Hand Spinning News
This month is an issue of contrasts. It features textiles ancient to avant-garde. Colours from natural to neon and styles from traditional to gothic. That's 'gothic' as in the modern subculture, rather than fourth century goths or the architectural style.
If that's not your thing, don't worry, there's colour inspiration in soft pastel tints, wool in natural colours, wood in amazing natural hues and some unusual pattern suggestions.
Read on for this month's cunning curated collection of inspirational information and entertainmenfor spinners, knitters, crocheters, dyers and weavers.
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Photo right: Yarnharlot's Wavedeck. The cover photo is detail from Carding by Thomas McEwan.
In the media
The hunt for the lost mountain pass
This rather grungy mess is a woollen mitten, sewn together from pieces of other textiles.
It's one of many pieces of textile found at one site as glaciers melt due to global warming, exposing ancient artefacts which tell a story. This patch of melting ice at Lendbreen pass includes horse dung, horseshoes, bits, knives spears and indicates a trade route over the mountain pass.
A complete Iron Age tunic, dated to AD 300 is said to be the oldest piece of clothing found in Norway.
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The Great Quarantine Bobbin Challenge!
If you like to think outside the box with your spinning and the idea of using unusual materials appeals to you, then this is for you.
Spin Artiste Arlene Thayer used to run 'bobbin challenges' for a small group. There are some fabulous examples on the linked page.
There is a chatty video where you can learn more about the challenge, but in short there are four compulsory items (toilet paper, tea bags, office supplies, and a yarn from the bottom of your yarn stash) and a couple of other items of your choosing.
If you'd like to join in then feel free, and if you're the sharing type, then there's a facebook group.
Inspired by a gansey
This picture is, as Liz Lovick says, perfectly composed. It's from the Orkney Archives and well worth a look at the larger version.
By enlarging the picture, Liz was able to learn something about the gansey that the fisherman is wearing. It's made from handspun yarn and has both horizontal and vertical stripes.
It hasn't been possible to reproduce the pattern exactly, but what she can see has inspired Liz to design a poncho, or 'gansey swoncho'.
Fibre art directory
Because events have been closed down due to the global pandemic, Fiberygoodness have started a directory for vendors in which it's free to advertise and free for anyone to download.
This does seem to be open to vendors worldwide and it currently includes a couple of UK businesses. If you have a business, get in touch with fiberygoodness for a free linked ad. If not, download a copy and find suppliers worldwide.
A Furry Love Story
Heather Fulford was asked to spin fur from two beloved Chow Chow Newfoundlands and weave a blanket.
In order to make the blanket as dark as the dogs appeared, she blended in a little black alpaca and wove the blanket using a warp of black wool.
This article appears on Ply magazine's website but hasn't appeared in print. Heather tells the story of one of her first pet fur spinning experiences and notes the things she's learned.
Replanting weld - an experiment
The plant that gives weld, a strong beautiful yellow dye, is a large plant. riihivilla found some that had self-seeded in her flower bed where there wouldn't be room for them. They have a very long tap root and don't like being transplanted, but with nothing to lose she has tried.
PLY magazine needs photos of your spinning hands!
PLY magazine have put out this appeal for photos of your hands. They're interested in the different ways that spinners position their hands for drafting, for an article to appear in their Autumn issue.
They don't give a 'closing date' but as long as the page exists at the link below, and they haven't updated it to say otherwise, then I assume they're still looking.
Tracy Hudson admits that this isn't a fully-fomed essay but a collection of thoughts. In it she quotes and links to a number of delightful things including a grandmother making yarn from plastic and paper bags, a spindle made from an avocado pit, a bamboo reed, coffee filter yarn. She appeals to us not to lose touch with the basics.
Local bast: adventures in wild retting
Karlissa Keller has tried retting Caesar weed or Urena Lobata.
I don't think the plant grows wild here in the UK but if anyone knows better I'll be pleased to hear about it. It has been cultivated for its fiber, and is considered invasive in some places,
It is a bast fibre plant like flax, hemp and even our nettle.
Separating the fibres from the inner woody core and the outer bark isn't easy and involves leaving the stems in dew or in water to rot away the plant matter. This is called retting.
Karlissa's experiments were a success. "The fibre was just as fine as the flax I have in my fibre stash and even slightly more golden in colour."
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When little needs saying except 'beautiful colour'
Alpaca rolag project
Here are some beautiful pastel tints in the pink and mauve, spindle spun by slothycreations.
The fibre is suri alpaca with a little Angora. It must be very airy, 4.5oz (~125g) of fibre has yielded almost 300 yds of sport/dk (12WPI) yarn.
This colourway is called Old Magic. It contains very dark and very light patches.
I love to see the transformation of the colours as the fibre becomes yarn. threadbender comments that the white sections here "soften and heather the dyed colours".
Sticking to one part of the the colour wheel gives you a more homogeneous-looking yarn. In this case red through to yellow gives a fiery look.
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Tips and tutorials
Learning to Spin: How Much Should it Cost?
This is a pertinent question if you are in the early stages or only starting to think about learning to spin.
Debbie's experience is that it needn't cost anything other than the cost of the fibre (she was loaned a couple of spindles until she bought her own). Other people are gear junkies and that's fine too.
