biggest tourism areas, as sheep have created and continueto maintain our iconic landscapes.

In lowland areas sheep put lots of natural nutrients back into the ground that the growing of cereals and vegetables takes out. Yes, we’re talking about poo!

Sheep produce a thick woolly coat called a fleece to protect them from the weather, both hot and cold. Wool is the most sustainable fibre in the world. It’s a natural product of the sheep’s life cycle and the welfare of sheep is improved by them being shorn. Wool is a stable carbon store that is produced by little more than solar powered grass and herbage.

So I will continue to champion the use of wool, you can be assured it’s from a reputable source when you attend one of my workshops or buy one of my scarves.  Lets value this fabulous fibre.

Lazykate Blog

Why Indie Dyed Yarn makes Confident Weavers

Workshops are great fun, a real treat, sharing the day with like minded people letting your creativity run wild, right?

Not for everyone, sometimes the environment can be a little bit nerve wracking, learning something new can leave you feel kak-handed, maybe you feel everyone else is running ahead, you’re too nervous to ask a question. We’ve all been there and it isn’t a great feeling.

For all of those who come to a workshop with a fixed plan in mind, colours decided, goal in view there are others who feel overwhelmed at the choices

Hand dyed yarn choices


So, on the Weave a Scarf workshop I’ve tried to allay those fears by first of all using colours that people feel comfortable with. I’ll pick three main colours for the warp that fit in with the colour scheme you’ve chosen. You might have said ‘I love blues’ and that will be enough to point me in the right direction. Maybe and even more importantly you might have told me that you absolutely can’t stand pink, sometimes we don’t necessarily have strong feelings about what we like, but we certainly know what we don’t.

Mid weave

So the colours in your warp could give you a starting point to work with on the day. Three colours to chose from which can give you numerous options in terms of pattern or colour placing. I’ve found that for those who come along who are nervous this can give them a confident start. So don’t let fear of colour stop you creating something amazing.

Diane’s Finished Scarf


Scarf woven by Diane 13/10/18