Hand Spinning News
Even if you didn't sign up to the Tour de Fleece, seeing lots of others spinning every day and working towards their goals is inspirational. Spinning had started last month but I decided to save the full round-up for this issue.
There have been many enthusiastic posts about Fibre East. The workshops get particular praise.
Autumn's still a way off yet but the weather here in the UK hasn't been very Summery recently. Now could be the time to start hats and mitts, especially if you're no faster at projects than me. We have plenty of warmer free patterns this month.
Read on for the usual round up of spinning news, reviews and fibrey fun.
Photo above right: drawstring bag by David of Southern Cross Fibre.
- Tour de Fleece
- Fibre East
- News and articles from around the web
- From Blogland
- 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
Tour de Fleece 2014
Spun Right Round Rambouillet
One of my favourite TdF posts and also this month's sexy spindle shot once again features Stitched Together's Spanish Peacock spindle.
Here she's spinning some luscious-looking fibre. Chrissy notes that this particular dyer leaves areas of whitespace, which I think makes a brighter and more cheerful-looking yarn.
Fractal spinning helps to mix the colours in an interesting way. Click through to see the finished yarn.
During TdF Goldilox tried coreless core spinning. She thinks her first attempt looks more like 'scribble' yarn than art yarn but that the technique could become her favourite in the future.
Tour de Fleece spinners challenge themselves on the cycling Tour's challenge day.
Goldilox's team leader came up with this ingenious challenge: to spin with a bag on your head and then ply what's spun.
Under this bag is Goldilox (Goldyspinner on Ravelry) during said challenge. Click through to see how she got on.
The challenge Fran chose for herself was to learn longdraw spinning. By the end she calculates that she spun 2km of singles (15 skeins of plied yarn) which is impressive but she doesn't feel made for interesting and varied posts during the fortnight.
It is interesting to learn about the properties of this Gotland crossed with black Welsh Mountain. As an experiment she also blended some Gotland with some Black Welsh Mountain to see how this compared with the cross.
Click through to see how she got on. (Spoiler: not smooth sailing at first.)
Tour de Fleece Day 18
JosieKitten won this BFL, dyed by Briar Rose Fibers, in last year's Tour de Fleece.
On day 18 she had this 180 metre skein. She found it a delight to spin and loves the colours.
Elysa Darling of 222Handspun spun this very cheerful skein towards Team Nevermore's efforts.
She spun vertical sections for long colour changes and then plied the single with itself. Click through to see her original batt.
Have spinning wheel will travel
No word on whether this was Tour de Fleece spinning, but this is the Sassy Spinner spinning by the roadside when the Tour was in Yorkshire.
While there she decorated her caravan pitch with hand-knitted bunting featuring little jerseys.
Tour de Fleece 2014 Recap
Nadia meet her challenges and found the experience enjoyable. She spun more than she expected, spun from punis for the first time and learned that fibre you don't like can make yarn you love.
Tour de Fleece 2014 comes to a close...
Knitting Goddess Grace has yet to total her TdF spinning but I particularly love the colours here called Cherry Cola.
Enjoy a larger picture of this and two other different but beautiful yarns at the link below.
Fibre East 2014
Josiekitten has taken a very colourful selection of photos of the show which she thinks "certainly felt much bigger [than last year]. So there was something for everyone".
If you explore her blog, JK has also written about her spinning class with Sarah Anderson.
Wool Types with Deb Robson
tomofholland met many inspiring people at Fibre East. In particular he writes about the workshop he attended with Deb Robson looking at wool types.
The workshop looks to have been well-attended and spinners had the chance to learn about and try 16 different breeds. Tom gives us many pictures and notes from the day.
In a twist
You may have met Katie selling her wares at various shows including Fibre East but this year she enjoyed being there as a visitor.
Like Tom, Katie praises the organisers for the tutors that they had arranged. She writes for us of two classes - Beehives and Cocoons with Sarah Anderson and Spinning Silk with Sara Lamb.
Fibre East 2014
For a 'spinner's-eye' tour of show and, if you've been before, some familiar faces. Wildwood says "a paradise for all things fibre related".
News and Blog Posts
Spinzilla: How much fiber do I need?
Last month I mentioned Spinzilla, a charitable 'spin as much as you can' competition. The teams are now registered and registration is now open for team members and individuals.
Unfortunately there's no UK team this year, but UK spinners can join any of the worldwide teams or you can join one or two of us Brits spinning 'rogue'.
