Hand Spinning News
If this enforced time at home has a positive side, it's more crafting time. I've seen it described as 'crafter's heaven'. I've seen spinners using the extra time to finish projects, clean and tidy storage bins and in some cases spinning for comfort. This issue we even see finished projects which were started and finished during lockdown.
In light of the current situation, the traditional events listing is now a listing of online spinning events. Do let me know if you're taking part in any online spinning activity.
Read on for this month's cunning curated collection of inspirational information and entertainmenfor spinners, knitters, crocheters, dyers and weavers. This is the full issue for April 2020.
Photo right: Shetland Wool Week 2020 patron and hat pattern launched . The cover photo is detail from a photo taken by Sian Tarrant of punding, or rounding the North Ronaldsay sheep up into stone enclosures.
- In the media
Shetland Wool Week patron and pattern announced but event now cancelled, message from The Prince of Wales
- Handspun stories
Jämtland wool, banana fibre, pattern singing, combing station, backstrap weaving
- Colour inspiration
- Tips and tutorials
Chain plying, The Common Threads Loom, how to spin a bouclé yarn, weaving on a triangle loom
Wearable textile electronics, the oldest cord found
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
- Online Events
In light of the current situation, this is now a listing of online spinning events
- But is is art...?
In the media
Shetland Wool Week 2020 patron and hat pattern launched but event cancelled
The Patron and official pattern for Shetland Wool Week 2020 were announced shortly before the announcement of the cancellation of this year's event.
The pattern has already been downloaded 27,000 times. Although the pattern is still free to download, the organisers are inviting a voluntary donation to help the organisers, the Shetland Amenity Trust, to help them cope with the current challenges. There will be a printed version available.
There is a knit-a-long Facebook group.
This year's patron is Shetland knitwear designer, Wilma Malcolmson.
Wilma is the designer of the 2020 pattern, which is called Katie's Kep. It's available for free download via the page linked below, where there is also an interview with Wilma.
A message from The Prince of Wales, patron of The Campaign for Wool
On 3 April, the Campaign for Wool published this message from campaign patron, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales for distribution to all Campaign supporters across the world.
In it he expresses his sympathy with those facing challenges and uncertainty at this time.
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Once again, Josefin introduces us to a Swedish sheep breed. This time it's a new breed, introduced as a meat breed that also has a fleece to compete with imported Merino.
Unboxing the Electric Eel Nano e-spinner!
I have to confess that I don't really 'get' unboxing videos but they do seem very popular (or at least prolific).
I find Felicia's videos very watchable and this one is a good objective demonstration of this little electric spinner. Look for the bold link to the video near the end of the text in this blog post.
Going bananas for banana fibre
Banana is a bast fibre and its extraction is more environmentally-friendly than the rayon process which produces fibres in a more chemical way from pulped material such as bamboo. It has been used for a surprisingly long time and is still in use today.
Liz Moncrief has tried weaving with a commercial yarn made from the fibre. She writes about the fibre and the three samples that she wove from it.
The idea of spinning pet hair seems to be gaining traction. Here Denise Renee writes about her experiences. She says that it's like "learning to spin all over again".
#SPIN15ADAY virtual bingo
At first I thought the game here was to use the tools and materials on the card during your 15-minutes-a-day spinning. But given the short time between posting the cards and drawing the prize, I guess the game was simply to own or photograph the tools.
You can still access a unique spinning bingo card, so maybe it's something you'd like to play with your spinning group (in whatever way you choose) or even by yourself.
How About This?
I could smell mint as I read this post. The power of suggestion is strong.
This isn't actual mint fibre but a cellulose fibre which has been infused with mint extract for "natural antibacterial and cooling properties".
Portrait of a sweater
We've seen Josefin wearing this spinning wheel jumper in many of her pictures. It's made from Jämtland wool, which she has also written about this month (linked somewhere above.)
This is the second time that the elbow has needed a repair, but repair it she has, invisibly.
Pictures and description of the repair are in this 'portrait of a sweater'.
This month's sexy spindle shot is from April Klich, who has chosen spinning for her 100-day project. She has specifically chosen spindle-spinning because she needs a project "that I can do around the kiddo. I need to be able to pick it up and put it down quickly. It needs to fit in a bag that can go on a shelf out of her reach. So the spindle wins over the wheel."
The spindle is a Jenkins Turkish Swan, The fibre is some Polwarth and some heathered BFL which are different but very complementary.
Switch to a lighter whorl
As you fill a drop spindle, the weight of the yarn outweighs the original spindle.
These medieval-style spindles allow you to change the whorl for a lighter one and continue spinning.
