Hand Spinning News
A shawl is a garment worn for warmth or modesty. It has been with us for a very long time but has become very popular among knitters in the last ten years. Is this because it's a manageable project that uses just a skein or two? Because it takes the scarf to the next level and allows for many and varied techniques? Because gauge doesn't matter? Lisa Shroyer Investigates in A Brief History of the Modern Shawl.
This month's pattern suggestions include a knitted and crochet shawls that will look great in handspun yarn and also a shawl that isn't. Fran Rushworth has reviewed and knitted from Sylvia McFadden's new book Shawl Joy.
Read on for all this plus news, reviews, a feast of free patterns, finished projects and fibrey photos.
This is the free, edited issue for May 2017. Scroll to the bottom to find out how to receive a longer version of HSN a couple of weeks earlier.
Photo right: Hand spun and woven baby wrap. Cover photo Lambs, Wales, Editor's own.
In the news
Embroidered street benches add color to neighborhood
Yarn bombing has become less of a novelty but I do love this example by Jerusalem-based artist Talya Tomer-Schlesinger, commissioned as part of an arts festival.
The appealing designs are based on those she remembers her grandmother making, but the best part for me is that all of the 'yarn' is made from old bathing suits.
It was a real community project and there are many pictures here of the work in progress.
With thanks to Knithacker for sharing.
Wonderwool Wales 2017
comment on any of this
From the Blogosphere
Voting is of course very important, as is being well-informed when you do it. But if, like me, your heart sinks at the thought of weeks of les-than-adult debate, on-the-fly policy making and sensationalist reporting, why not create a politics-free refuge in a project or set about learning a new skill?
This is Rachel's thinking, and she's brought like-minded people together with the hashtag #GE2017MAL
Join in in the way you'd like, tag your posts and pictures, and offer encouragement to other General Election Make-a-long-ers.
Picture is by @probablyjane who has decided to spin every day "to channel the nervous energy"
Moths Which Eat Wool - a Tragedy
This is Tineola bisselliella, our clothes moth. You may recognise it, or the picture of the little papery tubes and fine grit, if you've ever suffered from a real infestation.
Apologies if you're scratching your head right now. Amongst Fran's amusing Shakespeare parody is some good advice.
Let's be literal about sock yarn
Fingering or 4-ply; take your pick. (Leaving aside the confusion that results when a spinner speaks to a knitter about 'four ply' yarn).
Countess Ablaze feels quite strongly that yarn sold as 'sock yarn' isn't always suitable for socks. Here is her list of six points about sock yarn.
A Brief History of the Modern Shawl
I'm a little baffled about how knitted shawls are so popular (as a project) but you rarely see them being worn outside yarn / fibre events.
They certainly offer endless possibilities in yarn, shape, technique, and are a more manageable project than a jumper.
Lisa Shroyern considers their popularity over the last ten years and whether this is a trend or here to stay.
When I've included stories involving the Worstead Guild, I've slipped in the word 'historic'. They confirm that the name of their village is linked to the Worsted cloth and spinning technique.
Having been born and raised just a few miles from this spot I have to register an interest here.
Josiekitten and Crafternoon Treats made a visit. I think this is a 'taster', there is a promise of a fuller article about the village.
Worstead has a very large church, showing the wealth of the village in times gone by. There's a nod to the textile heritage in the village sign and in the church. The rest of the village is small and apparently untouched for hundreds of years. (And judging by the pictures, uninhabited.)
(See also the Woolly Worstead family fun day in the events listing.)
comment on any of this
Tips and tutorials
Combing wool with milk
I was slightly horrified when I read this title, because "off" milk is one of my room 101 fears. If you're having the same reaction now, relax because milk is only the nickname some have given to the emulsified oil concoction used to moisten fibres when combing.
This is a comprehensive article. For 'Breaking Bad' types, there's a recipe for mixing up the stuff, and comments from nine respected spinners.
