Banner image

Hand Spinning News

Welcome to an egg-stravaganza of seasonal topics and spinning inspiration that includes daffodil dyeing, the history of hairshirts and an easter-egg-like pellet of... well I'll let you read the grim details about that.

Edinburgh Yarn Festival was once again very successful. The event is growing in popularity. Looking ahead, Shetland Wool Week have announced this year's patron and the 'official pattern' for the event. That's a great story.

Some interesting sheep breeds have come up in the stories this month; Cotswold, Romeldale and Gotland.

A huge thank you to Tony and Joanne who came up with the answer to our reader question last month.

Read on for this month's cunning curated collection of inspirational information and entertainment for spinners, knitters, crocheters, dyers and weavers. This is the free issue for April 2019.

Find out how to receive a longer, ad-free version of HSN earlier in the month.

Photo right: Julie's Journey marled mania Leggins. The cover photo is Highclere Castle, Highclere, UK by George Hiles on Unsplash

Contents

 

Recent events

Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2019

Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2019

I'm not such a fan of audio and video casts as much as text and images, but do let me know if you'd like more links to podcasts and videos.

The Fruity Knitting Podcast episode 74 has a montage of footage form the festival which gives a good flavour of the event if you've never been.

It also has some entertaining and interesting interviews with four EYF vendors; Countess Ablaze, Pink Hazel, Toft UK and Moel View Yarn.

youtu.be/fr2yTGgyocU


comment on any of this

 

In the media

Introducing the Roadside Beanie and SWW patron Oliver Henry

Introducing the Roadside Beanie and SWW patron Oliver Henry

Shetland Wool Week have announced that local hero Oliver Henry is to be the event's patron this year. The official knitting pattern for 2019 is to be The Oliver Henry Roadside Beanie, designed by Ella Gordon. It features two common roadside sights in Shetland - sheep and fishing boats - both of which have played an important role in his life.

You can download the free pattern and find out more about the festival via the link below. It's scheduled to take place between 28 Sep and 6 Oct 2019.

www.shetlandwoolweek.com

Finding a new purpose for Browder's wool

Finding a new purpose for Browder's wool

Cotswold wool is long and lustrous. It's not a breed we tend to see among the fibres for handspinning. But it's still hard to believe that farmer Holly Browder of Long Island USA was considering throwing away a basement full of wool.

The wool was saved when a local knitter pointed out a challenge called "Shave 'Em to Save 'Em" which encouraged fibre artists to seek out rare breed wool directly from the farm. The Browders signed up and within weeks the wool was sold.

northforker.com...finding-a-new-purpose-for-browders-wool

Titonka family raises rare breed of sheep

Titonka family raises rare breed of sheep

Romeldale is an American breed that has fine, soft wool. The sheep are hardy and have good all-round characteristics. It's hard to see why they are a rare breed.

The breed's name refers to the Romney rams and Rambouillet ewes which were crossed to create it around 1915.

This story features the Benson family who have a flock of 60 and market the fleeces for spinning.

www.kmaland.com/ag/titonka-family-raises-rare-breed-of-sheep...html


comment on any of this

 

From the Blogosphere

Spinning Shetland wool tops

Spinning Shetland wool tops

A cautionary tale from Fran. If you're spinning various natural shades of fibre into the same yarn, beware of the different grades of fibre behaving differently in your fingers. Fran found that the coarser fibres "tended to run more thickly through my fingers and once three plied, that effect had been trebled", leading to long weight changes.

wooltribulations.blogspot.com/2019/03/spinning-shetland-wool-tops.html

The HCA Red List

The HCA Red List

Thanks to FiberSprite Pamela for sharing a link to this year's HCA Red List, which is the Heritage Crafts Association's list of crafts which are extinct or endangered.

There are some small-business wheel makers in the UK, such as Rod of Innerliethen Spinning Wheels whose picture I've used here, who may be surprised to find that 'Spinning Wheel Making' has made the 'Critically endangered' category for the first time in 2019, . The definition of critically endangered is "those at serious risk of no longer being practised in the UK".

heritagecrafts.org.uk/redlist/categories-of-risk

The history of hairshirts

The history of hairshirts

Lent is a period before Easter during which Christians make a fast. Nowadays that includes challenges such as abstinence from social media.

