Hand Spinning News
Learning about the characteristics of different sheep breeds allows us to choose just the right material for our project, and this month we see a number of articles and posts about specific breeds.
Show season is almost underway (or already underway if Unravel has happened before you read this). There are a couple of posts anticipating the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, including a ticket giveaway. If you've been reading HSN for some time, you'll know that I'm a sucker for cute lamb pictures at this time of the year and we have some of those.
I can only ever report what I find but this month there has been a wealth of spinning stuff out there to choose from, making a full and inspiring issue.
This is the free edited version of Hand Spinning News for January 2016. For details of how to subscribe, scroll to the bottom.
Photo right: Rachel, welfordpurls, Snoqualmie Valley Shawl. Cover photo: by Chris Paul rld CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
News & Events
Giveaway - Edinburgh Yarn Festival tickets
KnitBritish have three pairs of weekend tickets for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival to give away.
The event is 18-19th March 2016 at The Edinburgh Corn Exchange. There will be 100 selected vendors, great workshops and a host of other attractions.
For details of how to enter the prize draw, click through to KnitBritish using the link below.
Khadi goes green
Khadi is defined as handspun or handwoven cloth. It represents employment and self-sufficiency.
A pilot has begun to install a large number of solar-powered charkhas across India.
The definition of khadi seems to be becoming less strict (It's proposed that cloth made on solar-powered spinning wheels to be called khadi. It looks as if the solar charkhas are miniature spinning mills and a long way from what we'd recognise as hand spinning) but the cloth is certainly green; it's suggested that the cloth could have a 'zero-carbon-footprint'.
discuss any of this
From the Blogosphere
The time the good fairy showed up to finish the spinning... and how it totally sucked
Cowgirl-boot-wearing storyteller Jenn has another spinning-related tale for us, and lots of playful kitty. Watch from the start if you find that cute, or skip to a third of the way in if you're more interested in the story.
The Scottish tale of the Good Housewife and her Nighttime Helpers contains a useful tip about removing the drive band from your spinning wheel so that it can't aid your enemies.
It also has the usual fairy-tale moral that there's no such thing as a free lunch.
It's Happening: Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2016
Show season is underway and to whet your appetite, Nadia says here that she's going to make EYF her annual holiday and is going to make sure that she has no regrets about not buying something ... by buying everything! Her strategy is to take an empty suitcase with her, and to also mail some things back home.
Faerie Cashmere conjures up some strange chimera images but Goldilox has matched two quite different fibres, cashmere from Hilltop Cloud and an unnamed fibre from Faerie Fiber.
They're different colours but blend beautifully in the ply to make a lovely yarn for which Goldilox is now on the lookout for a pattern.
BabyLongLegs wouldn't usually be drawn to Blueface Leicester but her inner control freak enjoyed the challenge of evenness and consistency.
It's made a beautiful yarn. She spun two plies of the Hilltop Cloud gradient and added a third ply of a different fibre (Polwarth/tencel) in a different colour.
On expanding one's comfort zone
My own feelings are the same as Sarah's, I've always striven to make even, consistent yarn, the closer to commercial yarn the better.
Here she gives some interesting thoughts about that, and some pictures of this skein which changed her outlook a little towards "relaxing into the texture".
It's not uncommon for people to come to spinning specifically for the wheel and refuse to consider the spindle.
But as Rebecca says, it has its time and place. She makes a very neat point about portability; we go to the wheel but the spindle comes with us.
I'd personally add that I enjoy using a spindle, I've made some major projects using a spindle and I like the additional control that I feel.
Rebecca's thoughts are an interesting read.
The realm of breed specific yarns
One major advantage of making our own yarn is that we can spin the best yarn for the job.
If we consider the breed of the sheep then that makes a large number of various characteristics for us to choose from.
Rachel writes here in some detail about Cheviot and about this gorgeous yarn she's made from the breed. She feels that it'll be perfect for socks.
An interesting post about using imperfect fleece (apparently this fleece was "nasty"). There are ways to make the best of the situation.
Jenn's thoughts make a worthwhile read and she in turn links to a couple of useful posts, including Yarn Harlot's article about feeding wool into the drum carder sideways. Yes - sideways!
Wrapped up in wool
Martin Curtis provided combed Shetland tops to members of Team Hand Spinning News UK for Spinzilla 2015.
Here he gives us an insight into his regular work, designing products using eco-friendly processes and made from genuine Shetland wool.
It's interesting to read about aspects such as woollen vs worsted and dyeing / design decisions from a more industrial perspective than our craft point of view.
