Hand Spinning News
Spring is starting to awaken so our thoughts are turning from the chunky cables to lighter layers. But don't be too hasty, it's still cool out there, so how about a knitted skirt for Spring style with some warmth too?
This month's roundup includes Easter bunnies, Spring lambs, fresh colour and still-a-little-chilly cosiness.
This is the edited version of Hand Spinning News for March 2015. If you're not sure why this is now being delivered at the end of the month, please scroll to the bottom.
Photo right: Lambs at the Thanks Nature Café
- News and articles from around the web
- From Blogland
- Tips and tutorials
Showing off some of the best images I've found 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
Some 2015 dates for your diary
News and Blog Posts
the Thanks Nature Café
Visitors are flocking to This Korean cafe where you can enjoy your cuppa and pet a sheep. In South Korea the sheep symbolises kindness, humility, and respect for parents.
Thanks to rahardjo for posting.
2-ply lace weight
This is Toffee, her strong reddish colouring is quite common in Ouessant lambs but fades to white in a few months.
Click through to see more pictures of this lamb and a lovely skein of white 2-ply laceweight spun by Diane, Toffee's shepherd.
10 essential things to know for Unravel festival
I've read quite a few posts about the Unravel festival this month and it seems to have been a huge success because I think all have been enthusiastic.
Corrie obviously wrote this post before Unravel but it will whet your appetite and be good advice if you're thinking of visiting any of the woolly shows this year.
Cinema preview for Addicted to Sheep documentary
In January we read about Magali Pettier's film on the Hutchinson family and their Swaledale sheep.
On 19 February the film had a cinema preview in Durham and the BBC have expressed an interest.
Here's an article about the showing from the local paper.
No sting in the foot!
This fibre is an equal blend of BFL and ramie, the pretty colours were dyed by Marianne of Picperfic's Fluff-n-Stuff. Ramie comes from nettles, hence picperfic's name for the fibre blend, stinger.
In Josiekitten's post we see images of the original fibre, spun, plied and then the finished socks. A very nice job.
The atractive graduated effect in this woven scarf was achieved by making 'blanks' or long rectangles of knitted fabric using a knitting machine, dyeing those, then unravelling and using the resulting yarn for warp and weft.
Click through for worthwhile larger pictures of the stages.
Hand spun garden twine
Here's a great example of how wool from different breeds has different properties, and is suitable for different types of project.
This Swaledale comes in very long 12" locks and is hair-like. Colours of Northern Ireland has spun from the lock and then 3-plied for strength, evenness and thickness.
The resulting dyed yarn makes very special garden twine (keep it in a jar to keep it clean and moth-free). This is great yarn for weaving a rug too.
Mistakes were made
Does it matter that pairs of things made from handspun yarn don't match?
Non-matchiness is quite common when working from a dyed braid. It's quite difficult to get stripes matching. Maybe non-matching is better than almost-matching?
Mary is pleased with the way that her thumbs carry the stripes, despite being knit later.
The fiber was Targhee which Tracey says was "really, really nice". It was club fibre from Spunky Eclectic.
Pattern is Skiff by Jared Flood. Click through to see Tracey's pictures of the fibre, yarn and finished hat.
A colourful competition
Lucy of Attic24 is know for her cheerful colour choices and here she shares a tip for trying different palette combinations.
Also in this post are details of an easy-to-enter competition, open worldwide, with a pretty big yarny prize.
I do like gratuitous lamb photos at this time of the year and there are a bunch on this post, including this great shot.
Kristin says, "I bet you didn't know that lamb and sheep can really move it ... What power in that little lamb flying off the hay bale"
Tips and tutorials
Maggie Casey's trick for easier spinning
Here's one tip from author Maggie Casey that I guarantee will make your spinning easier and faster.
Dip dyeing a shawl with woad
This beautiful shawl looks as if it's been made from gradient yarn but Fran has spun a plain white Polwarth yarn and dyed
It was time consuming but well worth it I would say. Read her method here.
