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Hand Spinning News

This is certainly the most amazing time of year; newborn lambs are in the fields, the days are getting noticeably longer, flowers are blooming and people are smiling.

If you're tempted to give some of the more creative spinning techniques a go (and we have a blogger this month with three reasons why you should) then I have an offer on Lexi Boeger's book, only for HSN readers.

This is the free edited version of Hand Spinning News for April 2015

Contents

News and Blog Posts

An Irish yarn for St Patrick's Day

An Irish yarn for St Patrick's Day

Heather's articles are always a good read; thorough, well-researched and balanced.

On St Patrick's day she posted about Irish yarn, the myths and legends that have grown up as well as the current state of play with links to producers and processors.

http://nearlythere.com/2015/03/17/irish-yarn-authentic/

In praise of the sub-herd

In praise of the sub-herd

Is there a collective noun for spinning wheels? A whirl of wheels maybe?

iriegemini shows us her collection of restored antique wheels, and yarn that she's spun on each, proving that there's no reason an old wheel shouldn't spin just as well as a new one.

https://theknitknack.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/antique-spinning-wheels-in-praise-of-the-sub-herd/

Spinning through time and space

Spinning through time and space

Thanks so much to Arlene who has sent me these pictures of her handiwork.

The Kiwi wheel lends itself particularly well to being decorated and this is a particularly fine example.

She's used transfer-printed vinyl and finished the blue with a coat of glitter varnish for a sparkle. Despite the label, it's probably not free for public use. Do click Arlene's name to see some worthwhile close-up and in-progress shots.

If you write to her, expect a reply in Gallifreyan.

https://instagram.com/p/1fd5yrnUUF/

Three Reasons Every Spinner Should Make Art Yarns

Three reasons every spinner should make art yarns

I feel that Anne Merrow is speaking directly to me, maybe you also prefer spinning relatively fine, even yarn.

But she says that there's more to art yarn than you think, and gives three reasons why it would be beneficial to take some time out and 'have a play' with some creative techniques

http://www.spinningdaily.com/blogs/anne/archive/2015/04/09/three-reasons-every-spinner-should-make-art-yarns.aspx

The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show 2015

The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show 2015

If you're curious about shows but never been then I don't think I've seen a more thorough review than Corrie's review of the Olympia Spring Knitting and Stitching Show. Over four posts with loads of photos in each, she reviews many of the exhibitors. Use the 'previous' and 'next' buttons at the top of the page to find them all.

http://www.plutoniummuffins.com/the-spring-knitting-and-stitching-show-2015-part-three/

Edinburgh Yarn Festival  unwinding

Edinburgh Yarn Festival unwinding

While we're in an exhibition mood, Louise of knitbritish brings us the atmosphere of Edinburgh Yarn Festival in pictures and sound, with more of a focus on the social side. I'm not such a big fan of podcasts but audio certainly does transport you to an event in a more immersive way.

I've linked to part two below, part one is here.

http://www.knitbritish.net/ep-25-part-2/

A good saturday

A good saturday

I'm very grateful to Ella Gordon, she visited a spinning day at Ollaberry Hall which is full of examples of Shetland knitting (is this a permanent exhibition? If you know, let me know).

It looks as if there were spinning / knitting demonstrations / workshops alongside the exhibition, which contains some breathtaking examples. Don't miss the delightful old black-and-white photo of a boy wearing a jumper pinned to the actual jumper.

Some really special pictures of a tradition which is still alive.

https://ellagordon.wordpress.com/2015/03/15/a-good-saturday/

The Shepherd's Life

The Shepherd's Life

You may already be following Herdwick Shepherd @herdyshepherd1 and be familiar with James Rebanks' family, his flock and sheepdog Floss.

James farms in the Lake District. His views on the landscape as a working environment versus a playground are frank and are food for thought if you walk in the Lake District or have even decided to live there.

He has published his book, The Shepherd's Life, which is being serialised on Radio 4 as I write this and should be available on the BBC website until the middle of May. A worthwhile - I'd go as far as to say important - listen. To enjoy the full text and support James, the book is available in hardback now.

