Hand Spinning News
Welcome to the first issue of 2015. I know this will be a great year for Spinners. For starters we're about to begin the Chinese year of the sheep (although this is a debatable point).
In the free patterns this month are cowls to keep you warm outside and slippers to keep you warm inside.
Please don't miss the very important news at the bottom of this newsletter. Starting with this very issue there are two versions of Hand Spinning News, a full and an edited version.
So read on for the cream of this month's crop of spinning stories. For the longer version, scroll to the bottom and follow the instructions.
Photo right: 'Louisa' by Nadia. Photo top: Shiela Dixon.
- News and articles from around the web
- From Blogland
- Tips and tutorials
Showing off some of the best images I've found this month
- Free patterns
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn
Some 2015 dates for your diary
News and Blog Posts
The year of the sheep
Some will say ram or goat but Kate of WoolWinding prefers 'year of the sheep'.
She lives in one of the most beautiful parts of the world (according to me) and a walk in the countryside inevitably takes you through a fieldful of sheep grazing and, as Kate reminds us, shortly to be lambing.
She posts some of her pictures and thoughts on the subject.
Handspun bobble yarn knitted into an infinity scarf
Sayra usually prefers art batts but inspired by a Spin Off cover featuring coils, she spun thick-and-thin yarn with coils using space-dyed roving.
It's always good to see how art yarn transforms when used. Here the coils have made bobbles over this infinity scarf.
A great day
This pile of fibre is a blend of alpaca, mohair, yak/silk and pearl-infused rose fibre (yes really!)
This mix was devised by Anne and her fellow visitors to the mill that produces some of her Knitspot yarns.
It's a long post but about half-way down you can follow this pile of fibre through the carder, spinner and see it washed and swatched.
Addicted to Sheep - a new documentary
Magali Pettier has filmed the Hutchinson family and their Swaledale sheep in the North of England over an eighteen-month period.
Her documentary is important because it records a lifestyle which is in decline. She has used crowdfunding to make the film, which is now complete. She is now asking for further donations to help to get the film shown.
Whether or not you're interested in helping, the three-minute preview is well worth watching.
I've linked to Kate Larson's post about the documentary. From there you can click through to watch the preview.
If you weave with your handspun yarn, then you may know that January 1 was 'loomsday'. Meg of the Unravelling blog compiles blog posts from weavers around the world.
Not all looms are dressed with handspun yarn, but I'm grateful to Dot, editor of Yarnmaker magazine, for her post which brought the loomsday project to my attention. Dot is not only weaving with handspun yarn but her rigid heddle loom is also warped with yarn that she spun from fleece that she washed and carded herself.
Among Meg's long list I also found a weaver using jeans and tee-shirt yarn. The link below takes you to Meg's post
St. Distaff's Day
Sadly I don't think there a real St Distaff but this day (also called Roc Day) falls on the 7 January and marks the return to spinning for the ladies after the Christmas break. (Fellas have their own 'Plough Monday').
Spinning is now pleasure rather than work but the day is marked worldwide by spinners gathering together for fibrey fun and fellowship. In this post on the Spinning Daily blog Kate Larson tells us about the St Distaff's Day event at Westford Museum and Historical Society (I think the title is supposed to say '2015').
Was there a UK meeting anywhere? I can't find a mention of one, do tell me if you know better.
Instead of making resolutions, Joanna of freestylefibres is taking a different approach. It sounds like a good idea, and more likely to succeed!
Click through to read more. This is her first spin of 2015, some wool with nylon sparkle.
Events such as the Tour de Fleece and Spinzilla can be incredibly productive and stash-busting.
I took part in Spinzilla last year (the first year they'd opened it up to worldwide entries). Unlike TdF which is more of a personal challenge, Spinzilla is a spin-as-much-as-you-can competition. You can treat it as a personal challenge or go for it and try for the prizes (there are photo competitions too if you're not confident about your 'distance' spinning).
I've said that if a UK team doesn't register this year then I'll host one with Hand Spinning News sponsoring (money raised goes to a spinning-related good cause).
The 2015 event is October 5-11. It is a way off yet, but expressions of interest would be most welcome. Please use this discussion on the UK Spinners Ravelry group as it's already running:
Colors of red cabbage
While steaming some red cabbage for my tea recently I noticed that the water had turned a very rich teal colour.
I did what any of us would have done, grabbed some white carded fleece and dunked it in. The colour was amazing but of course washed straight out.
