Hand Spinning News
When you read this we'll be at least six weeks into the year but plenty of people are still planning their pledges, projects and colour palettes for the year. If learning new techniques is on your list for 2020 then there are pattern suggestions with video tutorials which involve brioche knitting and Tunisian crochet.
February is the month of love and we have one amazing date night suggestion.
There are a couple of items this month which show some love for the pin loom; a fast and effective way to turn your handspun into a finished project.
Read on for this month's cunning curated collection of inspirational information and entertainmenfor spinners, knitters, crocheters, dyers and weavers.
This free issue for February 2020 is brought to you in association with Audible. Listen while you spin. Download a free audiobook with your 30-day free trial.
Find out how to receive the full, ad-free version of HSN earlier in the month.
Photo right: BFL/nylon/silk Gradient spun by ninjabex. The cover photo is by Cosmic Timetraveler on Unsplash
In the media
Agriculture Bill Briefing
These are changing times, to say the least.
The aim of the Agriculture Bill 19-20 is to shift agricultural policy towards paying farmers for the public benefits they provide, rather than for simply owning land.
The Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) will be lobbying for the level of support to be sufficient to fully support the populations of our native livestock and equines
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The palindrome experiment
You may have realised that the date 2 Feb 2020 was a palindrome, and unlike some date-based celebrations (Pi day, I'm looking at you) it works equally well each side of the Atlantic.
I'm not sure whether Heather Fulford had this in mind when she wrote this article for Ply magazine, or whether this is a coincidence, but she has been experimenting with colour sequences.
Producing a skein of palindrome yarn shouldn't be too difficult. Some dyed yarn already has a palindrome colour sequence. Failing that, it's easy to split in two, spin down one half and up the other.
Heather found that producing a palindrome warp wasn't so easy. Here are her adventures.
Josefin enjoys exploring unusual spindles and techniques. She already owned a Portuguese spindle without the brass tip but Neil Whiteley at NiddyNoddyUK has been able to recreate these spindles complete with the brass tip.
The method is the in-hand 'twiddling' technique.
She made the video last Summer and if you have seen her beautiful videos before you'll know what to expect. If you're interested in trying one, she also provides plenty of pictures and tips for using this type of spindle.
Pussy cat, pussy cat
This is not yet a finished project but it is a very successful spin from cat fur.
Goldilox has recoded the progress in words and pictures. You can see a box of fluff, some neat rolags, singles and then plied yarn. There was the odd mechanical failure along the way but the result looks great.
Sample along: as it comes and flipped
Even if you didn't take part in Jillian Moreno's sample-along, there are things to learn from the experience of others.
These samples are from the Hello Yarn blog. In this post she discusses two of the techniques, Fractal and Drafted Together, and shows a picture of all four finished swatches.
The conclusion to Jillian's series is here, which contains Jillian's thoughts on her own As It Comes, Flipped, Fractal and Drafted Together samples.
Colour me orange
The pictures in this post show the strong colours that you can obtain on different fibres using a free dye - onion skins. Here are skeins of Cormo wool, Merino wool, handspun silk and cotton
"This is for folks who think natural dyes are dull and boring", says Jean Betts.
Growing Indigo in Indiana
Westerners think of "the indigo plant" but Indigofera tinctoria is actually just one of more than twenty plants found throughout the world that produce indigo.
Steeping the leaves in water to release the dye is just one method of extracting the dye. In cooler climates, the plants were composted to concentrate the dye content.
Rowland Ricketts uses natural dyes to create textile-based contemporary art. This article for Spin-Off has much interesting information and pictures of an indigo plantation and the process.
Magical "ice wool" stuns in western Finland
Interesting non-yarny things sometimes turn up when searching for spinning-related stories.
Have you heard of ice-wool, also known as ice hair or snow beard? Conditions must be just right, and a fungal growth present inside rotting wood, before the ice fibres grow. They can grow to dozens of centimetres and curl. Whether it can be harvested and spun remains unconfirmed.
Origin of the word 'spinster' - truth or fiction?
Most of us would agree that the term 'spinster' arose first from the profession and then came to mean an unmarried woman.
Over the last couple of years, a story has quietly gone viral on tumblr, that the profession was a stable and lucrative one, gave a good independent living to those women who wanted it and thus the term became a disparaging term used by those who perhaps resented that. (The viral story ends on the happy note that the women could laugh in the face of the insult because they were independent and in control of their own wealth.)