To accompany the book and the programme the BBC have put together this web page of nine things you (may) never have known about sheep.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05r3tcz

Longest Thread

Longest Thread

Do you like to spin fine? Hilltop Cloud's Katie likes a challenge and was tempted to enter the Bothwell SpinIn Longest Thread Competition. This involves spinning the longest 2-ply possible from 10g of wool or alpaca. There are classes for wheel, eSpinner and spindle.

Congratulations to Katie who did fabulously well and came in 5th. Katie writes more details about how she spun her yarn in her post at the link below.

http://www.hilltopcloud.co.uk/blog/14132077


discuss any of this

 

Tips and tutorials

Free Online Spinning Lessons by Ashley Martineau

Free Online Spinning Lessons by Ashley Martineau

Ashley Martineau has made a couple of changes this month. She's decided to work under her own name rather than Neauveau Fiber Arts, and she's been working hard, in conjunction with SpinOlution Wheels, on a series of video tutorials.

Here is a page listing all of her tutorial videos. Many focus specifically on art yarn techniques; how to core-spin, how to navajo ply, how to add beads as you ply etc.

http://www.handspunartyarn.com/search/label/videos

Yarn Weights

Yarn weights

Yarn weight is probably even more relevant to us hand spinners than those using commercial yarn. You'll need to do the 'wraps per inch test' to find out your WPI number, and then use a chart to find out which weight name that corresponds to.

Amy of Webs writes with commercial yarn in mind, which is usually labelled with a weight / gauge but her notes are very useful for us hand spinners.

http://blog.yarn.com/the-blog-post-about-yarn-weights/

How to tie and replace spinning wheel drive bands

How to tie and replace spinning wheel drive bands

A selection of videos here deal with replacing string-type drive bands on Schacht wheels

If you were a Girl Guide then reef knot (or square knot) may be all you need to know, but there are tips within the videos which may be useful to owners of Schacht and other brands of wheel.

http://blog.schachtspindle.com/2015/03/how-to-tie-and-replace-spinning-wheel.html

Spring Clean - Wheel Clean

Spring Clean - Wheel Clean

Sue recommends cleaning a wheel after each session, especially if you spin 'in the grease'. But every so often she likes to dismantle and give the wheel a 'good overhaul'.

Here is her procedure and tips.

http://castonandcastoff.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/spring-clean-wheel-clean.html

Crazy about coils

Crazy about coils

Arlene is crazy about coils and in this post on the Fibery Goodness website she experiments with coils.

With a little info on coil-spinning she asks a number of 'what if...' questions such as "what happens if I ply a coil with a coil?" and posts the results.

http://fiberygoodness.com/2015/03/crazy-about-coils/

Pilling no more?

Pilling no more?

Pilling is a fact of life with knitwear, says Amy. But with handspun yarn there are a number of things that you can do while spinning and knitting to minimise the problem.

Amy's tips are at the link below.

https://boogieblather.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/pilling-no-more/

Counting rows

Counting rows

Knitbug Val says that the problem with row counters is that you forget to click or twist the counter. I'm just the same, terrible at keeping count.

Here's an idea; the stitch marker is made of a chain of loops. Each time you slip the marker, you also move the chain on by one loop, a little like rosary beads.

http://incorrigiblecraftster.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/im-terrible-at-keeping-track-of-my-row.html

Minimum number of stitches needed for circular needles by yarn weight

Minimum number of stitches needed for circular needles by yarn weight

Here's an interesting chart to keep handy.

I'm not a big fan of magic loop, all that pulling on the cable seems to slow things down. Knitting on a circular needle without a magic loop can work well but too many or too few stitches can make it difficult.

So how do you know the optimum number of stitches for a given circular needle (or the correct needle for your number of stitches)? Click through for Lorna's chart.

http://peargirlknits.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/minimum-number-of-stitched-needed-for.html


discuss any of this

 

Reviews

Stranded colorwork getting tangled?

Stranded colorwork getting tangled?

I've now made two colourwork projects using handspun yarn and it certainly does take some care to avoid tangles.

