Hand Spinning News
I hope it's not too late for me to wish you a happy and healthy 2020. I think I've got the hang of writing '2020' rather than '2019' now.
Did you spin on New Years Eve or Roc Day (St Distaff's Day)? Some groups held spin-ins and some spinners simply spun by themselves to mark those red letter days.
Along with those and some 'favourite projects of 2019' and 2020 pledges, our tips / tutorials section is bursting with an abundance of instructional articles.
Read on for this month's feast of fibrey fun for spinners, knitters, crocheters, dyers and weavers. This is the free issue for January 2019 2020. (Traditional January joke.)
Find out how to receive a longer, ad-free version of HSN earlier in the month.
Photo right: Hello Yarn fibre ready for Jillian Moreno's sample-along. The cover photo is by Lisa Fotios via stocksnap.io
- In the media
Colour of 2020, seaweed-eating sheep
- Handspun stories
4-ply odyssey, substituting handspun, fine knitted lace blouses, handheld distaffs
- Colour inspiration
Fibre, singles and finished yarn in glorious colours
Stop motion: A love story
- Tips and tutorials
Dyeing with mud, drumcarder and diz, simple spindle kate, tools for your blending board
knitting parts for hearts
The Journey of True Colours
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
2020 UK show dates announced so far
- But is is art...?
Garments are made of recycled VHS tapes
In the media
Pantone Color Of The Year 2020
Does blue mean "calm, confidence, and connection" to you?
I don't think it's far off the mark for me, and the description is surprisingly down-to-earth for Pantone.
Yes, 'Classic Blue' is Pantone's colour for 2020. Follow the link below for their announcement and thoughts.
As a bonus, Ewespecial has written her own commentary on the colour of the year as well as her own favourite colour.
Scots shepherdess Sian and her island flock of seaweed-eating sheep
Congratulations to Sian Tarrant, she has been given responsibility for a 'drystane' wall which separates the flock of North Ronaldsay sheep from crops and other breeds of sheep on the Island.
The island is the northernmost Orkney island and is home to 50 people and 2,000 sheep. These particular sheep live on seaweed alone.
Thanks to @woolsackuk for retweeting this article which is a really informative read.
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Substituting handspun in knitting patterns
I'm more keen on text with pictures than videos, but this one is on a very interesting topic and is concise.
Rachel is tackling the subject of substituting handspun yarn where a pattern is designed for a specific commercial yarn.
Here she presents her thoughts and invites discussion with a view to this being a mini-series.
Shrouds to die for
The certainties in life are things that we don't like to think about.
Tom Knisely tackles the subject of green burials and explores felted wool and handwoven willow caskets, and handwoven fabric shrouds, with a view to weaving his own.
Make Nine 2020 Pledge
Did you make any kind of pledge or resolution? (It's not too late.)
Amy King gives her 'Make Nine' pledge, which includes spinning two sweater's worth of yarn as one of the nine.
She also pledges to finish unfinished sweaters, which is a good thing because she has also promised separately to cast on "20 for 2020" - that's right, to cast on 20 new projects, with no rules about finishing them.
A time-tested fiber management tool
This is a selection of handheld distaffs. This isn't a new idea; some of these are Roman.
This article also features some modern counterparts and reproductions of these old tools.
Spin-Off's Kim Caulfield discusses them and explains how to make your own.
Twist analysis: twined knitting
These two swatches look like regular knitted swatches, but they're 'twined knitting', an ancient two-ended technique. The reverse side looks quite different from our familiar purl-bumps.
Analysis shows that old twined-knitted artefacts were spun S and plied Z, which is opposite to the way that we'd usually do things.
For Spin-Off, Josefin explores this subject and makes some samples to compare them.
First steps in charkha spinning
In India, Charkha means any spinning wheel, but to us the word more often means a book or briefcase-sized hand-cranked device.
Joanne Nakonechny's article isn't a how-to, but background and general advice. It's a very good read if you're interested in this type of spinning.
