Hand Spinning News
I love happy little coincidences. Two handspun projects this month both use Andrea Mowry's shift patterns - the Shifty sweater and Shiftalong hat. And two different decorated Kiwi wheels popped up at the same time.
A real highlight of this month's pickings is a fabulous in-depth interview with John and Juliet Arbon which appears in the current episode of Fruity Knitting.
Read on for this month's cunning curated collection of inspirational information and entertainment for spinners, knitters, crocheters, dyers and weavers. This is the full issue for June 2019.
Photo right: Shifty Sweater by mariannesei. The rather racy cover photo is An Encounter at the Spinning Wheel by George Goodwin Kilburne
Outlander Day, Worldwide Knit in Public Day
- In the media
Anti-synthetics petition, wool surfboards
- From Blogland
Arbon interview, why process raw wool, madder, silver birch and lots more
- Tips and tutorials
Lace pi shawl, loom waste, types of spindle
Spun and knitted high-performance shoes
The Art and Science of Natural Dyes by Joy Boutrup and Catharine Ellis
Showcasing some of the best spinning images I've seen this month
- Free patterns
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn
- Not so free patterns
More project ideas which will work well with handspun yarn
Plenty of 2019 UK show dates for your diary
- But is is art...?
Installations of 'outer space' from colored yarn
This is a short video with sound of the waulking women in fine voice at Outlander Day. It gives a good flavour of the event which happened on 8 Jun this year.
I'm linking to the Highland Folk Museum's Twitter feed where you can see this and more pictures from the event. The museum is a group of 30 historical buildings furnished appropriate to their time period. It aims to show how Highland people lived and worked from the 1700s up until the 1950s. It was also the location for the TV series 'Outlander'. Outlander day was, as its name suggests, "a celebration of all things Outlander".
Sadly, both of the exhibitions mentioned in this article will be over by the time this issue first goes out.
However, Polly Leonard of Selvedge magazine writes an interesting post. Did you know that the Czech Republic has a tradition of Indigo block printing? Or that one hellish technique produces a particularly deep colour that doesn't run.
World Wide Knit in Public Day 2019
This picture was taken on World Wide Knit in Public Day, on Fair Isle, where it's normal to see a lamb on a lead.
WWKIPD 2019 was 8 June. This and more delightful pictures taken on the day can be seen on Instagram tagged #worldwideknitinpublicday
An early reminder that Worldwide Spin in Public Day always falls on the third Saturday in September.
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In the media
Wool man launches anti-synthetics petition
Craig Smith, general manager of Devold Wool Direct NZ Ltd is petitioning New Zealand lawmakers because he believes that any clothing containing a significant amount of artificial fibres should carry a warning about micro fibres.
Every time such garments are washed, micro plastics are released into our waterways and then the sea. If harming fish isn't bad enough, they can make their way through the food chain into human digestion.
Giovanni Schneider is trying to get a similar petition through Italy and he has challenged other countries to get it brought into law in their own countries. Smith has accepted that challenge.
Rural News Group, New Zealand has the story.
Can a wool surfboard be as good as a traditional board?
Of all the products that we associate with wool; clothing, insulation, carpeting, blankets, technical garments and on, surfboards don't tend to come to mind.
These boards from Firewire Surfboards use wool and bio-epoxy resin as part of their construction instead of fibreglass and polyurethane which reduces the carbon footprint and increases sustainability. This qualifies the board for an eco-label from Sustainable Surf.
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From the Blogosphere
Interview with John and Juliet Arbon
If you've been spinning for any length of time or been to a show in the UK you will have spotted John and Juliet of John Arbon Textiles.
John is very knowledgeable, he studied textiles before setting up the mill using old and cobbled-together machinery. This combined with sustainable local wool makes his fibre and yarns so special.
This is a long and very enjoyable interview with John and Juliet. It begins at around 45m into this video.
Should you bother buying raw wool?
