Hand Spinning News
Band weaving has been in the spotlight this month. Annie has inkle-weaving basics, John has tips for tablet-weaving using handspun and Christina has a round-up of projects for inkle bands, some obvious and some surprising. Kate has researched the Llanwenog breed and found it great for band weaving.
You can use handspun yarn in many ways and this month has also seen answers to frequently-asked questions such as can you hand-crank handspun? and can you use handspun as a warp?
Autumn colour is well-represented this month. Spin Off magazine has shared autumn-themed reader projects and John Arbon Textiles have expanded their Harvest Hues range of tops and yarn.
The image to the right and the cover image relate to Beatrix Potter. Mary of nzspinningwheels has researched and published a fabulous article about spinning and spinning wheels in Potter's work.
Read on for more news, views and reviews for spinners, knitters, crocheters, dyers and weavers. This is the free edition for November 2023.
Find out how to receive the full version of Hand Spinning News in your inbox, earlier than the free edition appears online.
Cover photo: Herdwick sheep on a grey autumnal day by David Barratt via Shutterstock.
In the media
Dog hair is making a resurgence as a sustainable textile
It has been proposed that making clothes from dog fur is an environmentally-friendly alternative to sheep's wool or cotton. Entrepreneur Ann Cathrin Schönrock says that Germany throws away 1,600 tons of dog fibre.
The idea isn't new. Historically, dogs have been bred for their hair. This article from Time has the history and the proposal.
The Living Knitwork Pavilion at Burning Man festival
The Living Knitwork Pavilion is an unusual architectural piece crafted from knitted textiles and a lattice network of wood by a team of MIT researchers.
The Burning Man festival creates a temporary city in Nevada for artistic and creative expression. There has been a push towards sustainable art and so the techniques and materials used in the Pavilion minimise raw materials and waste. It's powered by solar cells and batteries.
Britain's "loneliest sheep" rescued
You may well have seen the news reports about the 'loneliest sheep' who had got herself trapped on the shore of a cliff. The rescue wasn't attempted for a long time because it was difficult and the sheep had food.
All of the media attention and campaigning seems to have prompted action. "Sometimes you just need a group of idiots to get a job done" said Cammy Wilson who led the risky rescue operation.
'Fiona' is now safe, has had a trim and is living at Dalscone Farm, a tourist attraction in Edinburgh. This report says that there are plans to turn her long fleece into item(s) to auction for charity.
The fleece has gone to Wooldale Wool to be made into small items, proceeds to two charities.
Thousands of knitted poppies cascade from church tower
a sea of poppies cascades from the tower of St Peter's Church in Wellesbourne to mark remembrance day.
This is a real community project, although contributions have been made from knitters and crocheters worldwide. They are sewn to a net draped from the bell tower.
Bakewell Wool Gathering
Thanks to Sue for reporting her road trip to the Bakewell Gathering which took place on 14 and 15 October.
She admits that she was too absorbed with the people and products to take many photos but she has posted a few, including a video of Diane of Murmering Wheel using her walking wheel.
The Shetland Witch, a novel by Kate Macdonald
Kate Macdonald wrote a novel between 2019 and 2021. She has decided to serialise it in chunks of around 1000 words.
You can find all of the episodes to date, including the prologue, here on Substack. You can also sign up for free email notifications of future episodes.
A hero of the spinning world
This is a Reeves wheel, numbered 6000 and the last produced by Rick Reeves.
In this video, Jim Bateman and Linda Ligon reminisce about Rick and Marge Reeves and demonstrate Rick's last walnut Saxony wheel.
Beginning a fleece and breed study
Jess has been spinning for a long time but she says that she's never thought very much about the specific fibre she's spinning. She is therefore starting a fleece and breed study. In this post she discusses the sample packs and reference books that she has bought.
My main link goes to the initial blog post. She has since given details of her worksheets and techniques here.
Shifu: weaving with paper
Peggy recently visited a Japanese artist and learned more about shifu, which is woven cloth from spun paper. She goes into some detail and I'll be watching for more of her work on her blog.
Llanwenog wool and the madder matter
In this short series, Kate Larson has researched the Llanwenog breed, spun a two-ply yarn and dyed samples. She feels that the properties make it perfect for band-weaving.
She provides many links for further reading.
Rotating Distaff and Yarn Holder using the Kumikreator
craftmehappy finds that walking helps with her mental health and spinning while walking helps with some physical pain.
She has created this rotating distaff or yarn holder. It's designed to hang off her elbow and hold the fibre away from the spindle while her arms are at waist level.
She gives instructions for making this distaff using the Kumikreator braid-maker.
Inkle bands can be beautiful, colourful and detailed but what can you do with them?
Christina gives some examples. Some are obvious and some are surprising.
Tips and tutorials
Knitting socks with handspun yarn on a circular sock machine (CSM)
There has been a lot of talk recently about circular sock knitting machines (CSM). You can even print one yourself.
Can you hand-crank handspun?
Felicia has experimented with different types of handspun yarn and gives her tips. Most of the information is in the video which is embedded on this page.
Standard two-heddle threading
A second heddle and pick-up sticks can allow you to weave complex designs that would otherwise require many shafts, such as Hopsack, 1/3 Twill, Lace, Summer and Winter.
This is not a complete tutorial but an introduction to two-heddle threading.
Using handspun for card weaving
Card or tablet weaving is an alternative to shafts or heddles. "Card weaving has more pattern flexibility", says John Mullarkey.
John gives some valuable tips for tablet weaving with handspun yarn.
