Hand Spinning News
It appears to be the season for yardage competitions. If you're less competitive, how about a spinning retreat or one of the many festivals and Wool Week events which are around the corner?
Also lurking around the corner is cooler weather, so the pattern choices this month feature some warmer and chunkier garments.
We've still got the blues. As usual there are a few posts about natural dyeing including growing and using woad and indigo. Look out for the captivating archive footage of Jill Goodwin.
New this month is the UK Supplier List. (Permanent link in the header above.) This is new and I'm still populating the database. If you know anyone who should be listed, or if you are included and would like to update your details, please let me know.
Read on for this month's cunning curated collection of inspirational information and entertainment for spinners, knitters, crocheters, dyers and weavers. This is the full issue for September 2019.
Photo right: Making a custom gradient, Amy King. The cover photo is from Chants royaux du Puy de la Conception de Rouen
- Forthcoming Events
Yarndale, Spin Together, BritSpin
- In the media
PETA ad banned, Harris Tweed mill given to its manager
- From Blogland
Walnut, woad, indigo, Yorkshire knitting sheaths, tartan, Dalapäls
Linen, antique French spindle, picker, Jill Goodwin
- Tips and tutorials
Making a custom gradient
Cut-resistant yarn, Spiber
Showcasing 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
Remaining 2019 UK show dates for your diary
- But is is art...?
Yarning for Yarndale
It's very unlikely that you won't have heard about Yarndale or the serious amount of bunting, yarnbombing and charity projects that go on around the event.
This year's event is the seventh and will happen on 28 and 29 September. As a taster, Lucy has revealed the small pattern to be included in the brochure, which is this bag charm.
She also discusses this year's charity project which is a crochet bear, there's a link to the full tutorial.
There's also a crochet sheep pattern and a sneaky peeky at some of the pieces she's been making for the yarnbombing.
If you've participated in Spinzilla in the past, you'll know that the event isn't happening this year.
Spin Together is a new team competition open worldwide with no entry fee and prizes provided by sponsors. Spinner registration is open throughout September with the event happening from 6 - 12 October.
A reminder that Britspin is also open for spinner registration. This will be its second year. Money raised through spinner donations will go to a nominated UK charity; this year The Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimers Scotland.
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In the media
PETA ad banned for claiming 'wool as cruel as fur'
Animal-rights organisation PETA have been campaigning aggressively, you may have seen their deliberately-shocking messages on social media or billboards.
One of their ads, claiming that wool is as cruel as fur, has been banned for being misleading.
Harris Tweed mill in Lewis given to its manager as a gift
In a heartwarming story, Brian Haggas, owner of the oldest Harris Tweed mill in production, Kenneth Mackenzie Ltd, has decided to give the mill to manager Alex Lockerby to prevent it being bought by "financial vultures".
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From the Blogosphere
Shilasdair: isle of Skye natural dye company
Shilasdair, the Isle of Skye natural dye company has changed hands too. The operation and its yarn has always been an inspiration to Kate Davies and so she has visited new owner Kirsty to talk about her passions and to see the new range.
This is a very good account of Kate's visit to the premises and meeting with Kirsty, with loads of pictures.
Did you know that walnuts contain a dye which attaches to yarn without mordant? Or that green walnuts may give a better colour than mature ones?
riihivilla has been given some fresh walnuts, picked before they fell to the ground. "I got a very nice dark brown from the first bath. Much darker than last year", she comments.
Fun in the sun
This is Jean's record of her day at the Fibrilations festival with a selection of photographs. The object that caught her eye is the one that would have caught mine too - a book charkha with the owner spinning punis and also directly from raw cotton bolls.
A study of Yorkshire knitting sheaths
We've seen Yorkshire knitting sheaths here before, courtesy Ann Kingstone. This essay is on the same topic but from a different source.
Some of the sheaths in Whitby Museum's collection were carved by professionals, some by amateurs.
