Hand Spinning News
It's July and that means a bonanza of sport on the telly. For spinners The Tour de Fleece is underway - I'll be making my pick of TdF posts and pictures next month. If you find challenges like this inspiring, then please read the article below about Spinzilla which is open to spinners worldwide this year.
I must give a mention here to the lovely people at Golden Fleece Carders. Besides helping to support HSN once more, they've made an amazing offer on their blending board which you mustn't miss. Scroll down for details and don't delay if you're interested - the offer closes on 20 July.
Read on for this month's round up of spinning news, reviews, fun and freebies.
Photo above right: rolags by Stitched Together.
- News and articles from around the web
- From Blogland
- 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
Some dates for your diary
News and Blog Posts
If Tour de Fleece has brought out your competitive side, Spinzilla may be for you.
The event is entering its second year and if you were miffed that it was only open to the US and Canada last year, good news! It's open to teams around the world this year.
As I write this, a specific team hasn't been registered for UK spinners (there is still a little time...) but Spinzilla have told me that UK spinners are welcome to join any team which has openings for spinners. Another option is to spin 'rogue' which means entering without being part of a team. Rogue spinners' overall yardage will still count towards the whole and will also be eligible for Mile High and random prizes.
Last year, Spinzilla spinners spun 1,373,175 yards of yarn and raised $5,826.98 to establish a spinning component of the Needle Arts Mentoring Program. NAMP is a project of the Helping Hands Foundation. It supports programs connecting volunteer mentors with childrens' programs that teach children the various needlearts, including crochet, cross-stitch, knitting, needlepoint, and spinning by providing them withs upplies and educational materials
I'll let Grace from SweetGeorgia Yarns tell more about this year's event, and in turn she links to the Spinzilla website itself.
To Woolfest and beyond!
Josiekitten went to Woolfest and brought back lots of pictures. She found "an amazing selection of vendors, but also there were so many different rare breeds of sheep on show as well as extremely knowledgeable people to talk about them"
A new way to dye
Araignee likes to pull her fleece into locks for washing and dyeing. Previously she's painstakingly treated each individual lock to the soap and the dye but as she takes us through her transformation of this merino fleece she discovers that 'splash and squish' is a faster way to dye.
Yak is a very fine and precious downy fibre. Being short, a fast ratio and long draw may work well.
Although Linda is featuring a commercial yarn, this is a very informative article.
Read on for more yak facts.
This time of the year, sheep and alpaca swop the woolly bundle for the skinny look.
Goldilox tells us about this year's shearing and shares pictures of her newly-skinny boys.
Chiengora: knitting with dog hair
Some dogs have a downy undercoat, just like some of the animals whose fibre we prize. It's warm and doesn't shrink like wool. In some ways it's similar to angora. There have been some recent examples of projects made from dog fur.
But this isn't new, some indigenous North Americans made use of the material.
Thanks to Dances with Wools for this informative article.
Improved rolag construction on a blending board
Stitched Together has been making more rolags with her blending board and getting better results. She shares her tips.
This award-winning piece is a working loom made from Lego and in the hypnotic video you can see it making a scarf all by itself.
With thanks to Rahardjo for sharing.
Countess Ablaze fibre spun up
This month's sexy spindle shot also comes with finished yarn. The fibre is an interesting mix; merino, BFL, alpaca and bamboo. It's dyed in a gorgeous colour combination by Countess Ablaze.
Stitched Together has spun the yarn using her Tibetan spindle and 3-plied (not navajo) for a subtle barber-pole effect.
So familiar a gleam
Artist Shoomlah has made a series of pictures making Disney princesses' dresses more historically accurate.
Enlarge the picture of Sleeping Beauty Aurora to see the spindles and wheels (presumably great wheels) embroidered on her dress.
Spin it longdraw
Suzy's newsletter requires a signup to her website and this is well worthwhile; her newsletter contains tutorials and news.
Spinning longdraw from rolags is fun and is the way to go for bouncy woollen yarn. The July newsletter contains a step-by-step tutorial, plus a link to a longer version of the tutorial that Suzy wrote for Majacraft.
The colours in this BFL that sandandskycreations is spinning are beautiful enough, but the base isn't white as you'd expect.
She says that the subtle color changes of the base fiber "add a whole new depth to the colorway. It makes the color tones richer"
Tips and tutorials
Winding a center pull ball
A nostepinne is a very simple tool, which makes it easy to wind a centre-pull ball by hand. There are beautifully-turned examples or you could use a piece of sanded dowel.
Mom shows us how to use one. She finds winding her yarn almost as satisfying as knitting it!
A tale of woe
Here's a cautionary tale. After a year's worth of work on this cardi from fleece to finished, the garment grew when blocked. When she tested a swatch, Araignee discovered that the merino wool grew by around a third when washed.
A very costly lesson. The moral of the story is not only to swatch, but to wash and dry it.
She adds in a subsequent post that she'll be "whacking the daylights" out of the yarn that she has left, and blocking separate pieces rather than the entire garment.
Empowerment in the cut! 10 tips for cutting handwoven fabrics
Cutting your handwoven fabric, especially when it's made from precious handspun yarn isn't easy. I've been nervous about it myself and I remember one participant on Monty Don's Mastercrafts series getting teary at that point.
Emotion aside, it still takes courage. But at a workshop that she was giving, jazzturtle was inspired by a conversation with one of her students to take a new approach to cutting her handwoven yardage.