Does this picture make you want to roll up your sleeves, or does it make your top lip curl?
Fibre Sprite Pamela asks "Why bother with processing a fleece from start to finish when you can buy lots of really good fibre that's already cleaned and ready to spin?"
Pamela has ten reasons, some of which might not have occurred to you.
Shetland fine lace
This is a very absorbing 15-minute documentary about the fine lace knitted shawls of Shetland.
It's always a pleasure to hear Oliver Henry speak about fleece. There are contributions from Shetland knitters of the older and new generations and so much to learn about this culture.
Thanks to Ewespecial for sharing, Her page contains her comments and a link to another video on the same subject.
This is a Gute sheep, an old breed related to Gotland. It was reduced to 10 sheep but now there are 1500 ewes in Sweden.
Josefin takes a look at the characteristics of the wool and uses some. As an old breed the sheep has a fine undercoat, longer overcoat and kemp mixed in.
This is a preview of a pattern which will be available later this year.
This one is made from handspun merino fibre.
The stripes in the sleeves match each other and the body. That's because it's knit entirely in the round, including the sleeves.
It has shaping and it is steeked (cut) before the sleeves and sides are sewn up. Here is a picture of the knitting before the cutting.
Restored double-flyer wheel
The restoration of this double-flyer wheel involved making new flyers and other parts. It's beautifully done. (there are four pictures in this Instagram post, make sure that you see them all.) I've had no luck turning up any information on the names marked on the back of this wheel. If anyone can shed any light, let me know.
it's fascinating to watch a double-flyer wheel in use. I recommend that you search your favourite video-sharing site to see some people doing it.
Sock blank before and after
The striking thing about these handspun socks is how well they match.
jocharlesworthhaines has written an unusual amount about her process. She made sock blanks on a knitting machine, oven dyed the blanks using acid dyes and then made the socks.
Unfortunately she ran out of yarn just before the end of the toes and had to spin and dye a mini skein to finish.
Orange is definitely not the new black
This is Hilltopkatie's Mama Vertebrae, she says that the open-fronted cardy has been perfect for the Welsh Spring.
She used BFL/silk from Mandacrafts, which she split so as to avoid broad striping. She held this with some mohair singles that she dyed to bring out the orange in the BFL/silk.
The pattern is Mama Vertebrae by Kelly van Niekerk,, a casual frontless cardy.
Katie has posted lots of pictures in her blog showing the fibre, the spun yarn and her swatches.
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Tips and tutorials
Lace knit pi shawl
Felicity has finished this beautiful circular shawl. Although not handspun, the variation in the colour gives it 'the look'.
She has put together this article for anyone interested in knitting such a shawl. It contains helpful links to articles on casting-on, fixing errors, blocking and most importantly, wearing a circular lace shawl.
What to do with loom waste?
Even if you make fringes from the ends of your warp, there will still be some waste on the loom.
This may be nice wool, maybe even handspun. Fibre Sprite Pamela has tried knotting them and using them for weft. She is also keeping a Pinterest board of other ideas.
Types of spindle and basic drop spinning
If you're new to spinning then it's good advice to begin with a drop spindle because of an easier learning curve. Many of us continue to enjoy spinning on a spindle and build a collection.
This video is a short introduction to the different types of spindle. Amy doesn't go into the differences and why you might choose a particular type of spindle but she does introduce and show four basic types; top-whorl, bottom-whorl, Turkish and supported.
If that has grabbed your attention, then there's a follow-up here where she gives a "quick and dirty" tutorial in basic drop-spinning.
You may be aware that Ravelry allows you to record quite a few details about your handspun yarn; twist direction and angle, ratios used, WPI. But like me you may not make use of those boxes.
Josefin says that the detail she uses most is 'grist'. that's the length per weight unit; yards per pound or metres per kilo.
Find out some reasons why these details are useful to keep.
A performance running shoe made to be remade
I hope that this story is more than a PR exercise.
