Hand Spinning News
A full month, with so many fibrey things for bloggers to write about; Some, like Spinzilla have involved staying in a lot and some, like Wool Week, have involved going out a lot.
Read on for the usual round up of spinning news, reviews and fibrey fun.
Photo right: Rook jumper by traceyalice.
- News and articles from around the web
- From Blogland
- Wool week and Shetland Wool Week
- Tips and tutorials
Showing off some of the best images I've found this month
- Free patterns
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn
Some dates for your diary
News and Blog Posts
Everything you need to know about longwool fiber
Wool from longwool breeds isn't the finest fibre but it's silky and enjoyable to spin.
Ashley Martineau is a name you may now recognise. Here, as a guest on the Craftsy blog, she discusses the various breeds and their properties.
Monstrous piles of alpaca fiber
Katie visited family earlier in the year and helped them to shear two aplacas.
She says "the day ended with ginormous piles of alpaca fiber. Enough to make any spinner drool." So try to contain your bodily fluids as you see this selection of photos of the process and the resulting fibre.
Sedbergh Sheep Fest
Sedbergh played host to a large flock of sheep, some musical, some thesipan, some sporty.
Thanks to Sassy Spinner who visited the Sheep Fest
Welsh Wool Museum
Katie of HilltopCloud has written three posts about her visit to the Welsh Wool Museum, in this second part we see pre-industrial hand-powered looms and wheels.
I was fascinated to see this strange meeting of nature and industry. I've seen teasels in a holder to be used by hand, but there are loads of them here in a machine used, not for carding, but raising the nap of cloth.
Little mermaid ready for spinning
I mentioned Olympic Spinning Wheels a couple of months ago and the reaction was decidedly mixed. It seems that the elaborateness is something you either love or hate.
I've been watching the development of this one with interest on account of the gorgeous piece of rippled blue/green stained glass that the maker chose to incorporate. The carved mermaid herself is very nicely done too.
Bristol Wool Fair 2014
It's good news that the South West now has its own wool fair. It's a shame that some misguided marketing and promotion put off vendors and visitors, but there were some good ideas for this first BWF and I'm sure the organisers will build on its success.
Here are Nadia's thoughts and pictures from Nadia's mum.
Dyeing with yellow cosmos flowers
Fran seems tireless when it comes to her experiments with dye plants and flowers.
Here she uses yellow cosmos which she says was easy to germinate and "happy flowering away for months with little attention".
It gives beautiful yellows and golds.
I still find it hypnotic to watch others spin. This video is only 16s long but is a joy to watch over and over...
Regular readers will know that one of my own spinning inspirations is Rahardjo, and here are her hands spinning fur from her own cats, which she calls 'catgora'.
The difference between top and roving
Top and roving - the words are used interchangeably, even sometimes by sellers, but they do mean different things.
Ashley Martineau combs over the details for us. She also includes rolags, batts, locks and pencil roving in this glossary.
Special Turkish Spindle
Sexy spindle shot this month is Nadia's new Turkish spindle from IST Crafts.
It's made from ancient English bog oak from the East Anglian fenland basin and carbon dated to 3300 BC
Nadia loves the color and the grain. What a wonderful new life for an incredibly special piece of wood.
Ally Pally 2014
One of the milestones in the woolly calendar is 'Ally Pally'. Our correspondent is josiekitten who enjoyed the day despite the crowds and came back with a bag of purchases and these photographs.
Wool Week / Shetland Wool Week
Biodegradable wool test results
Here's a picture of Prince Charles helping to bury two similar jumpers under a flower bed back in June. One is merino wool, the other synthetic.
As part of Wool Week, the jumpers were excavated and examined. The results are predictable, although it has surprised me how quickly the wool has degraded. No word on whether the flowers were improved by their FairIsle feed.
With all due respect to those taking part in the Wool Ride, for me the key event of this year's Wool Week was slightly underwhelming compared to those of previous years, I hope the Campaign isn't losing steam, it's done so much to raise the profile of real wool.
There were many other events including Wool and the Gang's usual stint at John Lewis. The week finished with a 'Tweed Tea Party' at Southwark Cathedral which has been host to an exhibition for the week.
Tour of Jamieson's Spinning Mill
This year, Shetland's own Wool Week coincided with the UK Wool Week. Many events celebrate Britain's most northerly native sheep, where the climate and diet produce the distinctive wool.
On a wet day Louise of KnitBritish took a tour of Jamieson's of Shetland spinning mill (A different company from Jamieson and Smith). Here are many fascinating pictures from her visit.
Her full round-up of the week is at the link below, capturing the variety of events on offer during the week, and a video of lots of things going whirrr.