Christina Garton takes a look at the hairshirt, a garment made from coarse animal hair and worn for deliberate discomfort.

www.interweave.com/article/weaving/history-hairshirts

Gotland wool

Gotland wool

Josefin wrote an article for Spin-Off magazine which sparked the idea of a series of studies of Scandinavian breeds.

Gotland is lustrous and "freakishly" long. Josefin's study is thorough, she talks about the sheep, the fleece, preparation and spinning.

waltin.se/josefinwaltinspinner/gotland-wool

Allotment grown linen

Allotment grown linen

This humble-looking ball of yarn has quite a story.

The flax was allotment-grown. Alice Fox grew and processed it, and spun the yarn. Says Alice, "A lengthy process but that makes the final product all the more satisfying and valuable".

More pictures are on her Instagram feed, also see her blog for articles about growing the flax.

www.instagram.com/p/BvGpDAgFvZY


comment on any of this

 

Video

Woven in Time - A History of wool in Yorkshire

Woven in time - a history of wool in Yorkshire

Merino wool is once again gaining a foothold after the "ravages of man-made fibres".

This is a well-worthwhile 30-minute video showing the history of the Merino breed and the wool industry in the UK, and the global industry today.

It's fascinating for spinners and weavers to see the industrial process. I was astonished by the thorough combing, the fine spinning and the speed of the looms.

With thanks to ewespecial for sharing the video. I'm linking to her page which has the video embedded.

ewespecial.blogspot.com/2019/03/woven-in-time-great-history-of-merino.html


Tips and tutorials

Getting some loft in your handspun

Getting some loft in your handspun

Rather than spinning from the end of combed top and getting a smooth, dense yarn, there are ways to get more 'loft' or air in the yarn.

As with her other 'Back to basics' tutorials, Amy has included a video as well as text, so you can use whichever you prefer.

As a bonus, she has also published Weaving with Handspun this month.

boogieblather.wordpress.com/2019/04/08/getting-some-loft

Basic loom with pvc pipe

Basic loom with pvc pipe

Many tools can be made from PVC pipe, from niddy noddies to spinning wheels.

It's easy too. The hardest part of making this tapestry loom is to place and fit the pegs. "The loom really did come together in seconds after the pegs were placed"

www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-Basic-Loom-With-PVC-Pipe

Twist model

Twist model

If you've been spinning for any length of time, you'll know very well that twisting the fibres locks them together and that's how we make yarn.

Josefin has gone into this subject in some depth. Maybe you'll find this way too much information, or maybe you'll enjoy soaking it up. After all, this knowledge unlocks the ability to adjust what you're doing according to the fibre and the yarn you want to make, rather than simply repeating the same motions.

The page also has some videos showing different drafting techniques.

waltin.se/josefinwaltinspinner/twist-model


comment on any of this

 

Technology

No one is prepared for hagfish slime

No one is prepared for hagfish slime

This is not an easter egg but a microscopic image of a pellet of coiled hagfish slime thread. There's a video on the page showing one being unwound like a silk cocoon. it's 100th the width of a human hair.

When the hagfish releases these into water it produces a slime that works like underwater spider-webs, disabling an enemy.

Scientists are working on ways to create yarn from this fibre, although I gather that there's very little progress on that front so far.

This page is nonetheless very interesting if a little disgusting in places.

With thanks to the Interweave blog for sharing.

www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/01/hagfish-slime/581002


Yvonne

A Cross Word

Crow: 5 Down. Hungry large black bird. 8 letters. Yvonne (rolling eyes): Nuisance...?

No prizes for the correct answer. Not ever. Nevermore.

If you like Yvonne, click the image to find her page, you can use next and previous to explore more cartoons, and join the mailing list for a regular digest email.