Spinning an autumnal yarn using just two 'almost' primary colours
craftmehappy enjoys exploring colour theory. Here she has started with two colours that aren't quite primary and blended them quickly for a more complex, heathered yarn with 'optical blending'.
Her post gives very thorough details, very well-illustrated with animations.
Products and Reviews
New Louët e-spinner coming soon
Louët have been teasing a new e-spinner called Jann-E.
The word on the street is that it will have variable speed from 0 to 1800 RPM, large bobbins, manual or foot-operated speed control, switch-operated direction control, switch between Irish and Scotch tension and orifice sizes.
Inspired to Spin by Cath Snape and Alison Daykin
Cath Snape and Alison Daykin have released a hardback book called Inspired to Spin which is a blend of expert guidance, invaluable suggestions and practical tips.
There are contributions from Jane Deane and Amanda Hannaford.
If a collection of small colourwork charts lights your fire then there are also the Doodle 'chart expansions' from Pacific Knit Co.
They are interchangeable designs that can be mixed and matched for cowls, hats and other projects. quiteayarnblog recommends them after using some of them in her Halloween cowl.
Harvest Hues expanded range
Perfect for autumn, John Arbon Textiles have expanded the colour range of their Harvest Hues range. These deep shades come from a blend of locally farmed Zwartbles with Bluefaced Leicester and Falklands Merino.
Yarns are available in 4-ply and worsted weight and all 22 colours are available in top for spinning.
Video and audio
Is Handspun Strong Enough for Warp?
In this very informative video, Fiber Sprite briefly covers the history of handspun yarn used for warp. (Spoiler: before the industrial revolution, all cloth was made from handspun yarn because millspun didn't exist.) She has some very good tips.
This liquid crystal fabric is 'smart' enough to adapt to the weather
Liquid crystal elastomer (LCE) is a fibre that can adjust its structure, meaning that a wearer could adjust the insulation of their clothing from an app on their phone.
Sometimes just a picture is enough
Miss Havisham's Cook, hand woven tapestry
This stunning tapestry is called Miss Havisham's Cook, woven by Sarah in 2004 from handspun and naturally-dyed wool.
In this blog post she shows us the original drawing from which she made three tapestries and a painting.
Pressed Flowers shawl
kettuknits has finished knitting her Pressed Flowers Shawl in handspun yarn.
She didn't want it to end and is thinking of casting on a cardigan or a sweater in the same pattern.
This shawl uses 160g of handspun fingering / sport weight yarn with 120 g of commercial yarn for the main colour.
Free patterns and projects
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Crochet Balloon Dog by Gloria B
Here's an unexpected trend. Crocheted balloon dogs won't deflate or pop like real balloon animals.
This is a free pattern which uses about 200g of worsted weight yarn and a 5mm hook, although I assume that gauge is unimportant here.
Teen Spirit by Maren Odenthal
Knitty has added a couple of surprise patterns to its 'deep fall' issue.
This one is a hat and cowl set inspired by the Vans checkerboard pattern. 'A walk in the park if you already know how to knit stranded colorwork', claims designer Maren Odenthal.
The suggested yarn is John Arbon Textiles Appledore DK. Once again, the fibre is available as tops for spinning.
Raindrops hat by Mirella Moments
This hat also has an interesting ribbed stitch pattern, perhaps a little simpler than fisherman's rib. There is a matching scarf too if you fancy the set.
It uses aran-weight yarn on 4mm needles.
Pattern and project suggestions
Smilgas Cardigan by Zanete Knits
According to Zanete's social media post, this pattern is exactly a year old. I also learned that this particular one uses handspun yarn for the contrast colour.
It's a comfortable cardigan in eight sizes. It requires 1640 - 2428 yards of DK-weight yarn on 3.5mm and 3.25mm needles.
Meissa Pullover by Amy Christoffers
This is a top-down seamless pullover with a choice of sleeves - bigger for layering over or narrower for layering under.
Use a single natural colour in a sport weight or light DK (12 wpi). It has a bobble and eyelet motif. There are ten sizes.
Tree Boughs and Trails Hat by Clare Lakewood
This hat uses a modern take on traditional German twisted-stitch patterns.
The pattern includes up to five sizes (if you buy through Ravelry rather than Interweave) using 95 - 168 yards of worsted weight (9 wpi) yarn.
But is it art...?
Aran Illingworth - advocacy in stitch
Aran's intricate applique and stitch tell stories of Indian life. The pandemic lockdown inspired her to stitch birds and other wildlife that she saw on daily walks.
17 Nov - 19 Nov 2023, The Barn, Burn O Bennie, Banchory AB31 5QA
flock Contemporary Craft & Design is back! Come along and shop a curated collection of the best designer/makers working across Scotland - with over 40 vendors taking part.
Entry is free but the website allows you to book a time in advance to guarantee entry.
Yorkshire Yarn Fest
26 November 2023, 10 - 4, Sandburn Hall, York YO60 7SG
Tï»¿his is a one day festival on Sunday 26 November. There are timed ticket entrance slots but once in you can stay all day.
In three rooms with a lift to first floor room and workshops.
All that remains is for me to thank everyone who blogs, writes articles or posts pictures on the subject of spinning, knitting, crochet or weaving. This newsletter wouldn't exist without them.
Please share a link to hand-spinning-news.com with anyone who may be interested.
It's always good to hear from readers for any reason and I'd particularly like tip-offs about about any relevant stories, websites or social media accounts that I should be following.
Shiela Dixon - Editor / curator
A PeacockMedia publication