Hand Spinning News
As a wise woman said recently, "the hat season cometh". The words 'chunky' and 'cables' appear a lot in the pattern suggestions this month. All reminding us that longer nights and cooler weather are just around the leafy corner.
There are many mentions in this issue of the monster event that was Spinzilla, and other physical gatherings such as Yarndale and Shetland Wool Week.
I'm very proud to say that the team Hand Spinning News fared very well in the main Spinzilla yardage event, gaining fourth place worldwide out of 74 teams worldwide. This year we were one of the three UK teams, so congratulations to team Weavolution too, and particularly team Hilltop Cloud who came fifth by a narrow margin. Team Hand Spinning News spun a monstrous 151,647 yards (Spinzilla takes into account singles and plying too). Many thanks to Adam Curtis and John Arbon who supplied amazing fibre for us to spin.
This is the free, edited issue first published mid-October 2016. Scroll to the bottom to find out how to receive a longer version of HSN a couple of weeks earlier
Photo right: Team HSN member Freyalyn's spindles. Cover photo, Spinzilla teams demonstrating in Nottingham 2016.
News / Events
Celebrating Yarndale 2016
Yarndale 2016 has now been and gone. It's notable for the vast amount of effort spent decorating the hall and surroundings.
Each year there have been contributions from crocheters around the world; bunting, mandalas, and this year sheep from crafters in 32 countries. There is also a large amount of yarnbombing; signs, lampposts and bollards which really are works of art.
While recovering from these efforts, Lucy has posted many 'behind the scenes' pictures on her Attic24 blog.
Shetland Wool Week 2016
Thank you to Louise for posting a large number of pictures of this year's Shetland Wool Week, leading your Editor to resolve to visit next year. It's a week-long festival across the community.
There are some interesting and unusual workshops too, Louise posts pictures of her enamelling and Fair Isle book-binding!
Inside the all-wool-everything wool B'n'B
The flagship event of this year's Wool Week organised by the Campaign for Wool was an all-wool B'n'B.
Besides novelty items such as knitted food, there was a more serious side, such as all-wool throws, bedding and a walk-in wardrobe full of designer wool garments.
The best collection of pictures I've found is here at the GQ magazine website.
Spinzilla is a monster of a spinning competition. It has rapidly gained popularity in the four years of its existence. It's a yardage competition over a whole week, open to teams of up to 25 or individual ('rogue') spinners.
This year's event took place between 3 and 9 October. Team Hand Spinning News UK was the first and only UK team last year, and I'm very pleased to say, one of three UK teams this year.
Indie dyer and teacher Freyalyn is one of the HSN team-mates and in this post she gives us an insight into her week, fitting spinning around work as many have to do. If you've met Freyalyn at a show, she may well have had a spindle in her hand and you'll have seen that she's remarkably fast with it. As a fan of the spindle, I'm pleased that she chose to do much of her Spinzilla spinning by spindle.
She also recommends the new YARN documentary which has been showing in selected cinemas, and took these spindles along with her, as spinning and knitting at the screening was encouraged. As I write this, there are no forthcoming showings in the UK, but do watch the trailer and check back for further screenings.
discuss any of this
From the Blogosphere
Step-by-step cotton picking blues
I want to show every one of the pictures within this blog post, but unfortunately there's only room for one small thumbnail. So please click through and watch the journey of these 80 bolls of home-grown cotton, through the spinning wheel and dyebath.
Last month we saw a picture of some of Goldilox's green cotton. In this post she 'gins' these white bolls to remove the seeds and husks, spins the fibre, and dyes it using home-grown woad!
Lumbercoats and other garments
What is a Lumbercoat? Hazel Tindal explains how this and similar terms such as gansey, jumper, cardigan are used in her part of Shetland.
The first shearing
It seems unusual to see shearing pictures at this time of the year, but Kate witnessed these lambs, not a year old yet, having their first fleece taken off.
They've certainly grown long locks in that time, and the pictures of the snowy white locks will make you wish you could reach out and squish them.
Pockets - or purse?
Do you add pockets to your garments or keep everything in a bag?
Following an unfortunate incident (all turned out well!) Cheryl has researched this accommodating topic. It's a very varied history and asks, could civilisation itself be based on pockets?
Elizabeth of Spinning Daily says that her favourite method of measuring is her McMorran balance. Although she does note that it's not the most accurate method, especially if your yarn isn't particularly even.