The colour didn't stick to a hastily-mordanted sample either, plus the liquid changed to purple.
My internet search found this post. It seems that the colour given by red cabbage can range between teal and mauve depending on the acidity of the liquid.
Kathleen had some success, particularly with silk samples, but doubts that the colour will be fast because it's not mentioned in her books (It doesn't feature in my favourite book either, Gill Dalby's Fast or Fugitive).
Does anyone know more about this topic?
Tips and tutorials
Kate Davies' top tips for Boreal
I fell in love with this pattern before Christmas and will definitely be making one in handspun yarn this year.
Note that in this 'tropical' colour combo, the colours are reversed light/dark from the original pattern light/dark which makes a subtle difference to the look.
Designer Kate says that this pattern may not be for colourwork novices because of the long floats. In this post she gives her top tips for this and similar patterns.
Half hitch for low whorl spindles
As part of a series of short how-to videos, Spindle-mistress Abby Franquemont demonstrates how to make the half-hitch for use with a bottom-whorl spindle with no hook.
A video shows this kind of thing much better than photos, and in addition Abby demonstrates with both left and right hands.
Five ways to weave more creatively this year
If you weave with your handspun yarn and find yourself in a creative rut, then this post on the Craftsy blog will help.
It was good to seethis joyful post in which Mary shows off a successful handspun hat.
But the previous post is much more interesting. A sorry tale - but these are the ones we learn from. Mary tells us the four important lessons that she learned and which eventually let to a much happier outcome!
Repairing a hand-knit sock with a knit-in-place patch
A hole in a handknit sock is inevitable and very disappointing, I can tell you. More so for us spinners because the time invested in our finished garments is greater.
This knitted patch is an alternative to darning. It's not invisible, but these will usually be on the sole so that doesn't matter.
Jackie E-S gives us detailed instructions with clear pictures. One of the commenters adds that this technique could be used to add a pocket to any garment (leaving the top open, obviously...)
I religiously keep left-overs of the handspun I've used to make my socks and I have two holes that I can try out this technique on right now.
Keeping this wheel spinning
Your news here
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Would you like to reach the growing readership of thousands of hand spinners and at the same time help to support Hand Spinning News ?
Yarnmaker is the print magazine produced in the UK. Issue 21 has landed and has some particularly good articles.
Each issue has over 40 pages and around 20 articles on topics ranging from sheep breeding to patterns for knitting your handspun, reviews of wheels, spindles and other equipment, history and techniques, letters, competitions, news and events.
This month's articles include Spinning for a Garment! How Scary... by Hilltop Cloud's Katie Weston, Spinning in a Small Space by Becky Gant, Distaffs by Susan Tosini and much more.
Sometimes just a picture is enough
It was inevitable...
I've often commented that colourwork using a dark colour with graduating handspun yarn is a lovely effect.
Josiekitten spun this cheerful rainbow yarn using corriedale bought at Woolfest. Striping it with a dark colour gives a wonderful effect and earlier in the same post you can compare this with a panel made using the same yarn alone.
The stitch pattern is based on the Wurm hat which is close to the top of my queue and the rainbow buttons (unicorn smarties?) are a lovely touch!
2014 Hand-spinning Round-up
Being the start of the year, there are many resolution and '2014 round-up' posts (I mentioned mine last month).
Nadia shows off her handspun from last year and lists her achievements. An impressive list, well done to her.
Remarkably, she spun five of her seven yarns in just one month. That's the 'Tour de Fleece' effect. If you've not taken part before, it might be something to plan for this year.
this yarn is her 'Louisa' which she spun from punis, an experience that she says she didn't enjoy.
A sexy spindle usually catches my eye. Irieknits certainly has posted some beautiful spindle shots, which you can find if you explore her Flickr photos.
This one is fascinating rather than sexy. It shows how creative you can get when it comes to spindle whorls. This light supported spindle with a ceramic bowl uses seashells.
Handspun honeybee sweater
This is a beautiful jumper and beautifully made.
Explore reeniebeanie's adjacent pictures to see detail shots as well as some amazing matching shoes.
Rebecca's first finished project of 2015 is her own version of Enchanted Mesa by Stephen West. She says that it "provokes disbelief in [its] bizarre shape during knitting". She also comments that it looks "marvelous in handspun".
The unconventional design may not be one that everyone could wear but these pictures look amazing.
