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Hand Spinning News

This month's harvest has yielded a really nice selection of patterns and brioche comes up a surprising number of times. Its chunky texture may not be suitable during the current (northern hemisphere) heatwaves but if you've not tried it, enjoy a new challenge and want to be prepared for the cooler weather, it may be what you're looking for.

If you are new to Brioche, the two-colour Unified Field Cowl by Joni Coniglio is free and comes with tutorials in pictures and video.

Tour de Fleece is about challenging yourself and spinning while the cycle wheels are spinning. This year Le Tour Femmes followed the men's race and some spinners continued spinning. So there is a good selection of 'in progress' and finished yarn.

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 2022 is brought to you in association with Audible. I'm a member and enjoy listening while I spin and knit. The new Audible gives you unlimited listening to thousands of titles.

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

Cover photo: Thanks to Vije Vijendranath / unsplash.



In the media


Tour de Fleece spinning

Arc de Triomphe on Organic Polwarth

Arc de Triomphe on organic Polwarth

This is some exemplary spinning. Threadbender says that the Polwarth from Inglenookfibers was an "absolute dream to spin".

A few stages

A few stages

Lene is spinning this fleece as part of her Tour de Fleece spinning. A friend of hers owns the donor sheep but doesn't spin. She plans to knit it into a gift.

These rolags are made from "merino and various alpaca". I like the pale blue and grey with the pure white.

It was an early-morning Tour de Fleece spin for Emily of team World of Wool.

Time to spin the last ply

Time to spin the last ply

Here are two plies out of three which lazylivinfiber found 'mindless spinning'

The fibre is 'super sock' in the colorway Spunky from woundupfiberarts.

Tour de France Femme

Tour de Fleece Femme

The Tour de France Femmes race took place after the men's tour. Some teams and individuals took the opportunity to continue spinning using the tag #tourdefleecefemmes

het.spindraadje finds the colours of this Rambouillet appropriate.


Handspun stories



This is the story of how this brown cotton came to be, and how it became beautiful carded fibre for spinning.

Ewespecial recruited some neighbours to help with the ginning (seed removal). Click through to read about the deal she struck, and see the amazing processed fibre and even more amazing yarn.

Still Spinning

Emily of Tin Can Knits returned to spinning a couple of years ago and since then has completed her first handspun jumper. Her second has turned into a new design. She has also been working on a blanket and a child's top. She blogs about the experience here.

Daily flax

Daily flax

Although the flax from Berta's Flax project was hackled, Josefin likes to rehackle to give herself the best possible spinning conditions.

Here's how she did that and then dressed her distaff.

Do you use a blending board?

Do you use a blending board?

Alison has made this mesmerising timelapse in which she demonstrates the use of a blending board.

In this case she dizzes off the fibre rather than making punis. You can see the resulting roving and punis here, along with some yarn samples.

There's also a similar timelapse showing the same fibre blended using a hackle.

Whichever prep you prefer, this is a fun way to get creative with colour and is a must-watch if you're at all curious about blending boards.


Colour inspiration

When little needs saying except 'beautiful colour'



This double braid is 80/20 organic Polwarth/silk. Click through to see the squishy sportweight yarn that they became.

Kelp colorway on polwarth/silk

Kelp colorway on polwarth/silk

See also the "liquid gold" fibre/yarn.

This golden yarn is called 'kelp' and is also on polwarth/silk.

Green Machine

Green Machine

Threadbender says that these greens with a touch of blue "will brighten up the dull days of winter."

She has spun for socks and thinks that the BFL will be hardwearing yet comfy. I look forward to seeing the result.


Tips and tutorials

Using a blending board to spin a repeatable sweater quantity

Using a blending board to spin a repeatable sweater quantity

With a large quantity of yarn for a jumper or cardigan it might be important to maintain consistency.

Craftmehappy has written about how she manages this when blending fibres using a blending board. In this case it's recycled sari silk with commercially blended wool tops.

How to Ply on the Fly

How to ply on the fly

As its name suggests, ply on the fly means chain-plying as you spin your singles. It saves winding singles off to ply them separately.

Shell Feda explains.

You've got wool mail: buying sheep's fleece online

You've got wool mail: buying sheep's fleece online

There are some important checks to make when you buy a fleece in person, but it's even more difficult when you're buying at a distance.

Beth has some tips, perhaps the most important being 'go for it, but be prepared for disappointment'.

How to naturally hand dye yarn using avocados

How to naturally hand dye yarn using avocados

If you're curious to try natural dyeing then avocados are a good place to start.

They're easily found, you may regularly buy them already, the pits contain tanin which acts as a mordant, and they give a really nice and quite strong reddish colour. Personally I've found it very wash-fast too.


Artificial Muscles Woven Into Smart Textiles

Artificial muscles woven into smart textiles

Engineers at the University of New South Wales have developed artificial muscles made up of long, fluid-filled silicone tubes that can be manipulated through hydraulic pressure. These can be woven into fabrics.

The potential applications include robotics and medical / therapeutic wearable assistive devices.



Sometimes just a picture is enough

Weaving images with yarn

Weaving images with yarn

Háta does some amazing work. It's difficult to glean the details. Google translate helped a little but I'm not clear about the techniques or materials used here. 'Clasped weft' appears in the tags.

