Hand Spinning News
What a busy spinning month! In the last month we've had Spin in Public Day, Yarndale Wool Week (and Shetland Wool Week) and we have pictures and words from all of these and more.
Spinzilla brought together 25 spinners from the UK (and more who spun rogue) and 1700 spinners from around the world. No official result yet, but miles of yarn were spun and much more gained.
This is the free edited version of Hand Spinning News for October 2015. For details of how to subscribe to the paid version, see "milestone" at the bottom.
- Recent events
- From Blogland
- Tips and tutorials
Showing off some of the best images I've found 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
Some 2015 dates for your diary
Worldwide Spin in Public Day
Spinners around the world took their wheels and spindles out into public on 19 September.
Here are pictures of the Worstead Guild who spun at Felbrigg Hall and met new friends and new recruits.
Shoppers flock to see sheep on Savile Row
This year's Wool Week was once again saw a flock of sheep grazing Savile Row.
The bemused sheep were there to meet equally bemused Londoners and promote the properties of wool and the British clothing industry.
The Evening Standard has pictures, story and video.
Shetland Wool Week
Shetland has its own wool week with many events to celebrate their industry and special heritage.
The packed programme comes across in this video from 60 Degree North TV.
The highlight for me is seeing Oliver Henry sorting fleece for Jamieson and Smith. It was delightful to listen to him, one of oddly few Scottish accents in the 5 minute video.
The video is punctuated by The Wool Week Song by sound artist Felicity Ford. If you're brave enough to listen to the whole song, that's here.
Shetland Wool Week in pictures
Here is an evocative selection of pictures from the week, courtesy KnitBritish. If you're of the podcast persuasion, then Louise Scollay of KnitBritish made a daily recording which you can find on the Shetland Wool Week blog.
Yarndale has gone from strength to strength, in this third year it attracted over 10,000 visitors
I'm linking here to woollyadventures' blog - partly because it's the first Yarndale post I found showing some spinning, and partly because she's shown the real variety of exhibitors and other entertainment.
Attic 24 - My Yarndale 2015
One of the best collections of photographs from the event is from Lucy herself.
We get an insight into the preparations and yarnbombing as well as candid visitor shots, exhibitors, garlands and bunting.
To read more about the event and see more pictures, Lucy has a list of blogs at the bottom of her post.
Spinzilla 2015... Team Handspinning News UK
Spinning as much as you can for seven days straight is a big physical challenge. Three days later I still have aches. During the week I was mindful of the fact that what is a fun challenge for us was a way of life for many in the past.
babylonglegs spun for Team Hand Spinning News UK and in this blog post she really manages to express just how rewarding the whole exercise was for many.
Also in her post she demonstrates the result of plying together three different natural colours and then overdyeing, with a knitted sample.
Sad it's over
Jenn also spun for Team Hand Spinning News and writes in her post about the strange 'out of body' effects of so much spinning.
She discusses with pictures the 2.25 miles of yarn that she spun. Do click through to see her 'feathered' yarn, one of the more unusual art yarns spun during the week.
Practice over perfection
Rebecca has some very interesting thoughts about the benefits of an event with the focus on quantity, such as Spinzilla.
Spinsters, moral fibre and other phrases
This video captures two great things; the start of Spinzilla and one of Jenn's 'Spinning in Cowgirl Boots' sessions, where we can watch her hands hypnotitcally spinning and listen to her speak in her own unique way.
We join Jenn as she begins her spinning marathon, not as many did at the stroke of midnight, but early the next morning. Still in her PJs and with coffee, she pulls on her cowgirl boots and muses on some of the phrases that have emerged from our craft, such as 'spinster', 'moral fibre' and 'tapestry of lies'.
She touches on the fact that she's spinning 'semi-worsted' and in another post she takes a more in-depth look at this technique.
From the Blogosphere
When I saw this picture I thought elderberries. I'd not heard of pokeberries.
Araignee watched these berries form and ripen as she walked her dog and decided to try dyeing with them.
In this post you can see the results, and read more about the harvesting in the previous post.
DIY Yarn Swift
A yarn swift is a very useful tool if you don't have a glamorous assistant to hold out their hands while you wind your yarn into balls. But they can be pricey.
measuredandslow decided to make her own with a genius combination of an expandable coat rack and lazy susan. All parts were already owned or bought on a budget and the result is effective.
Weekend Knitter volunteered at Greenbank Mill and had the chance to spin on this wheel. Dents and marks caused by yarn running through tell of its age.
There are some great pictures here, it's amusing to see that sometimes the modern world meets the ancient one, and that some things don't change
Never say dye
Sarah of Colours of Northern Ireland grows numerous dye plants but in this post she's achieving yellows from things gathered rather than grown.
Beginning spinning on a shoestring and beyond
One for the absolute beginners, Sarah addresses a fundamental question; does spinning have to be expensive?
I'll leave her to discuss the difference between a wheel and spindle. I'd only add that spinning by spindle is not only a cheap way to work (or even free if you want to make your spindle) but it's enjoyable, even therapeutic. I make many of my projects by spindle.
Sheep Breeds: Greyface Dartmoor
Corrie is clearly excited about her new charges and has done some research about the Dartmoor Greyface. It's still a rare breed, but flocks are making their way around the UK and abroad.
They have a long lustrous fleece, Corrie is looking forward to getting involved in shearing and using the wool.