The Adidas shoe is entirely made from one material with no glueing, which means that when the first owner has finished with it, it can be made into a new pair.
The process involves washing the old shoe, grinding it up, spinning the chips into yarn (probably not spinning in the sense that we know) knitted into a new parts which are clean-fused together.
Or "four hooves and only one mouth". Or "It's really hard to remove the top without an opposable thumb"
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.
Jigsaw - online
Thank you very much if you've had a go at any of these on your computer or tablet.
I've set them up with 35 - 50 pieces- just the right number for a coffee-break challenge and you gradually reveal the cartoon.
But if you fancy more of a challenge (or less) you can customise the number of pieces before you start.
Keeping this wheel spinning
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Sometimes just a picture is enough
This beautiful photograph shows Josefin wearing her latest "fluff to stuff" project, a handspun Gotland top in her own design.
Her post contains lots of detail about the wool and its donor, the design and the knitting.
Know your shepherdess
This beautiful blanket is made from naturally-coloured fleece from Shepherd's Hey Farm.
danalmattner knows personally the sheep that donated the fleece. She spun the yarn over the last couple of years and has woven the blanket this year, it is 60" wide and 96" long including fringe. She says, "It turned out to be a very good project for handspun!"
Pouch for mini notebook and pen
A great project idea for a small amount of handspun yarn is this mini notebook and pen pouch.
The simple stockinette and garter stitches show off the colours and texture in your yarn.
Playing the ghost
ullveig's post asks whether her wheel is getting married or playing the ghost.
The wedding shawl is made from 50/50 angora / silk which sounds like a perfect marriage.
I love these happy little coincidences.
To accompany the above Shiftalong hat, this is the related Shifty Sweater, also in handspun yarn.
According to the pattern designer, "This sweater is all about being playful and having fun with colour!"
Marianne's is certainly colourful in a tasteful way.
This is a way to wear your handspun without spinning a sweater-quantity.
Charlotte has used "a handspun polwarth single" in the yoke, with a commercial yarn for the main colour. The stained glass effect is beautiful.
The dark side and the light side
This Star Wars Double Knit Scarf isn't quite finished as I write this (just like the second death star) but I couldn't wait to feature it.
It's being made by rjbeadle in her own handspun and hand dyed merino.
I don't choose enough pictures of spinning in-progress.
This fibre has been dyed using grape Kool-Aid with "extra vinegar so that I would be able to break the purple". "I love the various shades of purples, pink and blue", says asouthernladysramblings
If you're afraid to use soft handspun yarn for socks, here's one solution - commercial sock yarn for the heels and toes.
The handspun here is "merino rainbow, spun as it came for a muted mixed colour look".
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A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Beach Day Crochet Bag by Kelsea Dauth
If you have a robust yarn that's not particularly soft, a bag is a very practical project.
The pattern calls for a hemp yarn. The stronger the fibre the better.
This bag is listed on Ravelry for free, but the link takes you to a page where the pattern-only option appears to cost $3.99
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Waar Cowl by Ella Gordon
Ella Gordon was eased out of the creative doldrums by these colours - kelp and graphite.
Even if you're not so keen on those colours, the design of this very warm cowl is attractive and I'll bet that when the projects start to appear, people will be choosing a variety of colours.
The pattern suggests alpaca DK (11 wpi) yarn in two colours.
Prairie Boots by Julie Weisenberger
Thanks to April for posting pictures of her Prarie Boots. Knitting them was fast, "thanks to bulky yarn and garter stitch I was able to make quick work of turning yarn into slippers". The hold-up she faced was choosing suitable buttons.
The pattern calls for bulky yarn (7 wpi) though you could achieve this by holding two ends of a thinner yarn.
Slippers are a great idea for handspun yarn. Ravelry has two examples of this pattern made using handspun yarn. Use yarn that is strong but not too harsh to be worn next to the skin. Finish them with sock stop or sew-on-soles.
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But is it art...?