Those lurking little jerks
The little jerks in question are ones we've already met in this issue, our clothes moth. Though of course there are other things that can make holes in your precious knitwear, and Glenna provides links to two great articles about making invisible mends.
Shawl Joy by Sylvia McFadden
I'm putting this down as a review because alongside the chat about Fran's holiday experiences and purchases is a very great review of Sylvia McFadden's book of patterns and made me want to buy a copy.
This is Fran's Hot Coal shawl (the joke about the name being sexy if you're Welsh is lost on me, please let me know if you can explain) made from part Brooklyn Tweed yarn and part handspun Targhee.
Click through for more pictures of Fran's shawls and details of the pattern book.
Excerpt and interview: Dyeing to Spin and Knit by Felicia Lo
Staple length affects colour? This is new to me, but in her book, Felicia Lo explains how longer staples will produce a more blended and subdued yarn once spun.
This topic is taken from Dyeing to Spin and Knit and appears on Schacht's blog. Felicia says "My hope with the book is that people will gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to create their own handcrafted colour and be inspired to play with colour through their knitting or spinning".
Thanks to Schacht for the interview with Felicia and the excerpt from the book.
comment on any of this
What Maureen lacks in spelling ability, she more than makes up for in cunning.
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.
Keeping this wheel spinning
Your news here
Are you a teacher, pattern designer, dyer, equipment manufacturer or supplier?
Would you like to reach the growing readership of thousands of hand spinners and at the same time help to support Hand Spinning News ?
Sometimes just a picture is enough
As Rachel says, some cringe at the mention of textured or art yarns. She would have done so herself some time ago, preferring to spin consistent and useful yarn.
But she found this "incredibly fun to make! Freeing, in fact!" The 'thick and thin' part of the yarn is April's fibre from the SweetGeorgia club, called Character Study. The binder is commercial grey yarn.
There's no instruction here, but there are a couple of tips if you're trying coils for the first time.
Journey for the Golden Fleece
I've often commented that you see more art yarn being made than made into finished projects.
This may be the object of exercise (yarn for its own sake) but I do like to see how it plays out in a knitted, crocheted or woven project.
siljadevine made this shawl when she took part in the Journey To The Golden Fleece Project and it has subsequently been featured in a project run by her city to interview 450 residents.
Find Your Fade (handspun)
This is Therbia's handspun Find Your Fade, a pattern by Andrea Mowry that's been very popular. It has an interesting construction and it encourages you to put together smaller amounts of different yarns.
This month's Sexy Spindle Shot comes with some Sultry mood lighting.
The spindles are Malcolm Fielding and the fibre appears to be a blend of wool, silk and alpaca from HilltopCloud
Old Shale handspun shawl
This single Instagram photo contains fibre, batts and two ways to wear the shawl. myeldamato has also written copious notes.
Believe it or not, she made one continuous skein of yarn, building in the colour changes. She blended the dyed fibre into six colours, softening them by blending with some plain merino.
Day of the dead wheel
Many wheels come in natural wood for you to finish, which is the perfect canvas for some personalisation.
This is one of the most striking decorated wheels, painted by Ravelry's Taylspun and now owned by thecraftyscientist. Shared by Louet themselves.
The weft used in this fabric is handspun 3 ply targhee. 14milefarm says "So lofty. So much cush. Bouncy and warm."
Don't miss the fact that you can click the left and right arrows for three different views of this wrap, all beautiful pictures.
comment on any of this
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Azul V-mesh crochet poncho by Jessica Reeves Potasz
There are a few yarns about at the moment which are denim-look. Some are indigo-dyed cotton, some not.
This short poncho is allegedly very comfortable, It strikes me that it's similar to a wrap or shawl, but without the fastening issues.
The suggested yarn is Lion Brand Denim which is 100% acrylic, but I'll bet this poncho will look really good whatever fibre you choose, indigo dyed or any other colours.
