First and last chance to see wall hanging maps at Wonderwool Wales
A special exhibition of wall hangings depicting seven different places around the UK will be on display at this year's Wonderwool Wales.
At this time of new life, the theme this month is 'taking up something new'. If you're curious about crochet, then Vicki Robinson designed the handspun yarn Wrapunzel pattern for her "fellow straight line crocheters". There's also a tutorial for crochet netting / mesh with some pattern suggestions.
If it's weaving that intrigues you, then Mary Lou Egan has written a great article about her initial experiences with a small rigid-heddle loom. There are two main ways to warp a loom, direct and indirect. Liz goes through the pros and cons of each and demonstrates on video how to warp a rigid heddle loom using both methods.
It's shearing time and this month's stories also include a beautiful demonstration of 'unzipping the sweater from the sheep' and potential new technology for helping out with the shearer shortage.
Read on for this month's round-up of news, views and reviews for spinners, knitters, crocheters, dyers and weavers.
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Cover photo: taken by Suzy Brown during Janet Day's class at Majacraft Camp 2023, used with kind permission.
A special exhibition of wall hangings depicting seven different places around the UK will be on display at this year's Wonderwool Wales.
Margaret Seaman once again appeared at the Norwich's Maker Festival with a new work.
Buckingham Palace took her more than eight months to knit. Her previous projects include Sandringham, a 'Knitingale hospital' and the Yarmouth Golden Mile.
Margaret believes that she has raised £100,000 for charity through her knitting projects and has received a British Empire Medal for her work.
Another interesting use for wool is shown here.
Little nests of wool help prevent freshly-planted moss from washing away.
Sphagnum moss is great for both capturing carbon and helping to preserve moorland.
The Bhutan tradition of producing nettle yarn was nearly lost when imported cotton became more easily available.
But recently a scheme for promoting indigenous crafts has helped to revive the tradition.
In February we met Ruth Lindsey and learned about her 'wool logs to stop erosion' scheme.
The first logs have now been laid. The grant allowed Ruth to work with four local farmers and get some value from their "otherwise almost worthless" Swaledale fleeces.
Along similar lines, last lear in April we heard about wool being used to repair a coastal path on the Isle of Skye.
The wool is used as a permeable layer which stops stones from sinking into the boggy peat beneath.
The wool paths have been successfully trialled in locations across the UK and work has now begun on Anglesey.
Around 700 fleeces have been used in this project with farmers receiving a premium price for the wool.
In last December's issue we learned that Kate Drury's British wool rope had a use in seaweed farms. Kate is passionate about finding new outlets for British Wool.
She has been named as a winner in this year's Women in Innovation Awards.
If you don't already follow Sarah's 'substack', The Gusset, I recommend it. I find her style delightful.
This shirt is made of paper. Specifically handspun coffee filters, backstrap woven. She says that it's so comfortable, "it feels…like me".
This article contains the details of the sewing up, and in this previous article, she discusses the weaving and the cloth.
Mary has been looking at her growing darning pile and finally decided to tackle it. She left the job out in sight in order to encourage herself to pick it up.
How do you get motivated to make a start on a job you've been putting off?
You've invested a lot in each skein of handspun yarn and like Alanna, you might be very reluctant to throw away even small scraps.
Here she talks about incorporating those special yarn scraps in new batts.
This 3/1 twill fabric is woven from handspun, hand dyed yarn.
The warp and weft come from different fleeces, one making shiny and strong yarn, the other soft and warm.
Josefin tells the whole story from award-winning sheep to soft fabric.
In this latest post of a series, Carol reproduces the sprang bonnet shown in this portrait of Jacob Fugger by Albrecht Dürer.
April is looking at her stash in a new light since she's used 1000 yards of yarn that she wasn't sure what to do with until recently.
She noticed that crochet baskets had been appearing frequently online and decided to make one. She's not entirely happy with this one but knows that she can do a better job on the next one.
How much VM (vegetable matter) is too much?
