Hand Spinning News
It's the time for looking back at the finished projects of the past twelve months and making new plans, maybe learning new skills. We'll look at the 'most queued' and 'most favourited' patterns of 2015, plus Pantone's colour of 2016.
This issue just misses St Distaff's Day, did you spin especially for that? There are a couple of related items below.
Looking ahead, I'm slipping in a couple of varied valentine patterns and I've also begun the list of major 2016 woolly shows and events.
This is the free, edited version of Hand Spinning News for January 2016. For details of how to receive the full version, 2 weeks earlier, scroll to the bottom of this page.
Photo right: Alden Amos, wheel maker. Cover photo: Americana Philadephia By Steve Evans from Citizen of the World CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
News & Events
Most favourited handspun project of 2015
Thanks to Ravelry for some neat 2015 statistics.
The detail here is from the most favourited handspun project of 2015. It's tewshortforu's Summer Berry Gradient Hitofude.
The Hitofude Cardigan is a smashing pattern. tewshortforu's spinning is very neat with a nicely-done gradient.
PANTONE Color of the Year 2016
This year, Pantone have chosen two colours for their Colour of the Year 2016.
They're called Rose Quartz and Serenity. To me they look like baby pink and baby blue, but Pantone is taking a more sophisticated view, "a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflect connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace."
Alden Amos has left us with his legacy
This is wheel and spinning guru Alden Amos. We lost him in November but the fact has only been made public more recently.
Jenn's obituary is an interesting read. When I spotted the video within the post I clicked play and then I was lost in the interview until it had finished. A well worthwhile watch.
Remember, "beer is good for spinners".
Fleece to Finish - Create-along
A mention for Magpie Lane's event, Fleece to Finished. Whether you're a sheep owner yourself, or you like to start with raw fleece, or maybe you've never washed raw fleece before but would like to do so with lots of support and the opportunity to win prizes, then this is for you.
The link below is a Ravelry link; taking part does involve posting and tagging on Ravelry. If you're not part of the Ravelry community yet, do join now, it's free and has so many benefits.
Thanks to ewespecial for the tip.
discuss any of this
From the Blogosphere
January 7 was St Distaff's day. The 'Saint' bit is made up, it's sometimes known as Distaff Day or Roc Day and marks the return to work after the Christmas break.
Spinning was a common activity for girls and women and the Distaff was just a regular piece of kit, so it became associated with the female side of the family.
Did you spin especially on this day, or did your group meet?
This is not a new article but it's from a great website if you're interested in the history of spinning. In the middle of this article is a sideways reference to cultures where women must spin or go naked. What's this? And has this law been repealed?
Despite the number of colour changes in this braid, Rachel split the fibre vertically and made a regular two-ply. Remarkably, the colours lined up very well, giving her strong colour changes in the plied yarn.
She has posted a number of pictures of the fibre and the yarn.
How British; our favourite smalltalk topic. This isn't handspun (as far as I know. Please correct me Julia if I'm wrong).
But I love the concept which is a new idea to me. At times like this, I picture all HSN readers with hands on hips saying "Really? You've never heard of a weather blanket?!" But I'm taking that chance this time.
The idea is to assign colours to temperatures (and sometimes to weather conditions too) and each day knit a section in that (or those) colour(s).
Here, Julia's white represents 5-9 degrees. No word on whether that's C or F, so that could mean 'a bit fresh' or 'really, really cold'.
I'll look forward to seeing the finished result
discuss any of this
Tips and tutorials
Let it snow... so we can snow dye more fibre!
A month or two ago, we saw Rebecca snow-dyeing. If you didn't see that, or if you'd like to see more, then this post contains some more experiments and some super colours. There are photographs and, if you'd like to follow the process through, videos.
Turning knit to purls and purls to knits
Being quite an absent-minded person I have to attempt fixes quite often.
If I've made the wrong stitch on the same row, I usually 'tink' back (backwards knitting) but when it's multiple rows below then Jenn's method with a hook is much slicker than my previous method, which can only be described as 'messing around with two needles until it looks right'.
Curling scarf rescue mission
I'm sure everyone will recognise the problem of curling, and Corrie found this a particular problem with a thin scarf.
She's used a tutorial which she links to at the end of her post and recommends the technique. It involves lining with polar fleece which will also add much cosiness I expect.
