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Hand Spinning News

three Manx Loaghtan sheep

The Manx Loaghtan breed has a very interesting history and features in three separate stories this month. Shetland and Ouessant also get a look in.

The spinning tips and tutorials include singles yarn, bulky yarn, some 'back to basics' and two tools that stand upright to save space,

Read on for this month's round-up of news, views and reviews for spinners, knitters, crocheters, dyers and weavers.

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Photo right: Manx for the memories, Fiber Nation. Cover photo: courtesy Hot Stove Fiber



In the media


Handspun stories

Away wi' the Fairies in the Springtime!

Away wi' the Fairies in the Springtime!

One method of dealing with a colourful braid of fibre is to pull off small amounts and make punis around a fat knitting needle or dowel. It takes a little time but spinning is very fast.

Not through choice, Freyalyn had to rearrange these punis by colour. I think this was a happy accident because she was able to sort them in such a way as to make two matching plies which have a mirrored gradient.

Pax, a coloured fleece

Pax, a coloured fleece

One advantage of hand spinning over millspun yarn is that you can manipulate the colours.

As Josefin says, a mill would have produced a uniform oatmeal yarn from this fleece, but she was able to split it into four general colours and spin them in short sections for an ever-changing yarn.

Manx for the Memories

Manx for the memories

The Manx Loaghtan is perfectly adapted for the climate and grazing of the Isle of Man, is an all-round breed but has been saved from extinction three times.

Following on beautifully from the last story, Allison Korleski presents the eventful history of this breed as an audio podcast (under a terrible headline).

Blending Boards: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Blending Boards: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

For obvious reasons, many festivals and classes have moved online. It may not be quite the same as being together in person but on the other hand it does open the event up to people who wouldn't be able to travel.

This is Janelle's experience of taking Heavenly Bresser's fabulously-titled class, Blending Boards: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly which was part of the (virtual) Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival

My New Spinning Obsession

My new spinning obsession

Kat has also written about a class at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, with Maggie Casey no less. This taught her to think beyond her default yarn and she shares what she learned.

The other fiber animal

The other fiber animal

Early in this issue is a story about a spinner who takes commissions to spin the fur of people's pets. In recent issues we have seen that certain dogs have been kept specifically for their fur in the past.

If this is a new idea to you and doesn't make you reel in disgust, Anne Merrow's short article will be a good introduction.

She asks the pertinent question, "wool, hair or fur?" and goes on to talk about collecting and using it.

Spin to yarn journey

Spin to yarn journey

This braid of fibre had four separate lengths, one black and three rainbow, which gives options for spinning.

hikari.handmade made two skeins using two methods and puts them side-by-side. One is traditional 3-ply and one chain ply. There are many more details in the post.


Colour inspiration

When little needs saying except 'beautiful colour'

Portable spinning

Portable spinning

These slightly salmony-reds are gorgeous. They are hand blended and being spun on the go by



Tips and tutorials

Fulling singles

Fulling singles

We all know that plying balances singles so that you can knit it without biasing.

But it is possible to knit singles if you full them a little. Josefin demonstrates and finds that the resulting single yarn "feels like it has a body - well rounded and strong. I trust that it will not break, despite its singleness. It is a pleasure to knit and doesn't split."

Her article contains some interesting microscope images of the fibres before and after fulling, and she uses a pine cone to explain what's going on with the scales of the wool fibres.


3D textiles could replace concrete and cement in construction

3D textiles could replace concrete and cement in construction

This is a multi-axial loom, used for weaving three dimensional pliable shapes. The headline is very speculative but based on the fact that a woven structure is lightest and strongest construction.

Designer Hella Jongerius has demonstrated some experimental prototypes in her Woven Cosmos exhibition in Berlin. They include objects made from 'solar yarn' which incorporates strips of photovoltaic cells. She sees the possibility for its use in solar panels.

Information and pictures are on this page. It is the highlights from an interview with Hella Jongerius which you can watch here.

The maddest new planet-friendly fabrics

The maddest new planet-friendly fabrics

Following on from the last story, and following the trend for non-animal and non-petrochemical textiles, here's a round up of plant-based materials including pineapple leather, seaweed fabric, sugarcane shoe soles, heels made of grapes, banana canvas and rose-petal silk.

You may be familiar with some of these fibres through hand spinning, such as seacell.


Long day

The two friends look tired. 'It's been a long hard day. I can't wait to get my hooves off.'

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

Keeping this wheel spinning

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A new toy: Electric Eel Wheel 6.0

A new toy: Electric Eel Wheel 6.0

To be fair this isn't a full review, and doesn't claim to be, but it will be very useful if you're weighing up the different e-spinners.

Janelle unboxes it, sets it up and compares skeins spun on her previous wheel and her new Electric Eel.

Spindle Bowl Review

"Spindle Bowl" Review

This spindle bowl is actually a porcelain tea cup, but just right to serve as a spindle bowl.

The peahen (not me, a different peahen) has reviewed this potential new source of spindle bowls. She has recorded her findings as an audio podcast, and also as a youtube video, which may be more approrpate for a review of a physical product.

You'll find all of the links you need on this page:


Sometimes just a picture is enough

Handspun hundred days bluebells jumper

Handspun hundred days bluebells jumper

Janet took part in #the100dayproject, a global, annual initiative which is open to all. It encourages you to choose your own creative project, do it every day for 100 days, and share your progress online.

This year's run is now finished but if it appeals to you, mark January 31 2022 in your diary.

The main colour of Janet's jumper is handspun yarn, hand dyed in bluebell blue. Colourwork borders are Jamiesons shetland and the cream background is local organic wool.

Feathers Cowl

Feathers Cowl

This is chaoticK's Feathers Cowl in her handspun yarn. It's a test knit for Elizabeth Hall's Feathers Cowl which is available now. I always thing that the 'stained glass' style works really well with handspun yarn.

I'm deliberately linking to the Ravelry project in this case because she has written very good and extensive notes.

Lavender Fields Cap

Lavender Fields Cap

This is a series of photographs by Kaz Kiss showing the progress from fibre to woven fabric to cut-out pieces to sewn cap.


Pattern suggestions

Aldous by Isabell Kraemer

Aldous by Isabell Kraemer

This is PetaKnitta's Aldous in her own handspun. She made a three-ply from two strands of one fibre and another strand of another fibre. This gave "muted blue tones with some little hints of green and purple coming through".

The pattern has an unusual construction (top-down saddle shoulder) and some nice touches such as the lateral braid. Thanks to KnitWit for her notes.

It requires 935 - 1778 yards of yarn Sport / 5 ply thickness (12 wpi) yarn.

Koko Bean Hat by Judithmarieknits

Koko Bean Hat by Judithmarieknits

This is kerrucrafts' Koko Bean Hat. She used a blend of superfine merino, alpaca, camel and silk.

The pattern has a very high star rating and very low difficulty rating. It uses 200 yards of 10-ply thickness (9 wpi) on 4mm needles so it'll be quick too.


But is it art...?



All that remains is for me to thank everyone who blogs, writes articles or posts pictures on the subject of spinning, knitting, crochet or weaving. This newsletter wouldn't exist without them.

If you enjoy Hand Spinning News, 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

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