Devin doesn't regard a lot of VM as a dealbreaker. It's surprising how much drops out during preparation, spinning and plying.
Today we can wear any shade of green without worrying about our safety but that wasn't always the case.
The Wilhelm Dye and White Lead Company's emerald-green dye, introduced in 1814 was bright and bold, and people continued to wear it and use it in carpets and wallpaper even after it was known to be lethal.
Christina Garton explores the history of green dye.
Thank you to Barbara for mentioning the Great British Yarn Crawl, which runs from mid-April to the end of June.
UK Handknitting hosts a map allowing you to find premium yarn shops in your area. You can collect stamps at participating stores. Six stamps qualifies you for a prize draw.
I'm not sure whether this is related, but if you're in East Anglia, then The East Anglian Yarn Crawl runs during all of July and August 2022. This event has a downloadable passport on which you collect stamps, again for a prize draw.
Canadian Production Wheels, or CPWs are vintage wheels that can be found in museums or the homes of collectors.
Spin Off staff spotted images of CPWs in the Marshfield School of Weaving's textile equipment collection
This Spin Off article contains a link to the Marshfield School of Weaving website, where you can browse the collections of wheels and view some fabulous images.
Devin Helmen likes to spin breeds that may be dismissed as 'meat breeds'. Such wool can have useful properties.
Here are Devin's thoughts on good sheep breeds for socks, 2-ply vs 3-ply and sock knitting.
Plant fibres and protein fibres have different properties, meaning that you may be able to substitute one for the other or maybe not, depending on your project.
Ruth Nguyen discusses elasticity, how they take dye, gauge, how they behave after blocking, how they look with knitted lace and cables.
"Anything made with handspun yarn has a bit of magic in it", says Patricia Briceño.
She explains how she uses handspun yarn in felt - overspun, corespun, lockspun.
An accident led to Araignee making this discovery and an addition to her combing / carding kit.
Pointillist painters precisely placed dots of unmixed colour in order to create more vibrant hues than colours mixed on a palette.
Pointillist Color Effects in Spinning: A Study Program by Flo Deems is available for free from the Spin Off library (free sign-up required).
Pamela walks us through her design process. She provides some resources; a warp calculator, weaving notes template and a demonstration of the WeavIt software.
Trying to knit faster can lead to aches and pains. Carson Demers is a physical therapist as well as a knitter and has tips for more comfortable, productive, and enjoyable knitting.
Sue has written this tutorial with accompanying video about something that may not be documented anywhere else, that she calls binary crochet.
It involves two colours in every row. The two colours aren't used doubled or carried behind.
This is a series. You'll find a link within this article to the first which deals with the foundation row, again in text and photos with accompanying videos.
Duplicate stitch is a very simple and very effective way to add more colour to your knitting.
This video has clearly marked sections and subtitles.
We all know that we should check our gauge and adjust needle size accordingly.
There are two elements to gauge; row and stitch. You may be able to match one but not both. It may be necessary to adjust the pattern.
Theresa Shingler takes a look at how to adjust for fit with raglan, circular yoke, and drop shoulder patterns.
Loop stitch is a "fun and funky textural knit stitch".
Amy Gunderson demonstrates.
If you crochet, then Amy also has a tutorial for you.
When you begin weaving you learn that it's important to make a diagonal with your weft when you pass it through the shed.
Peggy Osterkamp goes into some detail about why this is important and how to get it exactly right.
This is the third of craftmehappy's series Spinning Into Focus in which she tries blending very colourful top using a number of different techniques. They will eventually become a sweater.
Here are techniques 6,7 and 8.
1, 2 and 3 are here, and 4 and 5 are here.
Here are some very helpful tips for colourwork knitting from Kate Atherley.
There are two main ways to warp a loom, direct and indirect.
Liz goes through the pros and cons of each and demonstrates on video how to warp a rigid heddle loom using both methods.
This is for you if you've never woven before but are curious.
Mary Lou Egan bought a 12" Ashford Knitters Loom. (Don't shoot the messenger, Ashford themselves don't give it an apostrophe).
