Tour de Fleece 1 took place on the original dates of the 2020 cycle event. It now appears that there will be a Tour de Fleece 2, taking place alongside the rescheduled race. I hope that the many TdF round-ups featured in this issue might inspire you to consider taking part in the second TdF of 2020.
e-spinners have become mainstream equipment rather than a necessity for those unable to treadle. In this issue there are reviews covering three different e-spinner models.
Wool has appeared in the news quite a bit this month. Sadly many of the stories relate to farmers composting wool since the price has dropped due to the coronavirus. But there are also more positive stories hitting the news about new and novel ways to use the stuff.
Read on for this month's cunning curated collection of inspirational information and entertainment for spinners, knitters, crocheters, dyers and weavers. This is the full issue for August 2020.
Photo right: Dieser Moment. The cover photo from a manuscript, 1478.
In the media
Wool insulation campaign, 'worthless' wool more valuable as compost, wool packaging, Chimney Sheep
Tour de Fleece, seven year experiment, rhubarb seeds, spinning in medieval art, Spin the Bin, sheep to sweater contest, tannins, low-tech equipment
Below you'll see some stories about the sad state of affairs regarding the price of wool.
On the more positive side, the NFU has backed a petition which calls for real British wool to be used in the government's new home insulation scheme and carpeting in any public financed building projects.
The petition itself is here. I've added my name, please add yours. As I write this, the petition has more than 23,000 signatures of the required 25,000.
'Worthless' wool more valuable as fertiliser, says Shropshire farmer
This is an article from the BBC but it appeared widely on media websites. One farmer explains that the price of wool is at a low point because of the coronavirus pandemic. He feels that it has more value composted and spread on the land.
The article refers to the campaign for the use or British wool in government projects.
Here's a very heartfelt social media post from one shepherd on the same subject.
This is a pile of fleece which has amazing properties, yet is going for composting.
Says Facebook user Fletcher's Flock, "people are walking around in man-made fibres derived from the petro-chemical industry, panicking that the oceans are filling up with plastic while blaming ruminants for climate change"
Wool project to source record 22 tonnes amid crisis
This is an unexpected use for fleece.
The Chimney Sheep is a chimney draught excluder. The Cumbrian maker collects wool directly from local farmers and pays them a better rate than they'd get from British Wool (which at the moment isn't saying much.)
This year they're increasing the amount that they buy from 16 to 22 tonnes.
The knit knack has written a long post below her 'progress' shot. It combines a discussion about using a sweater quantity (SQ) of handspun yarn for a garment, with lots of information about the history of this particular project.
Thread Head Joanne has finished her Spin the Bin challenge.
This would have been a great challenge for anyone to have taken during lockdown. The opportunity isn't over. The challenge runs from December to December, and the rules say that you can start at any time. I'd strongly encourage you to read the rules, there's lots of fun stuff including chat, 'use it or lose it' and a price for bailing on your bin.
Joanne combined this with Tour de Fleece and now has over five miles (including plying length) of spinning.
Among the virtual events this year was the third annual virtual spinning camp, #CAMPSPIN15IN20
This included zoom meetings and a Sheep to Sweater competition.
The competition required participants to spin just 5g of fibre and make a 2" high sweater. The prizes were some beautiful Allen Berry spindles, awarded in four categories. As I write, the winners haven't been announced yet but for the thumbnail and link I've chosen my favourite of the entries. You can see the other diddy jumpers here.
Following beautifully from the last story is this blog post from Tracy Hudson.
We have seen how a backstrap or belt loom can be anchored to any convenient post / tree / doorknob. Tracy wants to use her foot-tensioned loom and has been considering foot dexterity and trying to exercise hers.
There are two ways to felt wool, wet and dry. In this article Tammy refers to a magazine article about making wet felted beads by Amy C. Clarke. I've found that link to be broken (it may simply be a link to purchase the magazine).
Tammy goes on to explain the process for dry (needle) felting and how to embellish beads for jewellery.
We're now so used to buying textiles manufactured abroad, it's difficult to imagine the revival of a booming textile industry. What's stopping Western countries from expanding their textile manufacture at an artisanal or industrial scale? The answer may be in this chart.
Fibershed's analysis relates to the Western US, but I suspect that it broadly applies to us here in the UK, if only the bast fibre and wool sections.
The interesting take-away is that it might only take the plugging of a few gaps before we could be buying more clothes that are grown and sewn close to home.
How textiles undergo fossilization via mineralization
Textile fragments exist which are 5,000 years old. A French research team has published a paper explaining how fibres can become mineralised and then fossilised, and the conditions needed for this to happen.
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The Coronavirus pandemic is causing havoc in all our lives at the moment but what about the charities and organisations that rely on public fundraising to maintain their care services? Martin House Children's Hospice is such a charity, with an annual running cost of around £9 million to provide their vital services to families, they need our help.
As a way of offering support to Martin House, Adam Curtis Online are donating a percentage every sale of their two most popular ranges, the Best of British Wool Throw Collection and the Real Shetland Cushion range.
Please see their blog for more information about Martin House and the fundraising products.
It's lovely to have a gallery of finished project photos.
In an earlier post, HighlandHeffalump didn't seem happy with the inconsistency of the yarn. She started spinning during last year's Tour de Fleece, with a third skein spun at this year's TdF! She blames not making notes or sample cards for the inconsistency.
I think this is a case of 'no one else would notice' and it's a beautiful project, particularly close-up when you can see the jewel tones. This blog post also contains lots of detail about the pattern, yarn and timescale.
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.
I don't feel that I want or need to state very much on the subject of diversity. I would encourage anyone to blog, write or publish content on the subject of spinning and make sure that I know about it, whatever their gender, age, sexuality, skin colour, physical ability or any other personal attribute. When compiling this content I am often ignorant of these things because pictures tend to show projects rather than people and nicknames are often used. I'm making my decisions based entirely on the content and I believe that's the way it should be; all about the spinning.
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