Fan Bookmark by Crochetroo
This pattern may have appealed to me because I've had my nose in a good book during the last month (Land under England, Joseph O'Neill).
Pictured is KateLore's handspun version. There are a number of handspun examples and the crocheted fan motif really does display the colours within handspun yarn well.
The patterns suggests a fine cotton thread (116/8) and 1.25mm hook, but I don't see that yarn or gauge is critical here.
Many of the finished projects are actually scarves and there are other ideas too such as a camera strap.
With thanks to AnaMarie for posting her beautiful project.
Nebula Medallion Vest by Rebecca Hope Osborn
It's unusual to find a pattern specifically designed for handspun yarn at any gauge, but this medallion vest is.
This one is made from super-bulky yarn spun from pastel Nebula batts from Frost Yarn. I'm looking forward to seeing more versions of this, maybe finer and a little less rustic for me.
If you are interested in making one then please contact Rebecca because the pattern is relatively untested so far.
Now I have 'See My Vest' by Mister Burns running around my head.
Zuzu's Petals by Carina Spencer
Knit/Wit Sarah has finished Zuzu's Petals in handspun yarn. She suggests that too much barberpoling may obscure the lace a little, but says, "This was a fast and satisfying knit, and it felt wonderful to be knitting with my own handspun again."
I was surprised to discover that it's not a small triangular shawl, but a cowl designed to look like a shawl casually draped.
comment on any of this
Bellevue Shrug by Jill Wolcott
This one is a little pricey but I love it so much.
There's a review of the pattern here and at 28 pages it seems very comprehensive (technique, abbreviations, detail photos and much more).
The back, cuffs and collar are in an eyelet leaf lace pattern, do click through and take a look.
The suggested yarn is a worsted-spun 100% mohair laceweight yarn.
Marin-Lin Cami by Louise Lamarche
A fairly open gauge as well as openwork makes this camisole light and drapey. It would be nice to wear over a bathing costume or to slip on when lounging outside.
The one pictured is made from linen but the pattern suggests that any light fingering weight yarn will work.
Halli by Linda Marveng
I hesitate to include this, simply because of the scale of the project.
If spinning a jumper-quantity of yarn holds no fear for you, then you may be interested; Halli requires 2,500 - 4,000 yards (depending on size, XS to 2XL).
The design is beautiful. The name means 'rock' and the author suggests that it would become a rock in your wardrobe. It's certainly very versatile, there are different ways to pin the front.
The suggested yarns are varied, (4-ply weight, 14WPI) and do include 100% wool. They also include a silk/camel mix, I hate to think how much 4,000 yards of that would cost in quality yarn. I think a blend with silk (or anything else to reduce stretch) would be useful because of the weight of the finished garment.
Although the pattern's page is Norwegian it appears that the pattern has been recently translated and tested in English. I'm linking to Linda's blog post about the pattern which contains lots more information.
I love it but am feeling daunted by the amount of work. Maybe one for Spinzilla...
comment on any of this
10 & 11 June, 10am - 4pm, Village Hall, The Street, Dilham, Norfolk NR28 9PT
The Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers of historic Worstead have asked me to list their family fun day (note the slightly different spelling of Worstead village and the worsted yarn; I'm assured that the names are historically linked.)
Fri 23 and Sat 24 June June 2017, 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.
British Wool Show (formerly British Wool Weekend Show)
Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 July, Thirsk Rural Business Centre, Blakey Lane, Thirsk
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.
Perth Festival Of Yarn
Sunday 10 September 2017, 11am to 5pm. Dewars Centre, Glover St, Perth
Bringing together independent dyers, farmers, knitters, spinners, felters and weavers. A quarter of the 60 confirmed vendors will have materials, tools and equipment relating to spinning.
Classes will run over the weekend including two spinning classes led by Janet Renouf-Miller.
23 and 24 September 2017, 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.
Happy spinning and don't be a stranger!
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.