In this post she explains further and lists her ten tips for cutting with confidence.
Everything you need to know about cotton fiber
"in order to make good choices, we need to know as much about our materials as possible" says Laura Fry, and although this article is aimed at knitters, it does contain lots of useful information for us spinners, including details of how the fibre is spun commercially.
Selecting an ideal sock fibre
The great benefit of spinning our own yarn is that we can choose the right fibre and spin the right type of yarn for our project.
Felicia Lo considers the requirements of socks and what might make a good blend of spinning fibres.
Keeping this wheel spinning
Golden Fleece Summer Sale (Sponsored feature)
The Summer holiday is coming up and this means it is time for a special summer offer!
Golden Fleece Blending Board, including blending brush and 2 rolag rollers:
€ 109.00 / £ 86.50Now: € 90.00 / £ 71.50
Valid until 20 July 2014. Prices inc VAT.
Check our website: www.gfcarders.com for other Golden Fleece products and DIY carding cloth
- Mark Broks
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Are you a teacher, pattern designer, dyer, equipment manufacturer or supplier?
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Sometimes just a picture is enough
Mixed Flock - complete
I've been looking forward to this finished project because I love Kate Davies' designs. This one is Rams and Yowes, a blanket that's made in a traditional way; knit in the round (so all stitches are knit) and 'steeked' or cut to flatten the resulting tube.
Deborah has spun over over 3100 metres of fingering-weight 2-ply yarn from undyed fleece from six different sheep, Shetlands, Zwartbles, Ryeland and Blue Texel, blending some to give nine distinct colours in total.
She modified the design to make it bigger and to include the Shetland names for the colours.
This beautiful hat made by SandAndSkyCreations combines a solid and a graduated colour.
For long colour variations in the lighter yarn, she tried 'spinning across the top'. She links to another post in which she writes about the technique.
Out of Darkness
Thank you to Lumpyjumperlady for sharing this project with the HSN Ravelry group. She spun a 2-ply laceweight spun from a mix of Bluefaced Leicester, alpaca and seacell dyed by Katie of Hilltop Cloud. The pattern is Out of Darkness by Boo Knits.
I love the way that the beads sparkle.
For the Love of Misty Mountains
The second lacy beaded handspun shawl in a row is by Carol. She says that this project "is a prayer to hope" regarding a situation close to her heart.
The laceweight yarn (568m from 95g) is made from BFL silk in a blue and purple gradient. Once again, the pattern is by Boo Knits, Love in a Mist.
Echoes of winter
Sue has made this fine shawl to replace a shawl that she has lost. If you were at Woolfest you may have seen her knitting it.
The yarn is a fine handspun cashmere plied with hand spun pale tussah silk. She says that it took "forever to spin" but was a trouble-free knit. "For all it looks when unblocked like a honeycomb, blocked it shows its true definition."
The pattern is free - Echo Flower Shawl by Jenny Johnson Johnen.
Haiku in nandspun
It's harder to find nice crochet shawl patterns than knitted lace ones, but Rebecca Velasquez's Haiku Crochet Shawl is a lovely one.
Tina has modified the pattern slightly to accommodate less yardage and she'll be wearing it "more like a cowl with a pin".
The fibre is Blue Face Leicester from Springtree Road Fiber Club. Tina tried something new with the spinning which was to divide the fibre into many long strips (into four and then each quarter into five).
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Eastern Market Tote from CascadeYarns
This may be a good project if you're thinking of trying some lace stitches. Otherwise the bag uses basic stitches and is a very practical project.
It'll be important to use a strong yarn that won't stretch, the pattern suggest a yarn containing silk.
Chrissy has spun a beautiful yarn from Fondant Fibre rolags and spent time looking for the right pattern for the slightly fuzzy fingering weight yarn.
She enjoyed the lace pattern, not so much the ribbing but is really pleased with the project, her first in her own yarn.
Follow the link below to Stitched Together's blog post, she links to the pattern.
Faux Knit Skinny Tie
Tying in beautifully with the 50th anniversary of Hard Day's Night, Benjamin of Schacht has devised this tablet-weaving pattern for a skinny tie which features a V-shaped crossover for a faux knitted look.
Crochet Baby Flip Flop Sandals by Bethany
So cute, and perfect for small leftovers of soft handspun.
Thanks to makezine for sharing.
Thick and Thin Shawlette by Julia Symens
One for thick-and-thin yarn, this shawlette has a high star rating but low difficulty rating. Designer Julia Symens says "You can use every sort of handspun yarn, gauge doesn't matter."
I'm linking directly to the pattern, the picture (right) is valpal222's, which you'll find on Ravelry. I particularly like hers, she's used a combination of her handspun and a commercial yarn.
Luxe Lace Pullover
The box-style pullover may not flatter every figure but it does make for easy construction and here the shape is broken by the lace pattern half-way down.
I love the translucency, this will look great in something fluffy and lacy and, as here, an attractive colour.
Knitting Lace: 10 Free Patterns
If the lace pullover above has sparked your interest then here's a collection of 'knitting with holes' patterns from Knitting Daily which includes a range of patterns from a simple scarf to an intricate Icelandic shawl.
26 and 27 July 2014, Redbourne Community College, Flitwick Road, Ampthill, Bedford MK45 2NU
The fourth 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 second year at the college which is an indoor venue.
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
Happy spinning and don't be a stranger!
Shiela Dixon - Editor / curator
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