Sea Green and Sapphire

A blog about a love of colour, addiction to fabrics and joy of crafting…



A basket of bobbinsThe craft world is full of mysterious dysfunctions. Some people suffer from Startitis, others from the Second-Sock Syndrome. And all those U.F.Os (UnFinished Objects), surely they are symptoms of that most mysterious dysfunction of all, Losing-One’s-Mojo-itis.

I certainly have my fair share of U.F.Os, but I don’t consider it a huge problem. I like variety and believe in following my inspiration, and not forcing myself to toil on a project that I don’t feel like doing. Crafts are a passion, a joyful hobby, not a duty. If something doesn’t inspire, just move on, leave it until it does.

So to me at least, a U.F.O is just a project whose time has not yet come (although I do not deny that, occasionally, it’s a good idea to see what you can find in your craft baskets and try to finish some of them. January is often a good time for this, when you are in a mood for some worthy activities and need to prove to yourself that you, despite all the evidence to the contrary, actually have some self-discipline and the will power to finish a project).

My spinning basket is full of these Projects-Whose-Time-Has-Not-Yet-Come (or PWTHNYCs, which I do admit is not as catchy as UFO). But there is a reason for this, and it is a fairly rational one.

Spinning to me is such a soothing and relaxing activity that I always have some wool on the go. Often I don’t even spin for a specific project, I just spin. I know it would probably be better if you had a specific use in mind for the wool before you start. That way, you can try out different approaches, sample and determine the best way to proceed. And I do that, too, when I need to. But often my spinning is not that rational and goal-oriented. Spinning is something I do if I feel too tired to think about anything else, or feel the need for some crafty therapy if I am in a grumpy mood (of course I spin in good moments too).  In those tired or grumpy moments, I just feel the need to spin something, no matter what exactly it is. The less I have to think the better.

So if I don’t already have a project on the go when the I-Must-Spin-NOW moment comes, I grab the nearest wool that inspires me at that moment and just start spinning. And often the first important decision – how to spin the wool – is not such a big decision at all: the wool itself, and the form it comes in, typically suggests a good general approach. If it is long fiber, and comes in a top form, I’ll do worsted in short draw. And a good supply of ready prepared top in some beautiful colour is always a good thing to have on these moments. But I love long draw spinning, and whenever I have short enough fibre, I will do that. I aim for twist that sort of looks about right for that wool. Not very scientific at all (no matter what Anne Field in Spinning Beyond Basics recommends).

But when it comes to plying, you need to commit to some sort of an outcome: do you want two, three (or even more) plies? And for that, it definitely helps if you know what you are going to use the yarn for. So, quite often, my spinning projects enter a period of hibernation at this point.

As a result, I have a basket full of bobbins that have some singles yarn that is waiting to be plied. And I am happy to let them wait until the right time comes and I know what I want to do with them. So, you see, they are just PWTHNYCs waiting for the right time.

This approach does mean you need lots of bobbins, and we all know wooden ones are very expensive. So it was necessary for me to invest in a bobbin winder and buy some plastic weaving bobbins for storage. But yarn stored this way takes less room than a finished skein, so it is not a bad way of storing your stash.

Here’s a little tour of what can be found in my basket of bobbins at the moment:

Spring coloured singles from Falkland top

singles from a painted Falkland top. Ideal for spring, I love these colours so I am sure I will get round to plying these soon

Brown Shetland For Lace Shawl

This is Shetland wool in the Moorit colour. Unusually, I already know what this is going to be (a lace shawl)

My first silk spinning experiment using Tussah silk top. I need to ply this into both 2-ply and 3-ply yarn and knit some samples.

My first silk spinning experiment using Tussah silk top. I need to ply this into both 2-ply and 3-ply yarn and knit some samples.

Grey Shetland wool

I’m pretty certain this is grey Shetland, but why on two different bobbins??

Remnants of sock yarn

And these are just some remains of a sock yarn I spun for my mum. (note to self: must really do something to free up these bobbins…)

Sea Blue Yarn

And this, I have no idea what this is…


Author: Heidi

I love colour wherever I find it, in art, photography, gardens, nature. I also love all kinds of fiber arts; spinning, dyeing, knitting, felting, sewing.

8 thoughts on “Bobbins

  1. Great way to redefine UFOs. Now I don’t feel guilty about those sleeves that have waited nearly 2 years to be completed!

    I really like those yellow singles btw.

    • oh yes, the dreaded lack-of-sleeves syndrome – or perhaps it just hasn’t been the right time for you to decide if you actually need those sleeves or not?

      I love the yellow singles too, I kick myself for forgetting to photograph the beautifully painted top (not one of mine) before I started it. It was another one of those moments where there was a sudden urge to start spinning before engaging brain.

      • I do need those sleeves, as they are on different sweaters, both with one sleeve completed… Not 2nd sock syndrome, but 2nd sleeve syndrome. I simply got bored with the pattern and then just never got started again. Or maybe summer was passing too quickly and I wanted to prepare winter things. So this IS the right time, to finish 2 summer/spring garments!

      • one sleeve per sweater, yes that rather changes the picture (unless you’re really into the asymmetric look!).

        The crucial question is: do you still like those jumpers, in that would you still like to be able to wear them or have you gone off the pattern from a design point of view too? Would they be worth the effort and a bit of teeth gritting? If they are not, then some people would say it’s best to unravel them but I’m never that decisive, I tend to unravel things only at the moment I know for sure I want to use the yarn for something else and I need the yarn right there and then. Until then, I am happy to keep them as UFOs (sorry meant to say as PWTHNYCs). Not long ago I finished a second sock approx 15 years after it was started, so I am great believer in waiting for the right moment!


  2. Losing-One’s-Mojo-itis 😀 Wonder if science ever gonna come up with a cure for that 🙂 Good luck freeing up your bobbins!

  3. Thank you Poppy! If they ever find a cure, I hope they start selling it as a handy pill that can be popped in a time of desperation! 🙂

  4. I totally relate to this! I have so many ufo’s, you wouldn’t believe it. I pick them up and put them down and pick them up again. I think you are right though. Anything yarny is a creative process and sometimes it work and sometimes it doesn’t and I am slowly learning that you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it but just enjoy the journey. 🙂


    • absolutely, Kate, I couldn’t agree more. There are so many things in life we can beat ourselves up about, and crafting definitely should not be one of them. I prefer it to keep it is an area where I can do whatever happens to inspire and amuse me without any pressure. I do try to have some form of gentle self-discipline though, and resist for example starting too many knitting projects all the time if the old ones are not getting done, but that’s as far as it goes.

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