Banner image

Hand Spinning News

I wrote most of this issue around the summer solstice. So it's a little ironic but nonetheless welcome to see so many pullovers and cardigans in the finished project gallery.

The pattern suggestions are more seasonal. There are new skills to learn, such as hand-ginning cotton, needle felting or weaving with art yarn. Once again the events listing contains events that you can take part in online.

Read on for this month's cunning curated collection of inspirational information and entertainment for spinners, knitters, crocheters, dyers and weavers.

This free issue for June 2020 is brought to you in association with Audible. I'm a member and enjoy listening while I spin. Download a free audiobook with your 30-day free trial.

Find out how to receive a longer ad-free* version of Hand Spinning News a couple of weeks earlier.

Photo right: katalinbeth's 11-breeds handspun jumper. The cover photo is by Retha Ferguson via Pexels.



In the media

'Knittingale Hospital' to raise money for NHS

'Knittingale Hospital' to raise money for NHS

Margaret Seaman, who has previously made fundraising dioramas of Great Yarmouth's Golden Mile and Sandringham House, is still busy, this time with a 'Knittingale Hospital'.

It's still a work in progress, but there's a lovely video interview with Margaret on the ITV site, along with some shots of her new work.

Funnily enough, even though I'm from Norfolk myself and have met Margaret in person, I first saw this story on an American news site, so she's hitting the global headlines!

comment on any of this


Handspun stories

The Great Glamorgan Sock Project

The Great Glamorgan Sock Project

The Great Glamorgan Sock Project aims to identify every breed of sheep being raised in the County of Glamorgan, South Wales.

information about the sheep, their owners, the shearers, spinners and knitters, will be on display at the Royal Welsh Show in 2022, when Glamorgan will be the host county

granny.jane has chosen Gotland. Her documentation of this project dates back to this post in which she explains the project and shows off her curly fleece.

There are many other pictures in her photo stream, showing her working at her great (walking) wheel, the finished yarn, the knitting and the finished socks.

Summer of Gansey kal

Summer of Gansey kal

With thanks to Freyalyn for the heads-up about the gansey knit-a-long at the Guernseys, Ganseys and Knit-frocks group, and for her notes about the Manx gansey. She shows a picture of the example from the Isle of Man museum. The pattern they have is now available on Ravelry.

Also in this post, she has overdyed some faded pink Frangipani yarn and gives some details about that. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished jumper.

It's June and time to prepare. Tour de Fleece is getting closer.

It's June and time to prepare. Tour de Fleece is getting closer.

If you've never taken part in Tour de Fleece, this may be a good introduction. Guzzisue looks back at previous year's events and considers what she might do this year.

Links to the event's hub on Ravelry are below our 'Events' heading.

Magpie Standard

Daedalus Magpie Standard

modern e-spinners range in size and can be tiny and very portable.

I've seen pictures of Evanita's Magpie Standard with nothing else in the picture for scale. It was a surprise to see this self-portrait and find out just how massive this spinner is.

It measures 15"L x 8.5"W x 11"H (38x21x28cm). The manufacturer claims that a full bobbin can hold 18-20oz (600g) but Evanita says that she has "blown that out of the water" and will be holding a competition to guess the weight of the singles on this bobbin. For details of that competition, keep an eye on fiberygoodness. The magazine will have a 3-person review of this spinner later in the year.

Finull wool

Finull wool

In this latest instalment in Josefin's series about Swedish sheep breeds, she looks in some detail at Finull wool, which is bred for its wool.

The wool is soft, fine and shiny with a high crimp. The wool is sometimes blended with other breeds and the sheep are crossed with Gotland, texel, rya.

She also includes notes about how she likes to prepare and spin Finull.

comment on any of this


Colour inspiration

When little needs saying except 'beautiful colour'

A Study in Contrasts

A study in contrasts

Knit/Wit spun a true three-ply from this hand-dyed Falkland from Fibernymph Dye Work.

She just split it into thirds and spun the colours as they came. The result is surprisingly well-blended and darker than I'd expect, although that may just be the photograph.

Before and after

Before and after

This 'before and after' shot shows the transformation of this fibre. The colours look stronger and more primary in the finished yarn. Navajo plying helped to concentrate the colours rather than blend them.

The dyed fibre is from ixchelbunny.

comment on any of this


Tips and tutorials

3D-Printed modular, universal lazy kate

3D-Printed modular, universal lazy kate

Home 3d printers are becoming more common. Maybe you have one or know someone who does.

The modular design for this kate was conceived when Kathryn wanted to make a 6-ply yarn from six full bobbins of singles.

The components for her kate design lock together like jigsaw pieces so that you can ply from as many or as few bobbins as you like.

it's a 45 degree design, which adds a little friction and helps prevent tangles.

She provides the tutorial and electronic files free for personal use.

Making roving from a swing picker and drum carder

Making roving from a swing picker and drum carder

A swing picker isn't a commonly-seen piece of equipment. It prepares raw fleece for carding by opening up the locks. You could do this with a flick carder but the picker makes short work of the job.

In this video, Fibre Sprite Pamela demonstrates her process.


