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Summer: clear skies and more sport Newsletter from for July 2010 As you'll know if you've ever searched the web for spinning, we share the name of our hobby with cyclists and gym-goers. The Tour de Fleece has been created in order to allow us to spin along with the other type of spinners who are busy climbing French hills at the moment. You may already be taking part - if not, it's very simple, just spin every day from 3 July through to 25 July and do something challenging on Thursday 22 July. (The Tour's toughest mountain stage). More at And while you're doing that, make some time to read on for more offers than ever before as well as the usual roundup of news, events, inspiration and some silliness...

Contents Events Knit Nation News from around the web Knittyspin Trial, 13 Months of Inspiration, Extreme Knitting, 1000 Strand Knit, Knitting and spinning in Public, Spinning and knitting for him From the blogosphere Tour de Fleece selections News and articles from Offers, Washing instructions / symbols, June's prizewinner, July giveaway, changes to the Stitchin' Bints blog and Making sure you don't miss out. Podcast roundup The basics and a selection of spinning 'casts to get you started New products Natural washed fleece, Katie loom Dear Auntie Shiela Making it pay

Events Knit Nation Summer Expo 2010 29 - 31 July 2010, Imperial College in South Kensington, London Learn, Shop, Knit, Spin! The best of independent designers, teachers, retailers, and distributors all in one place. You can see and buy products, learn new skills or improve existing ones, and meet new suppliers. Imperial College is adjacent to the Victoria & Albert Museum, a stone's throw from the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Geographical Society and an easy five minute stroll to Kensington Gardens. A perfect summer destination. Three days of dedicated teaching takes place over the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and the public Marketplace takes place over Friday and Saturday. You can visit our Shop and sign up for classes and buy Marketplace tickets, including our limited Exclusive Preview tickets for the Thursday night advance viewing and shopping without the crowds!

News from around the web Knittyspin Trial The Knittyspin Fiber Fiesta gives you other spinners' thoughts about a fiber you may not have tried. In this regular Knittyspin feature, each type of fiber is tested by two to four average spinners, with different backgrounds and levels of experience. Each spinner is provided with the same amount of fiber, and each spinner spins, plies, finishes and knits each fiber as it speaks to them. The fibres are branded, but are basic fibres or fairly generic.

13 Months of Inspiration You can now obtain a copy of the 2011 Spin-Off calendar to brighten up your kitchen and provide inspiration. Many of the festival dates and public holidays will be American, but they've also included historical titbits such as St Drogo's Day - the patron saint of shepherds of course. It features not just 12 but 13 months-worth of handspun skeins and swatches along with stitch patterns. Preview the calendar..

Extreme Knitting, 1000 Strand Knit You think you have a lot of yarn in your stash? This video shows Rachel John breaking records by knitting with 1000-ply yarn on a pair of giant needles. The work of art took place at a Textiles exhibition in 2006. It's designed to make us think about waste and finding / making yarn, and as with much art, taking things out of context. I love it for these reasons, and also because I love it when things are taken to extreme. The spinning connection here is a little bit tentative, but there all the same. Inspired by a spinner who collected and used scraps of fibre, the 'sweepings' from this project will be used in a future work on the theme of finding and making yarn. Watch the video

Knitting and spinning in Public World Wide Knit in Public 'Day' 2010 was June 12 to 20. Did you take part? Here's a selection of outdoor knitting photos from Flickr: I was at Donington for Download and didn't rate my chances of getting my needles past the bag search, but... If you have your own photos, why not share them? Just upload them to Flickr and add them to the Spinning and knitting in public group:

Spinning and knitting for him

It's a little way off, but the Handspun Gallery of the Fall 2011 issue of Spin-Off will showcase your handspun neckties. Get spinning because they're inviting you to submit your entries by Monday May 2, 2011. Entries must be made from 100% of your handspun yarn or felt. Download this pdf for complete details and forms. You don't need to subscribe to the magazine to join the community and post your photos / discuss / access the projects on their website - just register and join in.

