My top 3 favorite spinning tools and tips

I spin yarn on a budget, and thus my spinning gear is not within the higher range of what you could find on the market. Still, I hope this will inspire others to see you don’t need the most expensive tools to spin yarn.

Bliss spinning Wheel

# 1 – I do love my Bliss wheel by Woolmakers.

It’s white, with a modern look which surprised me some the first time I saw it, and now love.
It really well engineered and treadles oh-so smoothly. Nothing complicated on it and no fiddly maintenance, the only thing I’ve done so far on it was to retighten a bolt or two each year.
Also, since I assembled the wheel (so easy to do), I feel like I know my wheel inside out, and what exactly each piece is doing in the overall mechanics of the wheel.
I love the fact that my 5 extra bobbins fit on the built-in lazy-kate on the frame of the wheel. ANd love that you can choose between several options (one or 2 pedals, extra bobbins..)

One big regret though, is still that the bobbins are small, which easily gets frustrating when you spin thicker yarn or want to ply from your bobbins. (and so far, no news of their Jumbo kit)

Spindles made by Sylvie Damey

# 2 – My handmade polymer clay spindles are the best.

Even though one may wonder if they’re perfectly balanced, they spin so well that it gives me joy whenever I spin or ply with them. Also, I can make them in any color of my choice, make heavier ones for thick yarn and plying, or feather light spindles to spin lace weight… Oh and did I mention the COLORS ? I love colors, and those are just the perfect spindles for me.

Also, whenever I do worshops, I’m amazed by the variety of designs you can experiment with so that’s extra bonus.
(currently writing a tutorial on how to make those)

Panel of handspun woolen to worsted

# 3 – Jacey Boggs video classes on Craftsy made all the difference

I have a large library of spinning books. Even subscribed to spinning magazines at some point. Gathered many bits and pieces of information over the years. Felt like I could spin, more of less. Spinning felt comfortable and easy … yet like many spinners I didn’t feel like I had total control over the yarns I spun.

Then I watched Jacey Bogg’s first class on Craftsy, “Drafting from worsted to woolen” and BANG, that was a total revolution in my spinning. Suddenly it felt like all the pieces came together, and I understood exactly the whole process and how to control the yarn I was spinning. Decide which yarn to spin, why and how. I keep recomending this class to all my friends because it changed a lot of things for me. Jacey is such an amazing instructor, making everything crystal clear and telling you ever so precisely the things other people may not think of explaining… If you’re also a visual learner, hop along and spin together with Jacey via the Craftsy platform, I’m sure you won’t regret it.

Now Jacey has just launched a second class with Craftsy, dealing more specifically with the techniques which made her famous : “Spinning Art yarns”. Although I watched her first DVD back when she was still known as “Insubordiknit”, I’ll be watching this one with interest. I’m sure she’s come up with new tricks and variations in between ;-)

How about you ? Any favorite spinning tools or tips you’d like to share?


Designed to showcase the beauty of my friend Heike’s gradient yarn, Amour Bleu-corail ( = Blue love) features lacy gradient mesh rows, cute heart-shaped front ties and a picot edging.

Made top down in one piece, it’s easy as pie to make and the pattern includes many step-by-step pictures and tutorials to guide you along the way.

Bleu3 Bleu1
Sizes included: XS to XL.

Gauge: 15.5 stitches and 7.5 rows = 4 inches in dc in the front loop (US crochet terms)

Price: $6 on Etsy, Ravelry or Craftsy.

Back from the Lot

Third edition of the “Lot et Laine” fiber festival in the south-west of France. Such a beautiful region. I was very glad to share this special moment with my older daughter this time…!