Textile historian Viveka Hansen says that in the nineteenth century, knitting was "an ideal occupation for filling spare moments, both indoors and out of doors". This is borne out in Frank Meadow Sutcliffe's photographs, some of which are reproduced on this page.
For me the photographs are the most fascinating part of this page. I find them haunting. Although they're sepia, they are so clear and sharp that it's like peering into the past.
Ewespecial says that researching tartan is much easier in this information age. In this post she takes a look at her collection of books and the resources available today. She also includes two introductory videos.
Is there a link between Indigo and Scotland?
Following Kate Davies' visit to Shilasdair, she is working on a project involving yarn naturally-dyed with indigo. Scots were involved in the imperial exploitation of Indian planters and manufacturers.
Kate reflects on this unpleasant topic and the beautiful and unusual dye plant.
Rebecca has spun this alpaca fleece by spindle because her wheel was occupied and she was keen to get started.
She says that spinning by spindle is a very portable kind of spinning. "I could do it sitting on the ground, in chair or even in the car." I assume she was in the passenger seat at the time. Don't spin and drive.
Despite sharing the fleece with others, she has enough to make a small top.
Moss holds a thrill for Tracy which is clear in this post, which is a joy to read.
Putting aside their dye uses, Tracy says that there is a thrill and gratification, and all it takes is to look. The green carpet becomes a miniature forest. This is a worthwhile item for its words and pictures.
Josefin continues her series on Swedish sheep breeds with the rare and endangered dalapäls.
It has "a double-coated wool with strong and shiny outer coat and fine, soft and warm under coat" which means that there are many ways to spin it.
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Picking and carding alpaca fibre
This is one of a series of videos in which Tashia prepares and spins an alpaca fleece. In this part she picks and cards the fleece.
Pickers aren't seen as often as drum carders and spinning wheels but this video shows that they make a good job of turning the locks into a cloud in preparation for the carder.
The picker used in this video is home-made and here is a link to the blog post that explains how to make one.
Thanks to Jenn of the Fibre Workshop for this. Her blog post is partly a recommendation for Jill Goodwin's book A Dyers Manual and partly a link to a short BBC film featuring Jill discussing and demonstrating the harvesting and use of woad.
Tips and tutorials
Making a custom gradient
This isn't one of Amy King's 'back to basics' tutorials but it follows the same format of text and pictures on the page as well as an accompanying video.
She talks about hand-dyed braids which may or may not have a gradient, and how you can break them up to create the gradient or colour changes that you want.
Does size matter? In the latest KnittySpin column, Jillian Moreno attempts to answer this eternal question by spinning the same fibre into yarns of different weights to see how that affected the colour blending.
She repeated the experiment with some fibre with even more contrasting colours and the differences are even more marked.
The science of cut-resistant gloves
We're not talking about chain-mail gauntlets here but these fabric gloves.
So how do they repel a blade? The fabric is made from a three-ply yarn. Each ply has a different property. Each of the elements won't work alone, but together they make a highly cut-resistant fabric.
First jacket commercially available from synthetic spider silk
This is the Moon Parka which will be on sale in December.
It's made from synthetic spider silk, developed by Japanese company Spiber. Spider silk is stronger than steel by weight and made from proteins which makes it more environmentally-friendly than other man-made fibres.
Clothing made from the material are said to be waterproof, breathable, and very warm.
Follow your dreams
Every dog secretly wants to learn to play the piano.
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
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Sometimes just a picture is enough
According to Google Translate, this very pretty jacket is woven from handspun cotton grown around the studio.
Click through the three pictures. The 'side on' picture shows how they've made a graduated effect using an arrangement of lighter and darker warp threads.
This very pretty jumper is from the Ranunculus pattern. A little bit of lace and stitch detail in the yoke is perfect for this slightly-striped yarn.
Shannon made the yarn from hand-dyed pencil roving. One of the pictures in this set shows her yarn before knitting - the label around a skein is from the roving.
rainb0wange's beautiful ruislip involves input from some talented people, besides rainb0wange herself of course. It's a Woolly Wormhead pattern, the fibre was from Hilltop Cloud and the button from Laura's Loom.
