Hand Spinning News
Do you enjoy scouring a fleece? Not everyone does and that's fine. Shearing happens at this time of year and if you are interested in scouring a raw fleece for the first time, there are two articles in this issue on the topic. One is a tutorial with pictures, the other has three spinners discussing the subject.
In this issue you can also read about techniques including 'glazing' yarn and spinning crepe yarn.
As is also traditional for the time of year, I've picked a few cute lambing pictures.
Read on for this month's cunning curated collection of inspirational information and entertainment for spinners, knitters, crocheters, dyers and weavers. This is the free issue for May 2019.
Find out how to receive a longer, ad-free version of HSN earlier in the month.
Photo right: 'Turquoise Dream' by feathersandfluff. The cover photo is by Joe Zlomek
Retrospective of Wonderwool, looking forward to BritSpin
- In the media
RBST watchlist, conscious fashion, heavy metal knitting
- From Blogland
Nålbinding, glazing, crepe yarn and lots more
Choose the world - choose wool, Kumihimo
- Tips and tutorials
Spinning coloured alpaca, teasing with combs, more on washing fleece
Printable control cards
- Places to Visit
Showing off 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...?
Needlepoint household objects, giant placenta
Wonderful Wonderwool Wales 2019
Sadly I missed Wonderwool Wales this year. It appears that despite the weather the atmosphere and exhibitors were as warm and wonderful as ever.
Vendor Woolly Chic Designs have posted some pictures and a video log which capture the event with an emphasis on the crocheted seagulls.
BritSpin 2019 - team registration open
BritSpin, 'The British Wool Spinning Marathon' is an athletic-themed spinning event due to take place from 9 to 13 October 2019.
Team registration is now open. Teams consist of up to 10 spinners, including captain and deputy captain. Sponsorship of teams is encouraged. Maybe you have a business, maybe a business would like to sponsor your team, or the even may be able to connect your team to a suitable sponsor, which may involve discount or free fibre for your spinners.
This will be the second BritSpin, some aspects have been updated following feedback from last year's event, so please read the information for 2019 which is now available at the BritSpin website and the Ravelry group.
comment on any of this
In the media
Watchlist 2019/20 - a picture of resilience
For those interested in sheep breeds, this infographic has been put together by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST). It lists breeds which are classed as critical, endangered, vulnerable, at risk and minority. Breeds that you may recognise have just a few hundred registered breeding females.
It's not all bad - the chart shows that some sheep breeds have increased in number this year. The list has more plusses than minuses.
comment on any of this
From the Blogosphere
Leftover yarn is no good for nest building
We're still in 'bird nesting season' here in the UK and I assume that applies to the Northern hemisphere.
I was taught that we could leave scraps of unspun fluff out for the birds as nesting material. This article is specifically about spun yarn, and I think that would assume acrylic rather than natural fibres, but unspun fibre is mentioned in this article too.
I'm not taking sides on this one, simply presenting the article as it appears on Interweave's site. It does contain a very useful list of 'don't leave out' (string, tinsel) and 'do leave out' which includes pet fur, so I can't really see a great distinction between that and unspun natural fibre, but that's just a personal reaction.
What does "glazing" your yarn mean?
Spoiler: it's a technique where dye is applied gently over existing colours to modify them.
Fiber Sprite has come up with a technique for seeing a preview of the result by using photo-editing software to overlay a semi-transparent layer of colour over a picture of the skein.
Details are in her post.
Crepe, part 2
In March Janelle described crepe yarn for us and made a test skein which she loved.
She has now made the full skein and does not love it. She feels that she deviated from her sample too much and made this lot too 'twisty'. Judge for yourself.
Vicuña: Fiber of Incan Royalty
You may be aware that the vicuña is cousin to the alpaca. Christina Garton explains that the fibre has always been very precious and still is today, thanks in part to the fact that they can't be domesticated and have to be captured, shorn and released. Poaching has contributed to the high value, as does the fact that they grow their wool slowly.
Nåbinding is seeing a revival, particularly with reenactment enthusiasts.
We've encountered the technique before in some archaeological pieces. It was used thousands of years ago before knitting and crochet first appeared. The stitches are made using a large needle.
thetwistedyarn decided to learn this new-old craft and shares her thoughts.
Dyeing a pyramid
A colour pyramid is a way to organise primary and secondary colours. Debby has made 28 sample skeins in different colours, starting only with dyes in the primary colours. She explains in her post.
Meet Make and Chat
I guess quite a few of us have kept our first spinning but Lynn has framed hers!
It's just one of many items in this round-up of pictures from Worstead WSD's inspiring Meet Make and Chat sessions.
The power of slowness
Many new spinners are keen to get to the spinning wheel. It has a romantic image and may be faster (though there are those who would challenge that).
Josefin suggests that the slower speed of the spindle is a "superpower" and offers advantages such as greater control.
