Hand Spinning News
We're at the end of the year once again, wondering where the time has gone. I hope it has been a happy and productive one for you.
So as the year draws to a close and a new one begins, may I wish you a happy Christmas and great 2015.
But first, read on for our forage into this month's festive fibrey fun.
Photo right: Christmas tree yarn by Rose Davidson.
- 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
News and Blog Posts
Spinner's gift suggestions
By the time you read this it may be a little too late for Christmas shopping, but I have to link to this amazing article from Abby Franquemont.
She has put so much work into this list, which covers every budget. [Really - every budget. I'd like to be the partner of someone who can scroll down to the bottom of this list and take the advice.]
She covers smaller tools, spindles, books, winding tools and doesn't stop at the major purchases. She finishes with her picks to kit out a studio and isn't afraid to name brands. At each price point she lists a number of options with links.
Marigolds, Merino, and Mohair
Not the kind of Marigolds that you wear on your hands (although you would want to be wearing those too) but the kind that look pretty and then turn yarn gold.
Our blogger decided not to worry about weighing; she just threw in what she had. She used marigold flowers to dye some merino/mohair and is very pleased with the result.
Ply on the fly
Ply on the fly is a method of spinning and plying all in one. You spin a length of single and then chain ply it before finally winding that part onto your spindle.
Judy of Smatterings gives her thoughts. Click through to find out why she thinks it's great for sampling but maybe not for quantities.
knitting and felting handspun woollen yarn
As usual, a good read from Fran. She takes us shopping at the farm gate with a tip about avoiding a cotted fleece. We follow the fleece through her 'suint vat', through the carders and spinning wheel and ending up as a cosy felt hat.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my Zoom Loom gave to me
Schacht's Zoom Loom is a pin loom which allows you to make woven squares very quickly. These can be joined in various ways to make a variety of projects, but the assortment of shapes here is surprising. It's hard to believe that the star tree-topper or this snowman were made from zoom loom squares.
Spinning alpaca, camel, and cousins
What's a vicuna? How much is its fleece worth? Are there related alternatives?
Anne Merrow of Spinning Daily answers these questions.
Giveaway: tickets to the CRAFT4CRAFTERS show
Sara's Texture Crafts is my first stop for commercially prepared wool and other fibres. She dyes and cards batts too. You may have met Sara at one of the woolly shows.
If you're in the South West or are prepared to travel to Exeter then here's a chance to win a pair of tickets for the CRAFT4CRAFTERS show in January. Or up to three chances if you like.
Sara will be making the draw on 7 January and the show runs from 29 to 31 January. More details are at the link below.
A productive year
Sneaking in, as I mischieviously do sometimes, one of my own blog posts. 2014 has been an exceptionally productive year for me, I have nine projects here that I'm very proud of and will wear/use. Many use my handspun and there are two cardies knitted from Ruth Garcia-Alcantud's Glacial pattern.
Stone Age Spinning
the inhabitants of this cave have long moved on, but archaeologists have found twisted and dyed flax fibres (black, turquoise, grey, pink) which they believe to be evidence of people making textiles, maybe for clothing, around 20,000 years ago.
With thanks to Katknit of the Dances with Wools blog for sharing this story.
Tips and tutorials
Hand dyeing in jars
See how the colours in this shawl graduate from royal blue to golden ochre.
Laurie Osborne achieved this using various combinations of the two colours in six jars. She acknowledges an article from our own Sassy Spinner, featured in HSN a couple of years ago.
Laurie details her method with pictures in this Knittyspin article.
Washing Fleece with Freyalyn
As Freyalyn says here on the Wovember blog, there are various opinions on washing fleece, but here she gives her own method with images. There are additional tips for you if you're wanting to dye the fleece.
How to make a yarn butterfly
Vertical stranding means knitting one stitch of your row or round in a different colour.
Things can get messy, especially if you have many vertical strands at once. Making a butterfly is a way of keeping your yarn tangle-free. I guess it's useful for intarsia colourwork too.
Sweaters you can stab
I'm not sure that I go along with Christina that Christmas jumpers are ugly, but I do agree that it's a shame to see a looky-likey Christmas sweater which isn't even knitted, printed with a bright design.
As an alternative to true colour work, Christine suggests needle felting a design onto an existing jumper. She says that it's a stress-reliever (very useful at this time of the year) it lets you get very artistic and it can also be used to cover up stains or holes.
