Hand Spinning News
Easter is just around the corner and of course Wonderwool Wales. It's lambing time too and as usual at this point I haven't been able to resist posting some cute lamb pictures
An interesting theme running through this month's picks is gradient yarn. If you're interested in the articles about long gradient dyeing or gradient spinning, one of our free patterns this month looks great in a gradient.
Thank you to all who entered the draw for a copy of new book Yarn Works. If you like to get creative with your spinning techniques then you may like another new book featured this month, Spinning & Dyeing Yarn by Ashley Martineau. Once again I have a copy to give away.
Read on for this month's round up of spinning news, reviews, fun and freebies.
Photo above right: Dangly bunny pattern by Sarah Knight.
- 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 patterns which will work well with handspun yarn
Some dates for your diary
- Courses and tuition
Where to go for a day, weekend or a week to learn or improve your skills
News, resources and articles from around the web
A Spinner's Compass
Documenting your yarn is important if you like to stash your spun yarn to select for commercial patterns later.
Jillian of KnittySpin gives us this comprehensive run-down of the various measurements you can make and the tools you could use.
Guide to Dyeing Yarn
This free eBook from Spinning Daily contains a number of articles originally published in Spin-Off magazine on the subject of natural dyeing.
Subjects covered include collecting plants, walnut dyeing, experiments with different types of water and solar dyeing.
Knock, knock! Who's there?
Earthchick loves it when yarn turns out exactly as expected. This is her first try with Southdown and she liked it. The fibre is club fibre from Hello Yarn.
Spinning wheel bag
iBecks made this bag for her Joy because she wanted rucksack-style straps, internal pockets and because she wanted to spend the money saved on fibre.
It's a great job and looks eye-catching.
Believe it or not, this is Rebecca's experiment to 'break' black food colouring into its constituent colours.
Black colouring is made from other colours and in her pan with fibre, the black split into other colours.
Two different brands of black colouring gave different results. Click through to see the very colourful finished dyed fibre.
Spinning barber pole yarn
I'm not keen on barber-pole yarn and neither is Benjamin, but during an office spin-in, he plied two contrasting singles and liked the result.
As an experiment he swatched using three different methods, crochet, stocking stitch and zoom-loom woven. The latter seemed to suit this yarn best. You can see all of the results here on the Schacht Spindle blog.
Dorset button kits to be launched at Wonderwool
Dorset Buttons have many fabulous uses and can really make a knitted or woven project.
Jen Best of Beaker Button makes her own using hand-dyed wool.
Visit Beaker Button at Wonderwool Wales (details in the Events listing below), they will be launching button kits using hand dyed thread.
Use the link below for a new, free and exclusive pattern for a Dorset button bracelet.
British Valais Blacknose sheep
You may have seen the Collisons on BBC's Countryfile a week or two ago, they have imported a flock of Valais Blacknose sheep and now have the first lambs of this very cute breed born in the UK.
You can 'like' their Facebook page for news and pictures like this showing the progress of the lambs.
Just the facts
It's hard to imagine that this little boy may be siring his own lambs before too long.
Patchwork Farm are recording their Jacob lamb births at the link below.
The story of the handspun hat
Mary doesn't say how she split and spun her fibre, but she did notice that part of the plied yarn was more barber-pole than the other. Her post about the spinning is here.
The project shows how unplanned things can be features. In part of the finished hat the colours are stripey and in another part more heathered. Another unplanned feature is the puckered top, made by decreasing faster than the pattern says.
Tips and tutorials
Long gradient dyeing
Rebecca has achieved a very long rainbow gradient in this tutorial, partly by laying out her yarn and hand painting it with long colour changes, and partly by using a blank, or a machine knitted length of fabric.
She made the blank herself using a hand-cranked machine, and when the dyeing was finished, she pulled out the blank and re-wound the yarn.
Believe it or not, these strong colours come from Kool-Aid, an american drink full of food colouring.
Ginny's method for spinning a gradient yarn
By coincidence, Ginny has written about spinning a gradient yarn this month. Instead of separating the colours, she divided her braid into colour repeats. This worked for her because her dyed fibre contained about ten repeats of the transition.
How to spin from a batt
We've occasionally had articles about dealing with batts which I think are very useful.
Katie has made a video which is a great way to demonstrate the techniques and she shows four methods of spinning her batts; making fauxlags, vertical stripping, from the fold and z-stripping.
Keeping this wheel spinning
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We have a winner
Thank you to all who emailed in to enter the Yarn Works draw. The random number generator picked Jen's email and so a new copy is on its way to her.
Once again, here's a link to the project that I made from the book.
Spinning and Dyeing Yarn by Ashley Martineau
There's plenty happening on the book front. Spinning & Dyeing Yarn is large hardback book.
It's aimed at the more creative spinner who loves big and fun yarn, the many topics covered include tie dyeing, coil plying and spinning with mixed media.