Bluefaced Leicester - BFL
In a second sheep-with-coloured-face post, Julia is soon to be seeing some Blueface Leicester, a popular wool with hand spinners.
Here she presents her research.
Tips and tutorials
2-ply without a lazy kate
Maybe you're just starting out or like to work with the minimum of tools.
Sara explains how to ply from a centre-pull ball. If it looks simple, it is! You don't even need an expensive ball-winder, you can make such a ball using a nostepinne (or improvise one of those from a bit of broom-handle!)
A treatise on hot pink
Hot pink is a surprisingly popular colour, and if you've tried dyeing you'll know that colours can be unpredictable, depending on so many factors.
Sayra has tried four different brands of acid dye with three different fibres. She's written a good review of each type of dye and presents her results.
How to dye acrylic yarn with Rit dye
I recently discovered that a spinning friend reacts to some wools. This isn't so uncommon and one of the advantages of spinning is that you can make the yarn you like from whatever fibre you like.
Therefore many spinners spin artificial fibres, and now there are acrylic and other artificial fibres available for spinning.
So I was interested to read about this dye. Rit have produced a new range specifically for acrylic fibres. I can't recommend the video, it's a little bit heavy on vocal fry and light on actual tips, but I'd be really interested to hear about anyone spinning or dyeing acrylic or other artificial fibres.
DIY spinning equipment
Sarah discussed earlier how spinning doesn't need to cost very much. If you (or someone in your life) is of the DIY bent then all of the tools that you need can be made with found or inexpensive materials.
This free eBook describes how to make a drop spindle, yarn balance and niddy noddy. Even an umbrella swift.
Tips for choosing colors for a fair isle pattern
If the pictures from Shetland Wool Week made you want to use your handspun yarn in a Fair Isle project, then there are some useful tips in this article.
Lisa Shroyer passes on some tips from her Mum Nancy, including colour value, proportion and number of colours.
Keeping this wheel spinning
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A good-smelling shawl is important to me
In her review of Eucalan, Jen admits that she likes the subtle scent that a delicate wash can add to a finished garment. Besides being a gentle detergent, she likes that the scent is gentle too and doesn't get 'sudsy'.
In the UK you can buy Eucalan here.
Sometimes just a picture is enough
Handspun live oak shawlette
Rahardjo is one of my inspirations, I love her fine, semi-solid yarn, usually spun by spindle.
This finished project is no exception, the pattern is Live Oak Shawlette from Rosemary Hill, the fibre is Blueface Leicester.
Her photography is excellent too. Follow the image through to Flickr for details of her pattern modifications.
Suit from scratch
This picture has done the social media rounds, so you may have seen it. It has had some brickbats for various reasons; I don't expect he'll be wearing the suit in public during daylight hours.
But you have to hand it to him for learning a number of post-apocalyptic skills including some that many of us have only been curious about, such as raising his own silkworms and tanning leather.
Prairie Rose shawl
Although she didn't intend the subtle colour variations, Diane agrees that they're beautiful and add charm.
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Ancient Stitch Scarf
A while ago we looked at this sock which was made with the naalebinding technique and also raised the appalling possibility that the ancient Egyptians wore socks with their sandals.
ewespecial wrote about an even older piece of fabric which was also made with the single-needle stitch. If you're interested in the technique then here's her post and a link to a video showing the foundation stitch.
The fabric provided inspiration for purlbee who designed the Ancient Stitch Scarf. The embossed stitch pattern is inspired by the old fabric but it does use two needles and regular stitches. There are videos on the page showing purl front and back and purl through the back loop if you need.
Fall for Free Fingerless Gloves
Fingerless gloves are very appropriate for the time of year, so Craftsy have picked eight different patterns with different things to commend them. Maybe you like to knit each finger, maybe you want to use two different colours, or maybe just a stitch pattern to show off a beautiful handspun yarn.
Crochet beanie by Drops Designs
One for the chaps, or a gift for the chap in your life, this plain hat will carry colour changes in your handspun yarn.
Lierne Cowl aka Tierceron II by Jennifer Kirchenbauer
I've been looking at this shape of cowl (Cowl at the moon is a worthwhile free one).
Lierne will suit a solid or semi-solid yarn. The lovely lace pattern is reminiscent of a cathedral roof.
We looked at hot pink earlier, if it's your colour and you like to spin a laceweight yarn then this new wide crescent shaped shawl from Boo Knits will appeal.
Beata who made this one says that it's "even pinker in real life"
Wonderful Wool Day
11 October, Memorial Hall in Oswestry, 11am-4pm. £2 entry for adults.
Bring your work-in-progress, what you are proud of, what you would like to put on the Orphan Lamb Table (to include books this time) and a jolly smile!
Also a Back-to-Back attempt.
Bakewell Wool Gathering
Bakewell Agricultural CentreSaturday 17 and Sunday 18 October
This year sees the third year of the Bakewell Wool Gathering, an event for wool lovers in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales.
There will be exhibitors, demonstrations of fibre crafts, workshops plus a knitting and crochet help desk to help novice and expert alike.
January 2015 saw a milestone; Hand Spinning News split into two; a free version, which is edited down a little bit, and a full version for paying subscribers.
If you would like to take the free option then you need to do nothing and you will receive Hand Spinning News as always, just a little later, and I'm very happy to still have you as a reader.
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Happy spinning and don't be a stranger!
Shiela Dixon - Editor / curator
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