Hand Spinning News
With Halloween and Bonfire night behind us we're now into the run-up to Christmas. Among this month's autumnal shades there are some lichen-dyed light pinks and pastel punis.
the Campaign for Wool's Wool Week has also passed now and this month's picks include pictures and news from around the country.
It's been a while since we've had a competition so take a look at the mystery object and see whether you can name it.
If you like to make gifts then there are some ideas here this month, and if you're thinking about your own wish list, Maggie Casey has a good selection of ideas as well as her pick of currently-available books and DVDs.
For all of this and more, read on for this month's selection.
(photo above right: Laura's handspun Smitten wreath.
Shetland Wool Week
A celebration of Britains most northerly native breed in words, pictures and video.
Gandhi's charkha fetches surprising price
A wheel used by Mahatma Gandhi has sold at auction this month.
- Wool Week 2013
- 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
- Courses and tuition
Where to go for a day, weekend or a week to learn or improve your skills
Wool Week 2013
Shetland Wool Week
Shetland Wool Week celebrated Britain's most northerly native sheep and hosted a varied and extensive programme including master classes and events with local and international knitters and designers.
A great round-up of photos from the week is provided by perfectweatherforspinningandknitting, and a great video appears on the home page of the SWW website:
Yorkshire Wool Week
Yorkshire Wool Week was organisedby Armley Mills Industrial Museum, baa ram ewe and Leeds Fashion Works and included workshops, exhibitions and a flock of pompom sheep at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
These colourful sheep helped to advertise The Wool Yorkshire exhibition at the Victoria Quarter, Leeds with contributions from 20 students from various courses at Leeds College of Art.
Bowmont Merino sheep
Once again, London welcomed a flock of sheep to mark Wool Week. Lesley Prior brought her Bowmont Merinos to take part in the Royal Academy's Australia exhibition.
Lesley has been breeding the sheep for fine wool, now 14 - 18 microns, much finer than the 30 micron average British wool.
This is Lesley with one of her sheep and Australian High Commissioner Mike Rann.
Wool and the Gang opens Wool Week 2013 on Oxford Street
This is Daisy Lowe launching Knit Nation, a series of free drop-in classes. She's sitting in the Oxford Street window of John Lewis which was woolified during the week.
Wool and the Gang have made this video showing the start of their woolly venture.
News, resources and articles from around the web
Mahatma Gandhi's spinning wheel sold for £110,000
A wheel used by Mahatma Gandhi has sold recently to an anonymous buyer for £110,000
The item is called a spinning wheel in the news articles but I think we'll know it better as a book or briefcase charkha.
Mahatma Gandhi thought of spinning as a form of meditation and began a movement based on the idea of being self-employed and self-reliant by producing cloth (Khadi) rather than importing it.
He said, "in my dream, in my sleep, while eating, I think of the spinning wheel. The spinning wheel is my sword. To me it is the symbol of India's liberty".
There is fascinating footage of the man himself spinning cotton here and the link below will take you to the news story.
Spinning wheel maintenance
Spinzilla was a fundraising spinning event which took place in October. I didn't feature it because it was open to residents of USA / Canada, but some great articles and blog posts have come out of it.
SweetGeorgia Yarns ran a series of posts. This one is on spinning wheel maintenance - important if you're planning to spin a winning quantity of yarn.
Instead of re-writing existing articles, Felicia Lo has written her top tips and then linked to some of the best step-by-step articles.
Maggie Casey's Christmas list recommendations
What's on your Christmas wish-list?
Teacher and author Maggie Casey gives 17 suggestions from handy yarn gauge through to labour-saving drum carder which you'll be delighted to find in your stocking.
My problem is that the big man knows who's been bad or good, so no doubt I'll be buying my own toys again this year.
From the blogosphere
Setting yourself a personal challenge can be very rewarding.
This is Maya's first full skein of knittable yarn, all made using her Turkish spindle.
Her post is a joy to read; you can feel her delight at her achievement and enthusiasm for the craft. She also has a word of warning about respecting your personal limits.
Newspaper and locks
We've seen spun newspaper before but I don't remember seeing locks spun into it. Woolwench says that she loves experimenting and she's found that the locks spin into the paper very securely.
I look forward to seeing how it looks plied and then woven.
Corespun wire yarn
Again with experimentation, Katie of HilltopCloud has tried corespinning wire to make a very sculptural 'yarn'. She says that it's "addictive, and leaves you feeling immensely proud of yourself".
She didn't find that it knitted very well, but presents two small projects which are surprising and beautiful.
Golden Fleece - Fiber Creativity Certificate
I'd like to give a mention to a new online course and certificate which is the dream of Arlene (Spin Artiste) and Suzy (Woolwench).
Suzy says "We really hope our Fibery Goodness website will link up pieces of art made by fiber artists from all over the world and also connect the people together to share cultures, experiences, skills, and inspirations."
Students will make seven magical yarns and combine them in a final woven project. Sponsors Majacraft have produced a special circular loom engraved with the Golden Fleece logo.
The launch happened after the last issue of HSN and the first round of the course started on 15 November. But you can sign up at fiberygoodness for information about the next round of the course.
Decorated wheel of the month is a very simple but effective idea.
Demonstrating that you don't need to do anything very ornate to transform your wheel, Sadie has used just a couple of tester pots of emulsion. The result is beautiful.
If you're thinking of personalising your Kiwi there's more inspiration at the Kiwi Spinners group on Ravelry
Katies #1 tool for knitting with handspun
It's hard to introduce this post without telling you what the tool is... (*spoiler*) it's stripes.