This is a very good review with thoughts and feelings on the weaving adventure.
Kerry Bogert has written her honest review of the USB-rechargeable knitting light from Lumos & Lumos
This EEW Nano isn't a new product to Ewespecial, but she recently rediscovered it and has been enjoying using it.
She's spinning brown cotton here. Can it put enough twist into the spin? No worries on that front, she finds.
Thanks to Fiber Sprite Pamela for this tip. The Youtube channel Half as Interesting explains why it's easier to make a machine to knit than it is to make a machine to crochet.
This is a beautiful and enjoyable ten-minute video which explains why sheep need to be shorn and how it's done.
The number one issue for the Australian wool industry at the moment is a shortage of shearers.
Adelaide University research team has been working on technology that could be an alternative to shearing.
A protein is injected and after a few days the fleece develops a break, allowing the wool to be pulled off easily, perhaps using a comb or perhaps an air-driven system.
This is very similar to rooing which is traditional with some breeds.
I hope that everyone here is already an avid listener to the Infinite Monkey Cage presented by comedian Robin Ince and Professor Brian Cox. In case you're not, this episode, the last of series 26, takes Materials as its subject.
Anna Ploszajski opens by singing the praises of wool. "Materials scientists are still trying to design materials that are as good as the ones nature has been making for many many years. So my favourite material is wool."
This entertaining episode is available for a year.
Nano-architected materials are materials whose structure is designed at a nanometer scale. They can exhibit unusual and often surprising properties.
This new material is made from interconnected microscale knots and resembles 3D knitted lace.
Sometimes just a picture is enough
The Nectar Blanket is often made in one main colour, but ahiddenpurl is using changing colours here to great effect.
She's making the largest size and spinning as she goes, which is a great way to keep interested in a project. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished blanket.
Ewespecial has made this and other dishcloths from handspun cotton.
The patterns were free, part of a "Year of dishcloth pattern club", definitely one of the more specialist subscription clubs that I've heard about.
This easter-themed gnome is Gnormanda, who is preparing for Easter with her assistant Gnibbles the rabbit.
Gnormanda of Grimblewood knitting pattern (or should that be "gnitting pattern?" ) is by Sarah Schira.
Kat based Gnibbles on a free Easter Egg bunny.
This is the first skein that sandandskycreations has spun on her new support spindle.
The skein is laceweight, 358 yards from 47g of fibre. Simone says that it's "soft, drapey, and I love the soft natural café au lait colour".
She doesn't say so but it looks like it may be a singles yarn.
Kristi has made these wristwarmers from handcombed and handspun worsted Norwegian lamb and a traditional Estonian lace shawl pattern.
They'll be a gift for the sheep owner / breeder.
Swipe through these pictures for some lovely shots of the prep, the spinning and the gorgeous skein of yarn.
The yarn here is handspun and dyed Gotland, a long-stapled wool.
I love the way the dyes look over the grey fibre. Top marks for the real (if "chaotic") bobble.
The pattern is Lattice Fair Isle Hat
This is the first time that I've seen the Hitchhiker wheel from The Merlin Tree. As a person of a certain age, the theme appeals to me very much.
Sara says that it travels well and is perfect for spinning outdoors.
chicksinrubber "likes the waveyness" of this Magic Waves by Kieran Foley and so hasn't blocked it too hard.
She spun a merino braid from the end for a repeating colour change.
woollyelly has made this cushion using fibre from a long-ago Christmas swap, paired with undyed wool.
The pattern is from a jumper pattern, Faroe Blossom Sweater by Claudia Krisniski
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Carry your water and other travel essentials in style.
This pattern appears in the current Knitty online magazine.
It uses a fine cotton yarn. At the least you'll need something non-stretchy.
It also requires rope or cord for the straps and has a sewn lining.
Also in the current Knitty, these socks are designed with gradient or multicolour yarns in mind. The heel is "the easiest heel you will ever knit" and won't interfere with the colour sequence of your yarn.