First Handspun of 2016
How to deal with this roving of many colours? April says that she could have easily separated the colours, but that defeats the object a little.
Instead she spun across the end, making fast colour changes that twisted two or three colours at a time.
She knew that plying would muddy these colours, and so it should remain a single.
Click through for pictures of the fibre, the spinning and the finished singles yarn.
discuss any of this
Tips and tutorials
Well. That was lucky
I'm getting pretty proficient at dropping one stitch down a few rows to fix a mistake, but how about fixing a whole 30-stitch section several rows back?
YarnHarlot faced that problem and rather than knit back back ('tink') some very long rows, here's how she pulled back just those 30 stitches for 3 or 4 rows.
7 ways to weave with textured yarns
Because of its uneven thickness, textured or art yarns might produce uneven results when knit or crocheted, but Denise Renee Grace demonstrates with samples that it's perfect for woven fabric.
All those ends!
This blanket has been made by sewing together striped strips. It takes a while to do the sewing, but what about all the ends?
Kristen wove in the ends as she went along, so there's none of that to do. In this post she gives us step-by-step pictures showing her technique.
Thanks to F Y Geek and Nerd Knits for sharing.
The Practical Spinner's Guide to Wool by Kate Larson
Kate Larson's new book gets a great review at Knitty.com and as I write this it has 5 x 5-star reviews at Amazon.com
Kate keeps sheep as well as being a spinner, and this is reflected in the book. There's information about sheep and breeds as well as analysis of spinning projects.
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Keeping this wheel spinning
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Sometimes just a picture is enough
Snoqualmie Valley Shawl
Rachel of Welfordpurls says "There is something very profound and rewarding about designing, spinning and knitting a yarn" and who would disagree.
She's done just that, spinning this yarn from stash fibre during last year's Spinzilla. Fibre that she was saving for "something epic".
She knit it towards the end of the year. "quite an effort" but she couldn't be happier with the results.
2015 Spun Up
I wish I'd spotted this in time for January's '2015 round-up' but I just missed Earthchick's collection. She says that it's the most yarn she's spun in a year, around seven pounds which I make over 3 kilos.
Click through for more statistics and her plans for the yarn.
Mineral Shawl-Scarf in Blood Moon colorway
This is a small part of a long shawl blocking. The fibre had distinct areas of red and black, I wouldn't have been sure how to avoid solid areas of those colours.
Michele used fractal spinning. She made a 3-ply with the original fibre split first into thirds. The first third spun as it was, the next third split into 4 and the last third split into 10. She says that it's the best yardage she's ever achieved from a 3-ply.
It's always good to see the various stages of making yarn, as this single collage has.
There's a walnut and some leaves in the pictures, were they used to dye the yarn? (akjBawa does dye using natural ingredients). No information about that but the mohair yarn is certainly bright and reminiscent of the Calendula it's named after.
Handspun handknit hooded baby sweater
This project shows how the colours in a hand-dyed braid of yarn can play out into stripes.
TheBon made this sweater before the baby was born. She's now grown into it.
Fitting our theme of sheep breeds, Rebecca lists the handspun and commercial yarns (with breeds where known) that she's used in this showcase of a jumper. The colours work very nicely together.
I share Rebecca's love for Stephen West's imaginative constructions but I'm sure I'd feel constrained around the arms. Maybe it works if you don't need to lift your arms above your head?
discuss any of this
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
The Chunk - the snuggliest, chunkiest hat in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD
Do you have a pair of 15mm needles and some BIG yarn? Alice says "anything that needs knitting up on 15mm needles is pretty goshdarned chunky". She's made a number of patterns available for sale and so has put this one on her blog for her readers.
One-colour rib wrap recipe
This is the second part of Sarah's series on brioche knitting, look for the link to the first part, brioche basics, if you need to.
In this post, along with further instruction, she gives the pattern for this warm and stylish cowl. It's deceptively simple, "essentially an up-scaled swatch".
Sarah says that "it can be worn as an extra over-shoulder layer indoors and adjusted to wear beneath a coat too."
discuss any of this
Natalia Sweater by Leah Coccari-Swift
This seamless jumper has a stranded colourwork yoke, but one long colour-changing yarn "does all the work".
The main colour could be commercial with a special handspun yarn for the detail.
discuss any of this
18 & 19 June, 10am - 4pm, Village Hall, The Street, Dilham, Norfolk
The Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers of historic Worstead have asked me to list their family fun day (note the slightly different spelling of Worstead village and the worsted yarn; I'm assured that the one is named after the other.)
Friday 24 June and Saturday 25 June, Cockermouth, Cumbria
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.
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
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