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Flocks in the city Newsletter from for November 2010 The big news story this month involves flocks of sheep in London, competitions, window displays by many of the large stores and exhibitions around the country. This is all part of Wool Week. New items this month include natural dyeing books and handmade sheepy Christmas cards. Let's press on with the usual roundup of news, events, inspiration and silliness...

Contents Events Some 2011 dates for your diary! Wool Week News from around the web Navajo plying tutorial From the blogosphere SOAR, hair-weaving portrait artist, corespun yarn News and articles from This month's prize draw Autumn colour - get involved! Plus advance notice of December's offers New products Yarnmaker number 2, handmade Christmas cards, natural dyeing books Dear Auntie Shiela Helping a distinguished correspondent to get started with a new hobby.

Events 2011 (get 'em in your diary now) Wonderwool Wales 9 & 10 April 2011, Royal Welsh Showground 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. Camping facilities are available on site and a list of accommodation in the surrounding area is available on the Wonderwool website.

Woolfest 24 & 25 June 2011, 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 23 & 24 July 2011, Thurleigh, Bedfordshire A new festival, giving those in the Eastern, Midlands and Southern Regions an opportunity to join in an event which aims to encourage and promote natural fibres. There will be an emphasis on spinnig, knitting, crochet, weaving, dyeing and felting.

British Wool Weekend 3 & 4 September 2011, Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate. More information soon.

Wool Week 11-17 October 2010 Wool Week was led by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and the campaign for wool. It aimed to reverse the trend that now sees fleeces being burned because farmers are shearing their sheep at a loss and encourages us to think of wool as part of our heritage and a renewable, sustainable and versatile resource. I have to admit that in putting together this 'round-up', I've enjoyed some of the puns; 'having a field day', 'fans flock to Savile Row', 'best baa none', 'suits ewe sir', 'give fleece a chance' and so on.

Savile Row Field Day You won't have missed the news that the week was kicked off by Savile Row being turfed over to help flocks of Exmoor Horn and Bowmont sheep to feel at home. There is a wealth of photos and video of the sheep alongside bemused and besuited urbanites: carries a wonderful video showing the sheep, farmers, visitors and the agriculture minister. More video from the BBC:

Wool Week blogpicks I like the illustration and writing on this post: josiekitten marked the week by making a wooly post each day: Devonfinefibres wrote this fabulous post about getting the Bowmonts to the event: ... and their post-event thoughts with a gallery of photographs:

York The NFU asked Diane of the murmering wheel to make a union jack from hand dyed and spun wool. It was commissioned to help support the campaign to have wool included in the 2012 Olympics, but as part of York's Wool Week celebrations was displayed on the back of Norfolk Horn ram Nobby. lots more links and photos on Murmering Wheel's blog:

More photos of York's Wool Week event:

In other areas Artist Steve Messam covered a remote barn with the fleece of 200 Swaledales Chelsea Harbour Design Centre's Wool Week installation involved sheep, textiles and cat's cradles of red wool. Watch a video of their installation being constructed: Liberty and Rowan Yarns jointly held a Wool Week competition for students, the prize winners being displayed in one of their windows. Claire-Anne O'Brien used British sheep breed yarn in supersized basic knit loops to create a chair. Joint winner Helen Turner's woolly wonder oversized knitted retro coat was made using five varieties of Rowan Purelife British wool.

resetFilters=true&utm_source=social&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=GeneralItems_141010 Liberty made willow Herdwicks for their Wool Week installation. I've said before that I think the terms graffiti knitting or yarnbombing shouldn't be applied to corporately-organised events, but credit to Selfridges for 'yarnbombing' their store for Wool Week: Selfridges also sent a flock of remarkably-unperturbed dyed-yellow sheep down the street: For more beautifully-coloured sheep, check out this post at Textile Arts Centre:

Video carries a wonderful video showing the sheep, farmers, visitors and the agriculture minister. For more video, here's the BBC's:

News from around the web Navajo or chain-plying I found this great tutorial about navajo plying or chain-plying in the current Knittyspin. If you've not tried it, navajo plying makes a 3-ply yarn from one bobbin of singles. Because you're plying the yarn with itself in short lengths, it tends to concentrate changing colours.

Raining yarn balls If you were a cat, what would you dream about? Yarn raining from the sky of course. This very cute and clever commercial for Perina shows how that would look.

