Hand Spinning News
It's a great time to be spinning if you like a bit of sport with your fibre crafts. Now that the Olympics (and Ravellenics) are in full swing, the Tour de France seems a little while ago, but in this issue we now have spinners recapping their Tour de Fleece spinning, and some unexpected meetings of fleece and cyclists.
The Rio Olympic opening ceremony made reference to the fact that the first Portuguese settlers found a tree that yielded a red dye, which they named Pau Brasil (translation: tree, red / ember-like) and the brisk trade of this wood / dye gave Brazil its name.
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 August 2016. Scroll to the bottom to find out how to receive a longer version of HSN a couple of weeks earlier
Photo right: Yoke of Endurance, Needle and Spindle. Cover photo, pre-Columbian South American textile art, pelicans and tuna, woven from camelid fibres dyed red, yellow, blue, white and brown.
News / Events
3,000-year-old ball of yarn
The Must Farm archaeology site, or 'Britain's Pompeii' won't be news to many, having been widely covered on TV and radio.
The linen and other plant-fibre textiles found have been amazingly well-preserved and some are extremely fine.
The picture here is a very small bobbin containing some spun thread. Another well-publicised find is a tiny ball of very fine thread.
Thanks to Liza Eckert for this article on the Lion Brand blog, which contains links to the archaeology facebook page and other related links.
The link below goes to a different article which gives more detail about the fibres these people used, how they wove them and how they used the fabrics.
Slow TV - National Knitting Evening / Night
You may remember the Slow TV National Knitting Night doing the social media rounds (and in HSN's sister, Purl Two Together) in 2013. It featured a 'back-to-back' spinning and knitting challenge in real time.
Netflix have now added eight Slow TV titles, including National Knit Night and National Knitting Evening. On Netflix, you can watch with English subtitles, which are missing if you watch the original on the Norwegian TV channel's website (which is still available if you don't want to pay for Netflix)
Thanks to Deramores for their review of the two shows.
JosieKitten left Bedford tired but happy and inspired. She thinks that this year's Fibre East was the best yet.
As well as two first place rosettes for items knitted with her handspun, she also came away with some exciting fibres to spin and a large number of photos to share.
A Dutch designer deals with excess excrement
Dutch designer Jalila Essaïdi is making paper, plastic and fabric from cow poo.
The fabric isn't made from fibres extracted from the poop, at least not directly. It's more of a chemical process, similar to the way that some of our spinning fibres such as Tencel are made.
However, it is a novel solution to an environmental problem.
Neckwear Competition 2016
The Shetland Textile Museum is hosting an exhibition of entries to a competition held earlier in the year. Entries had to be an original design, shetland wool and worn around the neck.
The winners of five categories have been announced, with a 'people's choice' winner still to be decided.
Shown here is the winner of the 'handspun' category. A delicate, beaded shawl, handspun from J & S tops, with some grey handspun yarn. The design is based on flowers, trees, leaves, with plain and garter stitch for texture.
I've linked to an article in Shetland News. For a better look at the neckwear competition winners, and all other entries, see the STM's Facebook photos here.
The entries will be on show during Shetland's wool week, 24 Sep - 2 Oct.
discuss any of this
From the Blogosphere
The demise of the St John's Wort Dyeing
Last month we saw a picture of some beautiful purple fibre, Goldliox had dyed it using St John's Wort.
The rather sad follow-up to this is that the colour is dulling rather quickly. Some dyes are not very fast (these are known as 'fugitive') usually affected by light or washing. However, this fibre faded even though it was untouched and in a dark place.
Getting the yarn I wanted from the roving I had
This rather attractive yarn was destined to become a long graduated single yarn.
But the spanner in the works was that it turned out to be superwash, so Jenn would have been unable to do the fulling that she likes to do to hold a low-twist single together.
Read on for her solution using the link below. As a bonus, here is a video in which Jenn spins the entire braid while telling stories in only the way that she can.
Blending Wool Colours on Hand Carders
Art Challenge Wales asks entrants to make art in public on the seafront. It's right up Fran's street and gave her the opportunity to use some hoarded fleece.
These are some of the rolags that she carded. Her theme was 'colours of sea and sky'. Click through to see the work in progress and the finished piece.
Why should I care about twist?
Amelia of Ask The Bellwether discusses twist, illustrated by this yo-yo which is faulty because of a 'relaxed' string.
