Hand Spinning News
February isn't full of colour (other than the gooey Valentine pinks and reds) but there are plenty of colourful posts this month. Blending boards have become popular and this month I've found tutorials about using a blending board, making one yourself, using a drumcarder for the same process and even using hand carders.
Read on for this month's round up of feast of free patterns, finished projects and fibrey goodness.
(Cover photo: from Herding Sheep in a Winter Landscape, Joseph Farquarson. Above right: The Mangalista - believe it or not, a woolly pig.
- News and articles from around the web
- From the blogosphere
- Tips and tutorials
Showing off some of the best images I've found this month
- Free patterns
A selection of free patterns which will work well with handspun yarn
Some dates for your diary
- Courses and tuition
Where to go for a day, weekend or a week to learn or improve your skills
News, resources and articles from around the web
Margaret Stove Honored with the Queen's Service Medal
When royal baby George was born last year, you may remember a handspun shawl being presented as New Zealand's official gift.
The designer, Margaret Stove has done tremendous work promoting crafts and the merino wool industry, and she has now been honoured with a Queen's Service Medal.
From Knithacker this month is this very neat newspaper yarn from ecologist, sculptor and performer Ivano Vitali.
Click through to his website and the yarn pages. Different types of paper make different-looking yarns.
Wool and Prince are making shirts from wool and claim that the superfine wool fibres are much more durable than cotton, more efficient at evaporating moisture, odour-resistant and wrinkle-resistant.
Here's the science behind those benefits.
From the blogosphere
Making a woven willow sheep fleece basket
Following the 'mystery object' basket a couple of months ago, Fran has written this post about weaving her own Muirlag / Crealagh from her own home-grown willow.
The basket is used for collecting fleece and warming it by the fire to make it easier to work.
Fran gives loads of information and pictures about how she made hers, plus she gives links to further tutorials.
Blocking fresh-spun yarns
Mary's favourite part of spinning is plying but there are some steps that she thinks are "so crazypants".
Most crazypants of all, she says, is winding the handspun into skeins for setting before being wound into balls.
She saved up several bobbins of yarn to do all at once. It gave her the opportunity to photograph these yarns for us.
End of May Mittens
Pat loves worsted weight stranded mittens, "Quick to make and so nice and thick and warm!" she says.
She thinks that she's made the prettiest pink yarn on the planet and I love the way that the colour graduates within the colourwork of these mittens.
The cuffs are lined with merino / silk. Pat links to the pattern e-book.
In which not everything goes according to plan...
This is cabled yarn, which is plied yarn plied again. These few strands look beautiful but Katie's not happy because she introduced too much twist into it.
She goes on to overply some two-ply yarn and discusses some possible remedies.
Spinning on a dime
Weeked Knitter discusses spinning on a dime.
These spindles are very cheap to make, made from toy wheels and dowel. These, together with a shoe-box for a lazy Kate, can make perfectly good yarn.
The reason for this frugality is that WK has started a spinning club at her school and the kids are getting on very well. Click through for pictures.
The original yarn hog
If it were closer to April 1, I wouldn't believe this story. But it checks out.
This strange woolly pig is a Mangalista. Fatty and tasty but slow-growing, it has been a delicacy in the past but is now unfashionable and uneconomical to raise.
There are a few farms raising them and the meat is apparently "flavourful" and "amazing" but I can't find a reference to anyone making yarn from the wool. If anyone knows more, please let me know.
This fluffiness is washed merino separated into locks and flick carded.
We follow its progress through spinnng, navajo plying and knitting.
Alicia Landi has written this guest post in which she discusses the differences between worsted and woollen spinning. She tries some different preparation methods and drafting methods to make four skeins ranging from woollen to worsted
The differences are clear, woollen yarn is soft and bouncy, the worsted thinner and shinier and will have more drape.
Tips and tutorials
Wool Blending Board
Blending boards allow you to 'paint' with your dyed wool. They have made a big and colourful splash in the spinning world.
Here Ewespecial gives us a step-by-step tutorial
DIY blending board
Blending boards are expensive, but if you're handy (or have a handy person in your life) how about making one?
I did feature a DIY blending board tutorial a month or two ago but spotted this one from Dawning Dreams
She makes her board for almost half the cost of a commercial one and even embellishes it with a printed design!
Cotton puni primer
If you want to try blending colours but can't stretch to a blending board or make one, you can use a drum carder or even hand carders.
In this tutorial Urbanspinner is using fine carders and dyed cotton, but wool and standard carders will work just as well.