Keep calm and craft on
spinmeasurecut has just received these Petlyn English combs and has transformed her dining table into a combing station so that she has plenty to keep her calm and busy during lockdown.
Janelle calls this project her Pandemic Hitchhiker. She started and finished it after "all of our scheduled engagements vanished".
Because this pattern has repeats, she was able to predict the yarn used for the next repeat and use all of her handspun yarn without the yarn chicken situation.
This blog post contains pictures of the finished item as well as the dyed Polwarth/Mohair Silk she used.
Backstrap weaving is a simple method of weaving. The loom is constructed for each project and the weaver becomes part of the loom.
Josefin began learning to use the technique to weave her handspun using a loom kit and an online course.
In this post she reviews her progress and projects so far.
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When little needs saying except 'beautiful colour'
This fibre is Manx Loaghtan from Sheepspot in "5 Violets".
As it's not on a white base, the purples look more "dark and moody".
Follow the link for pictures of the fibre and finished yarn, and also the finished project that uses it.
Karma Blend fibre
The fibres within this blend intrigued me more than the colours.
The recycled sari silk adds random spots of colour and texture. Along with that, this blend includes bamboo which is very soft and has some great properties. And mint which apparently has incredibly fine fibres.
You may be aware of Design Seeds, a resource for finding a colour palette.
Flora & Fiber have shared this new resource which is similar but specifically aimed at stitchers, the colours matched to various brands and types of embroidery threads.
Sometimes Stress Is Good
Knit/Wit has also spun this more vibrant Southern Cross fibre.
"There were spots of dark purple that turned a little brownish, and I love how you can see them in some of the plies if you look closely. It's this kind of thing that makes spinning handpainted fiber such a joy."
This lovely lilac is from fibre solar dyed using red cabbage. It's only a sample but James is pleased with it.
It's always good to see a sequence of pictures showing the journey from dyed fibre to singles and plied yarn. The colourway is called Thistle from CraftyCatKnittyBits
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Tips and tutorials
Pure Colors: Chain Plying
If you're relatively new to spinning then chain-plying or navajo-plying can seem daunting, but it has several advantages.
You can make a nice round 3-ply yarn with only one bobbin of singles. You easily use every inch of your singles and it concentrates colours.
Deb Gerish doesn't give a full tutorial, but there are plenty of videos elsewhere online. She does give some sound tips.
The Common Threads Loom
If this enforced time at home has a positive side, it's more crafting time. Why not try something new using tools that you can make yourself from things you may have at home?
A pin-loom is a fast and addictive way to use yarn and create squares which can be sewn to make a variety of projects.
The page I'm linking to is the Common Threads Loom home page, it has a video tutorial about making the loom. Look for the link to the guide where there's another video about using the loom and a downloadable guide.
This is all free with no popups or signups, so a huge thank you to Amy D. McKnight and to yarnworker.com who shared this and many other weaving resource links.
Freeform, SAORI-Inspired Weaving
Debbie Held writes in the Schacht e-Newes that freeform and Saori-based weaving can be done on any kind of loom.
This article is designed to inspire you to "exhibit your true self through expressive, no-rules weaving".
Once again, thanks to yarnworker.com for the suggestion.
How to spin a bouclé yarn
Bouclé yarn consists of loose loops around a core. It can be fine or chunky. It's a yarn that works well when used in weaving.
Kate's tutorial has pictures and video and appears on Ashford's blog.
Weaving On A Triangle Loom
A triangle loom is a large frame that works like a pin loom. Larger triangle looms can make shawls, smaller ones make triangles of fabric that you can sew together in a variety of ways.
In this video, Jillian Eve demonstrates how to use one.
Spring cleaning: round up your fibre tools
This isn't your average "spring clean and maintain your wheel" post.
Heavenly Bresser's article for Spin-Off magazine focuses on organisation and storage. Things that are on display and within easy reach are more likely to be used.
Wearable textile electronics for health management
A lot of effort is being put into developing wearable fabric that can monitor health.
This very dry article says that this knitted, machine washable fabric is capable of measuring movement of the skin, and is so sensitive that it can monitor the wearer's pulse and breathing.
The oldest cord found
This electron microscope picture has been determined to show a 6mm-long fragment of three-ply cord made form plant fibre.
The date for the earliest-known twisted cord keeps moving backwards and this one is attributed to our extinct relatives, Neanderthals, who may not have been as dumb as traditionally assumed.
"There are three bundles of fibers that are twisted counterclockwise, and then those bundles, once they are twisted, are twisted back the other way, clockwise, around each other to form a cord or string", says paleoanthropologist Bruce Hardy.
With thanks to Laura Fry for sharing this story.