These claims came to the attention of truthorfiction.com whose mission is to investigate and fact-check such memes.
As usual with anything historical, nothing is black and white. Attitudes and meanings of words change over time. But there is a clear verdict here, which I won't spoil, but the article is a long one, full of interesting evidence and a good read.
I think we've had 3ply2ways projects here before but it's an interesting idea. These mismatched socks really show the difference between spinning a regular 3-ply and chain/navajo plying.
To the right is a 1000-year-old spindle whorl (the wood and wool are not as old). On the left is a modern reproduction which adomscheitberg has been trying out. She admits that it took a little bit of getting used to but she was eventually able to produce even yarn.
Handmaking Spinning Tools
Making a spindle can be simple and there are many options. (See also the CD spindles above.)
Heather Fulford discusses three home-made tools that you hear about less often; combs, hackle and carders.
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When little needs saying except 'beautiful colour'
Yarn color of the year: succulent
Lion Brand have chosen their own colour of the year for yarn, which is 'succulent'. It reflects a celebration of nature and concern and respect for the environment.
Their yarns may be light on natural fibres but this is an inspiring colour. See the page for more examples and ideas.
Planning My Make 9
Felicia Lo has also thought about her own colour palette for 2020. This includes her current favourite combination, orange and teal. It's interesting to note that in video and filmmaking, such colours on opposite sides of the colour wheel drive each other to look more vibrant.
There are some more examples of this gorgeous combo in Felicia's blog post, in which she also talks about her own "9 for 2020"
robinfaure has been getting through 188 yards of handspun stash by making Zoom Loom squares. This picture shows the colour variation in a braid of hand-dyed fibre.
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Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival 2019
The Oregon Fiber Festival may be too far to travel but fibre festivals have a lot in common the world over, and if you've never been to a festival before, you may be encouraged by this well-made video.
To find a UK festival near you, see the events listing later in this issue.
Thanks to 1764 Shepherdess for sharing.
Tips and tutorials
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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Yarn Substitution Made Easy by Carol J Sulcoski
With handspun yarn, by definition we are usually substituting yarn for the one the pattern was written for and tested with.
Do you just consider gauge or do you think about other things such as drape and elasticity?
quiteayarnblog reviews this book from her Christmas bookshelf.
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Sometimes just a picture is enough
Pin loom blanket
This is part of Josefin's pin-loom blanket, which consists of around 250 squares of handspun yarn.
As usual, Josefin's notes are thorough and useful. She took a little bit of a chance with the fulling, especially as different types of fibre are represented and likely to full differently. Click through to read the story.
Wear your weaving
Sarah's jacket was featured in issue 31 of The Wheel. It is handspun yarn woven on an Ashford 4 shaft loom. The pattern is her own. There are more details in this instagram post.
We've seen so many Shift and Nightshift shawls here. It's a popular pattern with handspinners.
This one is tinywolfiefibers' first large hand dyed, spun and knit project. It's in striking primary colours. She says "I love everything about it!".
The tags indicate handspun hand dyed Falkland wool.
Slouchy woven hat
This looks as if it may match Sarah's jacket. It's unusual to see a handspun, handwoven hat. Kaz Kiss made hers using "so many natural fibres including angora, cashmere, merino, hemp and cotton".
A midsummer night's dream
These fine felt flowers are perfect inclusions in spindelicious' art yarn based on "vibrant springtime mint and sherbert targhee top". It's plied with a pale pink thread.
Drop everything and spin
This month's sexy spindle shot is this gorgeous Tibetan spindle by The Spanish Peacock. Posted by The Tipsy Spinster who says that "it spin superbly. Perfect weight, balance and spin."
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A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Four free woven table runner patterns
This e-book contains patterns for four table runners by different designers and it's free from HandWoven (in return for your email address).
The patterns involve some interesting techniques including this waffle-weave which you can make on a rigid-heddle loom.
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Asha Tunisian crochet cowl by Arunima Goel with video tutorials
The pattern calls for an aran-weight (8 wpi) yarn in two colours.
It uses basic Tunisian crochet stitches, Tunisian Knit Stitch and Tunisian Reverse Stitch. This pattern has reversible colourwork without having to switch colours, so it may be an ideal project if you're at an early stage with Tunisian crochet.