Could this yarn guide help? Ashley Little says that it is a tension helper as well as a tangle avoider. But it takes some getting used to and that it may not be for everyone. Read her full review at the link below.

My feeling is that tangles happen further down. I fine the best strategy is to have one ball on my left and one on my right. Have you tried a guide like this? What do you think?

http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2015/03/how-to-use-a-yarn-guide/


discuss any of this

 

Keeping this wheel spinning

Your news here

Your news here

Are you a teacher, pattern designer, dyer, equipment manufacturer or supplier?

Would you like to reach the growing readership of thousands of hand spinners and at the same time help to support Hand Spinning News ?

Read more

Gallery

Sometimes just a picture is enough

Beating the 1000m barrier

Beating the 1000m barrier

Kerryhill has been trying to spin finer and has reached 1000m from 100g of fibre.

I love to see how colours look so different as they move from dyed fibre to singles, then to plied yarn and finally to knitted, crocheted or woven fabric.

http://sheepyspinning.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/plyed-lovehearts-beating-1000m-barrier.html

The Shawl Rudy

The Shawl Rudy

This fluffy-looking yarn and shawl is made from a fibre which wasn't easy to spin, it's smooth and wasn't so ready to hold itself together. It also has a lovely natural colour with some variegation.

It's golden retriever. If you've not been approached by a dog or cat owner with a bag of brushings, I'm sure it will happen sooner or later.

If you're tempted to try, The Wool Merchant's Daughter has written in detail about her spinning and knitting experience.

https://thewoolmerchantsdaughter.wordpress.com/2015/03/15/the-shawl-rudy/

Felting is for the birds

Felting is for the birds

Two project ideas in one post; bird pods and a beret, both made from the Spinning Shepherd's Ouessant wool and both felted.

http://spinningshepherd.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/sheep-to-sweater-sunday-n-162-felting.html

Handspun Alpaca Polar Bear Chullo

Handspun Alpaca Polar Bear Chullo

It always feels a little naughty to sneak in my own projects, but this one has a charitable cause behind it.

I made this hat in preparation for the Appleton Back to Back challenge, please support it if you're able, it will be fun.

What started as practice spinning (using some actual Appleton alpaca fibre) escalated into this finished chullo, which I'm incredibly proud of.

More of the story with lots of pictures is at the link below.

http://stitchywitches.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/handspun-alpaca-polar-bear-chullo.html

Waysides

Waysides

Annie prefers plant dyes to commercial dyes, and here she demonstrates some beautiful shades that can be obtained, as she says, "on the way to the washing line".

These mini-skeins are dyed using gorse flowers, oak leaves, walnut hulls and alder cones.

http://www.anniecholewa.com/2015/03/waysides-few-refinements.html

Coffee and cream Harmonize

Coffee and cream Harmonize

No more information about this shawlette or the yarn, except that the yarn is spun from club fibre and the pattern is Harmonize and made as part of a knit-a-long.

Explore Anna B's photos for more images of the yarn and the work in progress.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/2bannab/16961976456/in/photostream/

Sweater Take 2

Sweater Take 2

It's hard to believe that Joanne worked from undyed fibre to 1250 yards of 2-ply yarn to finished jumper in a month.

She recommends the top-down raglan, there is a formula that she gives in her Ravelry project (link from her blog post). It fits very well and she chose the colours because she wants to wear it with jeans.

http://joanne-threadhead.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/finished-sweater.html

Handspun merino / silk - golden hibiscus

Handspun merino / silk - golden hibiscus

This is a beautiful photograph and this month's most sexy spindle shot.

The yarn looks amazing too. It's now finished, it's Louet merino silk and Rahardjo has 1679 yards of yarn, spun on support spindles and plied on her wheel. It's still 22wpi after 3-plying.

I'm a big fan of her work and can't wait to see what she knits from this.

http://rahardjoknits.tumblr.com/post/115514549353/handspun-louet-merino-silk-color-golden-hibiscus


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Free patterns

A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.