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When little needs saying except 'beautiful colour'
Jillian Moreno's sample along
Jillian Moreno started a 'sample along' at the beginning of the year. Week by week you can sample along with her.
This is 85/15 mixed BFL/Tussah silk from Hello Yarn Fiber Club in "Lanthorn". Adrian has split lengthways and then into these 4 nests.
New Year's Eve Spinning
There are many ways that you could tackle fibre that contains a variety of colours.
This is roving that Joanne had prepared from raw fleece, and then dyed.
Maybe surprisingly, she carded this to blend the colours. The result is a rich gold-coloured yarn with more depth than if the fibre had been dyed a single colour.
Side by side
The transformation from dyed fibre to finished yarn can be surprising, and it can vary depending on techniques used.
The strong blue and green here have been absorbed to some extent by the more neutral colours, producing quite a subtle yarn.
The fibre is from Created by Elsie B.
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Wool characters share in love's hardships
This is another stop-motion film using yarn and fibre. It's a love story. Although the author says that she wanted to "bring comfort to audiences", I'm not sure that I'd recommend it if you're in a dark place relationship-wise.
Tips and tutorials
Drumcarder and diz: creating a marled roving
I'm glad to see an article about this. I have done it before and the experience of spinning the resulting roving is different from spinning a batt. I guess it takes the finished yarn closer to the worsted side of the worsted/woollen spectrum.
The technique is being used here to create a marled roving (and therefore a marled yarn).
Simple Spindle Kate
I've seen devices that hold spindles while you ply from them, but not one which suspends the spindles from swivels. It seems both clever and simple.
We have seen previously that Josefin uses combs to tease wool before carding. This may seem excessive but she begins this article by quoting "the spinning is in the preparation".
She is very keen for her rolags to have even distribution of fibres and consistent in size and shape. Here's how she achieves that.
The Bolivian women who knit parts for hearts
These Bolivian knitters are using a hi-tech material to make a device which seals holes in babies' hearts.
The material is a 'memory metal' alloy, which means that it can be folded into a slim catheter for insertion, before being expanded when it's in the correct place.
The device, called an occluder, looks like a little top-hat. It was designed by cardiologist Franz Freudentha and is made by hand because it's technically difficult to mass-produce.
Thanks once again to @woolsackuk for forwarding the story.
What a load of...
If you like Yvonne, click the image to find her page, you can use next and previous to explore more cartoons.
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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Catharine Ellis and the journey of True Colors by Keith Recker
"The world of natural dyes has always seemed to her characterized by a generous sharing of knowledge."
This isn't so much a review as an extract from the book. The page does also include an interview with author Keith Recker (from which the above quote comes) and a short audio message from him.
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Sometimes just a picture is enough
Sheep to sweater : a warm felted winter hat
These hats are each different but equally beautiful.
Spinning Shepherd notes that felting requires no specialised equipment. Also that this pink hat incorporates combing waste.
This is a good example of how you can incorporate a relatively small amount of your handspun yarn into a large project.
it's also a good example of pattern modification. I quite liked the short sleeves of the original pattern but like many others who have made the pattern, the crop isn't for me. It does look great with a longer body and with longer sleeves. (Ravelry link)
St Distaff's spin-in
This is a beautiful portrait featuring Evanita with the focus given to the wheel that she has recently purchased.
It was taken at a St. Distaff's spin-in. There are lots of details about the wheel and the spin-in in the description of this Instagram photo.
Handspun octopus shawl
I wish I knew more about the construction of this. Is it a wide shawl wrapped around to form a dress?
It's made from corriedale lamb, and it seems to have locks in the fringe. The maker is Annette Montgomery.
Handspun Rambouillet gloves
These are not very recent, hence the autumn reference. But how nice to see autumn colours again. The colours in the handspun Rambouillet yarn remind maker hookmountainhandmade of a Van Gough painting.
Ceramic support spindle
This month's sexy spindle shot is a ceramic support spindle and bowl, bought by one maker from another.