Jigsaw - online

Jigsaw - online

Thank you very much if you've had a go at any of these on your computer or tablet.

I've set them up with 35 - 50 pieces- just the right number for a coffee-break challenge and you gradually reveal the cartoon.

But if you fancy more of a challenge (or less) you can customise the number of pieces before you start.

www.jigsawplanet.com/shieladixon/Yvonne

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 readership of thousands of hand spinners and at the same time help to support Hand Spinning News ?

Read more

Reviews

Creating Colour Systems with Alanna Wilcox

Creating colour systems with Alanna Wilcox

Alanna Wilcox has taken a very long journey with her latest project. She wanted to develop a system to reliably match any specific colour using dyes.

Her conversation with Felicia Lo includes many points of interest about colour and dyeing and she talks in depth about her project.

sweetgeorgiayarns.com/podcast/078


comment on any of this

 

Gallery

Sometimes just a picture is enough

Julie's Journey marled mania Leggins

Julie's Journey Marled Mania Leggins

Our handspun hero this month is Skeinydipping who has been travelling Scotland and showing off these stunning Stephen West leggings.

She started knitting them in the Outer Hebrides and used only wool which has been either grown, spun or dyed in the places she has driven through.

The pattern is Marled Leggings. It suggests using two yarns held double with 5mm needles

www.instagram.com/p/Bvwe1kRB59R

Handspun Chauncey

Handspun Chauncey

simsalahandmade's Chauncey Sweater is an example of how you can use a smaller quantity of handspun yarn within a larger project.

The handspun in the yoke has an attractive gradient to it and looks beautiful against the commercial yarn that she has chosen for the main colour.

The pattern is Chauncey by Isabell Kraemer

www.instagram.com/p/BuGkQXpl7EN

FO: Weekender

FO: Weekender

This jumper has an 'inside out' look but that's deliberate. In fact the seams are faux.

Pamela's Weekender is made from handspun yarn and she talks about the way she spun the yarn to help prevent pilling and to prevent it from becoming too hot.

www.fibersprite.com/blog/fo-weekender

Beatrix Potter supported spindle

Beatrix Potter supported spindle

This month's sexy spindle shot is a Woodland Wand. I strongly recommend a look at the Woodland Handcrafts website. You'll probably only find pictures on their Sold Items page. It appears that obtaining one of their spindles is a lottery (they literally run a lottery).

Link below goes to northwoodsfox's inspirational picture of her spindle and bowl set.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BwDb2_rhWSW/

Spinning batt by spindle

Spinning batt by spindle

By coincidence here's another very nice picture of spindles which I believe are from the same maker.

carryomhw says that she has 'torn through her batt' in no time.

www.instagram.com/p/BvM9sR8gqSE

Feeling so full of inspiration

Feeling so full of inspiration

This is an original pattern and hand dyed and spun yarn. I love the artyarn 'dreads'.

rootedfibres says, "I just cast on 80 stitches in the round and worked a 2x2 rib for a few rounds then purled 2 rows (reverse stockinette) and then knit until I got ready to reduce, I worked 1 reduce round 1 stockinette round for the top."

https://www.instagram.com/p/BwCTM9clE18


comment on any of this

 

Free patterns

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

Crochet T-shirt Yarn Tote by Heidi Gustad

Crochet T-shirt Yarn Tote by Heidi Gustad

This pattern calls for tee-shirt yarn, which is fun to make (there's a link in the pattern). It also uses a large hook (Size Q is around 15mm) so it'll be quick to make.

Heidi says that it's an easy pattern and perfect for Summer.

Some have made this bag using a regular yarn. Very chunky, 5-6 WPI seems to work. You could use a single colour or make it colourful.

www.handsoccupied.com/crochet-tote

Ambition and Cunning by Lotta Groeger

Ambition and Cunning by Lotta Groeger

The name is a reference to the Harry Potter books, the green and silver colours being chosen to match one of the Hogwarts houses. Designer Lotta Groeger says "other Hogwarts Houses can follow the same design; just choose the right colors".

