Jumping Down the Rabbit Hole - a Beginner's FAQ
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Welcome to the Created by Elsie B blog! We're so excited to add this feature to our community, giving us the opportunity to connect with our customers in a more personal way. You are the heart of this business, and we wouldn't be where we are today without the ongoing support of each of the fiber lovers that we get to rub virtual shoulders with every day. We have several things in the works that will allow you to showcase your work and allow us to individually feature the many customers who love Elsie B fibers, so stay tuned!
As you may have guessed from our social media posts over the years, there are many pieces moving behind the scenes to make your fiber experience the very best possible when you visit us at Created by Elsie B. What might surprise you is that not everyone on our team is a fiber artist. (I know, right?!) For that reason and because we want this blog to be a comprehensive resource for both beginner and experienced fiber artists, we figured that starting with a beginner FAQ would be a fitting ribbon cutting for the Created by Elsie B blog.
What is it that you make?
At Created by Elsie B, we are known for our hand-dyed, combed top wool fibers. We create both repeatable and one-of-a-kind colorways for dozens of vibrant, squishy, luxurious options. We sell our combed top fibers in 4-oz braids.
What can I do with your fiber?
Most of our customers spin our fibers into yarn for knitting, crocheting or weaving. However, wool combed top is also ideal for felting projects as long as you steer clear of superwash blends that are specifically processed to resist felting.
What do I need to get started?
Actually, not much! For spinning, all you need is a braid of fiber and an inexpensive drop spindle. Of course, if you want to go deep, we are also a Spinolution dealer and offer spinning wheels that are designed to grow with you as your skills develop.
What is superwash, BFL and Corriedale? How do I know what to choose?
Superwash fibers have been factory treated to resist felting so that you can machine wash your project. Our superwash blends are particularly fabulous for socks.
BFL, or Blue Face Leicester, is a specific breed of wool as are Merino, Polwarth, Corriedale and Targhee. Each fiber base has slightly different properties. For example, Merino spins finer yarns as a rule while Targhee is a very springy fiber base. Mixing wool fibers into a blend also changes the properties of the finished project. Most fiber bases are quite versatile, and time, trial and error will help you determine what bases you prefer to work with.
I don't spin. Can I just buy yarn from Created by Elsie B?
While diving down the rabbit hole of fiber crafts often leads to an interest in spinning, we understand that it can be a little intimidating for beginners. If you decide to go that direction, our drop spindle comes with written instructions as well as links to some great video tutorials. We don't currently offer custom spinning of our fibers, but do really like our friend Melissa from Sheepishly Good & recommend you reach out to her for custom yarns - don't worry, she has plenty of experience with Elsie B fibers & will be expecting you.
There's so much! How do I sort through all the options?
There are several ways you can navigate the Created by Elsie B fiber catalog. Under our Shop tab, you can sort by both fiber base and color. In addition, you can open each colorway individually and find coordinating options in the product description under the Find More section, including if there is a semi-solid fiber that matches your choice.
What are Elsie Bits?
This unique product is like a spinning sampler pack. We take a variety of fiber bases and apply the same colorway to each one, giving you matching bits and pieces of several different fibers. Elsie Bits are perfect for spinning practice, carding or blending, among other things. If you are new to the craft and want to try out a variety of bases without investing too much, this is our top recommendation.
What should I purchase for my project? Is one braid enough?
It might be if you're making something small. It really depends on what type of project you have in mind. Bulkier yarns yield less finished yardage per braid while finer spins will result in significantly more yardage. In addition, your spinning technique and how you ply can lead to widely varied results in your finished product, and consistency comes with time and practice. As a rough estimate, you could probably finish a smaller item like a beanie hat or newborn cardigan with one 4-oz braid. Two braids may produce a child-size item or shawl. If you want to make yourself a sweater or knit an afghan, you may need 1 to 2+ lbs of fiber to produce enough yarn. Of course, it's always best to overbuy and have extra than to end up short on an important project. Many of our buyers default to 8 ounces of a colorway as a comfortable amount to have on hand without having a specific plan when purchasing combed top fiber.
What did you wish you had asked when you were a new spinner? Comment below with your tips and tricks for beginners!