Hand Spinning News
As I write this, Tour de Fleece is in full flow and we have the first Tour de Fleece blog posts. Some spinners are simply spinning each day that the cyclists are pedalling, some are picking personal challenges for themselves alongside the challenges the riders are facing.
As far as I know, no-one's spinning wheel has met an accident requiring finishing the stage on foot.
The tips and tutorials are many and varied this time. There are a couple of pattern suggestions that I'm particularly excited about (please God give me more hours in the day!)
Read on for this month's selection of spinning inspiration, news, blogs, tips, fun, patterns and events.
This is the free edited version of Hand Spinning News first published July 2016. Scroll to the bottom to find out how to receive a longer version of HSN a couple of weeks earlier
Photo right: World's largest charkha. Cover photo, 'Spinning' By Gary J. Wood from Toronto, ON, Canada CC BY-SA 2.0
News / Events
World's largest spinning wheel unveiled at Delhi airport
This Charkha weighs four tonnes, is 17 feet tall and 30 feet long. No word on whether it's functional but I really hope that it is.
The world's biggest spinning wheel has been installed at Indira Gandhi International Airport, India's busiest airport, as a symbol of "Gandhian values" and shows the government's commitment to the khadi cloth and small businesses.
This article contains the best picture I could find, it's the only one that shows the spindle end.
Wear your pet's fur
Marion Wheatland has made the international news by setting up a small business spinning pet hair.
Some of the newspapers are playing on the slightly macabre aspect of wearing your pet's fur as a keepsake after it's died, but of course Marion is offering to spin fur from pets live or dead and she makes the point that the best fur will come from a healthy animal.
This article makes the comparison with wearing sheep's wool, and that we use animal hair or fur for other things, such as horse hair for violin bows.
You may have tried this, or know someone who has, and I'm sure the results will have varied according to breed. The article states that Marion has developed a 'comfort factor' scale for various breeds - schnauzer and samoyed being at the top, and airdale terrier at the 'tail end'.
discuss any of this
From the Blogosphere
Anne of Spinning Daily says "Icelandic is one of the most fascinating natural fibers we have". For that reason she's been looking forward to spinning these locks from a wool breeds sample kit.
In this fascinating article, she demonstrates the two distinct types of fibre in these locks (though they might be separated into as many as five different coats).
This makes a large number of options for preparing and spinning this primitive fleece. Anne looks at some of these options.
These husks full of fluff are cotton bolls that Goldilox grew a couple of years ago.
As she prepares for her Tour de Fleece, she takes us through the process of removing the seeds (ginning), carding and spinning the fibres. Also an interesting look at some sienna cotton which has darkened after boiling.
Spring spirit in summer
Proving that practice makes perfect, Sarah says this is the most uniform yarn she's made.
She also says that these colours may not be her favourites. I agree with her tip that joining a fibre club is great for pushing your own boundaries, getting you to try things that you wouldn't normally.
Hidden Knitted Codes?
A big thank-you to ewespecial for posting this talk on her blog.
I was fascinated and you will be too if you have a particular interest in maths, communication / language or social history.
The picture right is Kristen Haring's SOS sweater. It looks like a ribbed sweater but has the morse SOS signal knitted into it. Later in the talk is another jumper containing a more complex (and personal for Kristen) message, the concept is that she's wrapped in the message but it's secret from everyone else.
I'm looking forward to to trying some of this. I'd use ascii encoding rather than morse code, because it's more personal to me, and a little more efficient too (surprisingly only a little more efficient). But I think this still fits with Kristen's aims.
Her mission is to teach others the principles of encoding messages into knitting, so that they are empowered to work their own messages rather than just to provide patterns for people to copy.
If, like me, you like text with images rather than a video, then the link below will take you to an open transcript of the talk. (The video is at the top of the page too.)
What 6 mini skeins taught me
As you might guess, these six skeins were spun from the same fibre.
Sarah took part in this exercise to push herself out of her comfort zone, but it certainly looks like a great way to try some new techniques and see first hand the variety of yarns that it's possible to produce from the same fibre.
Wool Spinning in Donegal
This video contains some fascinating social history, as well as some very good footage of skilled (and very smartly-dressed) spinners using great wheels.
It dates from 1978. After seeing some sheep at market and some shearing, we see three old wheels, two great wheels and a flax wheel which were historic items even when the video was made.
With thanks to Mary for the tip.
April had spun more than she expected by this point in the Tour. One of her challenges was to make two matching skeins of striping sock yarn.
Here's how she went about preparing and spinning this dyed fibre, which turned out to be pencil roving when she un-braided it.
She wanted to make sure that the colour changes in all six batches of singles would line up to make the stripes. Note her tip for storing the divided-up roving to make sure she spun it all from the right end.
The Border Mill
This is John of The Border Mill (located at the Scottish borders). Louise of the KnitBritish podcast made a visit with her microphone and interviewed the appropriately-named owners, John and Juliet Miller.
Louise has posted loads of pictures and text on this page, which is great if you're like me and prefer to scan a page rather than to sit down and listen to audio or watch video.
