Hand Spinning News
The Tour de Fleece has now finished, The idea is to spin every day that the cyclists are spinning and to challenge yourself. It's very hard to choose some favourite posts because there are so many to choose from. It clearly does get people spinning and has some momentum - with spinners promising to continue spinning a little each day.
I've collected together a few of my favourites and the Tour de Fleece freewheels through the blog posts, patterns and tips this month.
There are also a couple of items about Fibre East, another of this year's wool events. New things to learn: slip stitch colourwork and inkle weaving.
Another mention for Team HSN UK for Spinzilla 2015. If you're interested in some competitive distance-spinning then find out more below. Spinner registration starts September 1.
This is the free edited version of Hand Spinning News for August 2015. Details of how to receive the full version earlier in the month are at the bottom.
Photo right: reglissemint's Lacy Caplet.
- Tour de Fleece 2015
- Fibre East 2015
- In the news
- From Blogland
- Online spinning events
- 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
- Not so free patterns
More project ideas which will work well with handspun yarn
Some 2015 dates for your diary
Tour de Fleece
3 weeks of tour de fleece and 3-ply sock yarn
Rather than work on a marathon yardage, April decided to use the Tour de Fleece spinning time to learn new skills.
Most notable is her opposing-ply sock yarn. It's a 3-ply yarn, with one ply spun the opposite way to the other two. This maverick ply upsets the balance a little, but because the plying actually tightens it up a little, it adds strength, which is great for socks.
Read about this yarn plus Aprils thick-and-thin and a thicker 3-ply.
Cycling and Spinning
The colour experiment that Hazel refers to in this post is a decision she made after starting quite a bit of fibre in three different colourways. She devised a scheme to mix and match her bobbins of singles to see what happened in the plied yarn.
This looks as if it will end well, the plan is to make a Tunisian-crocheted shawl.
I was very pleased with my own finished TdF goal, 100g spun and plied by spindle, but my achievement doesn't come close to createdbycarlin's epic feat of around 1700 yards spun with her Trindle.
It's gorgeous yarn too and this is a smashing picture. I'm looking out for the project she uses it for.
Margaret's handwoven handspun looks from this angle like a chain of paper dolls. There's a name for this technique which escapes me as I write this.
It's always good to see some of the more creative techniques done on the underrated rigid heddle loom. I'm not sure whether both warp and weft are hand spun, or just the weft but full marks either way.
This month's sexy spindle shot is a Bosworth spindle with something really interesting going on in the wood grain
Taken by LInda during Tour de Fleece. I love the tweedy-looking yarn and the seashell being used as a little bowl for the yarn.
I was initially attracted by emmah_h's picture of her 'turtles' from her Turkish spindle and was delighted to find this later picture showing the finished yarn.
It's Navajo-plied to concentrate the colours, dyed by Hello Yarn and called Crivens, a Terry Pratchett reference.
Click through to read emmah_h's obvious and well-justified joy in the colours.
Tour de Fleece 2015 Results
If you know of anyone who has spun more than this during Tour de Fleece, do let me know. Joanne spun almost two miles of yarn, and that's not counting the plying.
In this post she's collected together pictures of each fibre before spinning alongside the finished yarn. In one case with some very pretty rolags.
Just as I was wondering whether I'd see any arty techniques among the Tour de Fleece spinning, along came this gorgeous bouclé
Goldilox used mohair and alpaca with home-grown silk. More details and lots of pictures are in this post.
I did my Tour de Fleece entirely by spindle, with team Drop Spindle Addicts. Knit Knack Lara did the same with Team Spindlers.
Her aim was to keep the 'fleece' in Tour de Fleece, a worthy goal. She has posted some smashing pictures of this, plus some cotton and merino/silk mix she spun when her hands were too tired to card.
I had to look up California Variegated Mutant, which is a type of Romeldale known for its unusual colour. Romeldale is a Romney / Rambouillet cross.
July is the Tour de France (Fleece)
A varied and colourful Tour de Fleece second week for the Sassy Spinner. If you're a Schacht user, Sassy gives a hearty thumbs-up to the cheerful 3D-printed bobbins from Akerworks.
