Hand Spinning News
Last month saw the Wonderwool Wales festival and in this month's HSN I've included my own 'postcard from Wonderwool' as well as pictures and reviews from other bloggers.
If you like the look of that then there are more 2013 UK events in the regular Events listing.
Alongside that there's the usual monthly feast of free patterns, finished projects and other fibrey things.
(photo right: Sassy Spinner's haul from the festival.)
Navajo ply on the fly
You'll wonder why this technique isn't more well-known.
In a sequence of of three blog posts, goldilox takes us through her experiment with a freezer-full of iris flowers.
- Wonderwool Wales
Reviews and pictures
- News and articles from around the web
Fiber blending for effect, Combating poverty through spinning, Shetland fleece - how to prepare it, Spin to weave FAQs
- From the blogosphere
Iris dyeing, Gradient spinning, Spindle box, Navajo ply on the fly, Ebony, Beaded yarn, Spinning Day Lilies, Colour the slow way, Create braided roving, Pictures to coo over
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
Postcard from Wonderwool Wales
Sneaking in one of my own blog posts, this is my review and some photographs from my day at Wonderwool.
I was surprised to see this decorated Kiwi which has quite a history and passed through my own hands at one point.
For me the highlight was to meet Ruth of Rock n Purl, designer of my Twinkle Twinkle cardi (more of that later).
Of Wonderwool and other spinning things
Proving that WW has as much to offer the spinner as the knitter, The Sassy Spinner gives us a very enthusiastic recommendation for the festival.
Wonderwool 2013 - a small glimpse
Elseline saw many things that inspired her to spin. She gives us a huge selection of photographs from the day, including this one. Here she is relaxing in the 'knitted garden' featured on the cover of the programme.
Festival showcases industry
It's good to see the BBC reporting from a wool festival.
This slideshow from BBC News shows the hat parade, an alpaca and a spinning demonstration.
It's frustrating when you see wonderful things in other people's photos that you missed.
Coop Knits writes about the show from the seller's perspective. Look at this wonderful peacock for displaying hand-knit socks!
Needle felted birds hat
If you visited the show you may have seen these incredibly realistic needle-felted garden birds atop their creator, Eve O'Neill of FForestfelt.
Thanks to Mother Goose Online for this photo.
News, resources and articles from around the web
Fiber blending for effect
If you're not already subscribed to Woolwench's free newsletter, here's another opportunity.
In the current newsletter, she gives us a whole-page tutorial plus a video on blending colour using a hackle. If you prefer spinning from roving rather than a carded batt then this is the way to go.
Combating poverty through spinning
The Kopano Semonkong Mohair Project focuses on combating poverty in rural Lesotho - a mountainous country surrounded by South Africa.
12 women have already been trained to clean, card, and spin yarn from mohair as well as small business skills.
The website contains more pictures of the women, the goats and their amazing wheels which have been made by disabled craftsmen using old bicycle wheels.
Shetland fleece - how to prepare it
Thanks to longdrawjames for this video in which he explains some specific aspects of Shetland fleece and how to prepare it for noil- and nupp-free tops.
Spin to weave FAQs
"Is my handspun yarn suitable for warp?", "What can I weave that doesn't require sewing?", "How much fiber should I buy?"
In this article, Liz from Spinning Daily gives us the answers to six frequently-asked questions from Sara Lamb about spinning to weave.
From the blogosphere
In a series of of three blog posts, goldilox takes us through her experiment with a freezer-full of dead iris flowers.
The dyepot looks a gorgeous violet / purple and goldilox was surprised to lift out her handspun alpaca yarn and see a lovely green!
The following day She dyed another skein which came out a much less vibrant colour. The reason? read on...
Here's something that hasn't happened before; the following three stories are linked because the first led me to the next and so on.
First, I discovered this lovely image on Flickr in willygknitter's photo stream. He uses a trindle and cards fibre to achieve some lovely graduations in colour.
The photoset contains pictures of the dyed fibre through to the finished yarn. He has begun knitting the yarn into a shawl, so I look forward to seen the finished item.
The post above led me to WillyG's blog. The same post that has the finished skein of yarn also has this storage box.
What a great idea. The box is covered with his gradient yarn, showing off the gradient in the yarn as well as being a practical and unusual project.
Navajo ply on the fly
In the post above, WillyG mentions in passing 'Navajo on the fly'. This is a new one on me, but the name says all you need to know, and when you read about it you'll wonder why this technique isn't more well-known.
Here's the best item that I found after not much searching. If you know navajo plying you hardly need a tutorial. You spin a length of single, carefully keeping your loop on the hook of your spindle, and then draw your new single through the loop to n-ply it (obviously twisting the spindle in the opposite direction). The hardest part seems to be starting off.
In this post, a lady called Cathy demonstrates in pictures. A beautiful coincidence is that Cathy's wearing a lovely shawl with graduated colour.
This post also features Ebony, the sheep that once wore this wool.
Compulsivespinner lives close to a mill and has had the fleece processed into the roving also shown in this picture.
Beads can transform your handspun yarn.
These clear beads are a subtle embellishment but look really beautiful, like dewdrops.
Mia from VickeVira calls this hand dyed handspun 'Sleeping Beauty'.
Spinning Day Lilies
I love seeing the progression from fibre to singles to skein. This club fibre is in very cheerful colours.
woolandchocolate says that this is probably the thinnest yarn that she's spun so far; 415 yards of navajo-plied yarn from the one braid.
Colour the slow way
In the last HSN we looked on as Fran brewed up some lichen for six months in stale urine, so you may be concerned about what I'm going to tell you about this picture.