It's fascinating to see our craft being carried out commercially, especially on a small and personal scale like this. If you do have an hour to sit and listen, then the full interview is very interesting.
discuss any of this
Tips and tutorials
Top tips for successful crochet socks
These do look like top tips and interesting patterns, but as I haven't crocheted as often as I've knitted, and I've never crocheted a pair of socks, you'll have to let me know what you think.
How to crochet an i-cord / french knitting
This year I've featured a couple of things made from i-cord, you can either knit it (it grows surprisingly quickly) or use the good old cotton-reel with four pins, or buy a special tool with a turny handle.
Thanks to KnitHacker for sharing this video from nataliasalgado showing how to make the cord using a crochet hook.
How to spin beads into your yarn
Jenn has written a number of posts about using beads with crochet and knitting. In this last one of the series, she shows how to add beads as you spin yarn, and this is a new one on me.
This post also contains links to all of her other articles on using beads in crochet / knitting / spinning.
What's a Dealgan?
In May's issue we met the conical spindle or dealgan, it was suggested that the shape was more suited to plying than spinning singles.
This article from Amelia of AskTheBellwether has more information, including a link to a UK maker of these spindles.
Free up the bobbins
Because Health and Safety doesn't count in your own home, here's a great tip from April.
These storage bobbins are made with a special armature which fits your favourite drill or screwdriver. they allow you to clear bobbins by moving singles from any bobbin onto a storage bobbin, without adding or removing twist.
discuss any of this
That's nothing compared to the day that she shrunk it in the tumble drier.
If you like Yvonne, click the image to find her page, you can use next and previous to explore more cartoons, and join the mailing list for a fortnightly digest email.
Sometimes just a picture is enough
Not for coffee
Louisa was worried that the 'beast' she'd knitted wouldn't fit her teapot (actually a coffee press but used for brewing tea).
Her handspun Romney took a little while to begin to felt but eventually turned fuzzy and shrank to the right size.
Click through for pictures of the beast in progress and more information.
This month's sexy spindle shot contains all the promise of an empty spindle and appealing fibre.
I'm looking forward to seeing how the colour gradient Carlin has assembled works out in yarn and then in a finished project.
Spinning and listening
Kat's Tour de Fleece focuses on fibre rather than logging the miles.
I can't find a picture of the original batt but this lovely skein is given a sheen by some silk, and given a tweedy effect by some silk noils. "My goal was a lofty, tweedy yarn and I think I achieved that!" says Kat.
discuss any of this
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Juno by Natasja Hornby
by Natasja Hornby
I love, love, love this combination of classic jumper styles, published in the most recent Knitty.
I love the big open neck, I love the optical illusion at the forearms making the long sleeves look three-quarter, and I love the shaping.
I'm not keen on the body striping but I think I'd still do the stripes, just in a more subtle combination so they're not so obvious.
Note that there is an errata in the chart, see the pattern's Ravelry page for details.
discuss any of this
Illas Cies by Anne Hanson
Another pattern this month that I'm really in love with. My small thumbnail image doesn't do this pattern justice, please click through and see Anne's pictures.
Anne's blog post contains some useful tips if you're using the recommended wool/silk/hemp yarn, particularly when it comes to washing and pulling to shape for the correct size.
She says that the yarn makes a garment that's comfortable to wear in summer weather. I guess the lace sections help in that respect too.
I've queued this, I'm thinking of spinning a wool/silk mix to the required fingering weight. Or this may be the perfect pattern for my Tour de Fleece yarn.
To bare or not to bare...
.. that is the question.
OK, it's Summer here in England. That means that sometimes it's baking hot, and sometimes pretty dull and miserable. Sometimes each of these situations can each happen more than once in the same day.
So how appropriate for this blog post to feature two of Alice's patterns, one snuggly and easy to slip over anything else, and one ... well, as Alice says "more risque - no running after the kids in this one!"
The two patterns are explored in this one blog post, with links to the patterns
See the Sea by Anne Hanson
This is the second Anne Hanson design this month, she has been productive and has been hitting the mark with her designs.
This interesting design caught my eye even before I noticed that she suggests that it "makes the most of a gradient yarn or one with random striping, the kind of colorations you get when hand spinning with dyed roving."
discuss any of this
British Wool Show (formerly British Wool Weekend Show)
Friday 5 and Saturday 5 August, York Auction Mart
Supporting the Campaign for Wool.
Exciting treasures to discover; wool from fleece to finished items and other items you will need to spin, weave, knit, crochet, hand dye, cross stitch, embroider or make felt.
24 and 25 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
24 September - 2 October 2016
A busy weekend dedicated to celebrating Shetland wool and textile heritage.
Events programme to be announced in April.
Bakewell Wool Gathering
Bakewell Agricultural Centre Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 October
This year sees the fouth 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.
Happy spinning and don't be a stranger!
Shiela Dixon - Editor / curator
If you're reading this newsletter on the web and would like it delivered to your email inbox for free every month, just fill in your email address in the box somewhere below. If you've reading this in your inbox and would prefer not to receive any more, just use the Mailchimp 'unsubscribe' link at the foot of the email.
A PeacockMedia publication
Don't miss out
Hand Spinning News as a free monthly email.