Hand Spinning News
Midsummer is almost here, though you wouldn't believe it with the current UK weather.
Still, there are indoor events to take part in such as the Tour de Fleece and Tour de Sock, and lots of light summery projects to make just in case the sun comes out again.
Read on for this month's selection of spinning inspiration, news, blogs, tips, fun, patterns and events.
With apologies for the late mail-out of this free issue for June, it usually goes out at the end of the month. This is the free edited issue for June 2016. Scroll to the bottom for details of how to receive the full issue earlier in the month.
Photo right: Shawl in sand and blue, windy_ewe. Cover photo, Frigg / Frigga, Norse goddess, spinning the clouds. Unknown painting.
News / Events
International Back to Back Wool Challenge
This year's International Back to Back challenge took place on 12 June.
Congratulations to the Groenewoud team from Netherlands and Germany who made their jumper from blade shears to finished jumper in a touch over five hours, winning the event and missing the Guinness world record by ten minutes.
I'm linking to the official Facebook page where there are photos, news and videos. It appears that you can view without a facebook account. The picture I've used here may or may not be from 2016, I can't establish.
Art under the microscope
This amazing picture (trust me, it is amazing if you click through and see the full-size version) was taken using a microscope and shows the warp and weft threads in a 16th century tapestry, 'Triumph of Bacchus'
There are a number of shots, annotated to show various features of this structure. It includes warp threads of undyed wool, weft threads of red silk and metallic thread made from precious metals wrapped around golden-dyed silk.
Pictures like this are made to help conservators understand and preserve such works.
Thanks to Jillian Moreno for sharing.
Tour de Fleece 2016
I believe there's a cycling event happening shortly with a similar name, but the Tour de *Fleece* will be happening from 2 - 24 July.
It's not a competition, but a personal challenge. The idea is to spin every day that the cyclists are pedalling and set yourself goals matching the cycling stages.
Tina tells us (in the form of a fairytale) how a challenge is just what's needed sometimes to get motivated and spin a useful amount of yarn. The link below takes you to her post, at the bottom of that is a link to the main Tour de Fleece Ravelry group where you can find more information and join in.
[apologies, this page no longer appears to be available]
discuss any of this
From the Blogosphere
New home for an old project
This handspun sweater is made from combed corriedale fleece in a natural brown colour. But it's not new; Damselfly made it 16 years ago and has worn it "quite a lot".
It's worn well and she's now given it to her daughter, but she couldn't part with the buttons so had to swop those before passing the garment on.
Click through for more pictures and the full story.
By the skin of her teeth!
Fibre-East is still a few weeks away but the closing date to enter the spinning competition has now passed. But josiekitten just managed to finish her spinning and sent in her entries.
Cilck through for more pictures of the spinning in progress, josiekitten's home-made tensioned lazy kate and the very neat finished 3-ply.
A new fibre arts craze
Tina has noticed a trend for small (lap or tabletop) looms being used to make these artistic pieces.
This one was made by her friend and uses handspun yarn from fibre given to her by Tina.
If the topic grabs you, Tina shows-and-tells the kit that she's bought, and embeds a video demonstrating how to use one of these looms.
Spinner Spotlight :: Robin Wiest
This Handspinner Spotlight is an interview with Robin Wiest.
It's an interesting read, Robin gives this great advice for anyone new to spinning: "Remember this is a hobby and the reason you're trying it is for fun. Ten to fifteen minutes a day and trust me it will eventually click ... If you practice enough there will be that surprise moment and squeal of joy when it clicks."
There are also a bunch of wonderful pictures of yarn and finished projects.
Hap stretcher tutorial
The device being used here is a hap stretcher, a very effective and efficient way to block a large shawl. It breaks down for storage when not in use.
Following the release of her new hap book, Kate Davies has been featuring some of the patterns on her blog. In this post she tells some history and gives detailed instructions for making one.
Ontario handspinning seminar
There's some lovely photography in this post, and it's interesting to read about Valérie's classes in blending board and spinning cotton. She is "ever smitten with blending now".
But the useful tip here is that she took along some stash fibre that she found too bright to wear, and using the blending board, she's mixed them into "more subtle, wearable shades".
The blending board allows you to 'paint' with colours, but if you don't have a board, this is something you could also achieve with hand carders or a drum carder.
discuss any of this
Tips and tutorials
Undertones, masstones, and picking colours
This isn't light reading but if you know a little colour theory and want to know more then this is for you.
