Hand Spinning News
Raw fleece seems to be a theme this month. Some love them, some have fallen out of love with them. There's more than one article about washing fleece, including how much grease to leave in and using a suint vat. We have the results of the 2019 Back to Back challenge, which involves making an adult-size jumper from raw fleece in the shortest time possible. And a Cambridge artist started her own flock to grow the wool that she wanted for her felting work.
It seems that there are more woolly shows than ever to choose from, and many of them are concentrated in the coming month or so. Do check the dates in the Events section and support the events and vendors near you if you can.
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 July 2019.
Photo right: Pi Shawl from BFL singles by Chantimanou. The zen cover photo is Catch the Light by Dan Waltin featuring Josefin Waltin, used with kind permission.
'Shetland crofter' photo competition, Back to Back Challenge, World Sheep Shearing Championship, Tour de Fleece
- In the media
Sailing team chooses wool, artist breeds rare sheep for her felting
- From Blogland
Washing fleece, dyeing with weld, herbal benefits of madder, mill show and tell
- Tips and tutorials
Woolen or worsted spinning, the lattice fringe, making body sketches, basic supported spindle, spinning the gradient
Could your clothes be made out of leftover bread?
The Guide to Textiles, The Art and Science of Natural Dyes
Showcasing some of the best spinning images I've seen this month
- Free patterns
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn
- Not so free patterns
More project ideas which will work well with handspun yarn
Plenty of 2019 UK show dates for your diary
- But is is art...?
Giant colour-changing swatch, more crocheted people
Entries sought for 'Shetland crofter' photo competition
Entries for Shetland Amenity Trust's "Seasons of the Shetland Crofter" competition close on 21 July.
The competition is being run by Jamieson & Smith in collaboration with the amenity trust which runs Shetland Wool Week.
You do not have to be a professional photographer or a crofter to win, just submit a photo or video that reflects an aspect of life on a Shetland croft.
More information is at the link below.
25th International Back to Back Wool Challenge, 2019 results
This is the San Diego County Spinners. Congratulations to them for winning the 2019 challenge and setting a new USA record time.
The Back to Back Challenge is an annual event that challenges teams of woolcrafters around the globe to create a jumper directly from a sheep's back to a human's back in the shortest time possible. Each team consists of seven spinners / knitters and one blade shearer.
The 2019 results and times are at the link below.
Five tips to spin the tour de fleece injury-free
If you've been spinning for less than a year, you may not know about the Tour de Fleece.
Spinners everywhere try to spin on the days when the cyclists are riding and set challenges for themselves.
It's a less intense spin than 'yardage' competitions. This one is about personal challenges and there are rest days.
Even so, Deborah Held has these five tips for staying injury-free and Anne Merrow has these bonus three tips for a successful TdF.
comment on any of this
In the media
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team chooses wool for technical uniforms
The Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli sailing team, who are competing soon in the America's Cup, have partnered with The Woolmark Company and will be wearing uniforms made entirely of wool for all events.
The clothing includes a waterproof jacket, a soft shell jacket, polo shirt, wet jacket, blouson, wetsuit and base layers, all crafted from merino wool.
Besides being natural, renewable and biodegradable, the team is citing the material's technical properties and suitability for the harsh conditions.
Artist taking part in Cambridge Open Studios breeds rare sheep for special wool for her felting
Annie Brown wanted to try different rare breed wools for her felting work, but couldn't buy enough.
So she started her own flock. She now has 131 sheep. "It has just spiralled", says Annie in something of an understatement.
This article from the Cambridge Independent has plenty of pictures of Annie with her sheep as well as more pictures of her work.
Annie is taking part in Cambridge Open Studios over four weekends in July.
The Campaign for Wool
The Campaign for Wool will be opening a "Wool Beach Lodge" on Porthtowan Beach in Cornwall from 3 - 13 July.
It will be home to events and a showcase of the growing range of wool products. The aim is to raise awareness of the versatility and sustainability of wool in outdoor activities.
comment on any of this
From the Blogosphere
Pi Shawl aus BFL Singlegarn
This is the delightful Chantimanou wrapped in her recently-finished half-pi gradient shawl.
Google Translate has made a pretty good job of the translation. It fails on some of the more specialist words, but it's understandable. There are many pictures of the whole process starting with braids of fibre, separating them for a colour gradient, carding, spinning singles, setting those singles in hot and cold water before knitting the shawl. She even includes the lace charts that she used.
It's that time of the year again. Sheep are being shorn, fleeces traded and the weather here is sometimes suitable for drying fleece outside.
