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Green shoots Newsletter from for February 2012 February is an eventful month; We leave the worst of the snow behind us, start to see bulbs pushing through, celebrate luuurve on Valentine's day and enjoy pancakes. Judging by a nice crop of stories from the blogosphere this month, we've found time for fibre crafts in between all of that and have been hand spinning tiny samplers through to big rugs. If that doesn't banish memories of the cold dark nights, think that it's very nearly lambing time. So on with this month's digest of spinning-related news, views and amusement.

Contents News and articles from around the web Join the flock, Champis the sheep-rabbit, Handspun for cross-stitch? Wool's carbon footprint up to 80% smaller than previously thought, Heart healthy fibre From the blogosphere Spinning newspaper, changing your sett after you've warped, Old Forge, For Size Reference, Handspun Cladonia Shawl, Orange colorwork sweater finished, Handspun for socks? Wear test, What a difference a ply makes, News from February's giveaway and what's new Events Some 2012 dates for your diary! Courses and tuition Where to go for a day, weekend or a week to learn or improve your skills

News and articles from around the web Join the flock FLOCK is a large public art project creating a large art installation made up of thousands of woolly pom-pom sheep. The finished work will be on display in Cumbria in April. If you'd like to make and send one / some pom-pom sheep, then you can download the free pattern and find out more using the link below. They are aiming for 5000 sheep and helpful people have so far donated 1800. Thanks go to the lovely Kate of Rosliston Forestry Centre's Environmental Education team for sending me this link. She's been busy making some and I'll add photos to my blog when I've made my own.

Assertive rabbit This is Champis, the sheep-rabbit. In this video, the bunny lives in Sweden and hops around herding a flock of sheep. Thanks to Shearer's Girl who shared the video and thinks that rabbits have the ideal temperament to make great sheepdogs.

Handspun for cross-stitch? I'm sure the vast majority of us either knit, crochet or weave with our handspun but does anyone spin very fine yarn for needlework? Liz, who describes herself as an 'odd duck', spins fine thread using her traveller. It is 100% blueface Leicester wool, some is hand dyed or painted and all is ideal for cross stitch, embroidery and needlepoint. Liz also runs a Thread Club Stitch-A-Long. I had trouble choosing a photograph for this thumbnail because the photos of her work are beautiful and varied. Use the link below to see a selection of photos and the shop / blog are at

Wool's carbon footprint up to 80% smaller than previously thought The Wool Carbon Alliance has estimated the carbon footprint of wool as being 60 to 80 percent lower than previously thought. They find that wool is part of the natural cycle of water and carbon and could be part of carbon reduction targets. I'm afraid I've lost the name of who shared this, so thank you if it was you.

Heart Healthy Fibre I must admit I'm struggling with this one. I love a hair-brained idea, I'm all for exercise, especially if knitting and spinning are involved. But I notice that it's an e-spinner and a powered treadmill, both using electricity, so the spun yarn has quite a carbon footprint. How about if it was a spinning wheel *powered* by the user.... hey - that's a normal treadle wheel.... I'm joking, this is very amusing, thanks to Cherry Lane Studio for the idea and the video and to Ashford for sharing.

From the blogosphere Blogpick - Spinning newspaper Diane of The Murmering Wheel has been blogging her 2011 workshops and spinning activities, and this post is my favourite. I know that she takes on spinning commissions which sometimes include pet hair, but this has got to be the most unusual so far. She was commissioned to spin 5kg of newspaper yarn. It sounds like it was a demanding task and the blog is a fascinating read. The yarn has been made into finished pieces, but tantalisingly, we're not allowed to see the result yet. I'll pass on more information when I have it.

Blogpick - Tip of the Month, changing your sett after you've warped Alison aka Willington Weaver gives us a weaving tip every month. For February she explains with step-by-step pictures how to change your sett after you've warped by securing your cross with the aid of two spare cross-sticks.

Blogpick - Old Forge Monika of Smokin Hot Needles may win an award here for the most yarn spun in one blog post. She's bee spinning and dyeing for a knitted blanket / throw, which she's already cast on. Do follow the link through to the pattern; Monika has chosen brighter colours and like a lot of others, I can't wait to see the result!

For Size Reference How about this cute idea for using up handspun scraps? chavala has made these tiny mitts as holiday ornaments. Pattern is Mini Mittens by Leslie Ann Bestor: (Ravelry link)

blogpick: Handspun Cladonia Shawl gotthebutton says that she has been inspired by Monika's knitting and colour choices, but her own version of this shawl looks beautiful in the colours she's chosen. She spun fibre that she'd bought from different places and did a little dyeing herself too, and together it all looks great. She is in love with her shawl, and that's not surprising.

blogpick: Orange colorwork sweater finished I've been looking out for this finished object since I spotted the cast-on cuffs on the blog last year. Rather than knit a whole jumper in handspun, Joyuna has used some of her own homespun shetland in natural colours and orange-dyed for the colourwork sections, and some orange mill-spun yarn for the plain sections. It's her first stab at colourwork. She says that the pattern, which uses slipped stitches rather than stranding, is deceptively simple. Skip back to November 2011 on her blog to see a close-up of the cast-on cuff (or possibly a swatch).

