Many moons ago, Suzy and I challenged each other to a spinning duel.  I gave her a package of stuff to spin and she gave one to me.  Now, when I say “many moons”, I really mean that because I think Suzy has moved a couple of times since she got her package and at this point the package I gave her resides in the land known as “Whereabouts Unknown”.  But, I have had the one she gave me and a couple of weeks ago, I took a deep breath and put it all out on my work table to begin some serious analysis and start to make my plan of attack.

So, this is the state of affairs in my fiber lab:

The whole lotBasically, what I have here is a macrame belt, five badminton shuttlecocks, a pair of red leather vinyl gloves, a male doll (the head does not match the body), a Christmas themed kitchen towel, a plastic hot water bottle (I think), a couple of plastic clothes pins, a scrap of yarn and a large piece of black crepe fabric.  I’m no stranger to bobbin challenges as many of you know (see some of those here).  I feel pretty confident that I can make my way through this.  The first thing I usually do is find my “anchor”:  that is the thing that becomes the heart of the piece.  I have not settled on my anchor and I thought it might be fun to talk about what I’m thinking here and have a conversation with you about it.

So, I’m looking for something that kind of “sparks” me.  I don’t have to have everything mapped out at the outset.  I just have to establish a starting point and from there, I can riff and improvise my way along…Let’s look at some of these special items in depth and do a little brainstorming.


First up, we have this scrap of yarn.  Look at this!  I am assuming Suzy spun this…There might be two feet of this at best.  It is a SCRAP, I tell ya!  As I’m looking at this, I know what I’m going to do…I’m going to UNSPIN this and then re-spin it into the final product somehow. 

HW Bottle

I believe this to be a toy plastic hot water bottle.  It has a plug at the bottom indicating this is to hold water.  The plastic is sort of stiff.  Right now, I’m thinking about cutting it into a continuous thin strip.

C Pin

There are a couple of these plastic clothes pins in this package.  At least this one is the same color as the vinyl gloves.  I think the wire has to come off.  Maybe the wire will be unbent and I will use the wire pieces to add some structure to the final yarn.  I see me smashing the plastic and then the pieces can be treated like beads.


The vinyl gloves will be easy to use.  There is a pair with laces.  The laces have a future as a core to spin over.  The gloves can be cut into a continuous strip and used as a ply.  The only distraction with the gloves is wondering whether Suzy had to buy them or if she used to wear them.  They do make a statement, I must say.


Finally, we have the shuttle cock.  But, as you can see there are real feathers there.  So, they are totally coming out and being spun as an add in.  However, I’m thinking that I should dye them.  I don’t think the stark whiteness is going to work.

I didn’t photograph it, but as I mentioned earlier, there is a large piece of crepe fabric.  It will probably be easiest to make this my base yarn and layer all these lovely additions over that basic background. 

But, wait, what about the doll????


Many years ago, I hosted a Secret Stash competition over at and Suzy entered it.  By this time, I knew she was an amazing artist, so I confess, I gave her the greatest challenge within that challenge and I sent her a truly horrible doll that was clothed in the nastiest crocheted polyester dress.  If I recall correctly, Suzy told me that she could not even touch the doll’s clothes with her bare hands.  But, as she does, Suzy made something really cool out of it.

Suzys doll

She is tough competition, that Suzy.  Now, here all these years later, I have got a creepy doll on my hands thanks to her and have to figure out how to work it into my design.  I’m going to continue to share my process with you so I’m going to save the deep dive about the doll in the next post.  And, before I leave you, lest you wonder whether I ever spin any “normal” yarn, I present one of my Tour De Fleece creations:

tdf yarn

A mooshy, sqwooshy creation of 100% BFL subtly painted with the “evil gold thread”!

Hey, feel free to comment if you have any other ideas for me about the items for the yarn.  I’d love to hear your ideas!  Best, Arlene



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4 thoughts on “Can I Spin THIS?

  • August 5, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    I love this, and it is fabulous that you are sharing your thought process, I love the red, can’t wait to see how you put this all together, what FUN!

  • August 5, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    Dear Ms. Arlene,
    Good afternoon.
    My first thought after reading and seeing your challenge is, “Where is the whip?” But it is there in the black crepe material (LOL). My second thought is to take apart the Macrame to use as the base ( there will be plenty to N-Ply the whole thing at the end with the left overs ), cut the Christmas towel in a zig-zag fashion to leave it in one long piece, cut the black crepe in such a manor to make it one long piece, cut the red leatherette gloves into rings “squid-like” even the fingers first removing the lacing, remove the feathers from the shuttlecocks to be spun in as is, add the black rings at the top of the shuttlecocks to the pile of “squid-like” rings, cut up the plastic bottle and doll…
    I think I will contemplate what to do next but the vision of a heavily plied skein with “squid-like” circles of red, clear plastic and whatever else can be cut into circles like the shuttlecocks minus the feathers making loops everywhere stands out to this person’s mind.
    Have a wonderful rest of your day and thank you for the mind game.

    Thank you,

    Miss Dahlia

  • August 6, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    I too envisage red rings (cut from finger sections of glove) resembling octopus suckers. Black ink and an octopus’s ability to change colour. (No, on second thoughts, that might be a squid)


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