Josefin likes to spin fleece with some lanolin (grease) left in. This is very much a personal preference.
In this post she explains cold-water soak, warm-water soak and the fermented suint method. She has some notes on vegetable matter too.
A farewell to fleece
Some spinners love the completeness of taking fleece to finished project. Preparing raw fleece can have its challenges though.
Kate has had one bad experience too many and has now made the decision to stick to single breed undyed roving instead. Here is the story of the straw (and other vegetable matter) that broke the camel's back.
The TdF and a PSA
Knit Wit Sarah writes a little about the Tour de Fleece and logs a couple of days' progress.
But she also has a public service announcement, which is to prepare fleece sooner rather than later. Her story involves an infestation (as if Kate's story wasn't enough to put you off buying raw fleece). But by coincidence Sarah also discusses the suint vat method and provides a link to a in instructional article.
Tour de Fleece project
Thread Head Joanne is using Tour de Fleece to spin for a "grey sweater with a bit of interest".
In this post, written before the event started, she documents how she carded a raw fleece, dyed, drum carded and finally spun and knitted a small sample.
comment on any of this
Tips and tutorials
Woolen or worsted spinning: where's the twist?
As you progress from beginner to intermediate spinner, you'll learn different drafts and terms such as worsted and woollen. More importantly you'll be able to use the most appropriate method to achieve the best yarn for your project.
This article uses the late Alden Amos' words to differentiate woollen and worsted in very simple way.
Making body sketches
Amy provides a link to My Body Model which is a paid service that provides you with a 'croquis' or or sketch of your body in proportion, so that you can 'try on' different styles of clothing to see how they suit you.
However, Amy also explains a simple way to create your own sketch. She has text and pictures plus a video.
Basic supported spindle
Last month Amy identified the different types of spindle. Here she explains in more detail how to use a supported spindle.
This will be of interest if you've already mastered the drop spindle, particularly if you want to make finer yarn.
The Martini glass may be there because it makes a good bowl that's easy to hold between your legs if you're sitting down, or it may simply be for Amy's Martini, we can't be sure.
Could your clothes be made out of leftover bread one day?
This thread is made of a 'biopolymer'. It can be used to make fabrics, and at the end of its life it can be composted.
The largest part of Swedish supermarket waste is bread.
To help combat this problem as well as the problem of non-sustainable fabrics, a laboratory at the University of Borås in Sweden has developed this process.
The thread isn't made of bread. The bread feeds a special fungus, which is separated into proteins and biopolymers.
Feels like rain
"I wish you'd use nail clippers like everyone else."
The important question is, is Crow aiming deliberately?
If you like Yvonne, click the image to find her page, you can use next and previous to explore more cartoons, and join the mailing list for a regular digest email.
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
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 ?
The Guide to Textiles for Interior Designers by Dianne R. Jackman
This is a review of an book from the 1980s. Laura says that it's the book that she points to "when people offer opinions, especially when they are incorrect".
It gives factual information based on science rather than experience or standing.
comment on any of this
Sometimes just a picture is enough
Catch the light
If there were such a thing as animated wallpaper with sound, this is the video I'd want playing. It's beautiful and calming thanks to beautiful light, birdsong, greenery and a spinner spinning.
Mr Smoke Dream Cardigan
This is whittilulu's dream sweater made from just 400g of John Arbon fibre.
She designed the pattern herself after taking a class at Edinburgh yarn festival earlier this year.
This is kokori's cardigan in a "blend of a quite soft Zwartbles and Alpaca, with a little bit of added Sari silk". Carded 4 times and dizzed off.
The pattern appears to be her own, she knitted the whole thing (front, armholes, neckline and sleeves) were knitted as one tube and cut apart.
Even the buttons are her own.
She says that this was overall "a great success". Link is to Ravelry project.
FO: Lacy Cowl from Handspun Monsoon Sunset
Fiber Sprite made this cowl from her own dyed merino in 'Monsoon Sunset'.
There are some details in her blog post and pictures of the fibre and yarn. If you click the link to her Ravelry project page there are more details and lots of notes about the knitting, including the lace charts she used to modify the pattern.
Woven pullover from handspun yarn
This is very unusual in being a handspun woven pullover.
It's based on a bought top that Chantimanou has owned and loved.
Once again I've linked to her blog post via a translation service. If all of the text doesn't translate very well it doesn't matter. There are loads of pictures here of the whole process and they speak for themselves.
Group of knitters recreate home town
This is part of a knitted model of Thrapston, Northamptonshire.
