If you are moving beyond the basics with your spinning, then you may have heard the terms woolen and worsted but still not be sure how or why you would spin either. Two different articles by Rudy Amann and Jillian Moreno this month deal with the subject.
In the media
Old-school mule still alive and kicking, local designer to curate Shetland Wool Week, Manx wool supporting families and troops in Ukraine, zero-slaughter wool pays off for Tasmanian, Golden Shears competition
Decoding the mystery of the rolag, the puni, and the rolag-puni, multi-craftual room, lighting a fibre arts studio, a knitter's day trip, knitting bucket list, St Eustachius' bonnet, your brain on spinning, key reasons crochet and knitting projects go unfinished, Saxon blue for socks, Shaped by the Loom, support spindle spinning, the ancient art of kumihimo
Tips and tutorials
Identifying and tackling fleece imperfections, know your drive band, caring for your hand knits, flat three-needle bind-off, worsted, woollen, or something between, carding wool nepps, wave stick, threading options for the same twill structure, bind off stitches in the round, mattress stitch, select the sett
Products and reviews
tinyStudio Issue 18, February moodboard, three books that spark creative approaches to handspinning, Unraveling
Video and audio
Circular sock machine (CSM), Choosing colours for stranded colourwork
Open hardware automatic spinning machine, 3D printed textiles, study reveals spinning mechanism of spider silk
Some of the best spinning images I've seen this month
Manx wool supporting families and troops in Ukraine
Wool producer Jenny Shepherd has been donating wool to Ukraine through the Wool for Ukraine initiative.
This is a radio interview in which Jenny talks about how touching it is to receive thank you messages. The country has a strong tradition of knitting and the recipients are finding the donation therapeutic.
Whether or not you're lucky enough to have a dedicated room for your crafting, it's always fascinating to have a tour of someone else's space, to see what crafts they do and how they've organised their space.
Thread Head Joanne quilts, spins, dyes and weaves. This is a tour of her creative space.
Jeni Hankins made a weekend trip to Edinborough and writes about three exhibitions that she visited. Two of those are drawing to a close as I write this, but all the same, it's an interesting travel log and may inspire you to make your own textile-themed weekend break.
UFOs: three key reasons crochet and knitting projects go unfinished
Interweave editors have reached out to the community to discover the main reasons why so many of us have so many UFOs - unfinished objects, and offer some advice for clearing your crafting space. All without judgement!
For the last couple of years Sarah has been trying her hand at 3d vessel knitting.
She has tried paper, willow bark, dogbane and milkweed cordage and she finds the fibres "simply glorious".
If you're curious about this, she gives some details of her experiments to find the best starch to use. It's good to see Sarah blogging again, her words, her projects, her photographs and her sketches are all delightful.
This is an incredible resource developed by Fossil Fibers and provided free as an ad-free web page, with a downloadable simple checklist that you can take with you when looking at fleeces to make sure that you don't miss anything.
It covers, with good images, imperfections like kemp, breaks, second cut and yolk as well as looking at characteristics such as staple length and dual-coat.
My browser's 'reader view' and 'save to pdf' made great work of viewing and saving the guide. I highly recommend if you're interested in spinning raw fleece.
In this series, craftmehappy is spinning the same top - John Arbon Appledore - using a variety of techniques.
Techniques 4 and 5 are dizzing the fibres off a blending board, and spinning from the end without pre-drafting.
You can see a comparisonof these two techniques in this article, and by the end of the series she hopes to knit a garment which will show the different levels of colour blending in order, so that the colours appear to come into focus across the garment.
I'm including this product pick because of the 50th anniversary of the album that has inspired the colours here.
I imagine that many of the HSN audience are around the same age as me, and/or have similar musical tastes.
In this range of yarn, Alexandra has dyed 2-inch areas of bright colour, which give around half a dozen stitches of accent colour before being eclipsed by the main dark colour. (I tried to buy some but she seems to ship within the US only.)
Spinning reimaged: three books that spark creative approaches to handspinning
Suzie Blackman reviews three books that will "inspire you to explore new possibilities with your craft"; Spinning Hand Dyed Fibre by Katie Weston, Yarnitecture by Jillian Moreno and The Spinner's Book of Yarn Designs by Sarah Anderson.
Knitting socks with handspun yarn on a circular sock machine
Somehow I'd missed this video when it was published 4 months ago but happily Felicia referred back to it in a more recent one.
Here she discusses the topic of making socks using her circular sock machine (CSM) with handspun yarn in mind. She talks about the considerations you have to make when you spin the yarn, getting the fit right, colour, working heels and toes. She provides a link to a pdf containing her notes and photos.
If you're interested in tools such as 3d printers and laser cutters as well as in spinning wheels, then you'll be excited by this machine.
It's an open hardware spinning machine which means that in principle you could make your own from freely available files.
It does require a polyjet or other very accurate 3D printer for some parts.
If you watch the video, you'll see that the focus is on plying. It spins singles but it requires pre-drafted roving which it drafts a little more and adds twist. I look forward to further developments on this front.
Note the link in the text to the home-made drum carder.
Brigitte kock has been working on various ways of connecting 3D prints to make textiles. The various types of interlocking designs she has come up with have resulted in fully 3d printed garments with some pretty unique looks.
ThePenguinUnicorn has made this Avena sweater using Harvest Hues from John Arbon.
She had to order more fibre to finish the sleeves and unlike myself, she found that the next batch of fibre wasn't a match and so blended the old yarn with the new for a little way and also improvised a pattern on the sleeves to disguise the fact.
Double-ended, double-thickness hats have been trending You can use all of a skein if you're careful. The unique feature of this hat is the cast-on and crown shaping, which Sarah created because she didn't love that of a popular similar pattern.
It uses 400 - 500 yards of Fingering / 4 ply (14 wpi) yarn. The pattern has five sizes. It includes a photo tutorial for the cast-on method.
22-23 April 2023, Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells
First held in 2006 to promote the market for Welsh wool and add value to product for small wool & fibre producers in Wales, the festival celebrates the green credentials of Welsh wool and its versatility as a material for creative crafts, designer clothes, home furnishings and more.
Wonderwool Wales has grown year on year. It covers everything from the start to the end of the creative process.
A list of accommodation and camping in the surrounding area is available on the Wonderwool website.
A gathering of people with a love for wool and yarn, and the associated crafts. The first Cumbrian Wool Gathering is organised by the same team responsible for Bakewell Wool Gathering and Buxton Wool Gathering.
unravel... autumn is a celebration of all things yarn making from knitting and crochet to spinning and weaving
At the core of unravel... autumn is the curated marketplace which showcases independent producers, well established makers alongside first-time yarn show exhibitors from around the UK. In addition, on each day of the festival, there is an inspiring programme of bookable workshops.
9 & 10 September 2023. Dewars Centre, Glover St, Perth PH2 0TH
Scotland's contemporary yarn and fibre festival. 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.
I'm Shiela Dixon, I've been doing this for around ten years in order to promote and encourage the craft of spinning.
It's made possible by a number of readers who contribute financially. You can join them with a regular contribution (pay what you like, no matter how small) and in return receive a longer ad-free* version (approx half the number of stories again) of HSN earlier in the month.
If you're reading this newsletter on the web and would like it delivered to your email inbox for free every month, just fill in your email address in the box somewhere below. If you've reading this in your inbox and would prefer not to receive any more, just use the Mailchimp 'unsubscribe' link at the foot of the email.