This is a great gallery image of a very neat pair of handspun socks. Besides that is a great tip from Rachel of Welfordpurls.
You'll notice that the colours look well-blended from a distance, but the original fibre contained lots of contrast. Rachel achieved the 'heathered' look by holding the various colours together and drafted them together.
Says Rachel, "It's a wonderful technique for creating heathered, rustic yarns - they have a 'confetti' or tweed-like quality".
There's a better description in her post and a little more information, and pictures of the fibre, if you click her appropriate link.
How to Make Yarn: The Essential Guide to Spinning Yarn for Beginners
If you're here because you're interested in spinning or have only recently started, then this free eBook may be for you.
It contains half a dozen articles from such teachers as Abby Franquemont and Maggie Casey. They will take you through spinning using a drop spindle, choosing and using a wheel, how to handle your yarn after you've spun it, and what is roving, top and sliver.
discuss any of this
Local Yarn Shop
I don't often link to sellers or items for sale (sellers are welcome to contact me about advertising - see below)
One of our regular bloggers, Corrie of Plutonium Muffins, visited Country Crafts of Stroud and has written a review, full of astonishment and enthusiasm with lots of pictures of fleeces, fibre, handspun yarn, wheels and wool products.
Remarkably, this bricks-and-mortar shop is trading without a website or online sales, but if you spin, or like to use handspun yarn or wool products and are within visiting distance of Stroud, Gloucesteshire, then this shop looks like a gem that is worth a visit and worth supporting.
discuss any of this
Keeping this wheel spinning
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A Quick Christmas Gift
You may well recognise the pattern because it's one of the most popular recent patterns (Ravelry's "most-queued" of 2015). This one is beautifully-made by Joanne in handspun yarn.
The yarn is from four different breeds, only the green is dyed.
She notes that three-ply yarn is "a nice round yarn, and perfect for stranded colour work".
Slow Dog Noodle wrap
Just weaving in a loose end here. Last month I featured this new pattern. It was so new at the time that there were only pictures of a partially-finished wrap, but the pattern was available with 100% going to charity.
The charitable offer is over now (unless you want to donate voluntarily) but we now have pictures of the designer's finished wrap.
From fibre to finished object
Amanda is very excited to show off this finished scarf and rightly so.
She says (in an earlier post) that the colour changes were a little faster than she'd like, but they fit this pattern perfectly. Even though I usually prefer single colours, I think the gradient here suits the pattern more than the solid colours shown on the pattern's page.
A link to the pattern is within Amanda's post and she recommends it, "very easy to follow". It shows off handspun yarn very well too.
discuss any of this
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Intermezzo by Rahymah
Designer Rahymah says that this pattern may be for you "when you need a mindless yet not boring knit".
Rahardjo chose the design to use up yarn and beads left over from a larger project. The thumbnail right is her cowl, you can see larger images here.
The pattern is at the link below.
Panorama Stole by Kate Lore
Thanks to ewespecial for this recommendation. She says "What a super way to show off handspun yarn".
It's a a long stole, gently increasing outward. Easy to do and adaptable to any weight of yarn.
Heart by Kristin Ledgett
Valentine's day will be here just before the next issue, so here are a couple of Valentine picks.
This is not for the squeamish, but it's a very popular pattern.
I notice that among the handspun examples of this pattern on Ravelry, 'doubling up' is mentioned more than once, so that may be a good tip.
Freja mittens by Emmy Petersson
Maybe not the most suitable colour combination for a partner unless they're a pink heart kinda person. Maybe one for yourself if you're caught up in the season of love and fertility.
I can see this pattern working well in any combination of colours. Maybe a white commercial yarn for the background and a semi-solid handspun for the detail.
They take on a more masculine look with a dark background and blue or green for the detail.
discuss any of this
Frosted Window Panes by Sherrill Roy
It's been a warm winter so far in these parts but the forecast is promising a bit of snow as I write this.
With the colder parts of winter possibly still ahead of us, here's a pattern for a cosy item that will be quick to knit from a bulky (or possibly thick-and-thin) yarn.
discuss any of this
23 & 24 April, Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells
Promoting wool and natural fibre production and its use.
Exhibitors and trade stands covering all aspects of felting, knitting, weaving, spinning, crochet and textile art with raw materials, equipment, books and finished products for sale. Competitions and a range of hands-on workshops.
A list of accommodation and camping in the surrounding area is available on the Wonderwool website.
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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