A group of knitters have made the model village, complete with cinema and post office, a fisherman and postie.
They've put the work on display in their local church to raise funds for the roof.
There are many pictures here which are well worth a look.
Steampunk Support Spindle
This month's sexy spindle shot is this steampunk tahkli spindle made by John Galen. It appears to use most of the innards of a watch. See the picture of it spinning - you'll believe that time can fly.
meshuggaknitter took a $2 wooden bowl, a spindle she rarely touches and a a pile of yak silk blend "and beautiful things are happening".
comment on any of this
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Bremen Library Bag by Stefanie Johnson
The current Knitty magazine contains the pattern for this wonderful functional bag. It's perfect for yarn that isn't soft enough to wear next to the skin. It's double-knit so that there are no floats to catch the corners of the items you put inside, and it's reversible.
The example is made using a "crazy batt". The singles from that were plied with a neutral wool/nylon yarn.
The pattern contains suggestions of how to spin your yarn (12 WPI, two-ply) and knitting instructions including the chart.
You could use a different chart. This one is based on the fairy tale The Bremen Town Musicians.
comment on any of this
Tanqueray by Thea Colman
This is an attractive and versatile jumper with a wide V-neck.
The pattern suggests a wool/cotton mix, which is an interesting combination of plant and animal fibre. The yarns that makers have used include wool, alpaca and wool blends.
Sizes range from 33.5" to 57", requiring 1000-2000 yards of DK-weight yarn.
Violet Summer Tote by Justyna Srock
Although this is a paid-for pattern, Darn Good Yarn are asking 99p so it won't break the bank.
See how nice the bag looks with a colour fade. The pattern calls for commercial recycled tee-shirt yarn, but why not use your own tee-shirt yarn or plarn. Or just your own bulky handspun and a suitebly-sized hook.
Vintner Cowl by Kyle Kunnecke
I'd earmarked this cowl for inclusion here before I checked the yarn requirement (1440 yards).
That will rule it out for some as a handspun project, but remember that the yardage is split into two colours.
The veins of the grape leaves are beaded. It's a very attractive project.
Taha Moana Shawl by Francoise Danoy
Francoise is running a Knit-a-long on Instagram until 24 August. Use the hashtag #tahamoanashawlkal to access that.
The shawl requires 1340 - 1620 yards of Fingering weight (14 wpi) yarn. Francoise suggests that you use a wool-based fibre for a warmer shawl or silk for a warm-weather accessory. It's a 3/4 shape for easy wear, although the pattern also contains instructions for a triangle version.
Thanks to Domiknit for the pattern suggestion.
comment on any of this
But is it art...?
A Towering multi-chromatic knitted swatch of giant inflated tubes
This giant colour-changing knitted swatch was installed as part of an art festival in Profidence, Rhode Island.
The colours will change and introduce new patterns throughout its five-month run.
comment on any of this
2 - 4 August 2019, Newcastle upon Tyne
Wool and Wellbeing festival for the North East.
Yarnfolk Festival of Wool
3 August 2019, Whitehead's town centre from 10am - 5pm
Whitehead in Co. Antrim will once again play host to Yarnfolk Wool Festival for the 3rd year.
British Wool Show (formerly British Wool Weekend Show)
Friday 9 and Saturday 10 August 2019, York Auction Centre, Murton Lane, Murton, York, YO19 5GF
Supporting the Campaign for Wool.
Exciting treasures to discover; wool from fleece to finished items and other items you will need to spin, weave, knit, crochet, hand dye, cross stitch, embroider or make felt.
Southern Wool Show
Saturday 31 August and 1 September 2019, Newbury Racecourse, Berkshire
The perfect event for all lovers of knitting, crochet, feltmaking, weaving, spinning, dyeing, and all things woolly!
Perth Festival Of Yarn
7 and 8 September 2019. Dewars Centre, Glover St, Perth
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 70 vendors, keynote event, social events and classes run over the weekend.
28 and 29 September 2019, 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
28 September - 6 October 2019
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 October 5 2019, 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
Saturday 5 and 6 Oct, 2019, 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
Bakewell Agricultural Centre Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 October 2019
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
Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 October 2019, 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.
Our linen stories
Scotland is more usually associated with tartan and tweed, but linen and flax are an important part of its history
This touring exhibition aims to combine stories from the past with new works from contemporary designers.
The towns in Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands that the tour visits have their own stories and this gives the opportunity to include local designers and stories.
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
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.
A PeacockMedia publication
Don't miss out
Hand Spinning News as a free monthly email.