In it to spin it
Although she doesn't show pictures of the process, knottygnome has made these punis from a large selection of different fibres using her drum carder and chopsticks.
Spinning with your handcards
The new issue of the Schacht newsletter suggests spinnig directly from a handcarder. It's not easy to understand from the text but Stephanie has made a video which demonstrates perfectly. You'll find the Youtube link within the text of the newsletter.
Keeping this wheel spinning
Your news here
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Sometimes just a picture is enough
Sexy spindle shot
Rahardjo's 7g spindle from hipstrings. The fibre is cat.
This lovely sheep was knit by 15-year-old Libbie using natural-coloured handspun yarn from bearcreekfelting's flock of Romney Sheep
First handspun sock
I love to see how colours in dyed fibre come out in the knitting. This is the first of a pair of handspun socks by froggymonkey.
Handspun Iced Sweater
The yarn is 3-ply, the pattern calls for 8mm needles, so I imagine this is a nice quick knit.
I love the buttons that reeniebeanie has used here.
Pattern is Iced published on Knitty. Designer Carol Feller says "It was designed to be loose, casual and in a neutral color so that I could wear it with everything."
It's good to see methods other than knitting, crochet and weaving being used for handspun. This clutch purse is being made from rug-hooked handspun
Flash your Stash
Making me feel instantly less guilty about my own stash which is relatively small, this is distelfliege's whopping collection of handspun and bought yarn.
It's sarcazm's handspun and a friend used it to knit this shrug for her.
Handspun Summer Wind
Summer Wind by Irishgirlieknits is perfect for slipping on when caught out by unexpected weather.
nfisher has made hers from Blue Face Leicester top from Into the Whirled.
Entrelac Shawl with Tassels
Not only did Joanne dye and spin the yarn for this beautiful shawl, it uses some less common techniques such as entrelac knitting and tassels.
Joanne also used singles yarn for the first time. "This was such a fun knit!!" she says.
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Cozy Posy Ear Warmer Headband by Heather Turpin
Liz posted about this pattern just before Christmas but I didn't fit it into January's HSN.
The weather's still cold enough to require some ear coverage. Alternatively this may make a great and quick gift - Liz says it's a a 2 - 3 hour knit
Liz used her own handspun yarn for the one in the picture here. Click the link to see bigger pictures of her Harley Quinn yarn - it looks lovely close up.
Felted wool hot water bottle cover
This is an unusual one because the pattern isn't a knit or crochet pattern but it could be.
The pattern suggests using 'wool yardage' which you can felt at home. But I'd suggest that you could use your own woven, knit or crocheted handspun wool, felted in the same way.
purlbee.com provide the templates for download and give a detailed tutorial on blanket stitch.
This eye-catching cowl is made from super bulky single and wool locks (Teeswater are suggested but any attractive locks will do)
Dawning Dreams gives very detailed instructions.
This scarf is such a beautiful finished item and made from an attractive free pattern.
The BFL roving is gradient dyed in an unusual way - black to white and back to black again with interesting colours and high-contrast changes. This works beautifully in the finished scarf although Remcat says "I did get a tiny bit nervous as I neared the end of my knitting..." she posts a picture of the tiniest butterfly of black that was left over.
Zimtstern Mitts by Sybil R
This isn't an easy pattern due to its unusual construction and use of surface crochet on top of knit stitches.
What attracted me to them is that unusual construction. Starting at the thumbs means a great colour effect when using a gradient yarn.
Slouchy Grey Gotland Hat by Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter
A February HSN wouldn't be complete without a warm slouch hat.
This pattern suggests using Gotland roving because it makes yarn that is substantial and slightly glossy with a bit of a halo. Perfect for a "nice, warm hat to ward off the next polar vortex!"
I also selected free knit and crochet patterns over at HSN's sister publication, Purl Two Together. Each new issue follows HSN by approx a week.
26 & 27 April 2014, 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.
Friday 27 June and Saturday 28 June, Cockermouth, Cumbria
Woolfest 2014 - the 10th anniversary!
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.
26 and 27 July 2014, Redbourne Community College, Flitwick Road, Ampthill, Bedford MK45 2NU
The third 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.
Note the change of venue and date. The new venue is inside.
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
Courses and tuition
Please let me know if you are or you know a tutor with a calendar of events.