Handspun for socks? Anne Merrow of Spinning Daily answers: Absolutely! I don't usually feature anything that needs paying for (this blog post focusses on the latest Soccupied e-Mag, $4.99) but in this blog post Anne does give us three good reasons why you *would* want to use your precious handspun for a project that you will walk on and wear holes in.

Blogpick: Wear test Following on beautifully from that, David of Southern Cross Fibre made a pair of socks in 2009 with differently-plied yarn for each sock, to test which method makes more resilient socks He's recently published an update and says that they're both holding up well, but what I find more fascinating is the way the socks look in the original photo. A good demonstration of how navajo plying will maintain colours in stripes while 2- or 3-plying gives that flecked, heathered look.

Blogpick: What a difference a ply makes Here Cathy aka lazykate gives us a lovely pun and shows us the results of spinning and plying the same dyed fibre in two different ways. First as a chunky 7wpi thick and thin, and then as a finer and more even 14wpi. She says that she likes them both, but it's fascinating to see how different techniques can produce such dramatically different results.

News and articles from February's giveaway As promised I've put together a bigger prize this month, and I'll use the now traditional survey as the basis for the prize draw. Even if you've answered the same questions last year and / or the year before, your answers will help me to make better. Take the opportunity to tell me what you like or what you would like in this newsletter. It should only take a couple of minutes, and I'll put the names of all entries into a hat. In time for the next newsletter (Mid March 2012), the random number generator will choose a name and I'll send a competition lazy kate, three Ashford bobbins of your choice and some fibre as well. Enter at:

What's new? Hand Spun by Lexi Boeger Having Alison Daykin as a teacher might have steered me in the direction of art yarn, but I find that the yarns I like making most are thin, smooth and even. But I find Lexi Boeger's work outstanding. A while ago I featured a selection of her photographs in this newsletter. The term 'art yarn' is used in the book, but far from wanting you to make yarn that you only admire in it's own right, Lexi intends that you use it and provides 20 project ideas. Read my review and buy the book at the link below.

Events 2012 Wonderwool Wales 28 & 29 April 2012, Royal Welsh Showground A little bit later than last year. Promoting wool and natural fibre production and its use. Exhibitors and Trade Stands covering all aspects of felting, knitting, weaving, spinning, crochet and textile art with raw materials, equipment, books and finished products for sale. Competitions and a range of workshops tba. A list of accommodation And camping in the surrounding area is available on the Wonderwool website.

Woolfest Friday 22 and Saturday 23 June, Cockermouth, Cumbria A celebration of natural fibres, especially all aspects of wool, wool products and wool crafts. From fleecy animals and rare breeds, through fleece, tops, craft equipment and materials, to finished clothing, accessories and unique hand-crafted woollen goods. Also workshops and masterclasses.

Fibre East 14 & 15 July 2012, Thurleigh, Bedfordshire It's great to see that the Fibre East festival will be held again in 2012 following the success of the first one last year. It gives those in the Eastern, Midlands and Southern Regions an opportunity to join in an event which aims to encourage and promote natural fibres. Fibre-East has its own Ravelry group: and Twitter stream: (tweets for the 2012 event yet to appear) (New website under construction)

Courses and tuition Please let me know if you are or you know a tutor with a calendar of events. Derbyshire: See listing below of spinning, dyeing and weaving holidays with Alison Daykin (external link to Skylark Holidays' programme and prices). Five-day or weekend breaks. Alison also has a less formal 'Monday night group': Lancashire: Spinning workshops at Knit-Wise. 2012 dates tbc. All materials included for £40, contact Cathy (lazykate) on 01695 580590 Manchester:Spinning courses with Dee Sayce. also sewing, felt making, weaving, dyeing, batik and silk painting (external link to beetlefelt) Nottinghamshire: Spinning courses with Juliet Hill (external link to Juliet Hill Handspinning) Norfolk: Single-day spinning courses link to Norfolk Yarn website) Sheffield: Tuition and Demonstrations by Diane Fisher, the Murmuring Wheel (external link to Diane Fisher's calendar)

Spinning and weaving holidays If the listing below does not display properly, please view it on the web at with Skylark holidays and Alison Daykin. Introduction to Spinning Derbyshire Learn to Spin, have a dabble at spinning

Make the Most of Rigid Heddle Derbyshire Weaving – making the most of your loom

Start Weaving Derbyshire Peak District Learn to Weave



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As usual, if you know anything spinning-related, please let me know. Happy spinning and don't be a stranger! Shiela If you're reading this newsletter on the web and would like it delivered to your email inbox every month, just fill in your email address in the box somewhere up there on the right. If you've reading this in your inbox and would prefer not to receive any more, just use the Mailchimp 'unsubscribe' link at the foot of the email. Share:




Handspinner newsletter for February 2012  

Newsletter for handspinners from Offers as well as the usual roundup of news, events, inspiration and some silliness...

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