From the blogosphere As mentioned earlier, the Tour de Fleece is currently responsible for making the blogoshpere rich with handspun. Here are some delicious posts, starting with the Yarn Harlot herself. Long Haired Spider has been spending lots of time on her Charkha And here's a selection of TdF photos on Flickr:

Meet the Panda family, needle felted wool toys These very cute pandas are part of an amazing range of felted wool toys made by woolroommate. She is inspired by nature - birds, animals, flowers... and by fairytales. More photos of the panda family and woolroommates felted toys are here on Flickr. woolroommate's Etsy shop is here. more about needle felting, tools, wool, books.

News and articles from Washing instructions for handspun wool I recently designed a 'washing instructions' label for a handspun gift. I've shared the label here as text / image for you to copy and paste or in word format for you to download. Read more / download the labels.

Offers An essential piece of kit.... For subscribers only and while stock lasts, I have some bottles of Ashford spinning wheel oil to give away gratis. When you place an order, quote this code in the 'message to seller' box: AC011 Or simply ask for it if you order by phone (on 01530 413991 to save you searching for the number.) After introducing Selvedge with free postage, I'll now have to apply the regular postage to it (at a reasonable rate for orders up to £35 and free postage after that). However... you'll still get free postage when you order a copy with anything else. When you've checked out, you will be offered the opportunity to buy copies of Selvedge or handmade cards. If you go for it, I'll send the lot together with no extra postage to pay.

July giveaway A little bit lower you'll find out about changes to the Stitchin' Bints blog. July's prize draw will be the regular £20 voucher. To enter, just comment on the blog. Entries in the draw will be per comment and not per person but please don't go OTT with comments on the same post ;-)

June's prize draw Thank you so much to everyone who has entered the June draw for a £30 voucher by simply linking to from their website or blog. Obviously this draw is over now, but if you'd like to link to handspinner, I'd be enormously grateful and will be able to reciprocate. The random number generator picked Paula (Valora on Ravelry) of myfibrecraftjourney who I hope will be posting soon about what she spent the money on.

Blog As well as posting about my own projects on the Stitchin' Bints blog I've also recently started to aggregate all of the spinning news and knitting news that I find. This means that another way to receive my spinning and knitting news is to 'follow' the blog or subscribe to its RSS feed. The blog, which you can access via a link at the top of every page at and, has appeared high up Wikio's knitting blogs, so many thanks to them, and to you if you voted for the blog. You can receive all of the spinning news by subscribing to this newsletter, either by subscribing directly by email or by subscribing via (open one of the newsletters and click 'subscribe to user'.) You can receive all of the knitting news by subscribing to the RSS feed at or click 'subscribe by email' to receive a daily email.

Podcast roundup After last month's mention of iPods and audiobooks it seemed natural to follow on with a round-up of podcasts about spinning / knitting / weaving.

Basics Skip this bit if you're already wise in the ways of the podcast. You don't need an iPod or mp3 player, but one of those is good if you want to listen to your podcasts (as well as your music collection) on the move. All you need to enjoy the following podcasts is a computer with speakers - if you simply visit the page in question and click an episode, you should hear it. You can use free software which allows you to subscribe, such as iTunes. It automatically downloads the latest episodes when they're available and will handle the tricky business of putting the episodes onto your iPod for you. Older episodes are available for a long time or for good, so it's possible to look through these websites and listen to episodes which appeal to you. The podcast's website usually also contains 'programme notes' with further related information such as images or links to websites mentioned in the 'cast. Things I've learned on the way: check your list in iTunes regularly because most of the time podcasts are fairly timeless and work a long time after they're recorded but it's great to hear up-to-the minute info (podcasters' progress with Tour de Fleece, for example) Podcasts which profess to contain spinning information often don't, or sometimes the promised spinning content is hard to find among the knitting, sewing, recipes, pets etc. Luckily, tunes like "Spinning Wheel" and "Windmills of the Mind" wear well. Podcasts often contain musical interludes which break up conversation nicely but can be a little frustrating if the selections aren't to your taste. Sometimes episodes include other free content such as audiobook chapters. The content of such podcasts varies widely from teenagers rambling between themselves to more professional shows. Some are more like blogs with the podcaster discussing their own projects, others feature interviews, reviews and how-to's.

A selection of spinning / knitting / weaving podcasts Here is a selection of spinning-related podcasts to get you started. If you look up these in iTunes, you'll find that each one leads on to more related 'casts which you can sample.

