Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Four ounces of mixed colorways

Here's how you enter
     1.  Got to

     2.  Leave a comment about how much you like Soffsilk® (if you've tried it before), if you have not, leave a kind comment about how you would love to try it.

     3.  Go to my facebook page at and leave a comment that you left a review

    4.  A winner will be chosen on December 12, 2014 at 9 pm eastern standard time.  Good luck!

It's HUGE!

From stash trash to mega ply yarn

I do a lot of carding with many different forms of fibers, wool top, locks, silk waste, mohair, sparkle…you  name it, it goes into my batts.  I can’t always pack on each precious morsel of fiber so the tiny left over bits goes into the “I will do something with this stuff one day” basket.

  The basket soon grows big and fluffy with colors, textures, sparkle and just by itself is almost a work of art.  The fibers in my special basket start to ooze over the sides threatening to make a home on the floor,  A similar dilemma  are my  hiding places I carefully store my fibers and yarn.  Sometimes hiding much of my precious haul from my dear husband who would most definitely call me a hoarder and insist I take medication to cure my malady. 

  The fibers insist I make them into something amazing so I start to plan and scheme writing my thoughts down on paper.  I will make a mega multi ply yarn that will be like no other, to show off the gorgeous colors and waves of the delicious fiber I saved from the demise of the waste basket.

  I start by taking each fiber and carefully fusing one to the other as I spin a rustic single on my trusty Louet S10, whose leather brake has been chewed off more than once by my pup.   And just to liven up the party I auto wrap as I go with a glorious gold lame thread.

  Next I take a silk 20/2 yarn in a deep, romantic color and ply the yarn to make it bend and lean over the silky yarn as the gold lame thread darts in and out playing hide and seek.  I take the bobbin full of my “in the works” yarn and wind it on a ball winder.  I then proceed to skillfully two ply it from each end of the wound ball as it becomes even more textured at each twist and turn.

   I have a skein of interesting eyelash yarn I got from a garage sale in a moment of weakness and it would be perfect to ply around my growing masterpiece.  My brightly dyed silk hankies, that I have had laying around for months not knowing what to do with them, are going to make a wonderful addition as I use a spider web ply technique to meld the yarn together.  My final spin is to Navajo ply this monster.  I need to use my Ashford Country spinning wheel for this gargantuan task. 

  The final result is my most favorite yarn yet.  It reminds me of all the wonderful batts and yarns I have created over the past year wrapped up into one glorious yarn.  Now, where am I going to put this yarn in my yarn stash?


How I spun this yarn:


Z direction – single with auto wrap of gold lame

S direction – coil ply with 20/2 silk yarn

Z direction – 2 ply from wound ball

S direction – ply with eyelash yarn

Z direction – Spider web ply with silk hanky

S direction – Navajo ply            



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Spin the yarns you want

When I was a new spinner some four years ago spinning balanced yarn was really just a crap shoot.  When it came out balanced I would ask myself, “How in the world did I do that?”  And when it was over twisted, when my goal was a balanced yarn, again I asked myself , “How in the world did I do that?”

Over the years of spinning I finally got a grip on how twist impacted my finished yarn, especially on plied and core-spun yarns.  Now I only make balanced yarns…oh happy day! 

I made myself a little cheat sheet to tell which way, for example, my base core yarn was spun so I had a balanced yarn in the end.  I even started writing down notes regarding twist, direction and finished yarns.

I thought if this helped me it has got to help other spinners.  So I developed a multi use Eszee Twist Tool© and a 24-page manual and yarn planner guide. 

The Eszee Twist Tool© comes with a plastic card that is a multi function tool;  a wpi gauge, yarn thickness guide, WPI gauge,  angle of twist gauge and a guide to determine if you yarn was spun in the S or Z direction.  You will also get a 24-page manual and yarn planner, a magnifier to be able to see yarns and a zipper pouch to hold the kit and any other goodies like your diz or orifice hook.smaller

The Eszee Twist Tool will be the most indispensible tool in your spinning arsenal.  You can find it at 

Happy Spinning

Mary Egbert



Friday, January 31, 2014

Sari ribbon yarn comes in all sorts of colors, just not the colors I needed. So I thought I would just dye it myself.  It's easy and the best thing about silk is it doesn't felt so you can do all sorts of things to silk that you can't do to wool.  It sort of feels good to be able to break the rules and still end
up with an amazing end result.
What you will need: 
   Sari ribbon yarn
   Dye - I prefer Pro chem of Jacquard
   Large dye pot
   2 long spoons
   Stirring spoon
   Plastic wrap
   Pro Soft
1.  First you will need some beige sari ribbon yarn
2. Loosley tie it in four places with a figure eight tie.  I wet mine in water (the temp does not matter) with a glug of vinegar. You could use a tablespoon or so of citric acid in place of the vinegar if you want.  It doesn't need long, about five or ten minutes.
3.  Remove and squeeze out excess water.  Put a long spoon through one of the ends and place another long spoon over the top like in the photo.
 4.  Now roll the spoons together till you are at about the half way point of the skein.

5. Make a dye pot with about four inches of water. I use Pro Chem dyes and make a nicely saturated solution.   Balance the spoons across the top of the pot so about half the yarn is submerged in the dye pot.  Smoosh down the yarn with a spoon. Remember to use utensils and pots designated only for dying. Turn heat to low and keep the yarn in for about 10 to 15 minutes. The dye with NOT exhaust.  Take the yarn out when you are happy with the color.

6. Gently squeeze out the yarn with rubber gloved hands.  Now you have half the skein dyed.

 7.  Put the spoons through the dyed half of the skein.  Make another dye pot of a contrasting color and submerge the other half in the dye pot. I put a bit of the red in the yellow so I would get a nice color blend.

