Hand Spinning News
What's the biggest number of plies you've put into a yarn? Team DIY and Dye set a 'multi-ply challenge' for its Tour de Fleece spinners and one blogger managed a surprising number.
Plying features elsewhere this month as Jillian Moreno tries Navajo plying and spiral-plying with core-spun yarn, just for fun.
There are also stories about tapestries, one depicting the Sheep War of 1856 (yes, really!) A couple of stories too about spun dog hair, ancient and recent.
Read on for all of this and more. This is the full issue for August 2017.
Photo right: Dress in handspun BFL, Beth Smith.
Farmers could be offered free llamas to protect sheep
The llama family are good guard animals and can reduce predation of sheep flocks by two thirds.
The Lynx Trust are hoping to reintroduce Eurasian lynx into England and Scotland, which obviously worries sheep farmers. The Trust is proposing a number of measures including grants for fencing and lambing buildings as well as bringing in llamas.
Reported by the Telegraph.
Dog hair discovered in blanket at the Burke Museum
It's not news that the people of the northwest coast of America used dog hair in their textiles before the Europeans arrived with sheep and new techniques.
But when a blanket at the Burke Museum in Seattle from the "Coast Salish" was accidentally damaged, "unique craftsmanship in the weaving structure" was discovered, along with woolly dog hair in the weft.
The Salish dogs are thought to be similar to today's Spitz breed, which includes the Samoyed whose fur is woolly and popular with spinners.
This is a heartening story.
Uist wool is a relatively new mill set up to bring wool processing back to the Western Isles. They are also committed to giving crofters a better return for the wool.
Louise of KnitBritish visits the mill to see their progress and talk to the director and staff. There's a 50-minute audio programme; this page also contains a text summary and lots of pictures.
Incredible interactive 250ft Game of Thrones tapestry
This tapestry is more than twice the length of its inspiration, the Bayeux Tapestry. It depicts every key moment of Game of Thrones, with every episode represented.
It's still growing; a section will be added every week as each episode of season 7 is released.
Knithacker has provided a link to the interactive tapestry, allowing you to scroll the whole length, and also a 'making of' video. It appears to be machine-woven and machine-embroidered.
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Spinzilla prize draw
If you were at Fibre East you may have seen the Spinzilla stand. Members of the UK teams including Team HSN made some items, mostly using yarn spun during Spinzilla 2016.
Seen here looking chilled at the end of an enjoyable weekend, Michael of the Shear Sheep Experience made the prize draw and all winners have been notified. If you contributed in any way, thank you very much. All of the money went to the East Anglian Air Ambulance and the total raised was £331.27
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Tour de Fleece 2017
Wool Experience, Macclesfield
Guzzi Sue kicked off her Tour de Fleece by buying fleece!
Sometimes a small show can be as grand a day out as the larger ones, and judging by Sue's pictures and description, the Wool Experience, Blaze Farm near Macclesfield is a haven for fleece lovers.
TdF Multi-Ply Challenge
How many plies does this yarn have? The answer is surprising.
One of the benefits of the Tour de Fleece is team activities, competitions or challenges. This is the result of Goldilox's participation in her team's 'Multi-Ply Challenge'.
Blue Sea Handpsun
Just because I love the look of the finished yarn, this is the silk/Polwarth fibre that vermontgirlamy spun during her Tour de Fleece.
She says, "The silk adds a touch of sheen and drape to the finished yarn"
An especially interesting Tour de Fleece project here. Goldilox dyed some Cotswold locks using woad and then made tailspun yarn.
She achieved the deeper blues than she has done before using woad, and spun it directly 'from the cloud'.
The whole process is well-documented here (below some apricot-coloured Cotswold).
It's always good to see fibre's journey to finished skein and here we have it all in one picture.
The fibre is Blueface Leicester from Hilltop Cloud and it appears to have been spun and navajo-plied in one day's Tour de Fleece spinning.
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From the Blogosphere
Endings, new beginnings and questions
This is Beth, quite rightly tickled pink about her new dress, made from handspun Blueface Leicester.
It's an astonishingly beautiful and impressive finished project and represents an amazing amount of work.
It was planned as a skirt but "morphed" into a larger project. She spun a staggering 12,000 yards (2-ply for warp, singles for weft). There are more statistics in the blog post, along with pictures from start to finish, including the dressmaking.
Thanks to Beth for documenting this inspiring project.