The organisers have organised a 'blog tour'. These posts will be useful and interesting even if you're not taking part in the competition: Why Make Yarn At All, Choosing a Pattern for Handspinning, How Much Fiber Do I Need? Productive Spinning, Plying and Photographing Your Work.
I'm linking to Kate Larson's post, at the foot she links to the others (some yet to be published as I write this.)
Worstead Festival 2014
Perhaps spinning is in my blood, being born and raised just a few short miles from the historic village of Worstead, Norfolk.
The Worstead Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers have a strong presence at the annual Worstead Festival each year. There have been a few bloggers write about the event; I've chosen the Guild's own post, besides a number of photos of the wonderful textiles on display, it also shows the winner from this year's exhibition, themed 'Autumn', Jenny Rose's hand woven and dyed scarf.
A super amazing woven thing
It's less common to see bulkier or arty yarn used in a finished project. But Mary of Hugs for your Head says that working with this yarn was fast, "it didn't take very many passes to get from nothing to this splendid fabric".
She's not sure whether this project is a table runner or a scarf, but she is sure that spinning super-bulky yarn and weaving it was the right way to use her Frog Prince fibre.
Popular dyer Babylonglegs chose these very suitable colours for a teenage boy.
I'm not sure why she found that spinning undyed wasn't working but the finished yarn looks good and I look forward to seeing how the colours stripe in the socks.
Visible Mending commission
In our disposable world, mending skills are falling by the wayside, but any hand-knitted garment is precious, even more so when it's made of hand spun yarn.
My own efforts have been pretty poor compared to the amazing work here. tomofholland received this seriously damaged Fair Isle cardigan for repair and his repairs blend in perfectly.
The strangeness of sheep
We all know just what wonderfully useful creatures sheep are, don't we? Well, providing fleece is just the start of it.
We've been keeping sheep since the earliest written records and woolwinding has collected a long list of the weird and wonderful uses for every part of the animal.
Handspun rainbow mittens
Sandandskycreations demonstrates what great self-striping yarn can be achieved from dyed fibre with navajo plying.
She's getting ahead with her autumn knitting and also likes this pattern because it's simple enough for travel knitting.
Demise of the silkworms
Earlier in the year we followed Goldilox's silkworms on their journey from egg to cocoon.
The end of this story isn't such a happy one. These two moths look beautiful but they're the only two from her original batch of 600 eggs.
Click through to read more about this year's generation.
Natures Natural Colours
A diet of heather and seaweed plus some challenging weather make native Shetland wool soft, strong and warm.
It's versatile and comes in a wide variety of natural shades.
Jamieson and Smith are continuing a fine and long tradition of producing different weights of yarn and combed top from the wool produced by 700 crofters.
These pictures take us through the shearing and sorting process.
Tips and tutorials
Spinning From the Fold
For my current spinning project I'm spinning from the fold. After a bit of practice it's starting to flow from the finger fairly quickly and naturally.
This very good tutorial from Craftsy discusses when to use the technique, how to prepare the fibre, how to hold it and how to join.
What Are Spinning Wheel Ratios?
How well do you know your wheel? Do you know its ratios?
Sometimes it's good to get back to basics.
This article contains a neat way to find your wheel's ratios without any maths and discusses the benefits of slower and faster ratios when spinning and when plying.
Pick up and knit...
Does the instruction "Pick up and knit X stitches" make your heart sink? It does mine, still.
I've featured the subject before but for me at least, one more helpful article isn't unwelcome.
This one appeared on the KnitBritish blog and is more of a compendium of articles, with tips thrown in by Louise, the author.
Homemade yarn counter
This is a very useful DIY project. Sure you can count the number of times you wind your skeiner or niddy noddy but a/ you have to keep count and b/ you need to do some maths.
With this you can just read off the length of your yarn when you've finished winding your ball
rahardjo made hers for less than $40 and indeed I did find a couple of those wheelie measuring devices online here in the UK for around £20.
I would never have thought of the clever way that she created that groove around the wheel for the yarn to run around.
In this post she explains how she made hers, with a parts list. She gives a link to Flickr where you can see more pictures of it in use.
It's not uncommon to buy a fleece and regret it later.
'Listening' to the fleece can help you to avoid a dodgy fleece. Anne of Spinning Daily passes on this tip from Maggie Casey.
A Guide to Spinning Silk Fibers
Silk comes in many forms: reeled, combed top, laps, hankies, caps, waste products from industry.