- Cornwall: Audrey Durrant is heavily involved with the Cornwall Guild and works with the Rare Breed Survival Trust. She teaches spinning, basic weaving, is a hand dyer and gives talks and demonstrations. Find out more at www.hawthornfibres.co.uk
- Cumbria: Learn to Spin: Beginner's Workshop at Cartmel Handspun. Course materials and equipment provided, includes coffee, healthy home-made lunch and tea. Courses are run at week-ends in the autumn and spring. For more details, contact Elaine Ware, email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 015395 33443. www.cartmelhandspun.co.uk spinningandweaving.weebly.com
- Derbyshire: Alison Daykin offers week and weekend courses and also has a less formal groups three evenings a week: spinningandweaving.weebly.com
- Dumfries and Galloway: Sue Macniven offers Residential Courses or one to one workshops in Twynholm or at your own venue http://www.handspun-exotics.co.uk/workavail.html
- Hampshire: Spinning and wool workshops at The Old Dairy, Westover Farm, Nr Andover. For more details go to www.urbancottage.co.uk/courses or call Nichola 07905167922
- Hampshire: Spinning workshops at fibre craft studio Beaker Button, the Fairground Craft and Design centre, Weyhill. Free spinning taster sessions. For more details contact 07738 534164 or http://www.beakerbutton.co.uk
- Lancashire and North West: Spinning workshops at yarn shops North West England. All materials included for £50, contact Cathy (lazykate) on 07415 725193 or email@example.com for dates.
- Lancashire: Carol and Pete Leonard run a three-monthly workshop for hand and wheel spinners where students can either follow the 'topic of the month' or work on their own project guided by Carol and Pete. They also run a residential weekend each year. These are held at Alston Hall, a conference and adult education centre based in the Ribble Valley close to the M6 motorway. For further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website spindlers2.com
- London: Weaving, spinning, dyeing, tapestry weaving, and other yarn and fibre crafts workshops at The Handweavers Studio & Gallery. See the website for dates and details. www.handweavers.co.uk/shop/Workshops_Classes.html
- Manchester:Spinning courses with Dee Sayce. also sewing, felt making, weaving, dyeing, batik and silk painting (external link to beetlefelt) http://www.beetlefelt.co.uk/workshop_spinning.html
- Northamptonshire: Long Draw Spinning Tuition with Pam Austins, Spinning School. Pam is on a mission to teach longdraw. Most classes are held in Stoke Albany. http://www.spinningschool.blogspot.co.uk/p/calendar.html (external link to Spinning School's calendar)
- Nottinghamshire: Spinning courses with Juliet Hill www.handspinning.org.uk (external link to Juliet Hill Handspinning)
- Norfolk: Single-day spinning courses www.norfolkyarn.co.uk/Homepage/News/tabid/77/Default.aspx(external link to Norfolk Yarn website)
- Norfolk: Spinning workshop for beginners http://www.spottypigfarm.co.uk(external link to spottypigfarm website) or call 07930 605578
- Norfolk: A programme of spinning and weaving workshops is run by the Worstead Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers. For details, please email email@example.com or call 07854 701807
- Scotland - Perthshire (and Italy): workshops on spinning (beginners or more advanced), fibre preparation and blending, felting, dyeing and knitting. See the Workshops tab on http://www.perfectweatherforspinningandknitting.blogspot.com/ for updated details of forthcoming workshops by Deborah Gray e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sheffield: Tuition and Demonstrations by Diane Fisher, the Murmuring Wheel http://www.murmuringwheel.co.uk/events.html (external link to Diane Fisher's calendar)
- Sussex: Weald and Downland Museum in Singleton sometimes has courses on spinning http://www.wealddown.co.uk/Traditional-Rural-Trades-and-Crafts/Textiles/ (external link to Weald and Downland Museum's calendar)
- Mid-Wales: Workshops with HilltopCloud's Katie Weston mostly focus on colour blending, full details at http://www.hilltopcloud.co.uk/workshops
- Yorkshire: Spinning courses with Ruth Gough, various workshops for individuals or groups, at Wentworth or your venue http://www.winghamwoolwork.co.uk/content/15-courses (external link to Wingham Wool Work)
- Yorkshire: Rivers MEET Craft Café, Methley, Leeds, West Yorkshire is now running beginner's workshops, as well as spinning wheel demonstrations and a spin-a-long on most Thursday mornings. For more details email: Feltandspin@yahoo.com, 01977 279729 or see www.riversmeetcraftcafe.co.uk
Happy spinning and don't be a stranger!
Shiela Dixon - Editor / curator
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