Dutch ganseys at the Sheringham museum
Ganseys were the "work horse of knitwear". They were knitted by women for their fishermen husbands, sons and fathers; close-fitting, tough and weatherproof. They included personalised stitch patterns with symbolism.
Jenn has visited the Dutch Gansey Exhibition at the Sheringham Museum and has written a thorough article.
The exhibition includes modern reproductions of old patterns, as well as a few originals. It's on now and until the end of September.
Pop goes the weasel
Not as you might have thought, a small mammal exploding after eating too much rice and treacle, there is a spinning connection.
You may recognise this particular picture of a family with a great wheel as the centrepiece.
Ann Kingstone looked up the picture in an original 1814 copy of "The Costume of Yorkshire" at the British Library. She'd been referred to it for the explanation of the words in the nursery rhyme.
Find out what a weasel is and read more in Ann's article:
Me and the Norfolk Horn sheep
This is a Norfolk Horn, it has a very interesting history, it produced the wool used in the historic worsted yarns and later faced extinction. It was saved by an out-breeding programme and the new Norfolk Horn is off the critical list.
Jenn has reasons to be grateful to this breed. This is a very thorough and worthwhile article
Olann agus Caorigh
LB Handknits brings us more tapestry news, this time a quilt to commemorate the Gweedore Sheep War of 1856.
The quilt is named Olann agus Caorigh which means Wool and Sheep, it's on display at the Donegal County Museum in Letterkenny. The story of the war is fascinating; It's very scary that land and livelihoods can simply be confiscated.
We are the Ovaltinies
'Ovaltinie' Jenn is feeling quite rightly smug about finishing this pullover but is ready to move on from colourwork now.
She has kept a 'visual diary' for us; words and pictures from batts through skeins to finished garment.
Five questions to ask a knitter
As a knitter myself you'll probably see a bias towards knitting in HSN, but I do try to cover weaving and crochet fairly.
However... this is one for the knitters (although all of the comments probably apply to crochet too). I hesitate to call this a lighthearted article because every word is true. Probably.
Steeking - a first attempt
When I read the line "My first attempt at steeking did not go as well as I had hoped" I did feel slightly ill.
You tend to read that the work isn't as likely to unravel as you would expect. But LB's experience was heart-stopping. Happily she immediately took reinforcement action and all has been well since.
(By coincidence, I saw this article at around the same time, which does mention that your yarn should be fairly grabby, which I assume means your knitting yarn as well as the yarn you use for the reinforcement.)
The full story is here:
As a Hammer Horror fan, how could I ignore a title like that?
I think we've had a tip once before about using the odd ends of singles by just plying them together, and that's what knittingsarah has done here.
"I'm totally in love with it!" she says of her creation, and goes on, "I feel like my lovely FrankenSkein is a true testament to the fact that spinning is an incredibly amazing, wild, creative, and forgiving art."
Hand spinning speckled face beulah fleece
Fran made these samples from Beulah fleece, which is a medium-soft downy fleece. She says that it's easy to prepare and grabby to spin - "an ideal choice for a beginner".
More details about this wool, and Fran's experiences of helping with lambing and shearing are at the link below.
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Tips and tutorials
Adventurous with colours
The Five by Five cowl demonstrates a way to use a large amount of thinner yarn more quickly, and another way to mix colours or fibres.
You hold three strands, either the same yarn or different ones, and knit with a larger needle. In this article Charlotte Lee explains how she twists three strands together to judge how they'll look.
One of the big benefits of spinning your own wool is that you're in control. This is the very simple message in Chery'l's post.
Is there a colour in that roving that you don't like? Take it out.
You may have achieved this effect unintentionally while plying. Spiral plying is somewhere between corespinning and plying.
For fun, Jillian corespun this fibre and then tried making yarn two ways; by navajo-plying it, and by spiral-plying it. The latter was her favourite. "It's just fun to do and so fast!" She says.
Kick Up Your Heels!
A month or two ago we saw a short video of someone using a home-made kick spindle.
The process is a little more continuous than drop-spinning. Home-made or not, this is a useful introduction if you're interested and includes three top tips.
Fancy cop winding
I've long loved Turkish spindles. It was a while before I appreciated the 'under one, over two' routine, which is quite important (otherwise you end up with too much yarn on the bottom of the cop) but my cops have never been very neat.
Team HSN's Babylonglegs has discovered and fallen in love with this type of spindle and her 'turtles' are works of art. She recommends this tutorial.
There has been some discussion recently on the Hand Spinning News Ravelry forum about Animal welfare. (Sheep being too warm / too cold) I really don't intend this to be connected to that conversation at all, it's simply a comment about the rubbish Summer we've been having here in the UK in recent weeks!
