Last month we saw many stories on the theme of cotton. Other types of plant fibre have come up this month. We learn about how linen is commercially produced, how to grow and process it at home, and see someone processing and spinning the narrowleaf yucca.
Other less common materials on show this month include dog hair and appropriately for the season, turkey feathers.
With Halloween approaching, there are a couple of spooky patterns and Yvonne has a scary encounter.
Whether Socktober for you means making socks for homeless charities, making socks for yourself or just an opportunity to post pictures of your socks, the cooler weather means that this month's pattern suggestions contain a number of sock and slipper patterns, along with shawls, scarves and shrugs.
Read on for October's cunning curated collection of inspirational information and entertainment for spinners, knitters, crocheters, dyers and weavers.
Showcasing some of the best spinning images I've seen this month
A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn
But is is art...?
Victoria Rose Richards, Rusty Scruby, more student competition, lifesize Thanos, massive stellar map
In the media
Student design competition virtual tour
The Campaign for Wool's Wool Week launched with an exhibition of the winners of its Student Design Competition, which aims to bring together students and industry.
The competition challenged students to create an innovative and exciting product made out of wool. Various brands set their own challenges, offering winners' work for sale in their stores or work placements.
The exhibition includes floor covering, furniture and furnishings, suits and overcoats and knitwear.
These are the links you'll need to explore more of this year's SWW online content.
It begins with an introduction from HRH Prince Charles, patron of the Campaign for Wool and includes knitting tutorials, tours of island crofts, fleece sorting, live Q and A's which you can watch again and more.
A project that the Shetland Amenity Trust were still able to complete this year is the Shetland Wool Week Annual. Its 136 pages contain a number of features and 13 patterns from 11 designers, which include Fair Isle, lace and weaving.
Pictured is Ella Gordon's Radiant Star cowl which features on the cover. Ella loves the 'allover gansey', an everyday jumper which has an all-over pattern, often in two colours. Those jumpers inspired this cowl, and you can read more on her blog here.
Covid-19 has had a big impact on the charity, this is a great way to support the event.
Spinning demonstrations in period costume aren't everyone's cup of tea. But Josefin was very happy to have a chance to use the great wheel, or walking wheel, at this 18th century manor hall.
I'm not clear about whether the wheel is period or a reproduction. She says that there aren't many left in Sweden which does suggest the former. The video shows carding as well as using the great wheel for spinning.
The second half of this video talks about the environmental benefits of wool, which is preaching to the converted if you're reading this publication.
But the video starts with the fascinating story of the North Ronaldsay flock. The sheep are kept on the shore of the island by drystone walls, they eat seaweed and are rounded up by the community for shearing.
There's some beautiful footage here and commentary by Sian Tarrant, the island's Sheep Dyke Warden.
The finished turkey feather blanket looks very cosy but the thing I found most surprising in this video is the way that Mary Weahkee processes and spins the 'yukka cordage'. She starts with the Northern narrowleaf plant and creates a 2-ply cord with no spindle or wheel.
It's a pleasure to listen to her speak, and she demonstrates all of the processes involved in making the blanket in this 20 minute video.
Metal music stands are not necessarily very expensive, they're floor-standing and height- and angle-adjustable, and fold down to nothing. As a musician who's played outside too many times, I can tell you that small magnets will hold your pattern firmly in place and even mark your place in a chart.
Adidas's wild new shoe is string art for your feet
This experimental Adidas shoe is reminiscent of string-and-nail art, and that's pretty much how it was made.
The prototypes were made with nails in a board and hand-winding the threads. Now the process is automated, but the robots are doing the same thing. It has advantages over knitted fabric, Designers can mix different yarns and design for different performance in different parts of the shoe.
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The Coronavirus pandemic is causing havoc in all our lives at the moment but what about the charities and organisations that rely on public fundraising to maintain their care services? Martin House Children's Hospice is such a charity, with an annual running cost of around £9 million to provide their vital services to families, they need our help.
As a way of offering support to Martin House, Adam Curtis Online are donating a percentage every sale of their two most popular ranges, the Best of British Wool Throw Collection and the Real Shetland Cushion range.
Please see their blog for more information about Martin House and the fundraising products.
Last month there were a lot of stories involving cotton, and if that tempted you to try growing your own, here's further encouragement in the shape of a beautiful photo of a boll starting to open. The full photo shows it beside a flower.
This picture shows flao64's Blacklight Cowl in progress, although she has finished it now. She is using a handspun gradient yarn, spun from a SpinJones batt.
The pattern is Black Light by Shaina Bilow . It is designed to show off bright colours against a black background, worked in the round using slip-stitch mosaic knitting.
This is a pattern particularly suited to colourful handspun yarn. The suggested commercial yarn has 50+ colours per hank! Worsted weight (9 wpi) Use a black or very dark handspun or commercial yarn as the background colour. It takes around 200 yards of each colour.
This article appears in the Winter 2020 issue of Spin Off magazine. The full article is behind their paywall, but even without a subscription, you can see a very detailed shot of these woven laces and the start of John Mullarkey's article.
Weaving a set of braces from handspun yarn (or suspenders as she knows them) was a new idea for Sarah. She wanted to wear a particular skirt without the bunching of a belt.
She used a tapestry frame, and made them to be fastened with clasps or buttonholes. This blog post contains many beautiful pictures of the maker modelling them with a skirt and trousers, along with some 'in progress' shots of the weaving.
As the name suggests, it's a very basic sock pattern, which makes it ideal for showing off the colour variation in your handspun. The designer says that "socks knit in solid or semi-solid yarn are simple and elegant, yet this pattern also is perfect for a striped or highly variegated yarn". The columns of garter stitch add interest as well as a little bit of elasticity.
You choose your cuff ribbing and choose between two different toes.
You will need 350-400 yards of fingering / 4ply (14 wpi) yarn.
Angela Tong's project used a slubby thick-and-thin cotton yarn, which makes me think that this would be a perfect project for handspun cotton, some of it dyed.
She doesn't give full instructions, just brief details of what she did. If you've used a rigid heddle before, you won't have any trouble with the plain weave. Angela says that "it takes only a few simple seams".
It's made from various handspun yarns and leftovers, which is exactly what the pattern suggests - the instructions do not indicate what colours to use or when to stripe yarns. Those choices are totally up to you!
You can use stash and scrap yarns of all weights, held together for the desired gauge.
I'm Shiela Dixon, I've beeing doing this for around ten years in order to promote and encourage the craft of spinning.
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