This free guide contains some interesting articles from Nancy Morey, Mary Spanos, Carol Rhoades, and Dodie Rush on topics including a knitted and woven project from the same silk brick, crochet bead ropes, embroidery with silk, knitting from unspun mawata.
Keeping this wheel spinning
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Sometimes just a picture is enough
Woven drawstring bag
This drawstring bag is such a beautiful finished project.
David of Southern Cross Fibre says "A couple of Tour de Fleece spins jumped straight onto the loom". The colours look very SCF but they were from Spunky Eclectic and Hello Yarn.
The fabric is warp-dominant, the drawstrings made from leftover yarn.
Handspun Tan House Brook Shawl
If you follow Voolenvine's Yarngasm podcast, you'll have seen this shawl and the spinning in progress. In the latest (as I write) podcast, number 114, she shows off the finished and blocked article (around 8 minutes in).
It's her first handspun finished project, which I hope will be an inspiration to new spinners.
The fibre is polwarth, possibly with a little silk, dyed by Corgi Hill Farm. Kristin says that the pattern, Tan House Brook Shawl by Jennifer Lassonde, was perfect for her handspun.
Handspun fisherman's jumper
Proving that you don't need to use strong colours or elaborate patterns for a satisfying spin/knit project, Ellie's cosy fisherman's jumper started out as 1kg of Shetland fleece.
Not spinning but felting, wet and needle, these underwater scenes are beautiful and the 'making of' video is hypnotic.
With thanks to Carolyn for sharing.
Posted by Janet, organiser of Fibre East. Otherwise unexplained and possibly best left that way...
TdF spindle update
The mahogany Polwarth and Araignee's Russian spindle look so good together and make an attractive picture.
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Using a strand of colour-changing yarn with a cream (or maybe dark) natural colour, I think this mitt pattern would be perfect for fingering-weight handspun.
If you're interested in trying a larger stranded colourwork project, this may be good practice!
With thanks to frog-frog-knit who says that they're "a fast knit and lovely to wear"
Vintage Pique Rib Socks
One for leftovers or small quantities of something washable spun sock-weight.
These socks are designed to fit a newborn but are "stretchy enough that they'll grow with baby for awhile"
Emerald Fingerless Mitts by Lucy Sweetland
This pattern contains one size but the designer says that it'll be very easy to adjust to fit a bigger hand.
Pictured - Daefea knitted her mitts in cashmerino spun from 'black cherry' Spunky Eclectic fibre.
Rhaeadr shawl by Rachel C. Brown
The name of this pattern means 'waterfall' in Welsh, the texture of the body and the picot edge are suggestive of water.
The pattern recommends a laceweight merino/silk yarn. If you'd like to spin the very colour shown here, then sweetgeorgia (the producers of the yarn used) also sell various fibre mixes in this colour (look for Sapphire)
Peace Socks by Wendy D. Johnson
Peace Socks is a free sock pattern. It uses lace stitches but has a low difficulty rating.
Pictured here is Rubywool's pair which she appropriately knitted during two music festivals this year. She has used handspun and notes that she had to modify the pattern to suit her yarn.
I'm linking to Rubywools Ravelry project page where you can see her notes, a larger picture of her socks and find the link for the free pattern.
A Quick Win - Rikke Hat
Chrissy of Stitched Together recommends this slouchy hat pattern, she says that it takes no time to knit.
The one shown here isn't made from handspun yarn but there are many handspun examples on Ravelry.
The hat is garter stitch knit in the round which means alternate rounds of knit and purl. To avoid this, some have knit it flat and seamed, or twisted the yarn and turned.
Crochet pattern: mesh bag and shawl
It's always good to find patterns which use smaller quantities of yarn and aren't scarves.
According to the pattern, the bag shown here uses less than 100g of fingering-weight yarn. I'm picturing this useful drawstring bag in colourful hand-dyed fibre.
Gidday baby cardigan
This popular pattern suits newborn to 3 months and uses DK-weight (11 wpi) yarn.
There is a paid-for version of the pattern going to 30" (around size 12)
Ravelry user coxabey says "totally adorable pattern - very, very well written, perfect for handspun yarn."
27 and 28 September Skipton Auction Mart, North Yorkshire
For you if you love yarn and are passionate about all things woolly. It aims to celebrate the beauty and diversity of wool, cotton, linen and silk fibres in all their forms
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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