Spring rolags and pressed flowers
This month's sexy spindle shot features a pressed flower and glitter whorl. It's from Spin City. knitter_of_rainbows is spinning some Spring rolags that she made a while ago.
The handspun art yarn hasn't been knit or woven but felted into this pretty hat, which is a combination of wet and needle felting.
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A selection of free seasonal patterns which will work well with handspun yarn.
Calash by Heidi G. Schultz
This hooded scarf pattern appears in the new Knitty online magazine. It isn't one of the patterns designed for handspun yarn but this green version is made in a Polwarth / silk mix, Sport / 5 ply weight (12 wpi).
Cozy June by DROPS Design
As we approach Autumn, a pair of cosy slippers will be just the job.
The pattern comes in a good range of sizes, equivalent to about UK 5 to 10. They're made on 4mm needles in DK yarn, double the size that they'll end up, and then felted for a dense, warm fabric.
Wings for Nightbird by Teresa Yoon
This shawl does resemble the feathers of a bird's wings. It's based on a story written by the pattern author in which girls put on magical shawls to become birds.
Choose your yarn weight and needle size according to the size of the wings you'd like to wear.
Prevent your circular needles from misbehaving
It's not obvious from the picture because it looks like work-in-progress on the needles, but in fact this is a very simple knitted item which is designed to hold your needles and prevent dropped stitches and tangles while your knitting is in your bag.
The Twisted Yarn has used a Stylecraft yarn but I'm sure that a small amount of anything would do.
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The Oban Cardigan by Thea Colman
If spinning a sweater-quantity of yarn holds no fear for you (or if you like the pattern and want to buy yarn) then this cabled cardy will be warm, practical and attractive.
The pattern is available as a cardy or a pullover. It's knit using Aran / 10 ply (8 wpi) and the pattern calls for 1350 - 2100 yards depending on the size, which range from 35.25" - 60.75" around the bust.
Thanks to Green Mountain Spinnery for sharing the details.
All These Places by Fifty Four Ten Studio
There's a lot to like about knitting blankets. You can choose a size that suits the amount of yarn you have and gauge doesn't matter
In this case you don't have to do any maths to adjust the size, the pattern contains sizes from 'baby blanket' to 'XXL Afghan'. Plus you can add pattern repeats to lengthen your blanket. For heavier or lighter yarn than the bulky (7 wpi) yarn suggested, simply go down or up a size in the pattern.
This is an attractive basket-weave pattern which will show off a solid dyed or natural colour.
Chelsea Sweater by Whistle and Wool
As jumpers go, the yardage needed for Chelsea Sweater is relatively low because it uses super bulky yarn (5-6 wpi).
I don't find it easy to spin such a thick yarn consistently (lots of plies or a cabled yarn maybe?) but I can see this jumper in 'thick and thin' yarn if you can achieve the right gauge.
According to the designer, this pattern "uses a very classic, comfortable and flattering silhouette at the same time as it being an easy, and quick project". It's easy to wear with its 3" positive ease.
It's made in once piece and doesn't need stitching. Customisation for a tall version is included.
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But is it art...?
Colorful art on the Asbury Park Boardwalk
This is a 100-foot long installation made from 6,000 strands of yarn.
"It's rainbow-esque", says artist Eric Regier, known as HotTea. "It's actually supposed to be the sunset and the sunrise with the land and water in-between. I decided to sort of mix all that together into one installation."
The breeze blowing through the strands creates interesting effects, and also knots!
Hella Jongerius fills atrium of Parisian foundation with a giant loom
When does a loom become an art installation? When it's several storeys tall, maybe. Or perhaps it's the concept. the giant Space Loom "responds to the question of scale and to how to inhabit the verticality of the building".
The loom is part of an exhibition called Interlace, Textile Research that explores how we consider textiles in our daily lives, as well as the implications of its production and consumption. Four people work on the loom at one time, working on raised platforms.
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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
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