You could simply regard them as pretty Spring colours.

The featured shawl was made from a merino silk roving in green, spun by spindle, with a commercial yarn for the silver. The pattern appears for free in the current Knitty.

knitty.com/ISSUEss19/PATTambition/PATTambition.php


comment on any of this

 

Not-so-free patterns


comment on any of this

 

But is it art...?

Confused cats and bewildered bears in needle felted wool by Lindsey Thomas

Confused cats and bewildered bears in needle felted wool by Lindsey Thomas

Lindsey Thomas often gives her needle-felted animals wide eyes, giving them a bemused, wistful or simple expression.

They're adorable and sometimes very funny.

www.thisiscolossal.com/2019/04/lindsey-thomas-wool-animals

Seeing Double: life-size crocheted figures imitate fellow villagers

Seeing Double: life-size crocheted figures imitate fellow villagers

I find this picture a little bit unsettling.

The model is wearing an impressive knitted jumper, which artist Liisa Hietanen has faithfully reproduced in crochet, along with the rest of the model's clothes, the model herself, and her dog.

www.thisiscolossal.com/2019/03/villagers-by-liisa-hietanen


comment on any of this

 

2019 events

Buxton Wool Gathering

Buxton Wool Gathering

11 and 12 May 2019, Grand Octagon room, Pavilion Gardens, Buxton

The organisers of Bakewell Wool Gathering are pleased to announce the launch of a new sister event - Buxton Wool Gathering - in May this year.

Over 50 exhibitors will be attending. Whether you're into spinning, felting, weaving, or knitting, there's something for you.

In celebration of our launch, we're offering five pairs of free day tickets to readers of Hand Spinning News. All you need to do is email admin@buxtonwool.co.uk before 1st May 2019 with name and contact details. Winners will be chosen at random and advised by email.

buxtonwool.co.uk

Leeds Wool Festival

Leeds Wool Festival

Saturday 1 June 2019

This popular event includes a market offering a range of goods from local traders, workshops and activities, demonstrations of special techniques, tips from professional speakers, a Q&A with our Knitting Gurus, and children's crafting activities.

www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/armleymills/leeds-wool-festival

Woollinn

Woollinn

14 & 15 June 2019, City North Hotel, 20 minutes north of Dublin Airport

Ireland's Festival of Yarn

woollinn.com

Woolly Worstead

Woolly Worstead

Saturday 15 - Sunday 16 June 2019, Weavers' Workshop, Dilham, Norfolk

Sheep-shearing demos, crochet, knitting, spinning, weaving, felting- demos and "have a go", alpacas and donkeys to feed and pet.

worsteadweavers.org.uk/woolly-weekend-2019

Woolfest

Woolfest

Fri 28 and Sat 29 June 2019, 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.

www.woolfest.co.uk

Fibre East

Fibre East

27 - 28 July 2019, Redbourne Community College, Flitwick Road, Ampthill, Bedford MK45 2NU

An annual event created to celebrate all things natural fibre and handmade, with a focus on the Best of British: supporting the finest quality British wool, made from the fleeces of British sheep, reared by British farmers.

www.fibre-east.co.uk

WoolNEss

WoolNEss

2 - 4 August 2019, Newcastle upon Tyne

Wool and Wellbeing festival for the North East.

www.woolness.co.uk

Yarnfolk Festival of Wool

Yarnfolk Festival of Wool

3 August 2019, Whitehead's town centre from 10am - 5pm

Whitehead in Co. Antrim will once again play host to Yarnfolk Wool Festival for the 3rd year.

www.yarnfolkwoolfestni.com

British Wool Show (formerly British Wool Weekend Show)

British Wool Show (formerly British Wool Weekend Show)

Friday 9 and Saturday 10 August 2019, York Auction Centre, Murton Lane, Murton, York, YO19 5GF

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

Southern Wool Show

Southern Wool Show

Saturday 31 August and 1 September 2019, Newbury Racecourse, Berkshire

The perfect event for all lovers of knitting, crochet, feltmaking, weaving, spinning, dyeing, and all things woolly!