Nevertheless, it is a stunning handspun, handwoven shawl.



I love a nice personalisation job and this is one. The cunning little fox on the treadle of ahiddenpurl's new Kromski is not overstated - just right!

Handspun socks

Handspun socks

Socks 101 is a beginner pattern, "fast, but satisfying". It's available in a book which is now out of print, Rachel picked up a copy secondhand.

She has previously found handknit socks too treasured to wear, but has made this pair using handspun Targhee for wearing and they make her happy.

Inspired by Fair Isle and Gansey sweaters

Inspired by Fair Isle and Gansey sweaters

symphonicknitter has been inspired by both gansey and Fair Isle knitting in this sweater which she made from self-spun Shetland wool.

Un Abbraccio del Bosco

Un abbraccio del bosco

Elisabetta calls this "an embrace of the forest".

It's woven from hand-dyed merino and superfine handspun merino.

Two years and the singles are done

Two years and the singles are done

This month's sexy spindle shot features 15 spindles containing combed top from Whispering Pines

First handspun sock

First handspun sock

Patty made this super-soft sock using merino but for strength she did use yarn containing nylon at the heel and toe.


Free patterns and projects

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

Dotty Wrist Warmers by Nancy Marchant

Brioche has been very popular in recent years. Kate says that it "creates a fabric unlike any other: squishy and drapey, warm and wonderful" and that "single-color brioche is wildly underappreciated".

If you're curious, this might be a great pattern to get you started. it comes as part of an eBook with four patterns.

I'm linking to Kate's page about the pattern, which includes plenty of tips.

Laveau by Alison Green

Laveau by Alison Green

This crochet pattern uses 910 - 1820 yards with sizes ranging from XS to 5X.

This is one of the 'surprise' patterns that Knitty publishes between issues. The Knitty page gives some useful information about the commercial yarn, which will help if you want to make this using handspun: "a sport-weight 2-ply wool yarn. The yarn has a balance between crimpy wool (which adds volume) with finer micron wool (for softness)."

Scrap Fabric Rope Bag

Scrap Fabric Rope Bag

Brooklyntonia's Instructable takes you through how to make this bag. From a distance it looks like crocheted fabric yarn but is in fact rope wrapped with fabric scraps. That reminds me of corespun yarn on a bigger scale.

It makes heavy use of the sewing machine, to secure the fabric around the rope, and hold the rope coil together.


More pattern suggestions

Jackalope Equinox

Jackalope Equinox cowl and mitts by Jacquline Rivera

The Jackalope is a mix of bunny and antelope. The pattern also includes art deco designs which remind me of Frank Lloyd Wright.

If all of these things appeal to you as much as they do to me, then these patterns can be yours with 20% discount until 16 August.

All details are in the blog post.

First knitter: cushiest cowl

First knitter: cushiest cowl

This pattern claims to "teach the basics of 2-colour brioche in the most delightfully intuitive way".

It comes in an e-book containing four patterns.

The page I'm linking to is a blog post in which Nell Ziroli knits her own version of this pattern and gives some tips.


But is it art...?

Becky Crouch Patterson

Becky Crouch Patterson

Becky Crouch Patterson opened her first one woman show at the Museum of Western Art, Kerrville, Texas.

Ewespecial attended and shares many pictures of Becky's art. which include embroidery and other textile art.


UK Events


Southern Wool Show

Southern Wool Show

3 and 4 September 2022, Newbury Racecourse, Berkshire

The perfect event for all lovers of knitting, crochet, feltmaking, weaving, spinning, dyeing, and all things woolly!

Perth Festival Of Yarn

Perth Festival Of Yarn

10 and 11 September 2022. Dewars Centre, Glover St, Perth PH2 0TH

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.

Llandovery Sheep Festival

Llandovery Sheep Festival

17 - 18 September 2022,

To highlight and raise awareness of all the wonderful things that our British wool can be used for.



24 and 25 September 2022, Skipton Auction Mart, North Yorkshire

Stunning exhibitions, skill demonstrations and a full programme of textile workshops create a visual feast and make Yarndale a real must-visit for yarn lovers.

Masham Sheep Fair

The Wool Event, Masham Sheep Fair

24 and 25 September 2022, 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.

Shetland Wool Week

Shetland Wool Week

24 September - 2 October 2022

Shetland Wool Week will be going ahead in person this year. It will be a scaled back version of the usual physical event as the main focus will be on delivering SWW in full for 2023

Includes classes, talks, drop-ins, art. See website for the full events listing.

Bakewell Wool Gathering

Bakewell Wool Gathering

Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 October 2022 Bakewell Agricultural Centre

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.

Kendal Wool Gathering

Kendal Wool Gathering

Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 October 2022, Kendall 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.

West Wales Wool Show

West Wales Wool Show

Saturday 19 November 2022, Queen's Hall and Plas Hyfryd Hotel, Narberth, Pembrokeshire

A celebration of all things woolly. From beautifully hand crafted items, clothing and footwear to knitting wool, fleece and all the equipment needed to make at home. Demonstrations run throughout the day with stall holders sharing their skills and knowledge with visitors plus wool skill workshops such as felting.


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.

Nor would it exist without your support, so thank you for that.

If you enjoy Hand Spinning News, please do share a link to 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!)

Happy spinning!

- Editor / curator

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