Sarah of Crafts from the Cwtch says that she was smitten by the Langfield hat pattern's interesting construction.
Garter stitch is easy, cosy and stretchy.
The hat looks very cosy and Sarah says that she "wasn't disappointed with this pattern, which was finished in just a few hours."
'Extra Texture' scarf with 15in fringe
This scarf is 3 metres long, no word on whether this includes or excludes the 15 inch fringes.
It's made from three different bulky handspun yarns, containing a variety of fibres.
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Casu Cowl by Galia Lael
A bulky cowl will be cosy and quick to knit. Alicia of Woolen Diversions has done the legwork and collected a number of patterns.
Casu Cowl by Galia Lael is free and can be knit to any length you choose.
leethal Mary Janes by Lee Meredith
"Leethal" is a play on the designer's name, these slippers are not dangerous at all (but take no chances, use sock stop), just very pretty. In fact, half way through writing this I had to go and cast on -I had the perfect yarn and wanted a pair right away!
This pair is made in handspun wool by Raveler shansays who says "these have got to be the fastest stash busting project ever"
Felted slippers from unplied single yarn
After one failed attempt and feeling fed up, Fran realised that when you're knitting for felting, the spinning doesn't have to be fine or even.
She teased the raw locks by hand, spun a lumpy single and knitted straight from the bobbin. It's also interesting that when knitting garter stitch, the alternating rows of knit stitches balance out the twist in the singles.
Fran has given us her pattern, which looks very similar in construction to the Mary James above (so maybe the strap from the MJs could be added?).
Not a free pattern but a free stitch pattern generator
The idea is to make a transition from one colour to another using a random stitch pattern (or more accurately, colour switches).
Follow the link to read about gfish's experiments and find a link to the actual generator.
Bramble Jam crochet head band and neck warmer by DROPS Design
This pattern calls for a fingering / sock weight alpaca yarn, doubled up. If you do this with handspun yarn, the colours in the yarn mix in an interesting way.
Alternatively you could use a thicker yarn (ie DK).
Friday 26 June and Saturday 27 June, Cockermouth, Cumbria
Woolfest was founded to provide a showcase and a celebration of the best of wool and wool crafts.
The event is all about creativity and design with beautiful quality, amazing colours and skilled craftsmanship and this was recognised in 2012 when Woolfest won the Cumbria Tourism Award for Event of the Year.
25 & 26 April, Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells
Promoting wool and natural fibre production and its use.
Exhibitors and trade stands covering all aspects of felting, knitting, weaving, spinning, crochet and textile art with raw materials, equipment, books and finished products for sale. Competitions and a range of hands-on workshops.
A list of accommodation and camping in the surrounding area is available on the Wonderwool website.
25 and 26 July 2015, Redbourne Community College, Flitwick Road, Ampthill, Bedford MK45 2NU
The fifth Fibre East, those in the Eastern, Midlands and Southern Regions an opportunity to join in an event which aims to encourage and promote British wool and natural fibres.
The college provides an indoor venue.
Bakewell Wool Gathering
Bakewell Agricultural CentreSaturday 17 and Sunday 18 October
This year sees the third year of the Bakewell Wool Gathering, an event for wool lovers in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales.
There will be exhibitors, demonstrations of fibre crafts, workshops plus a knitting and crochet help desk to help novice and expert alike.
26 and 27 September Skipton Auction Mart, North Yorkshire
For you if you love yarn and are passionate about all things woolly. It aims to celebrate the beauty and diversity of wool, cotton, linen and silk fibres in all their forms
This is a milestone issue, for this month Hand Spinning News splits into two; a free version, which will be edited down a little bit, and a full version for paying subscribers.
If you would like to take the free option then you need to do nothing and you will receive Hand Spinning News as always and I'm very happy to still have you as a reader.
If you are willing to contribute (it really is a modest amount; £5 for an annual subscription which works out at 42p per issue. This includes the new european VAT on electronic products ) then you'll be helping out with the very real costs of producing Hand Spinning News such as maintaining the list and sending the emails. These services are provided by Mailchimp and have increased in cost as the mailing list has grown.
The paid subscription gets you more stories (half as many again). It'll also be sent out two weeks earlier than the free version (from next month the full HSN will go to paying subscribers in the middle of the month, the free version will go to non-paying subscribers at the end of the month).Become a paying subscriber
Happy spinning and don't be a stranger!
Shiela Dixon - Editor / curator
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