Banner image

Hand Spinning News

Tour de Fleece Day 11, danaknitshere

Tying a fishing net with hemp twine is an ancient craft that predates written records. iamtbeck has tried her hand. Sprang lace also resembles netting, and is a term that might raise a smile the first time you hear it. We have many such terms in spinning, such as niddy noddy and diz. Do you know where these names come from?

Last month the Tour de Fleece was in full swing, and so this month we see some 'finish line' pictures with some results and recaps.

Read on for this month's round-up of news, views and reviews for spinners, knitters, crocheters, dyers and weavers.

This free issue for August 2021 is brought to you in association with Audible. I'm a member and enjoy listening to audiobooks while I spin and knit. Download a free audiobook with your 30-day free Audible trial. Alternatively, for a limited time, 3 months for 99p.

Find out how to receive a longer, ad-free* version of Hand Spinning News earlier in the month.

Photo right: Super bright and cheerful Nightshift, origamistripes. Cover photo: Sheep painted with rainbows in support of the NHS, photo by Alex Hannam.



In the media

What's being done to raise the profile of this fantastic natural fibre?

What's being done to raise the profile of this fantastic natural fibre?

You may well have seen this on TV on 11 July, but in case you missed it, Adam met Campaign for Wool's COO Peter Ackroyd to discuss the issues wool has faced due to Covid and demonstrated a number of innovative products that are using the wonderful fibre wool.

As well as the video, this page also describes a number of products that were briefly shown on the screen but not discussed.


Handspun stories



Sayra almost donated a handspun, handknit scarf but instead unravelled it and overdyed the yarn.

This post contains close-ups of the overdyed yarn and videos of the 'before' yarn and the dyeing process.

The result is absolutely beautiful. She plans to use it in a shawl for herself.

Wool Week 2021

Wool Week 2021

Dates have been announced for Wool Week 2021, those being 4 - 31 October. My mental arithmetic isn't great but that does seem to be almost the whole month.

Activities will be online / social, with "options for in-store events where permitted".

Shetland Wool Week 2021 hat pattern

Shetland Wool Week 2021 hat pattern

Once again, Shetland Wool Week is to be an online event.

For the second year running, the event's patron is Wilma Malcolmson, so once more she has had the task of designing the Shetland Wool Week pattern.

She has named it Da Crofter's Kep, it uses six colours and features traditional Shetland motifs.

The pattern is available for free and also as a printed booklet with proceeds supporting the event.

Trace the wool you sleep on…

Trace the wool you sleep on…

The Campaign for Wool reports the story of the traceable wool scheme, which traces wool from the farm gate to the shop floor, giving the customer confidence that the producer has received the best payment for their wool.

Hand-Tying Fishing Nets

Hand-tying fishing nets

iamtbeck's first attempts at tying a fishing net with hemp twine weren't very secure or even. But with practice and a hand-carved shuttle, her work became better.

This is an ancient craft, predating written records. Found fragments date from 8300BC.

A spinner's glossary and etymology

A spinner's glossary and etymology

Do you know where the names of our niddy noddy or diz come from? Some spinning names and terms tend to raise eyebrows in those new to the craft.

Maryanne Ladensack has compiled this A-Z with definitions and origins.

Park and draft and read

Park and draft and read

This picture is certainly an eye-catcher.

I listen to audiobooks while I spin, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone reading while they spin, and I don't imagine that I'd be able to do it.

knittinginny says "it was more park and draft and read, and repeat."

3D-printing spinning tools

3D-printing spinning tools

We haven't quite reached the Star Trek replicator yet, but 3-D printing has become very accessible. If you don't own one, you may well know someone with such a printer. If you're technically-minded and curious then they're available for less than £60.

This article from PLY magazine lists a number of ideas for 3d-printed spinning and weaving tools, with links to the models.

For the more experienced / ambitious, the inventor of the Electric Eel Wheel has made all of his designs freely available for home printing.

Sissel Brun Ellevseth also gives you some tips if you are thinking of embarking on this journey.

Sparrow Migration

Sparrow Migration

This is Vampy with Sojourner the Daedalus Sparrow e-spinner.

Evanita has arranged for the migration of two Sparrows. One is making a journey around the USA, the other the UK. A journal travels with each so that spinners can share their thoughts and pictures. There's also a blog, collecting all of the stories together.

I'm linking directly to Vampy's blog. She received Sojourner in July and had the opportunity to do some of her Tour de Fleece spinning with the spinner, and also to take it to the first in-person meeting of the Norwich guild so that other members could try it.

Russian Down Goats

Russian down goats

Katia Gorges is a Russian spinning and knitting teacher.

She realised that the Russian goat classifications are different from those in the English-speaking world because the goats are different.

The fibre goats fall into Angora breeds. Cashmere breeds and Cashgora breeds. Katia describes each classification and discusses goat down generally, how it's collected and spun.


Tour de Fleece

Some favourite posts

Day 16

Day 16

It's entirely up to you what goals you set for yourself. Spinning Shepherd decided to do some carding and made a very soft and airy batt from 75% white Ouessant wool and 25% angora rabbit.

Running Out of Road

Running out of road

You don't often hear of the spins that people hate. Araignee was "really, really sick of" this BFL/silk blend. She has been spinning it for several tours and so decided to abandon the spindle and "give it a sloppy finish on the wheel ".

And why not?

Workbook for Tour de Fleece 2021

Workbook de Tour de Fleece 2021

Later in the tips we'll see an article about keeping notes about your spinning. bossladyshark's workbook is on another level.