It has four sizes and needs 300 - 375 yards of sock yarn (14 wpi).
If you are new to crochet you may be interested in this stitch for netting or mesh. This can be used to effect or advantage in projects such as these mesh bags or lacey tops.
This page contains some pattern suggestions and a full tutorial for the stitch.
Wrapunzel is inspired by handspun but "perfect for any weight, any yardage non-superwash, feltable wool lurking in your stash".
The draft for this botanical tablet-woven band is one of a number that Catherine dreamed up and put on a back burner while writing a book. She has now woven and shared it for free (attributed).
This is a versatile design and can be worn many ways.
It's one-size and uses 1,566 yds of fingering-weight yarn on 3.5/3.75mm hooks
It's available for free for a limited time. (This does involve going through a checkout process, but no payment is necessary).
For a knitted top with a similar look, try Shala, which is also free for a limited time.
Jen of the Fibreworkshop is responsible for a range of yarn made from selected Norfolk Horn yarn, naturally-dyed.
She has just published this pattern for a classic colourwork vest with a twist. It's perfect for breed-specific wool yarn in natural and naturally-dyed colours.
I've seen this shawl made in emerald green for St Patrick's day but as you can see from the Ravelry projects, it looks beautiful in any solid colour.
The rose motif is surrounded by lovers' knots with a shamrock border.
It uses 1250 yards of a laceweight yarn.
These warmers can be worn on the legs or forearms. Anne has provided four sizes. It has a lot of texture, so will be great for plain naturally-coloured wool.
They use 5 ply (12 wpi) yarn.
This pattern is very similar to the one I used for a pair of legwarmers made from raw fleece in 2021. I absolutely love them and have been intending to make more legwarmers generally.
Kath designed this shawl for Riverknits Rainbow Mini Skeins. She has now been able to release the pattern alone.
It uses around a thousand yards of fingering-weight (14 wpi) yarn.
The page I'm linking to also features Kath's Agnes design.
The Basic Beanie makes a great wardrobe staple or a perfect gift.
Here is an in-depth tutorial which will guide you through the pattern. You are invited to buy the pattern.
This scarf has a lovely crochet stitch pattern and a hood that you can pull up when you need to.
It uses a DK weight (11 wpi) yarn.
Icelandic artist Yrurari turns discarded jumpers into art.
Her pieces "explore the line between costume and casual wear and typically feature a distinct, colourful, playful style".
At her shows, visitors will be able to order pizza made from wool leftovers.
Dutch designer Hella Jongerius built a large loom into a room and used it to create a nine-metre-tall 3D-woven structure.
She enjoyed "designing a machine instead of designing the end product". It also helps her to demonstrate that 3d weaving is the strongest and lightest construction that we have.
Also in tufted wool are Shishi San's sculptures which are inspired by the shapes and patterns of Chinese vases.
Kaci Smith's first branch weaving was a way to pass some time and do something creative while being stuck indoors during the pandemic and wildfires.
Agnes Herczeg carves stylised miniature figures from found wood and augments them with silk lace
Julie Rosvall uses to transform knitted lace into exquisite prints.
"I believe that all knitting is art, but it's a practical, and in some cases ephemeral, art" says Julie. Printing the work onto paper preserves the artistic aspect.
She details her process step by step.
Julie Shaw travelled Australia to create an iconic haute couture gown.
The one-of-a-kind dress draws inspiration from the Golden Age of Couture as well as aboriginal weaving and dyeing.
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.
Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 April, plus bank holiday Monday 1 May 2023
Exhibitor stands and some workshops in the Corn Hall. Talks, demonstrations and historical exhibitions at Corinium Museum. Some workshops at New Brewery Arts. Program magazine features interviews and patterns from local crafters.
Free entry tickets available online now.
Rescheduled for 7 and 8 May 2023, Grand Octagon room, Pavilion Gardens, Buxton
(Originally planned for 11 and 12 March 2023 but cancelled due to snow)
50 exhibitors will be displaying the best of yarn, knitting, and crochet in the gateway to the Peak District. The website contains an exhibitor list and ticket information.