What to do with accidentally felted wool
It's pretty likely that this has happened to you, either while preparing fibre or while washing a finished project.
Too much agitation and/or a rapid change in temperature sends wool on a one-way trip to feltdom.
A month or two ago Sayra made this felted tangle, but turned it into a necklace that she sold at a show.
Craftsy has half a dozen more suggestions.
Exercises for knitters, crocheters, and other crafters with Colette Smith
Pain in hands, back, shoulders is not uncommon among knitters.
Colette Smith was told that she would need surgery and would never be able to knit again. Devastating news, but Colette wasn't having it and took matters into her own hands.
Here's her story and some tips.
Thanks to Amy Boogie for another in her series of articles on aspects of the spinning wheel.
My own teacher likes to replace the tension spring on her wheels with rubber bands, and amy agrees, favouring hair elastics.
Brake band material is varied too. Click through for Amy's thorough article.
Keeping this wheel spinning
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Dyeing to Get the Colors You Want From Digital Photographs
Alanna Wilcox is a teacher, spinner and knitter. Like many in the fibre world she has a passion for colour. She has developed a technique for converting colour from a digital photograph into a dye recipe using a formula rather than guesswork.
Her aim with this guide is to help you to develop an eye for colour and then teach you how to accurately reproduce a colour using her technique.
It covers a little colour theory, how to extract the colour values using your computer and how to calculate the recipe for the dye. Finally there's an example worked from start to finish.
The guide has many 5-star reviews and comes as an instant download in the universal pdf format (there is an option to buy a printed copy).
Sometimes just a picture is enough
Saori cloth pots
Sue says that these pots "are a soft loose form with great functionality!"
This is Corrie's Dragon Cowl, named after the colours in the yarn that she spun from Manos del Uruguay fibre.
It's great to see projects from fibre to finished so don't miss the link near the top of this post to visit an earlier post in which you can see the yarn being spun.
The pattern is a 'one skein wonder' and free to boot. The designer says that it "works up in a matter of hours" and that's just what Corrie did and "loved doing it"
What makes this canine cap extra special is that the doggy motif is knitted in a mixture of merino and dog fur.
The hat is for the owner of the donor dog. SandAndSkyCreations used the yarn in its natural colour and dyed the same yarn for the contrast colour.
City Park on Polwarth
Earthchick has completed her goal of making a pair of handspun socks for each of her men and all are now posted on her blog.
These ones are polwarth, not the ideal ideal fibre but perfect colours. She's waiting for her son to grow out of them because they fit her.
cybergoth's Magnificent Peacock
Thanks to kerryhill for this tip, she knew I would love it!
cybergoth has spun laceweight from Painted Tiger gradient-dyed Superwash Merino Top (around 900yds from 100g)
This beautiful wall hanging comes with a beautiful verse (possibly a haiku?).
Leigh of Wren House Yarns has made this woven piece using naturally-dyed handspun with recycled and reclaimed yarn.
It's a happy thought that Spring is sleeping and about to rouse.
Handspun BFL cowl
I don't have any information about this cowl other than it's made from BFL.
The yarn looks like a 2-ply with one ply being lighter in colour and the other a stronger changing colour. I'd like to know more about how it was dyed and spun.
The fibre here is a merino/silk mix that Joanne dyed herself. No word on how she gradient dyed / spun but it's certainly worked out beautifully and suits this Boo Knits pattern.
She missed out one pattern repeat for a thinner scarf.
This is a lovely example of how entrelac knitting turns a graduated yarn into squares of apparently separate colours.
Yuko says at the end of the post that when she'd finished knitting she noticed something regrettable, but the automatic translation isn't good enough for me to understand what. If anyone reads Japanese and can enlighten us, please let me know.
Snowball fight handspun yarn
What a fun idea and a fun name.
This yarn contains wool, tencel, tussah silk noil, alpaca & kid mohair locks. The 'snowballs' are hand felted.
This is Janice's insta-hat in handspun yarn. It's not really instant but still pretty quick.
The pattern appeared on social media in parts.