Debbie lists the essentials and the nice-to-haves for spindle spinning and wheel spinning.
Become a spinning-wheel detective: tips for buying vintage wheels
If you're relatively new to spinning, you may be very keen to buy a wheel. The image of sitting at a fairytale wheel is a seductive one.
Beware of a wheel that appears to be a bargain, especially f it's 'vintage'. Flyers or other important parts are often missing, as with the one shown in this picture. These parts are not standard, it's likely that a replacement would have to be custom made by a specialist and your wheel is then no longer a bargain.
Spin-Off magazine's Heavenly Bresser offers some tips.
A major league baseball uses 316 yards of wool but only lasts 7 pitches
I'm sure US readers will know this factoid already, but I was unaware that a major-league baseball uses wool yarn in its construction.
The 'How It's Made' video embedded on this page shows that three different types of yarn are used, 316 yards in total.
If you like Yvonne, click the image to find her page, you can use next and previous to explore more cartoons.
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
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Sometimes just a picture is enough
More ghost horses
I had a case of deja-vu here because we saw a handspun Ghost Horses pullover last month.
However, this is a different pullover, by a different maker and has a hood!
All of the yarn is spun by kraftybadger. Natural undyed and also wool dyed by snerbyarn in colourway 'On my mind'. It's very neatly spun and knitted.
It's her first project made from 100% handspun yarn and she's rightly "super proud of this project"
Woven weaving bag
Josefin made this bag for her backstrap weaving loom using the said loom.
Details of the pattern and pictures of the weaving in progress are all in this post.
Saluki lavender sachet
This Saluki lavender sachet is made using fibre from the dog that it depicts.
Vivienne Morgan's Ravelry store contains a patterns for this and a matching cushion.
Perfect for the goth daughter
Hand-dyed, handspun, handknit by indie dyer Sayra Adams. I have no intel on the pattern or the fibre used.
Bouquet of natural wood spindles
This month's sexy spindle shot is a 'bouquet of spindles' shot by willow.wisteria.
The colours in the Bosworth spindles are all naturally-occurring (not colour treated).
This is a lovely photo if natural colours are your bag.
But what really intrigues me are those bobbins. I've not seen anything like them. Are they made for a special spooling machine? If you know anything about them, please do tell me.
All I can glean from a Google Translate of the text is that the yarn includes Merino and Romney, and that the Romney is a singles yarn.
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A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Hemp table linens
This article appeared in Schacht's e-Newes.
Constance Hall discusses the fibre from an environmental perspective as she was writing just ahead of Earth Day.
It contains details of how to make two table runners using Zoom Loom squares and has tips for using hemp yarn on a Zoom Loom.
Uplands headband by Mirella Moments
This headband is made by knitting a tube in the round and finished with a smaller tube.
The pattern suggests alpaca and uses less than 100 yards.
This page contains written instructions and a video tutorial.
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Felix Cardigan by Amy Christoffers
Rachel says that cropped cardigans like this one are great for using smaller amounts of yarn - this one used 260 grams of fibre - but if you have a longer torso you may like to add a couple of inches.
She also used a smaller needle size than that pattern suggested for a denser fabric, and took out a few stitches across the back for a closer fit.
The main link goes to the post about Rachel's project, the pattern is here.
The Chameleon Shawl by Melvenea Hodges
This shawl is specifically designed with handspun cotton in mind. (Yes, cotton does come in those colours naturally.)
Accessing the pattern does require a subscription to Spin-Off magazine. Without a subscription you can read the start of Melvenea Hodges' article and her spinning notes.
Contrast Racerbra by Jessie Maed Designs
This may also be a first for these pattern listings. This is a sports-style bra / top.
Jessie Maed Designs' Contrast Racerbra calls for 140 - 750 yards of DK (11 wpi) yarn. Obviously it should be yarn that's comfortable next to the skin.
woogirldude used handspun yarn in a wool/silk blend which she says is stretchy, super comfy. A quick and easy project.
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But is it art...?
Unspun wool sculpted into intimate portraits
Iranian artist Salman Khoshroo has been inspired to make these works by recent quarantine experience.
He prefers to use the dyed rovings in their unspun form. Making masculine portraits from a feminine material he evokes the delicacy and vulnerability of our bodies.
Rie Sakamoto knits rubber bands like yarn for elastic garments
This is Japanese designer Rie Sakamoto wearing some of her rubber band garments.
I imagine that if you have any hair on your body when you put it on, you don't have afterwards.
She admits that she doesn't "consider the garments to be a practical option for everyday wear" but wants to surprise people with the potential of the lowly material.
She painstakingly joins the bands one by one before knitting them by hand in the usual way on needles .
Its stretchy quality lends itself to clothing, she said, as it enables the material to morph to different body-shapes and sizes.
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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.
More color and into the whirled odds and ends
Jillian Moreno's second samplealong is well underway but there's no reason why you shouldn't begin. It will include combo plied and combo drafted yarns
It uses 'minnies'. This is a perfect thing to do with braids that you aren't so in love with anymore, and any pieces of braids you have leftover from a project.
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. 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
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