Tips and tutorials
Learn It: Twigg Stitch
You may have heard of the Twigg stitch; its creator Vicki Twigg has published patterns especially for it, but in this Knitting Daily blog post, Kathleen gives step-by-step instructions for the stitch with tips.
It's a technique for making a two-colour ribbing without floats and for making reversible two-colour patterns,
How to Fix Common Problems
If you're just setting out, you will certainly encounter some of these mysteries. Your yarn won't wind on at all, or is pulling in too fast. A worthwhile article if you're new to the craft.
As a bonus I'm going to add this link to this similar article on the same website which deals with Troubleshooting When Drafting and Plying Yarn
Tutorial: knitting backwards
I may have featured this technique before but I think it's worth another mention.
Instead of turning your work to purl a row, keep the right side facing and knit backwards, effectively purling from the right side.
Sara from Crafts from the Cwtch provides plenty of photos and says "it's especially useful for any project where only a few stitches need to be worked in reverse, such as on short rows, bobbles, entrelac and so on".
Keeping this wheel spinning
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New Kiwi Super Flyer
If a jumbo-sized flyer isn't big enough for you or if you'd like to spin art yarn and be able to switch back to your regular or jumbo flyer sometimes then this may be an option for you.
The Ashford Kiwi now has a 'super flyer' with an enormous 27mm orifice (matching the Country Spinner 2)
It has new 'freeflow' yarn guides and fits with a single allen-key bolt.
Sometimes just a picture is enough
Using knitting as fabric
Man-who-knits Sock-it-2me has made this suit-style waistcoat using knitted Fair-Isle fabric for the front.
He knitted the fabric in the round and cut it open. Last month we looked at Steeking with Kate Davies, and Sock-it-2me adds "There should be no fear of cutting knitting when all the edges are safely secured by machine stitching."
shawl Coeur de Lion
Pattern is Coeur de Lion and yarn is home-grown indigo-dyed handspun.
Large round handspun shawl by Mariannesque.
More pictures of the shawl and work in progress after the link.
Rook jumper with Less is More striping
A beautiful finished project that had me wondering how traceyalice had managed to match the colour graduations in the sleeves with the body.
I found the answer here. It's not obvious that she has striped four different yarns - it does look so much like a single graduated yarn.
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Woven ghost by Denise Renee Grace
Here's a very easy-to-make Halloween decoration.
Knit a perpetual pumpkin
"You'll bring these pumpkins out every year, so the effort is well worth your crafting time" says Mom.
There are many pumpkin patterns available now but the cables on this one caught my eye.
Earbud pouch by Mary Keenan
"Who doesn't want to make something useful, completely giftable, and luxury-yarn-end stashbusting to boot? Especially when you can do it in the time it takes to watch a movie.", says Mary Keenan.
For the recipient, this pouch has many potential uses. For the knitter, it's very quick and rewarding to make, and if you've not knitted your first sock or worked in the round then it's a great introduction to making a cuff and grafting a toe.
Fileuse by Valérie Miller
What better way to show off your love of the spinning wheel than this smart jumper with a wheel motif on the yoke?
If you like the motif then Valérie has also published a pattern for some mitts - the saxony wheel design here is made in duplicate stitch, quicker and easier than intarsia or stranded colourwork.
Waffle Stitch Prayer Shawl by Louis Chicquette
This pattern comes with a prayer for the recipient which you can recite when you pick up your needles so that the prayer is knitted into the shawl.
It uses quite a bit of a bulky yarn that will give a nice drape. It's a very easy pattern using just knit and purl stitches.
The Calculus Hoody by Fran Rushworth
This is a very impressive finished project in its own right. Fran spun the Welsh Black Mountain X Gotland fleece during the Tour de Fleece earlier this year and has now finished this maths-themed zip-up hoodie.
As if that isn't enough, Fran gives us the pattern that she devised, complete with charts for the mathematical symbols for the yoke.
Tasseled hooded cowl
While on the subject of hoods, this is a lovely idea and would be very quick to knit in a super bulky handspun yarn.
Prince Street Leg Warmers
If you're able to knit in the round and knit ribbing, then this pattern is no more complicated than casting on the required number of stitches and knitting to the required length, but they do look very effective in a variegated, striped or graduated yarn.
Bakewell Wool Gathering
Bakewell Agricultural Centre Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 October
This year sees the second year of the Bakewell Wool Gathering, an event for wool lovers in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales.
There will be exhibitors, demonstrations of fibre crafts, workshops plus a knitting and crochet help desk to help novice and expert alike.
Part of British Wool Week.
Happy spinning and don't be a stranger!
Shiela Dixon - Editor / curator
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