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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Sometimes just a picture is enough
How I Got My Spinning Groove Back
Spin-Off editor Anne Merrow admits that the colours of this "outrageous" yarn are a little eye-searing, and she also admits that she had a period where she did no spinning.
She found with these mitts that it wasn't so much about the finished items but the process. She writes about her hiatus and getting back her groove.
Janelle says that she's smitten with these mittens. She had only done a little colourwork previously but after a while "something clicked", and she did just fine with these.
The darker yarn is a moody mix of violets, I've mentioned the fibre and yarn earlier in the 'colour inspiration' section.
The nightshift is a very popular pattern with hand spinners and we've seen many examples here in HSN.
Kat says of hers, "I like how it turned out and I used up so much of my handspun yarn!" Follow her link to the project's Ravelry page to see more pictures of the finished project.
This is thelotusgrows' second Nordiska. It's mostly made using handspun yarn from stash. The main colour is mixed BFL in Overcast from threewatersfarm.
The pattern is a modern take on a classic Scandinavian style, an oversized, cropped fit.
Hands up if the word 'moth' makes you think of dull brown?
These are silk moths. Not necessarily sitting on the type of silk that they produced, except for the Bombyx, which I nearly missed in this picture because it's relatively small and whitish.
The names of the other silks and moths are in Evanita's description.
I don't have details of the pattern (if indeed the maker petite.filature did use a pattern) but the jumper is partially made from handspun and naturally-dyed yarn.
Thanks to corrina_m for including details about the spinning. She used braids which were different, but blended well together, made rolags and spun woollen yarn which is light and warm.
The pattern is Gardengate by Jennifer Steingass, which is inspired by wrought iron gates.
It's worth clicking through to see the larger pictures of this scarf. It was hand spun, dyed and woven by Daniela Linhartova.
If you'd like to make a similar one, instructions for dyeing the warp. the weaving draft and treadling / full lift plans are presented on the Ashford blog.
Just a Smidge
This joyful picture is Smidge the chicken modelling a tiny hat made from a sample of alpaca fibre from Pendle Alpacas.
finished Katies Kep
kerrucrafts' is the first finished handspun Katies Kep that I've seen (official pattern for Shetland Wool Week, see elsewhere in this issue). They used handspun from stash.
First triangle weave
Earlier we saw a triangle loom tutorial. This is a finished shawl made using a triangle frame, there's a worthwhile in-progress shot here.
Janel Franks had decided that this year would be a "follow through year" for finishing projects and learning to use collected equipment. She's making good use of the extra time.
Only 5 years in the making
Goldilox has used her extra time to finish this blanket which has been five years in the making.
An art batt is pictured in the blog post which contains "a huge mix of different fibres, plus bits of ribbon and feathers". It became the centre of this blanket.
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A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Green Machine appears in the current Knitty.com magazine. It uses 840 - 1680 yards of laceweight yarn on 3.25mm and 2.75mm needles for a light and airy garment.
It's knit straight down from the shoulders with short-row shaping.
Sizes range from XS to 5X
Chunky Hat Receipe by Anniken Allis
One for those unseasonably cool Spring days. This isn't a full pattern.
If your head is 59-62cm circumference then you can simply knit from this guide. If not, there are instructions at the end for scaling up / down.
It uses 140 yards of bulky (7 wpi) yarn on 6.5mm needles.
Floating Ribs by Cate Carter-Evans
Brioche is hot right now, as is the colour of this particular example. Others have chosen more subdued colours to make this pattern. The choice is yours but you'll need 480 - 600 yards of Aran-weight handspun yarn.
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But is it art...?
This mixed media piece is by multimedia artist / sculptor Natasja van der Meer. She likes to use natural, local, native, sustainable and renewable materials.
it's a ceramic bowl with a crochet rim of hand spun hemp yarn dyed with walnut.
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In light of the current situation, the regular events listing here is temporarily replaced by an 'online events' listing.
Are you hosting or taking part in an online event or challenge that I'm not aware of? Let me know.
Tour de Fleece
Saturday June 27 until Sunday July 19, 2020
Spin-along during the Tour de France. Challenge Yourself. Spin. Have fun.
Tour de Fleece is currently planned as if the Tour de France is happening as scheduled. Should the Tour de France be cancelled, Tour de Fleece should happen in the currently scheduled time-frame. Should the Tour de France be rescheduled, options will be reviewed for moving Tour de Fleece to correspond with the Tour de France.
14th to 18th October 2020
Challenge, Fun, Friends, Charity
There is no entry fee to register a team. Spinners will be invited to donate a minimum of £5 each and ALL funds raised in 2020 will be donated directly to the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution)
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. Obviously the link to the full version is a benefit for paying subscribers, but 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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