From the blogosphere Blogpick: Can you make a handspun hat in an hour? I've been reading about the Spin Off Annual Retreat (SOAR). A week-long event featuring workshops, spinners' market, gallery, fashion show, spin-ins. Batts to hats was a fun event for the final night. the challenge was to spin and make a hat within an hour. Seven out of eight teams finished their hats in the allotted time. Are you or do you know Charlotte, Beverly or Mary of The Brits Team? I'd love to know more about the trip and the competition. The write-up is a good read

The world's only hair-weaving artist? Using simple tools, a magnifying glass and hair from his own family, Zhang Dexuan weaves these incredible tiny but realistic portraits. I'll remember this next time my warping up seems fiddly or I'm making a hash of a simple twill. Read the story with more amazing pictures

Picture Books featuring knitting, spinning, weaving and yarn LaurenLanita, the list compiler, hopes that it will help others to introduce kids to these crafts. I confess that I wanted to dive in myself and find out more about Woolbur and Derek the knitting dinosaur. Read the post

Blogpick: Corespun yarn I like this very pretty yarn corespun by Sara of knotmydayjob. She describes how she made it and links to askthebellweather if you want more of a tutorial. Read the post

This month's prize draw Something I really enjoyed about our Spring competition was the variety of techniques and colours. Autumn is also a season known for its colour, so I'm suggesting that we create a gallery of handspun yarn on the theme of autumn colour. It doesn't have to be spun especially, feel free to post photos of your own handspun that you have already, as long as it fits the theme. The work isn't going to be judged this time, let's just do it for fun and I'll put names in a hat at the start of December for a ÂŁ20 voucher. Post your photos to this group on Flickr.

Last month's offer I'll also let this one run for another month - if you'd like to buy some fibre for your next project, I'll be happy to refund the cost in exchange your photos of the finished knitted or woven project. No time limit on making your project, but just a couple of t's and c's: I'd like permission to use the photos. Also feel free to buy a lot more fibre than you will use in the project, but in that case I may need to pay back just what you've used in the project. Fibre for spinning

Advent calendar This was such a success last year, so of course I'll do it again this year. A different offer for each day of advent, lasting for that day only. During December I'll send the daily email to all newsletter subscribers, so if you're not already on my list for this newsletter, you can subscribe at It's free, I only need your email address and I'll only use it to send information and offers.

New items Yarnmaker, issue 2 (October 2010) Issue two (October 2010) of Yarnmaker is now available, and it's packed just as full as the first issue with articles, reviews, history, contacts and events. I'm now stocking Yarnmaker for the cover price of ÂŁ4.90 with free postage. Read more and buy

Sheepy Christmas Cards Handmade by Jules of Always with a Heart, this cards features a textured sheep with sparkly details. Perfect for your friends or for the spinner / knitter in your life. Made with very good quality card and complete with envelope. At ÂŁ2.95, a very good price for a quality handmade card with such a cute design. See more designs

Books on natural dyeing The Complete Guide to Natural Dyeing by Eva Lambert and Tracy Kendall This is a very good value 'get you started' book, providing good basic information, an exercise-based approach and good reference information too. Read my review of The Craft of Natural Dyeing by jenny Dean

The Craft of Natural Dyeing by jenny Dean This is a very good value 'get you started' book, providing good basic information, an exercise-based approach and good reference information too. Read my review of The Complete Guide to Natural Dyeing by Eva Lambert and Tracy Kendall

Dear Auntie Shiela Here I do my best to help slightly fictional spinners / knitters in distress. This month I have the opportunity to introduce a (perhaps distinguished) correspondent to spinning. Dear Auntie Shiela Having married my Prince Charming, I find that my 'happily ever after' is, well, a bit lonely at times. Don't misunderstand me, the marriage is wonderful and I don't think my stepsons see me as a wicked stepmother. However, the boys have quite literally flown the nest and my husband is often away on business. I don't always go with him because, quite frankly Shiela, it bores me silly. It's time to find a suitable craft to fill the long hours. I've heard that the Elizabeth is a fairytale wheel and that fact that it's named after mother-inlaw will amuse everyone. A: Some say that fairytale love ends when the marriage starts. But maybe you've found the answer in giving each other lots of space. You will find spinning a relaxing and rewarding hobby and it will certainly fill those hours apart and more. The Elizabeth is a magnificent wheel and will be the centre of attention in any room if you have the space (which I suspect you do). You don't say whether you weave or knit, but you will be able to make some beautiful things for the baby princes and princesses that may well come along. Take a look at these patterns: Little Princess baby blanket, Little Prince beret and Princess cardigan. If you've not tried spinning before, you may find it helpful to take a drop spindle and a good book. The 'park and draft' technique is very helpful at first because you can concentrate on one thing at a time. You can buy these as part of a starter kit. Maybe the boys are looking for something special to treat you to this Christmas? There's lots more instruction online. Kind regards, Shiela

Things to look forward to... I have been hoping to report in this newsletter that I have some Martin Hills wool combs and hackles. He is making some for me and I look forward to stocking them very soon. The seasonal collusion and skullduggery has begun! This involves sending goods out in plain wrapping, to friends' houses and so on. I can't deny that I enjoy taking part in such shenanigans! Just contact me 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 November 2010  

Roundup of news, events, inspiration and silliness for hand spinners.

Handspinner newsletter for November 2010  

Roundup of news, events, inspiration and silliness for hand spinners.