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
Can you believe that this is Joanne's first attempt at needle felting? The standing mouse has a tiny scarf made from handspun yarn.
Follow the link below for more photos and some details.
Spindle spun Falkland
This lovely skein is 490 yds from 4oz of Falkland roving dyed by threewatersfarm. "I couldn't be more pleased with it" says keninmaine.
He spun entirely on supported spindles and chain-plied on Turkish spindles.
Some of the 'in progress' images are very sexy spindle shots. Ken has an amazing collection. I only have room for the one thumbnail here, so do explore his photo stream to see
Handspun ginger to plum
This stunning shawl has a transition from "ginger to plum". The pattern has a very interesting edge.
There are a number of photographs taken in a beautiful location.
Not at the beach
At first I thought this month's sexy spindle shot was taken on a beach (with the sea in the background, see it?)
The yarn has beautiful dark earth tones, was spun using this little Turkish spindle and plied by wheel.
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A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Campfire Blanket Scarf by Alexandra Tavel
Looking ahead to the winter, or perhaps as the name suggests to snuggle in around a campfire. It certainly looks very cosy.
This blanket has a 'very easy' difficulty level and five star rating. It's perfect for handspun yarn in natural colours, either a bulky weight or (as the pattern suggests) a worsted-weight held double. It's knit on a 9mm circular needle.
It uses garter stitch (all knit stitches) with an intriguing weaving technique to add the 'plaid' effect.
Open Mesh Crochet Shawl
The open mesh makes this scarf warm but without using a shedload of yarn.
It calls for a worsted weight, 500yds. But being a two-row-repeat crochet-until-the-yarn-runs-out pattern, The actual weight and yardage won't matter too much.
It uses chain, double crochet and half-double-crochet. The pattern is written and charted.
Being a simple pattern, it'll show off some interesting colour graduations, as demonstrated by the picture with the pattern.
The 'buy now' button applies to a kit. Find the 'Free pattern download' button for the free pattern.
This is my favourite design from the current Knitty. Wolkig means 'cloudy'. It's voluminous (you'll need a little under 500yds) so it'll be snuggly when the weather gets cooler (or even cooler if you're enjoying the current British summer).
Choose something that'll be soft next to the skin of your neck. There are plenty of handspun examples already on Ravelry. It'll look good in a solid colour, semi-solid or variegated. The pattern is a single line, thus a portable project.
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Costa Figueira by Anne Hanson
Anne Hanson is fast becoming my favourite designer. This tunic is similar in some ways to her Illas Cies, which I've featured here before and made myself.
The pattern includes a cardigan, dress / jumper and vest. There are ten sizes from XS to 6XL
Wynne by Sarah Jordan
It's a great thing when a pattern is designed specifically with handspun yarn in mind. The development of this shawl was featured in last month's issue; it didn't have a name then and SJ found that it transformed magically when blocked.
The pattern uses two colors of fingering weight yarn. It's shaped using simple increases and the contrast stripes are formed with short-row shaping.
Majura by Deanne Ramsay
It uses a total of 600-700 yds (two sizes) in two colours. The body is made from one side to the other, and the border is added in the other colour.
Thanks to Kathryn for the recommendationl. She says that her project demonstrates "that you can use hand dyed rare breed British wool in a shawl to good effect, even though it is not soft enough to wear next to your skin."
Portage by Melissa Schaschwary
This is Tatsdent's Portage. It was her first project in her handspun yarn and she recommends the pattern, "This was a combination spin and I think Portage really suits the handspun".
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The Wool Event, Masham Sheep Fair
Saturday 30 Sep and Sunday 1 Oct, Masham Town Hall
Craft market and fleece stalls, specialising in British wool to compliment the sheep-related events that fill the square of Masham over the weekend.
British Wool Show (formerly British Wool Weekend Show)
Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 July, Thirsk Rural Business Centre, Blakey Lane, Thirsk
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.
Perth Festival Of Yarn
Sunday 10 September 2017, 11am to 5pm. Dewars Centre, Glover St, Perth
Bringing together independent dyers, farmers, knitters, spinners, felters and weavers. A quarter of the 60 confirmed vendors will have materials, tools and equipment relating to spinning.
Classes will run over the weekend including two spinning classes led by Janet Renouf-Miller.
23 and 24 September 2017, 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.
Happy spinning and don't be a stranger!
Shiela Dixon - Editor / curator
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