www.southernwoolshow.co.uk

Perth Festival Of Yarn

Perth Festival Of Yarn

7 and 8 September 2019. Dewars Centre, Glover St, Perth

Bringing together independent dyers, farmers, knitters, spinners, felters and weavers. In 2018 nominated for the best yarn festival in the UK. Vendors' gallery marketplace, over 70 vendors, keynote event, social events and classes run over the weekend.

perthfestivalofyarn.uk

Yarndale

Yarndale

28 and 29 September 2019, Skipton Auction Mart, North Yorkshire

Stunning exhibitions, skill demonstrations and a full programme of textile workshops create a visual feast and make Yarndale a real must-visit for yarn lovers.

yarndale.co.uk

Shetland Wool Week

Shetland Wool Week

28 September - 6 October 2019

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

Includes classes, talks, drop-ins, art. See website for the full events listing.

shetlandwoolweek.com

West Wales Wool Show

West Wales Wool Show

Saturday October 5 2019, Queen's Hall and Plas Hyfryd Hotel, Narberth, Pembrokeshire

A celebration of all things woolly. From beautifully hand crafted items, clothing and footwear to knitting wool, fleece and all the equipment needed to make at home. Demonstrations run throughout the day with stall holders sharing their skills and knowledge with visitors plus wool skill workshops such as felting.

westwaleswoolshow.weebly.com

Masham Sheep Fair

The Wool Event, Masham Sheep Fair

Saturday 5 and 6 Oct, 2019, Masham Town Hall

Craft market and fleece stalls, specialising in British wool to compliment the sheep-related events that fill the square of Masham over the weekend.

www.mashamsheepfair.com

Bakewell Wool Gathering

Bakewell Wool Gathering

Bakewell Agricultural Centre Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 October 2019

A wool festival dedicated to the best of yarn, knitting, and crochet, in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales.

There will be exhibitors, demonstrations of fibre crafts and a fleece stand selling plenty of local fleece.

bakewellwool.co.uk

Kendal Wool Gathering

Kendal Wool Gathering

Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 October 2019, Kendal Leisure Centre

Kendal Wool Gathering mixes demonstrations, fun activities and displays, all connected to the cloth on which the town's wealth was built.

A large number of exhibitors will be bringing a huge variety of goods including yarns, dyes, crafts, art, accessories, tools, felting, crochet, patterns, carpets, looms, spinning wheels and more. Outside there will be livestock, where you can meet a variety of sheep and Llamas, whilst learning about the important Lake District sheep farming industry.

www.kendalwoolgathering.co.uk

Our linen stories

Our linen stories

Scotland is more usually associated with tartan and tweed, but linen and flax are an important part of its history

This touring exhibition aims to combine stories from the past with new works from contemporary designers.

The towns in Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands that the tour visits have their own stories and this gives the opportunity to include local designers and stories.

https://ourlinenstories.com



 

A final word of thanks to everyone who blogs, writes articles or posts pictures on the subject of spinning, knitting, crochet or weaving. This newsletter wouldn't exist without people writing interesting and useful things.

If you enjoy Hand Spinning News, please don't keep it to yourself. Obviously the link to the full version is a benefit for paying subscribers, but please do share a link to hand-spinning-news.com by email or on social media with anyone who may be interested.

It's always good to hear from readers for any reason (or no reason!)

Happy spinning!

- Editor / curator

shiela@hand-spinning-news.com

If you're reading this newsletter on the web and would like it delivered to your email inbox for free every month, just fill in your email address in the box somewhere below. If you've reading this in your inbox and would prefer not to receive any more, just use the Mailchimp 'unsubscribe' link at the foot of the email.

A PeacockMedia publication


Don't miss out

Hand Spinning News as a free monthly email.


Twitter Button from twitbuttons.com

Be sociable

Please share HSN with your friends:

Archive

Previous issues are now archived here:

H S N archive

Brought to you in association with

handspinner.co.uk for spinning information and supplies