This page is a good read if you are new to spinning and there is much of interest for the experienced. There are several very enjoyable embedded videos.
With thanks to Dominique for the suggestion.
You say Shhheviutt and I say Cheeveeitt
These are some 'explorations' using Cheviot wool.
The KnitBritish Wool Exploration encourages intrepid explorers to try and review a particular breed each two months.
In this most recent issue of the podcast, Louise presents the results of March's breed, Cheviot
comment on any of this
Choose the world - choose wool
For Earth Day, the Campaign for Wool has released a series of videos which compare wool and synthetic products.
The videos are produced by Billy Hanshaw with voiceovers by Alex James, best known for being a musician in Blur and now a cheesemaker (and presumably blessed).
You can see all of the videos on this CfW page.
Tips and tutorials
Control cards for printing
Vielen Dank to the lovely Chantimanou for this amazing free resource.
I'm providing a link to her page via Google Translate which works pretty well. The most important thing is that there's a link lower down the page to a pdf which you can print. If you print one page you can cut out and laminate three copies of her control card.
There's also a link to her information / tips sheet. Despite being a pdf, Google Translate is also able to translate this, but maybe not so well. Here's a translated link to that.
comment on any of this
Places to Visit
This page is packed with information. Janelle toured Scotland and visited wool mills including Verdant Works, Dundee, Knockando Woolmill, Ardalanish, Isle Of Mull and New Lanark Mill. Some are working, some aren't but all have interesting stories and interesting machinery.
Sustainable fashion - Bionic Yarn
I'm not really convinced that this project is permanently taking plastic out of the environment because we know that clothes are often discarded quickly, but it can't be a bad thing to pick up plastic trash from beaches and turn it into clothing and useful items.
It's difficult to get good information about how the plastic is made into yarn. There are a few shots of fibres being combed in the video on this page, and in other places it's stated that the plastic is melted down and drawn into fibres. These plastic fibres are combined in different ways with natural fibres depending on the application.
<sees photo five years later>
"why did you let me walk around looking like that?!"
We've all been there.
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 ?
Sometimes just a picture is enough
These stunning pictures must be seen at full size.
The lovely Kate of Ashford Wheels and Looms has made this eye-catching jumper using Ashford alpaca/merino blended with hand-dyed merino/silk. Note the way that the sideways stitching has produced a subtle vertical variegation.
The pattern is Crossback Sweater by Knitatude / Chantal Miyagishima. It's reversible, you can wear the crossover at the back or the front, as demonstrated by Kate in her photos.
Handspun Eden shawl
Do click through to Rachel's page because it contains lots of pictures of the progress of this shawl from spindle-spun BFL/silk through the weaving to the finished product.
This month's sexy spindle shot rather unusually shows fibre, singles, plied yarn and socks in progress.
There are more shots if you follow the link, including the finished pair of socks.
comment on any of this
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Long tall sally crocheted scarf by Sue Doran
Thanks to Sue for this lacey scarf pattern. She has used a lace yarn which appears to be a single ply yarn.
I'd recommend trying a single ply if you haven't done before. The received wisdom is that it can be weaker and can bias when knitted. These aren't showstoppers - they just mean that you must make sure that your thickness and twist are even, and that you set it well, preferably with a little 'fulling' (judicious temperature changes and a bit of thwacking).
comment on any of this
Oydis Sweater by Linda Marveng
Oydis is the Goddess of good luck. This jumper has an interesting curved hem, a diamond cable pattern and an optional matching cowl.
The pattern uses a mixture of flat and working in the round. Sizes range from XS to 2XL.
Use a DK weight yarn in a natural colour or maybe.
comment on any of this
But is it art...?
Giant placenta two-year knitting project
This enormous placenta and umbilical was made by 20 women over two years using tee-shirt yarn. The video contains many pictures of the progress of the project, along with the finished item. Commantary is by Warragul-based community artist Bec Vandyk. It's as much a biology lesson as a knit/crochet project.
With thanks to Knithacker for sharing.
comment on any of this
Leeds Wool Festival
Saturday 1 June 2019
This popular event includes a market offering a range of goods from local traders, workshops and activities, demonstrations of special techniques, tips from professional speakers, a Q&A with our Knitting Gurus, and children's crafting activities.
World Wide Knit in Public Day
Saturday, June 8, 2019
Be part of a very colourful and passionate community. Join a global movement.
Each local event is put together by a volunteer or a group of volunteers.
Find the registered events in your region using this link.
14 & 15 June 2019, City North Hotel, 20 minutes north of Dublin Airport
Ireland's Festival of Yarn
Saturday 15 - Sunday 16 June 2019, Weavers' Workshop, Dilham, Norfolk
Sheep-shearing demos, crochet, knitting, spinning, weaving, felting- demos and "have a go", alpacas and donkeys to feed and pet.
Fri 28 and Sat 29 June 2019, 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.
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.