For the DIYer there are instructions on building equipment from scratch; a drying rack, hackle, drop and kick spindles, niddy noddy, even a spinning wheel.
If you're tempted to go professional, there is a section with lots of useful information including developing a brand, photographing your work and selling online.
For further inspiration there are articles with advice from such figures as Lexi Boeger.
It's a weighty book, hardback with 200 pages. It's retailing at £25 and if you'd like to enter a draw for this review copy, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with Spinning and Dyeing Yarn in the subject line.
Residential weaving, dying and fabric printing workshop
I've heard from Alison and Sandra who will be attending this workshop and suggested that I mention it here.
Tasara Studio, Kerala, Southern India run workshops in weaving, dying and fabric printing. The next one is November 2014. The cost is 900 euro for a month which includes most materials, tuition, accommodation and food. The workshop is limited to 10 people and booking has already commenced. You can book through Facebook by making Tasara a friend or visit the Tasara Studio website. Flights will need to be booked separately.
If anyone would like to speak with Alison or Sandra about this, please email me email@example.com and I'll put you in touch.
Free fibre with spindles
Over at the handspinner shop I'm running down stocks of dyed and natural corriedale and merino.
So while stocks last, I'll be including a nest of a random colour with each spindle bought.
Do take a look at the Indian sheesham wood spindles, they really are a thing of beauty with their highly polished finish.
Sometimes just a picture is enough
This is Elizabeth's Pogona. The fibre was a gradient-dyed BFL and Elizabeth has clearly mastered the art of maintaining a gradient with 2-ply yarn, which she discusses in an earlier post on her blog.
She likes the pattern which she found easy once past the increase set-ups. It's easily adaptable for any yardage.
This month's sexy spindle shot is once again from Rahardjo who seems to own a wonderful collection of spindles and knows her way around her camera. Here she's spinning singles from a wool/silk mix which will end up as a fingering-weight 3-ply.
Crocheted baby bootees
Every scrap of handspun is valuable and compulsivespinner suggests these cute baby bootees as a great way to use up small lengths.
These ones were made from wool from her own sheep, hand dyed using food colouring.
Itches & Scratches
These very pretty rolags were made from some club fibre blended with a merino/silk mix using a blending board. I look forward to seeing the finished yarn.
Jane Shawl Detail
This fascinating detail is from PurplePolkaDot's shawl, knitted from handspun from Hilltop Cloud
I have no information on this colourful cardigan other than that it's distelfliege's second Featherweight cardigan and she's used a gradient handspun yarn.
Handspun morticia shawl
Both the colours and the design are stunning. Beata loves Falkland fibre, "it feels sturdy but poofy and springy and the fibre is delightfully matte". She wondered whether the yarn might be too stripey but I'm sure we all agree that it looks amazing.
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Chevron Delight Infinity Scarf
This free pattern adds an interesting design to an infinity scarf as well as potential for using constrasting colours.
The infinity scarf can be worn in a variety of ways depending on our fickle Spring weather.
Thanks to SandAndSkyCreations, I'm linking to her post where you can see the lovely hand dyed BFL that she's spinning for this scarf. She links to the pattern in her post.
Dangly Easter Bunny
Easter is just around the corner as I write this but if you're a fast knitter you'll be able to make this adorable dangly bunny in time using this pattern from Sarah Knight of craftsfromthecwtch.co.uk.
The legs are designed to dangle down from a shelf. It looks to me as if handspun wool in a natural medium shade would be perfect.
The pattern is a free download from loveknitting until the end of June.
Sea Leaves by Sue Schreuder
Thank you to Knit n Purl for sharing this picture of chelieanne's Shawl.
It looks wonderful in a graduated yarn which chelieanne dyed herself (she links to the tutorial she used in her Ravelry project) and the designer says that it can be knitted in sock or lace weight yarn.
26 & 27 April 2014, Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells
Promoting wool and natural fibre production and its use.
Exhibitors and trade stands covering all aspects of felting, knitting, weaving, spinning, crochet and textile art with raw materials, equipment, books and finished products for sale. Competitions and a range of hands-on workshops.
A list of accommodation and camping in the surrounding area is available on the Wonderwool website.
Friday 27 June and Saturday 28 June, Cockermouth, Cumbria
Woolfest 2014 - the 10th anniversary!
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 and this was recognised in 2012 when Woolfest won the Cumbria Tourism Award for Event of the Year.
26 and 27 July 2014, Redbourne Community College, Flitwick Road, Ampthill, Bedford MK45 2NU
The third 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.
Note the change of venue and date. The new venue is inside.
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
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: Beginner's 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 email@example.com for dates.
- Lancashire: Carol and Pete Leonard run a three-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 email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website spindlers2.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 beginner's workshops, as well as spinning wheel demonstrations and a spin-a-long on most Thursday mornings. For more details email: Feltandspin@yahoo.com, 01977 279729 or see www.riversmeetcraftcafe.co.uk
Happy spinning and don't be a stranger!
Shiela Dixon - Editor / curator
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