Monthly Archives: April 2016

Story Skeins Read ALong: Hook to Heal


I love Sarah’s idea about taking a solo voyage all together. I think a lot of us will get a lot out of this journey. x


So as the title suggests I am taking part in Story Skeins read along of Hook to Heal! by Kathryn Vercillo.

Now everybody who is taking part in this are doing it for their own reasons, I personally need something to center my mind. I’ve been having a chaotic time recently and my body is suffering under the stress of it all.

I’m going to use this as a chance to let it all go and relax. My biggest need is to learn how to channel the stress in a healthy way.

Now the read along starts on the 2nd of May and will run for 12 weeks. I’m not ambitious enough to think I’ll do all the exercises within the book but I am going to dedicate a couple of hours of ‘Me’ time a week to read the pages and do a couple of the exercises.

So in preparation I’ve…

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Tutorial: Hand-winding a Centre-pull Ball

Tutorial: Hand-winding a Centre-pull Ball

With all the fancy yarn winders available these days, why would you want to wind a centre-pull yarn ball by hand?

Well, the simple answer is that in my experience hand-wound balls work much better. I don’t mind working from a cake of yarn made with a winder if I’m working from the outside-in. But I find that working from the centre of a yarn cake is ok until enough of the centre has gone for the cake to lose its structural integrity, and collapse in a heap of unruly yarn.

When I make socks, I make them two-at-a-time from one ball of yarn. I work one sock from the centre of the yarn ball, and one from the outside. The yarn starts as a rugby ball shape, and as the centre yarn is removed it becomes a discus shape, retaining its integrity and function right to the last inch.

The tool used for this is called a nostepinne. There are many beautiful, hand-turned wooden nostepinnes available. But it really is the simplest of tools and any smooth cylinder with a diameter of 2-3 cm will work. My favourite ‘nostepinne’ is an old vanilla pod tube. I like it because I can secure the centre-pull end of the yarn underneath the screwtop whilst I’m winding:

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Secure the yarn around the centre of the cylinder with a few turns. Once secure, start wrapping the yarn such that it goes from one edge of the nosteppine, diagonally across the ball that is being wound, down to the opposite edge of the nosteppine, like this:

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Turn the nostepinne regularly so that the diagonal stripes created by wrapping in this way are distributed around the ball evenly.

You will end up with a beautiful, olive-shaped ball:

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Slide the yarn ball off the nostepinne. Release the centre-pull yarn-end first, if necessary. You will have a cylindrical hole through the cente of the ball:

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To increase the stability of the ball, and ensure it doesn’t collapse when it’s used, gently squash the ball evenly in all directions to close up that hole:

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Ta dah! A hand-wound, perfectly functioning centre-pull ball.

Edit: 28th April

Here’s what happened to my rugby-ball shaped yarn after I had used two thirds of it (half of the yarn taken from the outside and half from the inside). It has flattened to a discus and is still well wound and doing its job of keeping my yarn in order:

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April Rolag Club: All Fools’ Day

April Rolag Club: All Fools’ Day

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Welcome to Forgotten Festivals Rolag Club!

This month we are celebrating All Fools’ Day on the 1st April.

Now more commonly known as April Fools Day, the origin of All Fools’ Day and how it came to be celebrated by so many cultures remains a mystery.

One story dates the tradition to 16th century France. In 1582 France changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, meaning the new year was celebrated on the 1st of January. Those who persisted in celebrating the new year towards the end of march, up to April the first became the butt of jokes, including having a paper fish stuck to their backs and being called “poisson d’Avril” because the young, easily caught fish was a symbol of gullibility.

Other ideas tie this widely-celebrated festival to the start of spring, when nature frequently fools us with unpredictable weather. There may be links to the ancient Roman festival of Hilaria, celebrated at the end of March, which involved dressing up in disguises.

This month is a double celebration because it’s Story Skeins’ birthday! Story Skeins officially launched on the first of April last year. It’s been an amazing year of unexpected surprises and exciting projects, including this rolag club. Thank you all for being a part of it!

This month’s rolags are inspired by the traditional costume of the fool. We have bright and bold primary and secondary colours, and equally colourful accessories. The bells are also inspired by the fool’s costume and in addition to your stitch markers you have 6 extra bells to add into your yarn, or use for your own creative project. There’s a selection of April fool’s pranks, tea and a handspun mini skein from our guest maker, Sarah at Setting The Twist.

Have all the fun!

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Self-striping “Fool” rolags in a merino/silk/corn fibre blend.

In this box you should find:

  • The story of All Fools Day
  • 30g of rolags in “Fool” – 60% Merino, 20% Silk, 20% Corn
  • A handspun mini skein in “Harlequin” by Setting The Twist
  • Tea in blends of “Three Tulsi” and “Heart-warming”
  • Stitch markers and split rings for you to store your stitch marker collection
  • 6 bell charms
  • A “poisson d’Avril” – use at your own discretion!
  • And you can find your final treat at
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Bright, bold colours were the theme for this month, inspired by the fool’s, or jester’s, costume.

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These are self-sriping rolags with ordered colours provided by stripes of merino, while the uniqueness and interest comes from a randomly arranged layer of silk colours.

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This month’s mini skeins in “Harlequin” were spun by Sarah at Setting The Twist

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Fitting with the jester theme, the stitch markers were a pair of colouful bells and I included a split ring to help club members store their increasing stitch marker collection. Six extra bells were included. Maybe some will even make it into people’s yarn!

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A “poisson d’Avril”, ready to be coloured and deployed at the owner’s discretion!

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Every rolag made this month was unique.

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And here are my rolags, spun as irregular worsted-weight singles.