This short video shows her entries for Tour de Fleece 2021

Wearing My Yellow Jersey

Wearing my yellow jersey

Knit/Wit also shared her 'finish line' photos. She only intended to spin at least a little every day. This strategy has yielded 1,500 yards of yarn over the course of the tour.

She sees herself "knitting with handspun more in the months ahead".

Colour inspiration

When little needs saying except 'beautiful colour'

Basin and Range

Basin and Range

Threadbender's spindle shots never disappoint. I love this combination which reminds me of clean steel and red rust. It's actually named Basin and Range, dyed by Huckleberry Knits.



This is a similar colour scheme to the previous but is as far as I know unrelated. the name 'Koi' suits these colours well. The rolags are from Spindles and Stitches.

freelifiber is still learning but has been spinning every day during Tour de Fleece and feels that she's getting better.

Natural dyeing - finale

Natural dyeing - finale

This beautiful colour palette is made using natural dyes.

Debby has been participating in a 10-week online Natural Dyeing Study Group at the School of Sweet Georgia. She is planning a set of plain weave colour gamp placemats

She decided to have a solid five days of dyeing, and blog about the experience.

I'm linking to the last of those posts, at the end it has links to the earlier posts in the series.


Tips and tutorials

Taking Notes

Taking Notes

Taking notes can help you answer questions later about how much yarn a fleece yielded or duplicate a yarn that worked out well.

What should you write down, and how? Carol Huebscher Rhoades and Elizabeth Prose both give their tips.

3 Easy Ways to Use Crochet Edgings

3 easy ways to use crochet edgings

I do find clickbait headlines like this a little offputting but this article genuinely contains three very different ways to add a crocheted edging. The second, adding a pretty edging to a purchased item is an idea that I've never tried or even considered.




Maureen: I resent your implication that I've been at the dandelion wine again. (Maureen is bright yellow.)

If you like Yvonne, click the image to find her page, you can use next and previous to explore more cartoons.

Keeping this wheel spinning

Your news here

Your news here

Are you a teacher, pattern designer, dyer, equipment manufacturer or supplier?

Would you like to reach the readership of thousands of hand spinners and at the same time help to support Hand Spinning News ?

Find out more about advertising here using the link below.

If you are a supplier, please don't miss the UK Supplier List. If you're not already on it, please let me know, and if you are on it, please consider paying a modest amount for a coloured box around the listing and an additional sales message.

Read more


Sometimes just a picture is enough

Ostereierfarbe Jacke

Ostereierfarbe Jacke

This is heike_wolleprojekte's jacket, which she made from yarn spun during Tour de Fleece, while on holiday.

The yarn is dyed using Easter Egg dyes.

Super bright and cheerful

Super bright and cheerful

We have certainly seen a lot of handspun Nightshifts but this is certainly the most colourful.

origamistripes made the shawl using yarn from Tour de Fleece 2019

Swipe the picture to see the fibre used, which is a little more pastel and less rainbow than I expected.

Repurposed clothes

Repurposed clothes

greensheepyarns decided to sew a bag with this woven art yarn, and repurpose some jeans at the same time.

Thick felted slippers

Thick felted slippers

We tend to spin with feltable fibres, so making a project that involves felting on purpose is an option. You need to knit BIG. The amusing 'before' picture of these slippers is here. She held the yarn double to help achieve the size.

They're still too big for spinner / knitter juxta_posie but just right for their intended recipient. This is her first project from yarn that she spun herself.

Towel turned Tote

Towel turned Tote

Adam Lazar was delighted with his Stripes and Blocks kitchen towel. After hemming, he couldn't bear to use it in the kitchen, and so turned it into this tote bag, which will be functional and show off the woven fabric to a wider audience.


Free patterns and projects

A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.

Rikke Hat by Sarah Young

Rikke Hat by Sarah Young

Monica recommends the Rikke hat, she has made her second and say that it won't be her last.

The reason?

"The pattern can be easily adjusted to any yarn weight and looks great in semi-solids, variegated, commercial and/or handspun yarns. Also, the garter stitch makes it for a comfortable and squishy hat."

She also has some tips about making this hat with handspun yarn.


More pattern suggestions

Wobble Bobble Beanie by Hannah Martin

Wobble Bobble Beanie by Hannah Martin

The hats shown here were made by tindragoncottages who has "a life-time supply of carded alpaca fibre".

She mentions that the Wobble Bobble Beanie could use a little modification when using home-spun alpaca, but doesn't elaborate, other than that she will use a bigger hook next time.

The pattern calls for 175 yards of Worsted weight (10wpi) yarn. Note that the pattern uses US terminology. If you're used to UK terminology, you may find a chart like this one useful.


But is it art...?



All that remains is for me to thank everyone who blogs, writes articles or posts pictures on the subject of spinning, knitting, crochet or weaving. This newsletter wouldn't exist without them.

If you enjoy Hand Spinning News, please do share a link to by email or on social media with anyone who may be interested. Obviously this full version is a benefit to you as a paying subscriber. An edited version of this particular issue will be mailed to free subscribers and visible at towards the end of the month.

It's always good to hear from readers for any reason (or no reason!)

Happy spinning!

- Editor / curator

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.

peacockmedia logo A PeacockMedia publication

Don't miss out

Hand Spinning News as a free monthly email.


* indicates required

Be sociable

Please share HSN with your friends:


Previous issues are now archived here:

H S N archive