At the same time: following pattern instructions
"At the same time...." are words that turn Hannah's brain to mush. Seeing this once or more on a pattern isn't unusual - a cable on the front plus waist decreases for example.
Hannah found that putting each 'at the same time' into a column on a piece of paper helped her. Follow the link below to see her chart. Judging by the large number of comments lower down the page, she's not alone in being flummoxed by this situation and there are many more suggestions in those comments.
Keeping this wheel spinning
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Sometimes just a picture is enough
Stranded colourwork which combines black and a changing colour makes a 'stained glass' effect I really like. Handspun is perfect because it often has variegated or graduated colour changes.
Caroline has now finished a number of pairs of mittens using this pattern, which comes with a template for you to design your own chart.
Hot water bottle cover
Yes, it's a turtleneck sweater for a hot water bottle. Kerryhill made this bottle cover using club fibre from Picperfic's Fluff and Stuff. She split the yarn vertically a number of times and loves the resulting stripes.
There's a link to the free pattern.
You may know Janet (dizzyspinner) from Fibre-East or elsewhere. If you've been to a UK show you've probably seen Michael of the Sheer Sheep Experience.
Flamborough Gansey is an attractive pattern and Jan has given it five stars and an 'easy' rating.
She's made this Gansey for Michael from his own Lleyn fleece and has some yarn left over which she'll give him too.
Christmas yarn by Rose Davidson
This Christmassy close-up is a yarn spun by Rose Davidson of the Worstead Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers. This post has pictures and text from their final meeting of the year.
She has combined wool with ribbons and other extras to make a yarn . Click through for another of Rose's Christmas yarns as well as other projects from guild members.
I'm also going to link to the following post on the Worstead Guild's blog which shows pictures of their 2014 Christmas Fair. The hall was packed with visitors who had the opportunity to try weaving and buy some beautiful items from Guild members.
Handspun Spinster Slouch
This is Knitbug Valerie's own pattern, Spinster Slouch, mentioned in last month's HSN. She's made this hat in her own yarn spun from Southern Cross fibre.
She made a modification to the pattern so that she could use the slightly thicker yarn, but instead recommends using fingering-weight yarn and following the pattern as written.
A link to the free pattern is within this blog post.
Vest for Midge
The subtle but very pretty fawn colour of this doll's new vest was achieved by solar dyeing using "plant material" (details unknown).
The handspun wool is very fine but Stitchwort struggled a little bit because knitting with tiny needles was hard on her arthritic thumbs.
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Easy Knit Boot Cuffs
Perfect for the time of year and quick to knit, these could be last minute gifts or a gorgeous accessory to finish off your winter outfit.
Spikelets Cowl by Victoria Groger
This is Nadia's cowl made in her own handspun yarn. She says that it's "easy to do if you have worked with cables before".
She suggests making the cowl a few rows shorter than the pattern gives.
Inspira Cowl by graphica
I first saw this pattern mentioned here at Araignee's Tangled Web. Agraignee says that apart from the braid, it is a very simple knit. The pattern itself gives "heart of a lion" as one of the necessary materials. There must be many lion-hearted knitters out there because there are 2609 projects (as I write this) using the pattern.
It looks great in a graduating-colour yarn, so I think a yarn spun from hand-dyed fibre will be perfect. The pattern contains versions of the cowl for three different yarn weights. The picture is ChrissyJ's Handspun Inspira.
Yarn Ball Ornaments
This isn't so much a pattern but instructions for making these adorable tree decorations.
they take a couple of minutes and scraps of yarn, so you still have time if it's close to Christmas by the time you read this.
Christmas Tree gift card-igans
Make a gift card much more special with one of these holders. This version of their card-igan (gettit?) features a Christmas tree with a special button as a topper.
The girls at Simply Notable claim that you can make one of these from scraps of worsted weight yarn in an hour (or more if you knit as slowly as me).
Kayak cowl by by Laurie Osborne
The cable-style pattern in this cowl makes the cowl chunky and cosy and is deceptively simple, using only knit and purl stitches.
It follows on beautifully from Laurie's own article about gradient dyeing (linked earlier in this HSN). If you don't dye your own roving, Laurie gives her thoughts on splitting and spinning your braid of dyed fibre in order to maintain the colour changes.
Capucine by Adela Illichmanova
An earflap hat is an almost obligatory accessory for a knitter this time of the year.
Cappucine is an interesting variation and uses bulky (7wpi) yarn. This one is by squiished, nicely done in her handspun yarn.
Happy spinning and don't be a stranger!
Shiela Dixon - Editor / curator
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