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Hat for Him by Lorna Miser
Thanks to Dawn of Skein who says that it can be a hat for her too.
Tulpen crochet shawl
This shawl is very easy to make and grows quickly. Only three basic stitches are used and there are links to tutorials should you need them.
Designer Sarah says "I've used a very simple stitch pattern to let the colours do all the work". So handspun yarn would be perfect, either spin a chunky yarn or use multi-strands.
Eep! tiny sheep!
As promised last time (remember the amorous sheep video?) Anna, designer of tiny characters and occasionally very big ones too, has made the pattern for the dinky sheep available for download.
Antler Hat by Alexa Ludeman
This is a really atttractive motif, and a very quick knit. Many have made this in handspun yarn and it looks great. Spin a worsted-weight (9wpi).
Thanks to Dawn of Skein, who had to frog hers right back to the start to fix one pattern repeat. Let's be careful out there.
Oakenshield Armoured by Rebecca Marsh
If you don't recognise the pattern I'm sure you'll recognise the name.
Designer Rebecca has chosen two merino yarns in contrasting colours. If you're spinning you'll need DK/8-ply thickness (11wpi)
Princess Franklin Plaid Collar by Franklin Habit
This cowl looks woven but it isn't. It's a clever knitting technique to resemble a tartan pattern.
I can confidently say that this pattern works fabulously well with handspun yarn because Fran has made one using alpaca spun from the lock - pictured right and blogged in the style of A A Milne here.
Click the link below for the pattern.
This is not a pattern with sizes but if you're a 'medium' or can adapt patterns then this will be good. It's all plain stockinette so your dyed or natural handspun can do the talking.
Caress has a wide neck, 3/4 sleeves and a long body. And it's in my queue.
The name comes from a type of butterfly, the solid lines and airy areas of colour resembling wing markings. It also reminds me of stained glass and would lend itself very well to colourful handspun yarn.
This is madcolor's Handspun Nymphalidea. if your handspun is thicker than fingering weight, her tip is to go up in needle size for a nice open look.
Knitted skirt patterns
I did feature a couple of these patterns at some point last year (and have a lanesplitter in progress myself) but Heather has really done the legwork and put together 18 knitted skirt patterns, some free, some not.
Warm and comfy, Heather says that a knitted skirt is "a socially acceptable way to wear a warm blanket around yourself".
Crocheted Easter Bunny by HobbyHilda
There are some cheesy ones out there but the vintage look of this bunny caught my eye.
This one has a rustic look and is in very natural-looking Spring colours. It's difficult to believe she only has a 'novice' skill rating.
25 & 26 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.
Holsworthy Livestock Market, Devon, 30-31 May 2015
An event to bring together fibre crafters and producers in the South West. A great new venue with plenty of room for lots of exhibitors, and of course, lots of visitors.
Friday 26 June and Saturday 27 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 and this was recognised in 2012 when Woolfest won the Cumbria Tourism Award for Event of the Year.
25 and 26 July 2015, Redbourne Community College, Flitwick Road, Ampthill, Bedford MK45 2NU
The fifth Fibre East, those in the Eastern, Midlands and Southern Regions an opportunity to join in an event which aims to encourage and promote British wool and natural fibres.
The college provides an indoor venue.
British Wool Show (formerly British Wool Weekend Show)
Friday 7 and Saturday 8 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.
26 and 27 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
26 September - 4 October 2015
A busy weekend dedicated to celebrating Shetland wool and textile heritage.
The extensive events list includes workshops, demonstrations, open studios, spinning, knitting, weaving and Britain's most northerly sheep.
Visit the website to download a free 'Shwook Hat' pattern, designed exclusively for Shetland Wool Week 2014 by Patron, Hazel Tindall.
Bakewell Wool Gathering
Bakewell Agricultural CentreSaturday 17 and Sunday 18 October
This year sees the third 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.
January 2015 saw a milestone; Hand Spinning News split into two; a free version, which is edited down a little bit, and a full version for paying subscribers.
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Happy spinning and don't be a stranger!
Shiela Dixon - Editor / curator
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