As usual with Make Do and Crew, the pattern is free, or you can pay 6USD for one printable file, without advertisements
Get Garter square top hat by Woolly Wormhead
The he square top Hat is an easy introduction to sideways Hat knitting and working on the bias. Alternative finishing options give you the choice of a flat, 3- or 4-point crown.
Available as a single pattern or as part of the Get Garter collection, which contains six different consrtuctions.
Water Bearer by Jacqueline Cieslak
The sun is in Aquarius right now and brioche is trending so this appealing cardigan is well-timed.
If a cropped length appeals to you, the pattern gives a range of sizes from 30" - 57" bust. It requires 850 - 1875 yards of DK (11 wpi) yarn.
If you're new to brioche, the pattern page links to some video tutorials and a free pattern for a matching head-band.
With thanks to KatKnits for the suggestion.
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But is it art...?
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Norfolk Makers Festival
Sat 8 To Sun 23 Feb 2020, The Forum, Norwich.
A wide variety of crafts including knittings, spinning, weaving, crochet.
Demonstrations, have-a-go tables, workshops and exhibitions include Norwich Castle tapestry, RBST, Nudiknits, Saori Shed, Drop Spindle for Beginners with Jenn Monahan and much more.
Heartlands, 15 March 2020
New larger venue, Cornwall College, Pool, TR15 3RD
Over 40 exhibitors, Cornwoolly brings together suppliers of virtually everything you need for your project, including a vast array of wool in all its states, and showcasing some of the best textile artists working in the South West today.
25 - 26 April 2020, Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells
the 14th Annual Wonderwool Wales Festival. It's your chance to enjoy a fantastic range of Welsh and British artisan products and an opportunity to meet the wonderful people who made them. A great family day out with hands-on woolschool workshops and events showcasing the best in Welsh and British wool and natural fibres.
A list of accommodation and camping in the surrounding area is available on the Wonderwool website.
Buxton Wool Gathering
9 and 10 May 2019, Grand Octagon room, Pavilion Gardens, Buxton
The organisers of Bakewell Wool Gathering are pleased to announce the second year for Buxton Wool Gathering in May this year.
The Wool Monty
Saturday 13 June and Sunday 14 June 2020 FlyDSA Arena, Broughton Lane, Sheffield S9 2DF
Accessible, inclusive, welcoming.
26 and 27 June 2020, Mitchell's Lakeland Livestock Centre, Cockermouth, Cumbria CA13 0QQ
Woolfest was founded to provide a celebration of natural fibres and a showcase for the best of wool and wool crafts. It is all about creativity and design with beautiful quality, amazing colours, skilled craftsmanship and a huge enthusiasm for all things wool related.
11 and 12 July 2020, Uffculme Centre, Birmingham B13 8QY
A fibre festival produced by Stitches and Hos. It comprises of a marketplace, programme of workshops, demonstrations and of course cake!
1 - 2 August 2020, Location and further details tbc
Wool and Wellbeing festival for the North East.
Southern Wool Show
5 and 6 September 2020, Newbury Racecourse, Berkshire
The perfect event for all lovers of knitting, crochet, feltmaking, weaving, spinning, dyeing, and all things woolly!
Perth Festival Of Yarn
12 and 13 September 2020. 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.
26 and 27 September 2020, 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.
Shetland Wool Week
26 September - 4 October 2020
A busy week dedicated to celebrating Shetland wool and textile heritage.
Includes classes, talks, drop-ins, art. See website for the full events listing.
West Wales Wool Show
Saturday 3 October 2020, 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.
The Wool Event, Masham Sheep Fair
26 and 27 September 2020, 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.
Bakewell Wool Gathering
Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 October 2020 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.
Loch Ness Knit Fest
23 to 25 October 2020, the Inverness College UHI Campus
Often referred to as 'the friendly festival'. The event's 5th Birthday will be at a brand-new venue with workshops and a marketplace.
Kendal Wool Gathering
Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 October 2020, Kendal Leisure Centre
Kendal Wool Gathering mixes demonstrations, fun activities and displays, all connected to the cloth on which the town's wealth was built.
A large number of exhibitors will be bringing a huge variety of goods including yarns, dyes, crafts, art, accessories, tools, felting, crochet, patterns, carpets, looms, spinning wheels and more. Outside there will be livestock, where you can meet a variety of sheep and Llamas, whilst learning about the important Lake District sheep farming industry.
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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