  • We shared a stall with my friend Heike and her beautiful hand-dyed yarns. My Bertille generated lots of interest, can't wait to see more popping around :-)
  • Cuddly toy made by my daughter during a workshop with Cecile Pouget aka "la nippe cameleone"
  • Spindle spinning workshop in progress : the whorls are ready to fire.
  • A beautiful lady with her beautiful batt !
  • Giant weaving with a super cool and ingenious homemade device
  • Heike's yarns: Mmm, which one will they buy ?
  • Funny and smart ladies... Making new friends is one of the great joys of such events !
  • Free local fleeces... I did grab a couple sections of 2 different fleeces, can't try to see how they spin up.
  • Lovely quiet time with dear friends
  • ladies hard at work decorating their whorls for the spindles
  • Learning to spin yarn on a spindle
  • Practising spindle spinning on her very own handmade spindle
  • Lovely Cabrerets campground, with the river Celé right there for us to jump in after a hot and tiring day...
  • And here's a pretty Jehanne cardigan !
  • Sock knitting workshop

Made new (crazy) adorable friends, got to see again old friends, taught a spindle spinning workshop, spent time talking about crochet and spinning with lovely ladies, … and even took more time to enjoy the festival with my daughter this time !

Have a great summer !

Such wonderful memories in this chalet with my friend Sophie.
For several months I’ve been trying to organise a spinning/crochet/knitting retreat there, to share the passion and meet more amazing crafters…
(I know most of you have already planned your summer by now… Hopefully next year I’ll have all the details ready by spring!)

Take a few days away from our daily routine, be surrounded by yarn and wool, crochets, knitting needles, drum carders and spinning wheels, meet more like-minded passionnate crafters, spend all day knitting or crocheting without feeling guilty about it, learn new techniques, explore new directions …

From thursday August 27th (2015) to sunday August 30th in MEGEVE (74), France, about 1 hour away from Geneva,
along with my friend Heike Madeleine we’ll be teaching a series of workshops in a beautiful vintage chalet
(cheap on-site accomodation possible, please enquire for details):

+ + +

- SPINNING yarn on a spinning wheel, and cleaning/carding raw fleece, with Heike & Sylvie

rouet3 15

This is a full-day workshop: during the morning we’ll learn to use a spinning wheel to spin yarn. How to draft, spin a consistent yarn, and even the basics of plying.
Over the afternoon, we’ll cover how to clean a raw fleece, card fiber using hand cards and a drum carder.
What we’ll learn:
– basics of spinning
– different types of drafting, and/or the difference between woolen and worsted yarns
– various fibers that can be spun into yarn
– various fiber preps: batts, rolags, combed top… and how to use them
– why spin your own yarn
– differences between various spinning wheels which you can try during workshop
– and so much more !
72 € / person, includes fiber and access to several wheels, hand cards, drum carders, hackle… (on site accomodation possible, please enquire for details)

+ + +

- Design and CROCHET the sweater/cardigan of your dreams with Sylvie Damey

wip1r Jehanne hooded cardigan Bulky4 (2) backWhite Ombeline cardigan,

During this 2-day workshop, you will design and crochet the sweater or cardigan you’ve always dreamed of. Short or long sleeves, fitted or boxy, striped, lacy or solid, with your all-ime favorite stitch pattern… Using my basic top-down yoke design, we’ll learn how to crochet directly using only your body as a guide.
What we’ll learn:
– basic principles of top down construction of a sweater
– how to add drape to your crochet
– managing the rythm of increases/ decreases
– a clever and innovative way to work the under-arms
– how to determine how many sts to chain at the beginning
– pros and cons of top down construction versus other methods
– how to fix mistakes along the way
– using edgings to finish a garment with style
– and so much more !
95 € / person for both days (bring your hooks and yarn, at least worsted weight so we get better chances to finish it within both days…) – (on site accomodation possible, please enquire for details)
140 € / person for both days with 400g of gradient yarn included and a set of 6 “Susan Bates” hooks. (you choose your colors)

+ + +

- Toe-up sock KNITTING, with Heike Madeleine (details to come)

- Knitting with beads, with Heike Madeleine (details to come)

- More spinning techniques: core-spinning, with Heike Madeleine (details to come)

I hope to see you there soon !! Please feel free to contact me for details.


Summer is that time of the year when you feel free to wear any cray and fun clothes ! This is the spirit of my “Bertille hooded bolero”. Made for a festive and fun summer with friends and family.