Do click the link here because my little thumbnail image doesn't do justice to this atmospheric photo. This alpaca / merino / silk yarn reminds me of a rich sunset. Click left and right to see more pictures of the plying in progress as well as the finished skein.
Fibre East 2015
My own postcard from Fibre East is here, but snoopydog has knocked my pictures into a cocked hat with this lovely selection.
She seems to have seen a bunch of things that I didn't spot. We agree that the selection of exhibitors was wonderful, in particular I remember lots of needle-felting and sock blanks.
Contrary to expectations, the sun was with us on the Saturday, not so much on the Sunday.
Getting in a fine old spin!
I'm not sure how well this will work, but I have two related-but-unrelated posts that I'm going to smoosh together.
First of all, it was great to see some things on the competition tables that I recognised and congratulations to Helen on all of those rosettes! The link below and the photo will take you to Helens photographs of her glory.
It's interesting to see the judges' comments and by coincidence I've also spotted a post this month which is on the subject of judge's scorecards for handspun and knitted items. If you're thinking of entering some yarn or a finished item at a local show then this insight will be helpful. Wool Craft Judging Criteria
Sarah Wroot workshop
And thanks once more to josiekitten for her pictures from the day, including this shot of the workshop that she took part in.
For such a well-attended event, it was a shame that many of the workshops weren't able to go ahead due to lack of bookings. Maybe many people visit for the day and, like me, feel that the day isn't long enough to see all of the exhibitors, let alone attend a workshop.
In the news
Countryfile - sheep theme
In case you missed it, the recent sheep-themed Countryfile is still available on the iPlayer (until 26 August if my rudimentary maths is correct).
Bizarrely, they seem to have forgotten spinning entirely but it does feature a whole wealth of sheepy subjects including weaving, needle-felting, ewes-milk cheese, British vs New Zealand lamb and the revival of mutton.
From the Blogosphere
The Waysides Shawl
I was torn between showing this picture and the one of Rebecca wearing the shawl, but the truth is that there are so many worthwhile pictures on this page of this amazing finished project.
'Wayside' is about using things gathered from your local area. Local meaning around your home.
The colours came from things gathered during walks from home, and even the copper and iron used for mordant were found in the yard.
There's so much more to say, please click through and read for yourself. For the whole story, follow the links at the bottom of Rebecca's post which will take you to the blog posts that she and her collaborator Annie wrote along the way
Spindle, Shuttle, and Needle - Grimm tale number 188
"A woman who can do amazing things with a spinning wheel and a needle and a shuttle, a woman who can make clothes in fabric is more important and worth more than a woman with money or a woman of high birth"
This is another of Jenn's re-telling of spinning-related tales over a hypnotic video of her spinning (and occasional hand gestures.) This time The Spindle, the Shuttle and the Needle, yet another story of a young and idle spinner, with a moral which Jenn will explain.
If you love her style as much as I do, as a bonus here's Jenn's retelling of the Wild Swans. Not such a compelling fairy tale as the one I'm linking to below, in my humble opinion, but Jenn does take the opportunity to discuss nettle fibre which is very interesting.
Spin Like a Viking
With thanks to the 1764 Shepherdess for sharing Lois Swales's video, Spin like you're mediaeval. After watching a couple of Lois' videos, I decided to link to Spin like you're a Viking, because Vikings are more exciting.
Lois takes a strong interest in the spindles themselves, the types of whorl and configurations that people would have used, based on examples that have been found by archaeologists.
Hemp - the Red-Headed Stepchild Of the Fiber World
Last month's HSN featured a picture of some handspun hemp fibre.
Jenn goes into the history and processing of this fibre. I had no idea of its historical importance, particularly important to our maritime heritage (sails and ropes).
Upcycled woven pencil box
This technique could be used to add a decorative finish to any boring object with a small amount of your own handspun yarn.
At first I wasn't clear exactly how Benjamin had achieved the woven look, but click his link to 'Pocket Weave Sachet' and all will be very clear.
Online spinning events
Spinzilla 2015 October 5 - 11
As announcend last month, Hand Spinning News is one of the official sponsors for Spinzilla 2015.