A little help?

Yvone: (from well) Can you fetch me some help? Maureen: You have to make everything about you, don't you?

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

Jigsaw - online

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

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

Finished Felix cardigan

Finished Felix cardigan

I don't think this is the last handspun Felix Cardigan we'll see but it is particularly beautiful.

bridielocks finished the cardigan and wanted to wear it for work the next day.

Grærup Sweater

Grærup Sweater

katalinbeth calls this "A bucket list knitting project for sure".

She used handspun yarns in 11 different sheep breeds and 11 different natural colours.

The pattern is Grærup Sweater by Camilla Vad. katalinbeth modified the yoke to include Fairisle knitting all the way up to the collar.

Meike's Koivua

Meike's Koivua

The next handspun jumper this month is mrssophie2's Koivua

It took her around 10 weeks to knit from her own handspun yarn.

The pattern is Koivua by Caitlin Hunter. It features colourwork and texture created by knit and purl stitches, making it an "engaging yet not difficult" knit.

A design process

A design process

This is Josefin's first published sweater pattern (published in Spin-Off, Summer 2020). She designed the pattern specifically for handspun yarn.

This example is made from a Swedish breed. She made rolags, blending the white fleece with a little sari silk for tweedy flecks of colour. She made a 3-ply woollen yarn spun with English longdraw.

The pattern is designed to let the handspun yarn shine, emphasising the characteristics of her particular wool.

I'm linking to her blog post in which she writes about the making and the design process.

Möbius Madness

Möbius Madness

Sock Madness is an annual knitting competition. Patterns are only made available to participants until the competition is over, usually in June.

This is rachaelknits' pair of Möbius Madness socks, which is one of this year's patterns.

She has used handspun yarn and says that the colour was "ridiculously difficult to photograph".

Over-dyed Woven Runner

Over-dyed woven runner

When this woven runner came off the loom, Carrie Miller felt that the finished textile was a bit disjointed. You can see what she means in her pictures.

Her fix was to overdye with indigo which worked well. She gives instructions for overdyeing using pre-reduced indigo crystals.

Peach Blossom, singles

Peach Blossom singles

This month's sexy spindle shot shows part of missalicefaye's spindle collection. I believe they're Phang style Godess support spindles from Bristlecone.

All of these colours are indeed from the one batt, Peach Blossom from Inglenook Fibre.

comment on any of this


Free patterns

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

Mermaids' Playtime by Helen Kurtz

Mermaids' Playtime by Helen Kurtz

It's been a while since I knit a pair of socks and maybe it's time to put that right.

The pattern is a simple ripple pattern which is easily memorised. It contains two sizes, medium and large.

it's free but Helen invites donations to a Just Giving page which raises money for a charity close to her heart.

I'm linking to Helen's blog which contains additional notes, but you can go straight to the pattern here.

comment on any of this


Not-so-free patterns

Bouquet sweaterr

Bouquet sweater

robbyraccoon didn't use handspun yarn but the main yarn was from a small producer. The pattern creates the design using floats on the right side. This example uses no colour but relies on the texture of the 'contrast yarn'.

This would be perfect for showing off a handspun yarn, whether you opted to use a smooth and a textured handspun, or a commercial yarn for the background.

Thanks to Green Mountain Spinnery, whose page I'm linking to here. Links to the pattern and to Julie's project are therein.

comment on any of this


But is it art...?

Kinetic sculpture by Felipe Pantone slides into a hypnotizing kaleidoscope of color

Kinetic sculpture by Felipe Pantone slides into a hypnotizing kaleidoscope of color

Appropriately-named Felipe Pantone has made this kinetic sculpture. It "makes the relationship between colour theory and human action tangible" which means that you slide the panels and new colours are revealed, based on subtractive colour mixing.

Human-activated coral blanket
Human-Activated Coral Blanket

Human-activated coral blanket Human-Activated Coral Blanket

Coral consists of individual polyps, connected and dependent on each other.

Ruth Payne's knitted blanket allows up to six people to experience this connectedness. If the group wants to go for a walk, some lead and others must follow.

Thanks to Knithacker for sharing.

comment on any of this


2020 events

In light of the current situation, the regular events listing here is temporarily replaced by an 'online events' listing.

Are you hosting or taking part in an online event or challenge that I'm not aware of? Let me know.

Tour de Fleece

Tour de Fleece

Saturday June 27 until Sunday July 19, 2020

Spin-along during the Tour de France. Challenge Yourself. Spin. Have fun.

There was some uncertainty for a while about whether the Tour de Fleece would be moved so that it still coincides with the Tour de France if that was rescheduled. At present, the Tour de Fleece group is still saying 27th -19th, but watch that page for updates.



14th to 18th October 2020

Challenge, Fun, Friends, Charity

There is no entry fee to register a team. Spinners will be invited to donate a minimum of £5 each and ALL funds raised in 2020 will be donated directly to the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution)

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. 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

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.


* indicates required

Be sociable

Please share HSN with your friends:


Previous issues are now archived here:

H S N archive

Brought to you in association with

Download a free audiobook with your 30-day free trial.