8. Remove the yarn when you are satisfied with the color and squeeze out the excess water in the sink.  Use rubber gloves or you will have pink hands.  Hint:  Put a winter glove on first then a large rubber glove over that.  You can now put your hand in simmering water with no problems.

9.  Put the dyed yarn on saran wrap and fold over the edges and roll it up loosely jelly roll style.

10.  Place the roll in a steamer and steam for about 30 minutes.

11. When done remove from the pot and rinse in water with a bit of Pro Soft. This will add softness to the yarn.  Soak for about 10 to 20 minutes.  You can use any temp water you want.  When done soaking rinse and squeeze the skein under running water, you should have no bleeding at all.  Hang unweighted to dry.

12.  And voila! You have your own custom dyed sari ribbon yarn.  The colors really bring out the shine of the silk. 

I sell beige sari ribbon yarn, please contact me at for more details

Monday, January 20, 2014

Fed Ex or Bust
   Camaj Fiber Arts has been in business officially (that means making enough sales to file taxes:) since 2011. Man has it been fun! I have met the most amazing people and call all my customers "friend".

  I started the fiber processing, dying and spinning in 2010 when I lived in Utah, started the festival circuit in 2011, along with tending to 25 alpacas, opened my Etsy shop in 2011 and started importing luxurious fibers in 2012.
  We moved to Florida in 2012 to be near my daughter who, at the time, was pregnant with twin boys. She has become my master packer and shipper and together we have continued to grow the business. And I can't wait till she gets that accounting CPA degree and then she can be my master bookkeeper. Only a year and a half to go.
  It's so interesting to me how a business evolves and changes direction in ways you didn't even know it would ever take you. I never thought I would find myself mostly in the silk end of fibers, though I still absolutely adore all sorts of animal fibers.

  Fast forward to 2014. I have, together with one of my excellent silk suppliers, developed an outstanding, high end silk waste product called Soffsilk™  . It has changed the face of silk wastes currently on the market. We signed a contract to now be the sole distributor of Soffsilk™  in the US.

  I'm also proud to say that the Soffsilk™   is also carried by the Woolery, which by the way , the owners are the nicest people in the world. I love working with nice people.
  We became a proud member of TNNA in 2013 and will be doing our very first trade show in April along with three other fiber shows this year.

     Camaj Fiber Arts has also been chosen to participate in the Fed Ex Small Business Grant contest. This is exciting!  It puts us in the running to win $10,000 to further our little, growing business. And honestly, I would not be at this moment without all of you!  Thank you all for your love, support and friendship.  I truly appreciate each and everyone of you.  I can't wait to see what the future holds for Camaj Fiber Arts and I'm along for the ride wherever it takes me.

   So won't you please vote for Camaj Fiber Arts for the Fed Ex Small Business Grant contest so we can continue to find amazing fibers and sell them at even more amazing prices for your spinning and crafting pleasure. 


p.s.  You can cast one vote everyday till Feburary 23, 2014




Saturday, January 18, 2014


   For the Love of Silk

  I am absolutey smitten with silk fibers, the way they look, feel and spin.   They have a unique property all their own.  Silk can be spun to make a spectacular yarn all by itself or blended with other fibers to add a luxurious quality.
  Silk has a romantic, and often dangerous past, steeped deeply in tradition.  Silk has made the long journey from China to the West via the long, trecherous Silk Road some 2,000 years ago and made it's way to the US in the early 1600's.
  Though Americans tried to raise silk worms for commercial use they could not match up to the Chinese who had thousands of years of experience.  The Chinese continue to be the leaders in silk production producing almost two thirds of the worlds silk. 

  The other major producers of silk are India, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, and Brazil. United States is by far the largest importer of silk products to date.
  Silk fibers come in an array of natural colors that are absolutely stunning and the mulberry silk takes dyes like no other fiber I've worked with. 

Types of Silk


     Mulberry silk comes from the Bombyx mori silkworm who dines exclusively on Mulberry leaves. Mulberry silk worms are raised in captivity by worm farmers or sericulturists.  These cocoons are degummed (the removal of sericin...sericin is the "glue" that gives the cocoon its shape)  before the worm has a chance to move through the pupa phase. The pupa releases an enzyme that makes a hole in the cocoon for its escape.  These enzymes cause the silk to weaken and break.  That's the reason they degum the cocoon with the worm still in it.   This silk is lustrous and extremely soft with a micron of 10 to 15 and takes dyes beautifully.


    Eri silk , or  Ahishma silk,  comes from wild silk worms who dine exclusively on Cator plants.  Eri silk is often called "peace silk" because the moth is allowed to make a hole and escape the cocoon before it is degummed. Their enzyme does not destroy the silk like the mulberry silk worms.    This silk is creamy, smooth, has a very warm quality and is whiter in color than the mulberry silk.  The Red Eri has a natural brown/reddish tone.  The Eri silk is spun into yarn rather than reeled because it is not one continuous thread like the mulberry silk, which can often be a mile long. This give it a more "wooly" effect, but with the softness of silk.

  Muga Silk or the golden silk is one of the rarest silks.  These silk worms eat from the Som plant and are raised exclusively in the state of Assam.   Muga silk is a washable silk that gets more brilliant as it is washed.  Because it is less porous it cannot be dyed.  But who would want to dye a silk with such a beautiful, natural golden color.


  Tasar, tussar or Tussah Silk is a coarser silk mainly used for furnishings and interiors.  Tasar silk is made by the silkworm, Antheraea mylitta which mainly thrive on the food plants Asan and Arjun. 
  Silk is a very versatile fiber that can be spun into yarn, blended with other fibers, made into paper, felted with other feltable fibers and even used in soap making.  Give some silk a try and you'll fall in love too.

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