The maker of this one is aaronmakesstuff
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A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
7 am by Paula Niskasaari
As a quick and easy pattern requiring 200-300 yards of worsted or aran-weight yarn, these legwarmers are a perfect pattern for handspun yarn.
The pattern appears in the current Knitty.
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Favourite project from 2019
This is redrasta02's favourite project from 2019, which remarkably is the first time knitting with her own handspun yarn. She says, "this experience feels like going back to the roots"
The pattern is remarkably popular, Dreyma by Jennifer Steingass
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But is it art...?
Colorful, metallic garments are made of recycled VHS tapes
or ".. but is it fashion?"
I'm always sceptical when I see environmental or sustainable claims when plastic or other waste is 'recycled' or 'upcycled'. I suspect that the new thing will be enjoyed for a time before being thrown away, merely delaying the journey into the environment rather than removing it.
However, look at the drape on this metallic fabric. It is in fact VHS tape. The idea of wearing a favourite film using an unwanted VHS tape does appeal to me.
The tape is woven but there's no word on how it's been coloured.
Thanks to Fiber Sprite for this link.
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Norfolk Makers Festival
Sat 8 To Sun 23 Feb 2020, The Forum, Norwich.
A wide variety of crafts including knittings, spinning, weaving, crochet.
Demonstrations, have-a-go tables, workshops and exhibitions include Norwich Castle tapestry, RBST, Nudiknits, Saori Shed, Drop Spindle for Beginners with Jenn Monahan and much more.
Friday 21 - Sunday 23 February 2020, Farnham Maltings, Hampshire
A curated marketplace of over 70 quality exhibitors, well established practitioners alongside first time yarn show exhibitors selling yarn & fibre accessories. A programme of bookable workshops, talks & demonstrations led by UK & International experts.
Heartlands, 15 March 2020
New larger venue, Cornwall College, Pool, TR15 3RD
Over 40 exhibitors, Cornwoolly brings together suppliers of virtually everything you need for your project, including a vast array of wool in all its states, and showcasing some of the best textile artists working in the South West today.
Buxton Wool Gathering
9 and 10 May 2019, Grand Octagon room, Pavilion Gardens, Buxton
The organisers of Bakewell Wool Gathering are pleased to announce the second year for Buxton Wool Gathering in May this year.
The Wool Monty
Saturday 13 June and Sunday 14 June 2020 FlyDSA Arena, Broughton Lane, Sheffield S9 2DF
Accessible, inclusive, welcoming.
26 and 27 June 2020, Mitchell's Lakeland Livestock Centre, Cockermouth, Cumbria CA13 0QQ
Woolfest was founded to provide a celebration of natural fibres and a showcase for the best of wool and wool crafts. It is all about creativity and design with beautiful quality, amazing colours, skilled craftsmanship and a huge enthusiasm for all things wool related.
11 and 12 July 2020, Uffculme Centre, Birmingham B13 8QY
A fibre festival produced by Stitches and Hos. It comprises of a marketplace, programme of workshops, demonstrations and of course cake!
1 - 2 August 2020, Location and further details tbc
Wool and Wellbeing festival for the North East.
Southern Wool Show
5 and 6 September 2020, Newbury Racecourse, Berkshire
The perfect event for all lovers of knitting, crochet, feltmaking, weaving, spinning, dyeing, and all things woolly!
Perth Festival Of Yarn
12 and 13 September 2020. Dewars Centre, Glover St, Perth PH2 0TH
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 80 vendors, keynote event, social events and classes run over the weekend.
26 and 27 September 2020, 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
26 September - 4 October 2020
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 3 October 2020, 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
26 and 27 September 2020, 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
Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 October 2020 Bakewell Agricultural Centre
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.
Loch Ness Knit Fest
23 to 25 October 2020, the Inverness College UHI Campus
Often referred to as 'the friendly festival'. The event's 5th Birthday will be at a brand-new venue with workshops and a marketplace.
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. 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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