If you've not thought about striping, Katie gives some very good reasons why you might like to try switching colour while you knit with your handspun yarn.
Tips and tutorials
I try to include something for everyone in HSN and try to remember that some readers may be new to spinning or still thinking about making a start. An exciting time!
As the title of this post suggests, Knottygnome is offering advice to spinners just starting out. But if you read past those tips, she has five further thoughts which more experienced spinners will find interesting and useful.
Keeping this wheel spinning
Your news here
Are you a teacher, pattern designer, supplier, dyer?
Would you like to reach the growing readership of thousands of hand spinners and at the same time help to support Hand Spinning News ?
Sometimes just a picture is enough
As last year we have a Smitten Christmas wreath. Laura's holiday decoration is made from leftover handspun.
Emily Ivey's free pattern is here
This month's 'sexy spindle shot' is courtesy of Crafts from the Cwtch.
No more details but the pastel colours in these punis are lovely.
Handspun lace shawl
I love the graduated colours - they start strong and rainbow-like near the neck and change to warmer autumnal colours in the lower half.
Thrumming makes a mitt so cosy (click through to Rachel's other photos to see the mitt inside-out)
But what caught my eye here is that on the outside the coloured roving makes little hearts.
Over the Willamette
I have to admit to being surprised to find that these beautiful pinks came from a lichen home dye.
Thanks to Fran for sharing this project in Ravelry's UK Spinners group.
The yarn is handspun Dorset Poll fleece and the crochet pattern is Over the Willamette by Jenn Wolfe Kaiser
Handspun coiled yarn
This beautiful coiled art yarn was made by Renata Holková from superwash merino.
This shawlette is appropriately named Ember but the colours also remind me of falling leaves.
I expect that the Polwarth and Silk yarn feels lovely. I've linked to the pattern '198 yards of Heaven' later in this month's free patterns.
Rainforest and Fjord tri-loom woven shawl
Mona mono's shawl is made from handspun baby alpaca and silk hankies.
It led me to search for more information about tri-looms and I found details of making and using one here
Woven table runner
This gorgeous runner is a collaboration using handspun by symonangel and woven by her friend Anne.
Just for fun
With thanks to Harriette for sending me this mystery object and question. But she went on to find the answer before I did!
Click the small picture to see a larger version. It's a rugby-ball shaped woven basket for gathering or holding fleece. Harriette says that it's "perfect for holding fleece: preventing the wind from blowing it away when spinning outside or the cat from sitting on it when indoors".
If you know what it's called, either email me or post in the Ravelry HSN group. I may be able to find a small prize for winning answers, or the first few winning answers if there are many.
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Spin Cycle Hat by Mary Keenan
Mary has made this hat from one skein of very bulky yarn with a little silk in it.
Holes and some extra ease trap heat and keep your head toasty.
Contented Cowl by Fran Rushworth
It's so good to see someone a project from raw fleece to colourful cowl. Plus Fran has given us the details of dyeing the wool from her own garden (see earlier story "Spinning and dyeing polwarth") and here her pattern.
She says that the cowl is versatile, "It can stretch round your shoulders or you can twist a loop under the chin and bring it over your head like a snood".
And how good to read in a pattern "Tension gauge - doesn't really matter" ?!
198 yds of Heaven by Christy Verity
This shawlette is deigned to be made from a small amount (less than 200 yds as the name suggests) of aran-weight (8wpi) yarn.
Thanks to Knit n Purl for sharing the pattern. I've linked here to Tina's blog who found it perfect for handspun. She used hand-dyed handspun BFL. In the Gallery above I've linked to another finished handspun example.
Crochet Bellflower Infinity Scarf by Carrie Carpenter
WIth thanks to Carrie for making the pattern available for free.
This is another pattern suitable for a small amount of handspun; according to the pattern you'll be able to use that 100g braid of hand-dyed fibre.
As previously noted, infinity scarves can be worn in several ways depending on the weather.
Whorled by Sarah Sipe
Sarah Sipe writes that ancient spindle whorls survive in the ground long after the shaft has rotted away and that they've therefore been mistaken for beads and other objects.
They were sometimes highly decorated and Sarah has used these patterns as inspiration for a slightly-slouchy hat.
Sarah's is made from a wool / cashmere mix which sounds lovely to wear.
Cosy knitted hand/wrist warmers by Joelle Hoverson
I can personally recommend this pattern, it's very quick to knit and is an attractive pattern with some chunkiness for extra warmth.
The link to the pattern is at the bottom of my blog post.
Crocheted Nubbie Scrubbies by bobamom
Many of us are now thinking about gifts and here's an idea, especially suitable if you've been spinning cotton.
These Scrubbies would make invigorating and rejuvenating skin scrubbers, and maybe a lovely gift if bundled with a handmade soap as pictured here.
Queen Lucy's Fingerless Mitts by Rachel C
These fingerless mitts are warm and practical but also beautiful. Beads within the lace pattern make them more dressy; fit for a queen!
The picture is of Marie's mitts, made using her Beaumaris handspun.
I also selected free knit and crochet patterns over at HSN's sister publication, Purl Two Together. The new issue will be available very shortly.
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: Beginnerâs 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 email@example.com, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for dates.
- Lancashire: Carol and Pete Leonard run a regular 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 ring 01772 784661 or visit their website www.alstonhall.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 an Introduction to spinning using a drop spindle workshop with Paula Edgintgon. For more details tel: 01977 279729 or see www.riversmeetcraftcafe.co.uk
Happy spinning and don't be a stranger!
Shiela Dixon - Editor / curator
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