The tool involves some slightly more complicated maths than the more usual methods of counting winds in your skein. But it does give you a figure for grist, an often-overlooked measurement of handspun yarn. And it's fast, you just need to trim a small sample of your yarn and extrapolate your grist and yardage.
Final #spinzilla2016 shot
Despite the big commitment and intense spinning, Legovial says "Spinzilla definitely brought back my love of spinning!"
This is her final Spinzilla picture, she dyed almost all of the fibre you see here, clearly a fan of blues and mauves.
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Tips and tutorials
How to felt your finished pieces
Felting is something we try to avoid when we're scouring or dyeing, but it's something you may want to do deliberately for a thick, sturdy fabric.
For a garment such as slippers or a hat, you'll need to knit or crochet the piece much larger, because shrinkage is considerable.
There are many more tips in this article from Lion Brand.
Spinning from the fold
Felicia was warned that this particular blend would be challenging to spin. It's slippery, it also contains a mix of short downy fibres and longer silk fibres, (which like to pull out first, leaving you with a handful of the down).
Her solution was to spin from the fold, and she's made this short video demonstrating the technique.
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Keeping this wheel spinning
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Sometimes just a picture is enough
Animated tiny felted spinning wheel
You'll believe that this tiny felted wheel can actually spin wool.
A very clever video from Instagram user andreaanimates.
Mammoth of a project
Rachel started spinning for this cardy almost a year ago. She spun a woollen 3-ply using Falkand with nepps of colour giving a tweedy effect.
This small picture loses the detail. Do click through to see larger pictures showing the coloured effect and the interesting stitch pattern that she incorporated into a basic raglan top-down cardigan.
Something woodsy going on
As I've said before (each time I've posted a new Olympic Spinning Wheel) they're a bit busy for some, sometimes OTT, but I constantly find Gary's creativity impressive, and the execution of his ideas can be breathtaking.
The commissioner of this particular one-off wheel asked for memories of a woodland holiday. The use of gnarled branches works so well
Gary says that the wheel isn't finished in these pictures, there's more to add, but I love it as it is.
Donegal tweed bag
Occasionally we see a project that reminds us that a project doesn't have to comprise entirely of our handspun yarn.
I'm grateful to picperfic for posting pictures of this stunning finished object. She's used her sewing skills to incorporate this rather special piece of handwoven Donegal tweed into a gorgeous and very functional 'convertible' bag
Over the greynbow
At first this looks like a grey cardy. Look closer and there's colour. Look even closer and there's a rainbow within the grey.
There's a little more about the yarn here, I believe Janelle did most of the spinning during Spinzilla last year, and blogged about the plying in January.
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A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Colourful blanket with tutorial
This type of pattern does look great in handspun yarn, and Suzie has written an excellent-looking tutorial. A nice feature is the way that it's worked from the centre out with mitres facing the middle, to avoid any biasing.
I'm guessing that yarn weight won't matter as long as it's reasonably consistent.
What to make with bits of leftover yarn
This isn't a pattern but nine ideas for using up the last of a ball of yarn. There's always some left over at the end of a project (unless you find yourself playing 'yarn chicken') and our handspun is more precious than the commercial kind.
Here is a varied selection of ideas courtesy Lion Brand, but I'm sure there are many more. I'm starting a thread on the HSN Ravelry Forum in case you'd like to add your own.
discuss any of this
Hooded scarf "Ingrid" by Rita Maassen
I read somewhere that big scarves are 'in'. (Fashion guru I am not.)
Right on trend therefore is the 'hooded scarf' which looks like the ultimate protection against wintry weather.
It's far easier to make than it may appear. This one is made in two sections stitched together, and "easy to knit if you are familiar with cable knitting" says designer Rita.
You'll need 800-900 yards of aran-weight (8wpi) yarn.
Ravelry link, but doesn't require Ravelry login. Also see Rita's Hats and Scarfs page for a few variations on this theme.
Amara by Linda Marveng
This cardy is gorgeous. The shape is very flattering and it's purple!
The heavily-cabled pattern will add interest to a plainer yarn (DK thickness).
It'll look beautiful if (unlike me) you have a short body, or maybe want to wear it with a skirt for the impression of a shorter body / longer legs.
A draw-cord fastening with pompoms and picot edge make this cowl very unusual in a classy way. The yarn suggested is 'Awesome Aran' from It's a Stitch Up, but I'm sure your own aran-weight handspun yarn would look great too.
Inspired by creative and craggy Cornwall.
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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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