In this very detailed article, Jenn covers how colours are made up and the confusing terminology, then how to identify your own undertone(s) and finally how to choose colours to suit you. There are some 'further reading' links too
Swatch Maker 3-in-1 Loom
I wish this tool had been available before I started my blanket scarf. I used some stash yarn similar to the stuff I was going to weave, warped the loom and tried 4 different setts before I settled on the one that was right.
The Swatch Maker 3-in-1 Loom would have made that process quicker and used less yarn.
Leslie Ann discusses sett and gives some useful general tips before presenting the Swatch Maker
Mason's Medley Roving Combination Handspun Yarn
This, dear friends, is a 'roving combination handspun yarn' in progress.
Grace is using her 'Mason's Medley' technique, which involves holding small lengths of various fibres together in her hand while spinning. It creates "deeply layered fusions of colour without dyeing or carding". It creates an "Elegant, blendy, almost... tweed effect".
She took at least five kinds of batts and roving and to spin, she pulled out three orange and one other, all at random.
I'd usually link to a blog post with photos if I can but this time I'm linking to the Youtube video because if you bear with the introduction for around three minutes, the speeded-up colour-selection and then spinning is captivating to watch.
With thanks to Rachel of Welfordpurls for the tip.
Handspun socks are precious, but they will get holes after a certain amount of wear.
Here, Rebecca gives an outline of how to knit this kind of invisible patch. She was lucky enough to find some of the same yarn, so there's another tip - keep a 'mending' jar of ball-ends.
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"D'oh, this is your 'grass intolerance' all over again."
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 fortnightly digest email.
Keeping this wheel spinning
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Sometimes just a picture is enough
The journey from roving to yarn to shawl
This is Roving Crafter Jenn (who sometimes tells stories while spinning in cowgirl boots) looking suitably pleased with her Pi Are Square shawl.
It took 18 months to spin and knit the alpaca / corriedale, starting during Spinzilla 2014.
Jenn has gathered together the information and pictures from previous blog posts, an exercise that she says is an "eye-opening experience and not for the feint of heart".
At first glance I assumed that the thick and thin nature of this yarn was intentional, but on delving deeper I found that Tina was losing her groove while spinning this yarn.
She has nevertheless used the yarn in this scarf of her own design, which features a lace diamond pattern and silver decorations.
I like the extra texture that the uneven yarn gives.
Blanket scarf in real Shetland
I'm cheekily sneaking one of my own projects here (Editor's prerogative!)
Partly inspired during Team HSN's visit to the scouring mill earlier in the year, and partly by a couple of projects I've featured here in HSN in the past few months, I used combed top from the Real Shetland Co to spin and weave this blanket scarf.
Click through for more details and more pictures.
The engineer's socks
It's so good to spot a follow-up finished project after featuring the handspun yarn in a previous issue.
These are the finished socks from Goldilox's 'Engineered sock yarn'. She made an 'opposing twist' three ply, one of her plies being spun in the opposite direction so that it gains more twist in the plying, adding reinforcement. She also blended mohair with wool for strength.
A dozen spindles
A great photo of a dozen spindles used to spin 200g of merino.
The discussion is worth a look, meilindis answers a question about switching to a new spindle and maintaining thickness.
Handspun in baby vest
Some beautiful colourwork here in this baby vest.
All wool, and some of the colour is handspun yarn.
Explore auntybuzzy's pictures for the front of this vest and more of her colourwork projects.
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A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
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Prismatic by Tabetha Hedrick
I'm not sure about the very bright yellow but I love this new pattern and have added it to my queue. Oh for more hours in the day!
Top-down with a flap and gusset heel and a wonderful lace pattern.
Contour crochet shawl by Joanne Scrace
At first glance it looks as if Sarah of Crafts from the Cwtch is using handspun singles here, in fact it's a commercial yarn that looks remarkably like handspun.
Designer Joanne Scrace says that the pattern "..works perfectly with those tricky to crochet variegated skeins, with the bold lines drawing the colour splashes along", so I'm treating all of that as a recommendation.
The picture and link are from Sara's Contour Shawl in progress, look for the link to the pattern in her post.
As a bonus, Sarah gives some very useful tips which will come in useful if you're nearing the end of your yarn before the end of the pattern.
Pixie Purses are true quick knits
Not only is this a paid-for pattern, but it requires you to buy a 'sew in purse frame' too. But all of that should only cost a fiver, and I find this purse really pretty.
Spinners often wax lyrical about the soft and squooshy, but of course the more robust fibres have their place too, and this is one of those places.
Jenn says that the 'quick knit' promise isn't a lie. Hers took two hours.
discuss any of this
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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