Debbie Held is a journalist turned wool junkie who’s been putting a spin on words since 2005. She wrote the Interweave/Spin Off web column, Her Handspun Habit, and is a recurring voice on the Spin Off and School of SweetGeorgia blogs. She writes for PLY and Spin Off magazines, tinyStudio Creative Life magazine, and more—sometimes behind the scenes. Debbie is also an online spinning instructor for the School of SweetGeorgia.
Debbie’s class ideas typically stem from her writing and her own experimentation. She expands these subjects into relatable but in-depth coursework, which she shares with students around the world (both in-person and via Zoom). Her favorite classes to teach include combination spinning 2.0, supported spindling, and better e-spinning; but without a doubt, Debbie’s favorite topic to cover is the blending board. She loves the excitement her students express when they realize the blending board’s many hidden powers and how easy it is to unlock them. (A blending board is Debbie’s “desert island” fiber-preparation tool.)
Debbie is an avid spindler and wheel spinner. She strives to make the most of each and every fiber tool in her collection and is always on the lookout for the next deep-dive topic to research and share.
Spin any Yarn: How to Harness the Power of Your Daedalus E-Spinner
3 hours $15 materials fee
Don’t let your e-spinner boss you around! Today’s electric spinners, especially the line of Daedulus products, are powerful and yet nuanced enough to help you spin any yarn you want, from the thinnest of lace to the most dramatic textured yarns. Whether you’re considering the purchase of a new-to-you e-spinner or you’re already a member of the Daedalus flock, there’s something for you in this class. Taught by Debbie Held, this 3-hour class starts off with the basics, including the power of ergonomics and wheel setup. We’ll then spin our way through topics including:
Irish vs. Scotch tension (and when to use which drive system)
Tips on spinning a more consistent yarn
Wheel adjustments for woolen vs. worsted
Adjusting for a fine singles vs. a bulkier yarn (with other yarns in between)
Best plying practices
Plus a few surprises! After this class, you won’t even miss your treadles. Debbie has been using an e-spinner since 2017, when a back injury forced her to ease up on the treadling. She has been studying ways to hone her control over her e-spinners ever since. She has written about the topic and teaches variants of this class both online and in person. Most of all, Debbie loves empowering other spinners to maximize their electric spinners’ uses and capabilities. Level of Spinning: While this class is for beginning and experienced spinners alike, it is not a how-to-spin class. Students need to be able to spin a stable singles yarn and have an understanding of basic plying in order to get the most out of the lesson plan. Students should bring: Students should bring any of their Daedalus wheels and threeempty bobbins, a niddy noddy, as well as a lazy kate (homemade kates are just fine). If you don’t own a Daedalus brand e-spinner, we will have some available for rent and trial.
Love Your Blending Board: Going (Way) Beyond the Rolag
3 hours $20 materials fee
Dust off that blending board and prepare to be inspired! Learn how this all-in-one, space-efficient blending tool provides a nearly unlimited backdrop for fiber preparation. We’ll explore several of the many uses for the blending board, and Debbie will share her proven pro tips for unlocking its true blending powers. Students warm up to the board with hands-on practice in creating both smooth and textured rolags — rolags that not only look good but draft with ease. From there we move on to more advanced fiber preparation, including custom-blended pulled sliver, dizzed roving, full-sized batts, making a tweed roving, planning for large projects, and more. If you’ve never quite meshed with your blending board, come find out what all the fuss is about! Students will leave class with the fiber they’ve prepared (and it’s a lot!), as well as a whole new appreciation for the space-saving and versatile blending board. Level of Spinning: This class is for any handspinner who loves playing with color. There are no spinning prerequisites. Students should bring: A blending board of their choice, including the brush(es) and dowels it came with. There will be one blending board available for borrowing and it must be claimed in advance. If you own a diz, bring it, but we will have some to share. Supplies Provided by Instructor: Tons of fiber and add-ins to play with, as well as other blending tools to share in class.
All About Tweeds
3 hours $20 materials fee
Learn how easy and fun it is to design and spin your very own classic tweed yarns! We’ll be carding our own tweedy blends, then spinning up our samples using effective methods for keeping our inclusions on our bobbins and not all over the floor. Topics covered will include cohesive color planning, selecting the best materials for optimal grip/adhesion, best draws for locking in your inclusions, planning ply structures for your intended projects, and yarn-finishing options. You’ll leave class with the confidence to spin those expensive tweed fibers in your stash and be filled with creative ideas for future blending. Level of Spinning: Students should be able to spin a stable, continuous singles yarn and have familiarity with plying. Students should bring: A working spinning wheel they’re comfortable using, three or more bobbins, lazy kate (homemade is fine), niddy noddy, note-taking paraphernalia, and hand cards. (If you don’t have hand cards but you do have a blending board, bring that!). Supplies Provided by Instructor: Base fiber, a smorgasbord of mix-ins, scissors for use in class. There will be an extra blending board and set of hand cards for students willing to share, though bringing your own is highly recommended due to our short time together.
Find Debbie at:
Stay tuned for our next teacher spotlight!