I'm pleased to be able to support the event. I like the cause (providing craft materials for kids, particularly spinning stuff) and I like the event which involves spinning as much as you can in a week.
I spun 'rogue' last year (here is all the yarn I spun) because there wasn't a specific UK team. I would like to put that right this year.
I'm delighted to say that I have now registered "Team HSN UK". With a couple of days to go till the end of spinner registration, it's *the* UK team.
If you're interested, then please show your interest here, but note that there are limited places in a team (max 25 spinners) so it'll be first come first served when spinner registration opens on Sept 1
Tips and tutorials
So how has Eleanor managed to make such a firm brim to her Raffia hat? As she says "nobody likes a floppy brim".
Click through to read about the messy details.
Winding up a plying ball
Here's a nice image and a demonstration of an interesting technique.
Instagram user siljadevine is winding two singles together into a ball. She says "Doing this makes the plying easier if you plan to take it with you somewhere. Then you just have one ball that already holds your two singles and one spindle that you work with, rather than three spindles."
When I've wound singles off spindles, I've wound a centre-pull ball from each spindle and then plied from the centre and the outside.
Which of these ideas is best for you will depend how you want the singles to ply together. The centre-pull version plies one length of single with itself, starting by putting the two ends together and finishing in the middle.
how to measure wraps per inch
If you measure your WPI by wrapping a length of yarn round and round an inch gauge or ruler, you'll only be measuring a short length and your yarn may vary in thickness in other parts of the skein. You may also stretch the yarn a little as you wrap, making it appear to be thinner.
April has a different technique which overcomes these two problems.
How a sock is supposed to fit
There's a lot of time invested in making a pair of socks, especially if you've spun the wool. I can tell you with some authority on the subject just how disappointing it is to find that they don't fit when you cast off.
On the Knitting Daily blog, Kate Atherley gives some tips from her new book about making that sock more likely to fit.
Supported Spindle Plying Rack
This tastefully ornate rack is made by Spanish Peacock, who say that it "will work with top or bottom whorls and even......other makers spindles (probably won't burst into flames)"
The manufacturer's web page is here, unsurprisingly sold out as I write this. Many thanks to vicky_jb for sharing.
Something very different
I've mentioned Olympic Spinning Wheels a couple of times before, they're too ornate for some but always eye-catching.
I can say from personal experience that the best artwork comes when it's not done for a particular buyer. Maker Gary has reached a milestone, and to mark that he's made this very special wheel, featuring Alaskan imagery.
He's made these two images (photoshopped unless he's discovered the secret of levitation) to show off the two sides of the wheel, which feature the sun and moon, various animals, and each side in appropriate colours.
Click through to see the contrast.
In review: Love + Leche
Sarah felt that she was the perfect person to review this lotion bar. Being a Mum and gardener leaves her hands raggedy, which interferes with her knitting and spinning.
The special offer code has sadly expired now, but I think the free balm offer may still be running.
Keeping this wheel spinning
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Pop Up Fibre Event, Ormskirk
Knit Wise in Ormskirk is celebrating Spin in Public Day on September 19th with a Pop Up Fibre Event.
The week commencing 14th September will start the event with Indie Dyers selling their hand dyed fibre, art yarns and spinning accessories in the shop and then any spinners - of all abilities who would like to join us for the Grand Spin In on the Saturday.
All are welcome - any indie dyers who would like to participate in the event please contact Cathy Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org
Knit Wise, 42 Church Street, Ormskirk, Lancs, L39 2AW
Sometimes just a picture is enough
Spin 15 in 15
One of Dahle's goals for 2015 was to spin for 15 minutes per day, a scheme known as spin15in15 on Instagram. With this picture she admits that she has fallen off the wagon but pulled out the yarn again recently to finish it and took this gorgeous shot.
The singles are destined to be 3-plied and may be used for colourwork.
No details on this other than handspun, hand-dyed cardigan by Inger.
Well-posed family portrait
This family looks posed but was just a lucky chance shot by Cameron Zegers.
Like having dessert
Sometimes the way that colours develop on their journey from fibre to singles to plied yarn to knitted fabric is fascinating.