The event's home page contains some charity patterns raising money for Macmillan.
12 - 14 May 2023, Sunny Bank Mills, Farsley, Pudsey, LS28 5UJ
A weekend festival celebrating textiles through a series of talks, workshops, a wide range of stalls and more.
13 - 14 May 2023 Bishton Hall, Wolseley Bridge, Staffordshire
A celebration of all things woolly, just 25 mins from J13 of the M6, in the beautiful landscaped gardens of Staffordshire's grade II listed Georgian mansion, Bishton Hall.
Saturday 3 June 2023 Leeds Industrial Museum
This popular event includes a packed out craft market, expert demonstrations, talks, performances, tea rooms, a gin palace pop-up and loads more
10 - 11 June 2023, Dilham, Norfolk, NR28 9PT
Hosted by the historic Worstead Guild,
Friday 16 - Sunday 18 June, 2023, John Arbon Textiles, Hacche Lane Business Park, South Molton
This legendary event returns. Includes mill tour and workshops, talks and even a few other vendors at the beautiful 18th century function rooms in South Molton Town Hall
Tickets for tours, talks and workshops are now available for booking.
24 and 25 June 2023, J36 Rural Auction Centre
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.
3 June - 9 July, actual events and venues tbc
A celebration of innovation in textiles across Kirklees
29 -30 July 2023 Redborne School, Ampthill, Bedfordshire, MK45 2NU
For all lovers of woolly crafts - spinning, knitting, weaving, crochet, feltmaking and dyeing.
Picks up from where Fibre East left off.
12 - 13 August 2023, Newcastle Racecourse
70 amazing stalls plus a great range of workshops. Cafe, demonstrations.
19 August 2023, Hulme Hall, 23 Bolton Rd, Bebington, Wirral
A selection of vendors selling everything from hand dyed yarns and fibres to felting kits and needles
Entry £4 per person, available on the door or online.
2 and 3 September 2023, Newbury Racecourse, Berkshire
The perfect event for all lovers of knitting, crochet, feltmaking, weaving, spinning, dyeing, and all things woolly!
Fri 8 and Sat 9 September 2023
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.
Cornwall's Yarn and Fibre Festival - Sunday 17 September 2023, The Pavilion Centre, Royal Cornwall Showground
A new event in Cornwall showcasing the best of hand-dyed, hand-crafted and sustainable yarns, fibres and related products, all in an exciting market-style show with a vibrant festival feel.
23 and 24 September 2023, Skipton Auction Mart, North Yorkshire
over 180 makers, craft workers, retailers, and artisans in the picturesque market town of Skipton, North Yorkshire.
23 September - 1 October 2023
Shetland Wool Week is a world renowned celebration of Britain's most northerly native sheep, the Shetland textile industry and the rural farming community on these islands.
Includes classes, talks, drop-ins, art. See website for the full events listing.
30 September and 1 Ocober 2023, 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.
October 2023 Bakewell Agricultural Centre (actual date tbc)
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.
5-8 October 2023, Alexandra Palace, London
Saturday 7 October 2023, Liskeard Public Hall.
14 - 15 October 2023, Kelly House, Lifton, Devon
Many exhibitors from around the South-West and further afield, producers of the finest woollen yarn to felt makers.
20 -22 October 2023, The Trades Hall, Glasgow
Scotland's longest running yarn festival, championing local and innovative makers since 2011.
GSoY has an abundance of beautiful yarns, fibres, and accessories for every crafter.
Last weekend of October 2023, Kendal Town Hall
Kendal Wool Gathering mixes demonstrations, fun activities and displays, all connected to the cloth on which the town's wealth was built.
All things woolly - exhibitions, patterns, demonstrations.
26 November 2023, Sandburn Hall, York YO60 7SG
Exhibitor applications now open
I'm Shiela Dixon, I've been doing this for around ten years in order to promote and encourage the craft of spinning.
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