Within this story, she links back to an older article of hers which is well worth a read. If plied yarn isn't balanced, there are more factors than whether it's over- or under-plied.
Tour de Fleece Finale
This is the result of Goldilox's Tour de Fleece. Some gorgeous colours which are all naturally-dyed; madder, St John's Wort flowers, grape vine trimmings and lichens.
As mentioned last month, she dyed the fleece using the madder and then spun the yarn. She now thinks that this is wasteful and in future will dye after spinning.
discuss any of this
Tips and tutorials
If you're interested in natural dyeing, then mordanting is an important part of the process.
Ewespecial has linked to an extremely good article on the subject, look for the link near the top of her post.
She also gives a summary of what she's learned, including disposing of her chrome mordant which is scarily hazardous.
Reading hand-painted roving and top
If you've been spinning for any length of time, you will have bought or been given some hand-dyed fibre. Your first thought may be 'I love those colours' but there's more to consider. For example, do the colours repeat in any order, or are they random? Do they graduate? Are the changes long or short?
Reading the fibre in this way can give you an idea of how it might transform into knitted or crocheted fabric, and even allow you to make decisions about how to prepare and spin it for the effect you want.
Elizabeth Prose presents these tips from Janel Laidman's article originally appearing in Spin-Off magazine.
8 Tips for crocheting a sweater you'll actually want to wear
I love this pattern; lacy Sweater from Lilley Stitches (Craftsy member Vickibrown).
The point of this article isn't the three lovely crochet patterns it contains, but tips for making a garment that you'll want to wear again and again.
For years I made things that I generally put in a cupboard and didn't wear. Which is OK because we all love the 'doing', it isn't all about the garment you finish up with.
But now I'm finishing things and wearing them. The difference for me generally has to do with pattern and colour choice.
The tips in this Craftsy article have more to do with the making but they're still very valid points.
discuss any of this
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 regular digest email.
Keeping this wheel spinning
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Sometimes just a picture is enough
Something I prepared earlier
This excellent finished project involves yarn spun during last year's Spinzilla; Polarth, Finn, Romney. The small amount of black is alpaca.
Rebecca is a convert to longdraw spinning which she describes as "like a magic spell".
Follow the link for more pictures of the finished jumper and a medley of pictures of the spinning.
No more details of the actual dyeing but a very striking picture.
I'd not heard of Osage Orange wood but apparently it's a small tree / large shrub that's only distantly related to the orange, growing in a very specific area of America.
This handspun Nahant is made from hand-dyed BFL, in two similar (but not the same) colourways.
Kat says that the colours match harmoniously in places, and barber-pole in others. She likes the way that it turns out, the colours reminding her of changing leaves.
I do love to see decorated and personalised wheels. The Ashford Kiwi lends itself very well to decoration.
Rebecca has chosen the unusual but beautiful theme of succulents for her paint job. Click through to see a video of the wheel spinning and stationary.
Thank you to DesireeRoss who has shared this project publicly. She has made several Brickless shawls, and says that the pattern lends itself well to handspun yarns.
She dyed and spun two different braids, and then plied them together. There are more colours in this handspun yarn than there appears in this picture! Click through and view close-up.
Also see Stitched Together's blog post for tips on blocking the unusual shape.
discuss any of this
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Kalajoki by Tiina Partanen
The pair shown here were made by Ravelry user sepieni. She dyed and spun the fibre and is "really proud".
The pattern is mirrored left and right, have a French heel and 'anatomical' toe. I think the very interesting wavy stitch pattern will look best with something plain(ish) or as here, a gradient yarn.
discuss any of this
6 Stylish Ways to Wear Knitted Boot Cuffs
Too warm for full-on handspun & knit socks inside your boots? How about cuffs or boot-liners? They're quicker to make, use less yarn, you can move them up your leg for high boots.
The Mary Jane Lacy Liner pattern shown here is a paid pattern. I'm pretty sure it would be possible to convert your favourite sock pattern.
The link takes you to Pam Powers' article on the different ways to wear these accessories.
Lamina wrap by Ambah O'Brien
Thank you to SuzyParkerYarns for recommending the pattern to the UK Spinners Ravelry group. She used a mix of handspun and commercial yarn, and says, "A great way to use up any left over precious yarns for those garter stripes. Well written ... hand spun gave a lovely crinkle stitch contrast to the smooth mill spun yarn"
discuss any of this
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
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