This summer, Schacht Spindle released the Cricket Quartet, an attachment that converts their Cricket rigid heddle loom into a 4-shaft table loom. The claim is that the Quartet allows you to switch back and forth at will between a rigid heddle loom and a 4-shaft loom. At $450, this is pretty expensive, considering you also need to have the Cricket, which is currently running around $240. So all in, this would cost $700, which is a lot for a table loom. (For comparison, a used 4-shaft table loom in working condition should be around $400).
However, I already had a 15" Cricket rigid heddle loom that I used to use for teaching and demonstrations. I enjoy using it, but I knew I would use a 4-shaft table loom more. We recently moved, and my weaving space is much smaller than it used to be, so space is at a premium. Gone are my days of acquiring looms just for fun! After looking at used table looms on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Ravelry, I realized that I had already had some experience with a lot of the looms out there, and found them to be too big, too loud, or too flimsy. So I decided to give the Cricket Quartet a try.
As always, Schacht does a really nice job of packaging with minimal waste, while still protecting everything inside.
Soon I will be putting the loom together and using it - I'll be sure to report back!
There are as many ways to spin a gorgeous yarn as there are people who spin. Sometimes, getting a consistent yarn is really important - especially if we're spinning lots of yarn for a big project.
There are lots of ways to make sure you're spinning a consistent yarn. One of my favorite ways is to use the Spinner's Multitool. It helps me prepare fiber, and then check my yarn as I'm spinning to make sure I'm getting the yarn I want.
The Spinner's Multitool functions as a diz, WPI (wraps per inch) tool, and twist angle. The Ultimate Multitool also has a small 2" ruler that can help you determine twists per inch. These are all factors that can help you spin a consistent yarn. They're also helpful if you're trying to replicate another yarn in your stash.
In this post, I'll walk you through all the ways you can use the Spinner's Multitool. In this video, I'm using the Ultimate Multitool. but if you're into something a little different, we also have a Sheep Shaped Spinner's Multitool, an Alpaca, a Bunny, and the Original. If you still have questions after watching the video, I've added some more information and closeup images to help.
Using The Spinner's Multitool as a Diz
Each Spinner's Multitool has several different holes. These are designed so you can diz fiber from a drumcarder, hand cards, a blending board, or hand combs.
In this video, I share how to diz fiber from hand combs. Remember, the bigger the hole you use, the thicker your top will be (or roving, if using a carded prep). But you might be surprised - even though those holes seem pretty small, a lot of fiber fits through them!
Dizzing fiber is a great way to prepare fiber for spinning. I find that hand-dizzed fiber is a real pleasure to spin. It is light and fluffy and fun to work with!
Learning to diz fiber can take some practice. The key is to not try to get too much fiber through the diz at one time, or else you'll get stuck and frustrated. When this happens, back off a little bit, draft the fiber gently, and then keep going. And remember to be patient with yourself! The results are well worth it.
Checking the WPI (Wraps Per Inch)
To check the WPI, or wraps per inch, simply lay the yarn along the grooves, and move it around until you find a good match. Here, I've determined that the yarn is about 18 wraps per inch. Remember to not pull tightly, as this can distort your reading.
Checking Your Twist Angle
In the first image, you will see some unspun fiber. It literally has no twist! So I've laid it parallel to the "zero" angle.
Here you can see a yarn that is Z twist, at a 30 degree angle. I've added a red dash to show how the angle of the twist lines up with the 30 degree angle.
Checking TPI (Twists Per Inch)
TPI, or twists per inch, is a term used by the textile industry, but not as often by handspinners. Sometimes spinners might also talk about "bumps per inch." It refers to how tightly a yarn is spun or plied. This impacts durability, drape, and how your yarn behaves overall.
To calculate TPI, count the number of visible "bumps" in an inch of your yarn, then divide by the number of plies. The Ultimate Multitool has 2 inches to measure over, so if you use that full area, you will need to divide by two again to get your average.
In the sample above, I marked above a bump with a red curve. I counted 10 bumps across 2 inches. I'll divide that by 2 to get 5, then divide by 2 again for the number of plies, to come up with 2.5 bumps per inch.
It's easiest to see TPI in plied yarn, so that's what I've shared here. Jill Wolcott has an excellent tutorial with a deep dive on TPI.
Here are some key things to remember when you're using your Spinner's Multitool:
Here is the fourth episode of the Fiber Sprite Podcast! On this show, I'll talk about projects I've been working on and my visit to the Taos Wool Festival.
Here is the second episode of the Fiber Sprite Podcast! On this show, I'll talk about projects I've been working on, sources of inspiration, share tutorials, and more.
Here is the first episode of the Fiber Sprite Podcast! On this show, I'll talk about projects I've been working on, sources of inspiration, share tutorials, and more.
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