Cropped shape to keep it light for the summer, but with a super long hood just because!
bert2e bert9
Easy and quick to crochet in one piece from the end of hood down to lower back edge, with a shapely slanted cut in the back.
I made the hood extraaaa long on this one, but you’ll find notes in the pattern to make it shorter super easily.

As usual, pattern is detailed with step by step pictures and tutorials at the end.

bert4 bert6

Made with aran-weight Magic wool deluxe by Ice yarns: a pretty pure wool gradient single yarn, much softer than Noro Kureyon and with lovely colors. (and doesn’t seem to pill so far)
Gauge: 17 stitches and 8 rows = 4 inches in dc in the front loop (US crochet terms)

You’ll find this pattern on Ravelry, Etsy and Craftsy.

I have just finished another one for my younger daughter (if all goes well, trying to release this also in teen sizes), with contrasting pink bobbles. So many possibilities !!

GalinaR image_36414_medium piperredfern2R
And special thanks to my amazing teams of testers (Galina Dolgova-Ivanova, Trish Jones, Piperredfern) for their help and beautiful photos !

I’ve had requests for larger sizes for my patterns ever since I published Loup. Seemed like a good idea… except I didn’t know where to start, having heard many times you can’t just keep on increasing the sizing exponentially. Plus sizes are specific, and while my designing method is usually to create the garment directly on myself so it fits perfectly… I didn’t have anybody on hand to do that for larger sizes.

Then when a lovely lady kept insisting, I asked her if she’d be ready to take the risk of testing a larger size AND help me refine the sizing. Merci Fierdre !!! My sizing survey also helped me have a better grasp of actual measurements of larger bodies.

Thanks to her and other amazing crocheters who volunteered to help with the test, here’s my very first crochet pattern available in PLUS SIZES, including XL, 2XL, 3XL.


The Floralie cardigan can be made with long sleeves and wool blends for the winter, or short sleeves and cotton blend yarn for the warmer months. A wide neckline and no waist shaping means clean and simple lines, making it a classic sweater you’ll love wearing every day.


Made with bulky yarn, the delicate floral motif around the yoke keeps it light and stylish. I love the idea of those stripes too !!


I can’t resist sharing the super kind words of Trish who made the above cardigan: “I am so glad that you care to accentuate a woman’s figure regardless of size in your designs. More fabric doesn’t make a woman look more attractive – accentuating the pluses of our figures does. Thank you for caring about those of us who aren’t thin. I was thin once and dressing the thin body is easier than trying to look or feel attractive when you have curves. Thank you for understanding and not just adding more fabric to mask our bodies in your designs!”

You’ll find this pattern on Ravelry and Etsy in 2 separate files, one including sizes XS to Xl, the other one including sizes XL to 3XL.
bulky2 BoutonsJaunes4

Are you interested in more Plus Size crochet patterns ? Which pattern would you want me to upsize in priority ?

Turquoise for me please

Funny how I used to loathe the color turquoise as a teenager.
Turquoise was everywhere at that time, THE hot color ! Bracelets and jewelery, t-shirts and whatever. It was too much and I kind of swore to myself I’d never wear turquoise.

BUT. This is precisely the reason why I try never to say never. Right now I have a longing for this color. First wanted turquoise yarn for my Lutine des Fleurs, but was afraid it would be too bright for my complexion (later regretted this choice. Color I chose online is super lovely but not saturated enough for my taste)

34500 34500a

Then bought this yarn from Ice yarns. Magice wool deluxe in mixed grays, coal, blues… and TURQUOISE !!
Perfect for a little cropped bolero with long hood I had in mind too. Worked on this on and off since march, while finishing the testing/editing of Floralie.


Finally it’s finished…can I just say it’s perfect ? Perfect for the weather we’re having now in the french Alps (warm enough to wear t-shirts and sandals, SO neat !), perfect to wear this summer at the “Lot et Laine” wool festival,
… and perfect colors of course !!


Both my daughters have already requested I make one for them. And our special young friend Lis. wants one too. Thank god they’re quick to make ! Might take this opportunity to try and size it also for teens for once, now that my daughters are growing.