It's a much more savoury story; it looks pretty and sounds like a tasty recipe. The Sassy Spinner has mordanted her fibre and pickled it in this mixture of daffodil flowers, mixed peppercorns, a bay leaf, saffron and Himalayan rhubarb.
She's trying solar dyeing, letting the sun do the work. For more details, click through to this blog post.
Create braided roving
Have you wondered how dyers make the very neat and pretty braids that you see on Etsy?
Chemknits shows us two ways to braid your dyed fibre to store it in an attractive way.
Pictures to coo over
devonfinefibres produce cashmere, mohair and ultra fine wool from their own flocks and record the farming year in their blog.
In this post they show us some newborn cashmere kids and Aussie bowmont merino lambs.
Handmade garment care labels
Lucy 'in the Sky' has bought some of these excellent care instruction labels for attaching to handmade woolly garments.
She gives a link to the seller if you'd also like to buy some.
Losing the battle against startitis
I'm seeing startitis everywhere. Is it something to do with the Spring?
AKQGuy says that he "recognized the signs and symptoms but was defenseless in its path"
The lovely yarn is his own handspun. If you're interested in photography and like his photo then in this blog post he also describes the process of making the lightbox he used
Learning to Love Monogamy
This shawl, which looks crocheted at first glance is a free knitting pattern, Panda Silk DK Fan Shawl by Gail Tanquary
WoolAndChocolate has this one in handspun BFL/silk.
Bucking the start-itis trend, she says that she is in the mood to be monogomous with her knitting, and this is one of a number of long-term projects that she's finishing to get closer to that goal.
Sometimes just a picture is enough
Finished project - Twinkle Twinkle
In another of my own posts, I've recently finished the spin / dye / knit project that I'm most proud of.
Ruth Garcia-Alcantud's Twinkle Twinkle appeared in Knit Now magazine number 16 and looked absolutely beautiful in Babylonglegs' specially dyed laceweight yarn.
I decided to spin for the project and spun laceweight from Ashford's merino / silk mix. Dyed using acid dyes, mixing a little yellow with blue to achieve the peacock blue
Jenny's fingerless gloves
Made from handspun dog hair - a lovely way to remember a dog no longer with us.
This is spinalatte's first time knitting two at a time. Definitely the way to beat second sock syndrome.
The yarn is self-dyed Polwarth in lovely woodland colours.
We met Tabs of Rosy Retro in HSN last year when I did a series of interviews with indie dyers.
She loves colour and this navajo-plied handspun polwarth is just as colourful as you'd expect from her.
This bag is made from handwoven, hand dyed raw silk with tapestry woven designs. Apparently it's jut the right size for a large beer.
Snow White shrug
I love this Disney-inspired yarn. There are pictures of the new owner modelling her shrug, but this 'in progress' photo best shows off the yarn's 'Snow White' colours.
No word on what's in yarnwench's beautiful art yarn other than presumably some actual Dark Magic.
Another interesting use for big handspun yarn is doll hair. These ones are very cute and Pookidolls has made lots of them.
It has always bothered me when colour stripes don't match up but paranoyarns' gorgeous socks go to show that you can make a feature of it rather than getting hung up on it.
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Farmer's Market Bag
First, one for the weavers.
This roomy and practical bag has been made from a bought woven mat, but I think it would be even better using hand spun and hand woven fabric.
Whimseybox give very clear pictures and instructions for stitching the bag and attaching handles. If punching and riveting leather isn't possible, other bag handles and other ways to attach them are available.
Felted Knitted Bag Pattern
Felted bags seem to be the thing of the moment, and if you're not afraid of the "all or nothing peril of the hot wash" then Fran's pattern for a felted bag in three colours of aran weight yarn may be for you.
Fran was surprised to see how her larch bark dyed yarn changed colour during the felting process. She now knows the reason and it's something for all of us to bear in mind.
Thanks to blogger Pat for a lovely collection of photographs showing the progression from fibre to finished socks.
The pattern is Winterscape Socks (link to the free pattern is in Pat's post). Pat has used exactly 100g of 3-ply handspun on 2.25 mm needles for the man's size.
An unusual design, this cowl has a large button at each end and buttonholes along the entire length, which makes for any number of ways to wear it; tight or loose.
Designer Mary says that the cowl is "designed specifically for irregular but usually bulky handspun yarn". The pattern includes advice for adapting it to suit whatever weight of yarn you care to use.
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.
Friday 28 and Saturday 29 June, Cockermouth, Cumbria
A celebration of the best wool and wool crafts.
From fleecy animals and rare breeds, through fleece, tops, craft equipment and materials, to finished clothing, accessories and unique hand-crafted woollen goods.
Also workshops and masterclasses.
[NB - updated date and venue] 27 and 28 July 2013, 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.
Glastonbury Wool Fair
24 & 25 August, Glastonbury, Somerset
A weekend of sheep related entertainment! The sheep and alpaca run is on Saturday and everyone is invited to make woollen hats to wear on Sunday - the more outrageous the better. They would also appreciate volunteers.
28 and 29 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
7 - 13 October 2013
A busy weekend dedicated to celebrating Shetland wool and textile heritage.
The full events list includes workshops, demonstrations, open studios, spinning, knitting, weaving and Britain's most northerly sheep.
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
- 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: Spinning workshops at Knit-Wise. All materials included for £40, contact Cathy (lazykate) on 01695 580590 www.knit-wise.co.uk 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
- South Lincs: Single-day one-to-one spinning courses with all equipment supplied. http://www.alpacathingz.co.uk/(external link to AlpacaThingz website)
- 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/index.html (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)
- 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/HilltopCloud/Workshops.html
- 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)
Happy spinning and don't be a stranger!
Shiela Dixon - Editor / curator
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