Artists use hundreds of miles of colored yarn to create breathtaking installations of 'outer space'
This series of sculptures was created by Polish artists Przemek Podolski and Marta Basandowskaby who have mastered the art of using hundreds of miles of coloured threads to create 3D art installations.
Blacklights and projection mapping are used to bring the sculptures to life. The shapes transform as the viewpoint changes.
There's a video on this page which is well worth a watch.
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Fri 28 and Sat 29 June 2019, 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.
2 - 4 August 2019, Newcastle upon Tyne
Wool and Wellbeing festival for the North East.
Yarnfolk Festival of Wool
3 August 2019, Whitehead's town centre from 10am - 5pm
Whitehead in Co. Antrim will once again play host to Yarnfolk Wool Festival for the 3rd year.
British Wool Show (formerly British Wool Weekend Show)
Friday 9 and Saturday 10 August 2019, York Auction Centre, Murton Lane, Murton, York, YO19 5GF
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.
Southern Wool Show
Saturday 31 August and 1 September 2019, Newbury Racecourse, Berkshire
The perfect event for all lovers of knitting, crochet, feltmaking, weaving, spinning, dyeing, and all things woolly!
Perth Festival Of Yarn
7 and 8 September 2019. Dewars Centre, Glover St, Perth
Bringing together independent dyers, farmers, knitters, spinners, felters and weavers. In 2018 nominated for the best yarn festival in the UK. Vendors' gallery marketplace, over 70 vendors, keynote event, social events and classes run over the weekend.
28 and 29 September 2019, Skipton Auction Mart, North Yorkshire
Stunning exhibitions, skill demonstrations and a full programme of textile workshops create a visual feast and make Yarndale a real must-visit for yarn lovers.
Shetland Wool Week
28 September - 6 October 2019
A busy week dedicated to celebrating Shetland wool and textile heritage.
Includes classes, talks, drop-ins, art. See website for the full events listing.
West Wales Wool Show
Saturday October 5 2019, Queen's Hall and Plas Hyfryd Hotel, Narberth, Pembrokeshire
A celebration of all things woolly. From beautifully hand crafted items, clothing and footwear to knitting wool, fleece and all the equipment needed to make at home. Demonstrations run throughout the day with stall holders sharing their skills and knowledge with visitors plus wool skill workshops such as felting.
The Wool Event, Masham Sheep Fair
Saturday 5 and 6 Oct, 2019, 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.
Bakewell Wool Gathering
Bakewell Agricultural Centre Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 October 2019
A wool festival dedicated to the best of yarn, knitting, and crochet, in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales.
There will be exhibitors, demonstrations of fibre crafts and a fleece stand selling plenty of local fleece.
Kendal Wool Gathering
Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 October 2019, Kendal Leisure Centre
Kendal Wool Gathering mixes demonstrations, fun activities and displays, all connected to the cloth on which the town's wealth was built.
A large number of exhibitors will be bringing a huge variety of goods including yarns, dyes, crafts, art, accessories, tools, felting, crochet, patterns, carpets, looms, spinning wheels and more. Outside there will be livestock, where you can meet a variety of sheep and Llamas, whilst learning about the important Lake District sheep farming industry.
Our linen stories
Scotland is more usually associated with tartan and tweed, but linen and flax are an important part of its history
This touring exhibition aims to combine stories from the past with new works from contemporary designers.
The towns in Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands that the tour visits have their own stories and this gives the opportunity to include local designers and stories.
A final word of thanks to everyone who blogs, writes articles or posts pictures on the subject of spinning, knitting, crochet or weaving. This newsletter wouldn't exist without people writing interesting and useful things.
If you enjoy Hand Spinning News, please don't keep it to yourself. Obviously the link to the full version is a benefit for paying subscribers, but please do share a link to hand-spinning-news.com by email or on social media with anyone who may be interested.
It's always good to hear from readers for any reason (or no reason!)
Shiela Dixon - Editor / curator
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