First had a more lacy edging in mind, but didn’t out as planned so Bobbles appreared instead…
While I love that extra long hood (it’s even longer than on my previous long hoods !!), I’ll try and make it slightly shorter for the girls.



A new hood, for a cropped bolero thought for chilly summer festival nights …

Yarn is very “Magic wool deluxe” from Kuka/Ice yarns. 100% wool, single with long color repeats reminiscent of the Noro but softer hand.

Loving it, can’t wait to have more to show :-D

Bulky4 (2)

Because we live in altitude in the french Alps, warm woolens are a must in my wardrobe. Always looking for the perfect balance between warmth and style, I got tired of the traditional boxy sweaters and funnel necks.

Playing with this floral motif for various other designs, I had the basic idea for the “Floralie cardigan” ages ago: a taller and wider version of the same motif, but with incorporated increases that would replace the traditional way of increasing for the yoke.
But finding the proper bulky yarn took time… Until I stumbled upon those pretty cones of yarn, perfect color and content !

bulky2 DetailBas

Made with bulky yarn, the delicate floral motif around the yoke keeps it light and stylish. A wide neckline and no waist shaping means clean and simple lines, making it a classic sweater you’ll love wearing every day. (at least I do !!)

BoutonsJaunes2 BoutonsJaunes4

Skip the sleeves and use a cotton blend yarn… and you’ll get a lighter version for the warmer months too !!


Because of the weight issues with bulky yarn, I highly recommend using acrylic blends for this sweater. (acrylic being much lighter than wool or cotton)
I used 2 strands of yarn for my winter version, making it a wool & acrylic blend.
I used the now discontinued “Goa” by GGH yarn for my summer version, which is a cotton & acrylic blend.

Size: XS-S-M-L-XL
for Bust: 71/76 – 81/86 – 91/96 – 101/106 – 111/116 cm 28/30 – 32/34 – 36/38 – 40/42 – 44/46 inches
Finished bust dimensions of cardigan: 76-86-96-106-116 cm 30-33¾-37¾-41¾-45½ inches

– Approx 650-700-780-850-910 m of Bulky yarn for long sleeves version.
OR Approx 475-540-610-675-740 m of Bulky yarn for short sleeves version
– 6.5 mm (K) hook
– 8 large coconut shell buttons (enameled or natural), 3 cm (1¼ in) diameter.
– removable stitch-markers (optional)

Gauge: 12 sts and 6 rows = 10 cm/4″ over double crochet in front loop

Price: $6
– Available on Etsy, Ravelry or Craftsy.


I’m so glad to see how so many people also love those super long hoods. Somewhere between dreamland and Woodland… Cozy to wear, but also fitted and feminine.

DetailCapucheWhite backWhite

Just like the baby version “Lutin Marguerite“, this new elfin cardigan “Lutine des Fleurs” is crocheted top down in one piece with worsted weight yarn. It features a super long elfin hood and flower motif inserts along the brim of hood and lower edge of cardigan.

fini1 ouvert

Closes with a zipper, because those sweaters are meant for everyday wear.



Size: XS (S, M, L, XL) – Bust: 71/76 (81/86, 91/96, 101/106, 111/116) cm – 28/30
(32/34, 36/38, 40/42, 44/46) inches
Finished bust dimensions of cardigan: 72.5 (82.5, 92.5, 103.5, 112) cm – 28 ½ (32 ½, 36 ½, 41,
44) inches

– Cascade 220 “wool heathers”: 6 (6, 7, 8, 9, 10) hanks in Light Blue (MC) and 1 (1, 1, 1, 2) hank in Aster (CC) (Worsted / 10 ply yarn – 100%
Wool – 201 meters / 100 grams)
– 5.5 mm (I) hook
– 55 cm (21 ½ in) separating zipper in matching color

Gauge: 16 sts and 7.5 rows = 10 cm/4″ over double crochet in front loop

Price: $6 – Available on Etsy, Ravelry or Craftsy.

Special thanks to my amazing testers once again !! Here are some of their pretty “Lutine des fleurs”, made by CoudreDuCoeur, Starf1owr, Liaga.
CoudreDuCoeur TrishJones liaga - patterns design - © Sylvie Damey

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