Yarnspinners Tales Spinning on the radio? It works surprisingly well - or at least it does with Yarnspinners Tales. The discussion is informative and engaging, covering spinning techniques, tools, fibres. The long music passages would be fine if it were a little more to my taste, but it still breaks up the conversation nicely.

YKNIT One for the fellas maybe. The podcast is mainly about knitting, but sometimes features fibre, spinning, weaving. And fellas. I'm assuming that this one is finished as they've not put out an episode for nearly a year, but I've quite enjoyed some of the existing episodes. A little too much focus on american people, books, magazines and events rather than the craft but some humour and good musical interludes.

SpinDoctor A new podcast, but a very promising start. Sasha Torres (thecraftyrabbit on Ravelry) Reviews equipment, books and blogs. In the most recent edition, for example, she reviews the WooLee Winder and Maggie Casey's Start Spinning book and DVD.

Clickspin An enthusiastic style and a promising start. Lots of doggy interest in this one, but I have persevered with it because of a good focus on the craft, I like the way that she refers books, blogs and people that you may know. No episode since April - I hope she continues.

Spin Control Podcast A mix of spinning, knitting and sewing. A personal journal from Shilo, aJoyfulGirl on Ravelry

Tribbles Fibrecast If you can recommend any more, please let me know because I've started a list at

New products Ashford Katie 8-Shaft Folding Loom The Katie loom is now here - a fully functional folding 8-shaft table loom. It combines the portability of the knitter's loom with the functionality of the table loom. It comes lacquered and assembled. Read more / buy the new Katie 8-Shaft Folding Loom and accessories.

Natural washed fleece ready to card or spin from the locks. If you enjoy working from the raw fleece but hate that scouring and drying malarkey, then this is for you. I have some jacob cross and some shetland, with more on its way.

Dear Auntie Shiela Here I do my best to help slightly fictional spinners / knitters in distress. In the postbag this month is a letter from a stressed equipment addict. Dear Auntie Shiela Help! My marriage is at risk. I so want to buy a second wheel, but my husband is at the end of his tether with my purchases, and has threatened that one more big purchase is grounds for divorce. What can I do? A: The fact that you've asked for help implies that sacrificing your marriage in favour of your hobby is out of the question. First of all, don't let him even get a hint that you're thinking about it - that won't help your case at all. Second, try a knitted gift as a little softener - perhaps a necktie or a pair of socks Macho socks: Crochet skinny necktie: (while you're about it, why not submit one to Spin-off's handspun necktie feature: Finally, I think the answer is to make your hobby pay for itself, or at least takes steps towards that. If it's not costing hard cash (or at least covering its costs in the long run) then that removes the problem. With this in mind, you can see that "buy" button as a "buy with my partner's blessing" button rather than a "buy and hang the consequences" button!

Making it pay Whether you want to make your hobby pay for itself or earn a living from it, you'll be able to sell your work on the web and there's plenty of help for you in the shape of websites such as Etsy, Misi, Folksy, dreamaid. They all make it a breeze to list your handmade items for sale and give you help and guidance (because helping you is in their interests) in the shape of newsletters and blogs. I'm very happy to list your shop at if you spin or dye handspun yarn or fibre for spinning. Etsy's general help and advice is here: check out the articles in their 'shop makeover series': The 'Etsy success' weekly email is packed with tips about selling online. The advice is relevant wherever you're selling online: Folksy also has a forum: and FAQs too: For tips on writing eye-catching headlines and convincing descriptions, subscribe or browse Copyblogger Kind regards, Shiela

Coming soon... The Katie loom is now here, more photos, blog posts and a video will follow soon. More wood / furniture restoration products will appear soon in the spinning wheel maintenance page. More painted wheels are on their way, new designs based on nature / folklore. Here's a sneaky peeky of two new designs, there are more in my head queueing to get out. As usual, if you know anything spinning-related, please let me know. Happy spinning! 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 below. If you've reading this in your inbox and would prefer not to receive any more, just email me with 'unsubscribe' in the subject line. If you've enjoyed reading this, another way to share it with your friends is to use these sites: Share:




Handspinner Newsletter for July 2010  

Newsletter for handspinners from More offers than ever before as well as the usual roundup of news, events, inspiration a...

Handspinner Newsletter for July 2010  

Newsletter for handspinners from More offers than ever before as well as the usual roundup of news, events, inspiration a...