Hybrid Vigour by Mary-Anne Mace

Hybrid Vigour by Mary-Anne Mace

I still have trouble wearing shawls. Even with a pin, if you can get it to look just right then it gradually slips until it looks odd.

Mary-Anne Mace shares my pain and has designed this solution. It's two shawls in one, worn as a poncho. It'll wear exactly as intended and always sit right. If you're OK with the regular triangular shawl then there are instructions for knitting that.

The one in pattern is made using custom-dyed merino and Mary-Anne has a tip for spinning a two-ply gradient yarn without the colours overlapping in a barber-pole style.

http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEss15/KSPATThybrid.php

10 crochet flower patterns

10 crochet flower patterns

These cheerful flowers are fun to make for their own sake, but can be used on a hat or fascinator, granny square or standalone ornament.

http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2015/03/10-types-of-flowers-to-crochet/


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Not-so-free patterns

The Minnow Top by Alexis Winslow

The Minnow Top by Alexis Winslow

This is such a beautiful summer top, I'm pretty sure that I'm going to make one, it's just a shame that the pattern only comes in a book called Graphic Knits and the other patterns seem to be quite different; bold shapes and colours, not so much my style. Please Interweave, supply this lovely pattern individually. Pretty please?

http://www.knittingdaily.com/blogs/daily/archive/2015/04/10/a-perfect-summer-knit-the-minnow-top.aspx


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Events 2015

wonderewool wales

Wonderwool Wales

25 & 26 April, Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells

Promoting wool and natural fibre production and its use.

Exhibitors and trade stands covering all aspects of felting, knitting, weaving, spinning, crochet and textile art with raw materials, equipment, books and finished products for sale. Competitions and a range of hands-on workshops.

A list of accommodation and camping in the surrounding area is available on the Wonderwool website.

www.wonderwoolwales.co.uk

Proper Woolly

Proper Woolly

Holsworthy Livestock Market, Devon, 30-31 May 2015

An event to bring together fibre crafters and producers in the South West. A great new venue with plenty of room for lots of exhibitors, and of course, lots of visitors.

properwoolly.co.uk

Woolfest

Woolfest

Friday 26 June and Saturday 27 June, Cockermouth, Cumbria

Woolfest was founded to provide a showcase and a celebration of the best of wool and wool crafts.

The event is all about creativity and design with beautiful quality, amazing colours and skilled craftsmanship and this was recognised in 2012 when Woolfest won the Cumbria Tourism Award for Event of the Year.

www.woolfest.co.uk

Fibre East

Fibre East

25 and 26 July 2015, Redbourne Community College, Flitwick Road, Ampthill, Bedford MK45 2NU

The fifth Fibre East, those in the Eastern, Midlands and Southern Regions an opportunity to join in an event which aims to encourage and promote British wool and natural fibres.

The college provides an indoor venue.

www.fibre-east.co.uk

British Wool Show (formerly British Wool Weekend Show)

British Wool Show (formerly British Wool Weekend Show)

Friday 7 and Saturday 8 August, York Auction Mart

Supporting the Campaign for Wool.

Exciting treasures to discover; wool from fleece to finished items and other items you will need to spin, weave, knit, crochet, hand dye, cross stitch, embroider or make felt.

www.britishwool.net

Yarndale

Yarndale

26 and 27 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

yarndale.co.uk

Shetland Wool Week

Shetland Wool Week

26 September - 4 October 2015

A busy weekend dedicated to celebrating Shetland wool and textile heritage.

The extensive events list includes workshops, demonstrations, open studios, spinning, knitting, weaving and Britain's most northerly sheep.

Visit the website to download a free 'Shwook Hat' pattern, designed exclusively for Shetland Wool Week 2014 by Patron, Hazel Tindall.

shetlandwoolweek.com

Bakewell Wool Gathering

Bakewell Wool Gathering

Bakewell Agricultural CentreSaturday 17 and Sunday 18 October

This year sees the third 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.

bakewellwool.co.uk/


Happy spinning and don't be a stranger!

Shiela Dixon - Editor / curator

shiela@hand-spinning-news.com

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