The colours in this Crown Mountain Farms fibre are delicious "It's like having dessert" says threadbender
Lacy Capelet : Bruyère
I've linked to this web page via Google translate but the automatic translation isn't very good. The pattern comes from the book "Crochet Noro".
The post contains a number of striking pictures of the finished project, But the picture that initially attracted me was this beautifully-composed picture showing the ball of yarn.
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Just Knit It by Susan Ashcroft
This shawl is perfect for handspun yarn, and perfect if you are new to knitting of want something straightforward for a travel or TV project.
The only stitches used are knit and knit front and back (kfb) though I assume that your favourite increase will also work.
Says susan, "The original idea was to alternate one solid yarn with one self-striping - maximum impact, minimum effort - but you could use just one colour or lots. You will knit bottom-up so you can just stop when you run out of yarn or when you like the size."
The picture is snowsheep's shawl, which is made using her handspun yarn.
Armstulpe / wrist warmer Anna by Birgit Freyer
I've been collecting patterns for arm/wrist warmers because I like them and because I have a smallish quantity of pure angora yarn which I've spun during Tour de Fleece.
The wonderful feature of this pattern is the loop for the middle finger to keep them in place over the backs of the hands.
The picture here is Espie's Armstulpe, made using her merino / silk handspun. Espie says, "This goes fast! I started yesterday, and I am about 10 rows from the end."
Lincoln Road by the 1764 Shepherdess
This shawl has been designed with handspun in mind, it uses just 100g of fibre spun DK / Worsted weight.
Besides the lace stitches, it also uses short rows, so if this is something you've not done before, you may need to find a video to show you 'turn and wrap'.
With thanks to the designer for making this available for free.
Crochet windowed iPod lanyard by Katie Rivard
This iPod case is unusual in that it's designed for a very specific purpose.
infryq's Mum wants to wear her iPod around her neck and be able to press buttons on the screen (in her case to record her choir).
But wearing your pod around your neck and being able to press buttons may be useful for other situations.
Glenvalley by Valérie Miller
Valérie notes in her blog post that triangular shawls aren't everyone's cup of tea. This scarf is a more interesting shape than a regular rectangular scarf or shawl
It uses two skeins (400yds) of fingering-weight yarn. The size can be modified by using yarn of different thickness.
Dangling Conversation by Mindy Ross
picperfic recommends this pattern and this is her shawl made in her own hand-dyed handspun yarn.
I love the asymmetry (exaggerated by the perspective in this picture) though this may be because she kept knitting when she reached the end of the pattern in order to use up her yarn.
Jurassic Purled: 11 Dinosaur Knitting Patterns
If you love dinosaurs (and who doesn't) then Craftsy have collected 11 varied patterns, cushions, sweaters, hats as well as toys. Shown here is Tracy Triceratops by madmonkeyknits.
Ardelise by Vanessa Smith
A pattern that has really stopped me in my tracks. I love longer cardies that can be worn open, and this one is beautiful.
For once I'm not trying visualise the pattern in other colours, this is just perfect.
I'd like to be wearing it right now. In fact I thought about buying this exact yarn (yes, really) so that I can cast on and make one exactly like this as quickly as possible.
But my mind goes back to this hat. I managed to dye some yarn exactly the right colour. Just right for that hat and just right for this cardy.
The Wool Event, Masham Sheep Fair
Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 Sept, Masham Town Hall
Two floors of wool crafting supplies from fleece, fibre and yarns to finished goods, all specialising in British wool to compliment the sheep that fill the square of Masham over the weekend.
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
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.
Wonderful Wool Day
11 October, Memorial Hall in Oswestry, 11am-4pm. £2 entry for adults.
Bring your work-in-progress, what you are proud of, what you would like to put on the Orphan Lamb Table (to include books this time) and a jolly smile!
Also a Back-to-Back attempt.
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.
January 2015 saw a milestone; Hand Spinning News split into two; a free version, which is edited down a little bit, and a full version for paying subscribers.
If you would like to take the free option then you need to do nothing and you will receive Hand Spinning News as always, just a little later, and I'm very happy to still have you as a reader.
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Happy spinning and don't be a stranger!
Shiela Dixon - Editor / curator
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