Tag Archives: Mini skeins

March Rolag Club: Carling Sunday

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March Rolag Club: Carling Sunday

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Welcome to Forgotten Festivals Rolag Club!

This month we are Celebrating Carling Sunday on the 13th March

“Tid, Mid, Miseray, Carlin, Palm, Pace-Egg Day”

So goes the Northern saying, which helps people remember the various Lenten Sundays. Tid comes from the Te Deum hymn, sung on the 2nd Sunday. Mid and Miseray are from the Mi Deus and the Miserere Mei, sung on the 3rd and 4th Sundays. Palm Sunday is the 6th Sunday in Lent and Pace Egg refers to Easter Day, Pace being a corruption of Pasch, from the Latin and Greek root of ‘Easter’. And that leaves us with Carlin.

Many people will know the 5th Sunday of Lent as Passion Sunday, but in certain areas, most particularly the North East of England, it became known as Carling, or Carlin, Sunday after the peas which were traditionally eaten on that day.

No one seems to know why this food became associated with this festival. Carlins probably originated in monastic gardens, and pulses formed a large part of the monks’ diet. Pea dishes were often eaten throughout lent as a good (and ‘approved’) source of protein. There are lots of myths and stories about the carlin pea and how they became associated with the northern regions. Here is a typical example:

Carlins are said to have rescued the people of Newcastle-upon-Tyne during the civil war. Newcastle, a royalist city, had been under siege by parliamentarian allies for four months and food supplies were becoming exhausted. Legend tells of a cargo ship from europe which managed to evade the blockade, and whose cargo of carlins saved the people from starvation.

To celebrate Carling Sunday, your rolags are inspired by purple, the traditional colour of passion,  and the rich greens of the pea plant. Your handspun mini skein was inspired by the colours of pea flowers. I have included a recipe for carlings, and though I tried to source some pea seeds, it seems you can’t, so I have included information on how to adopt this variety. Your tea reflects the themes of Passion Sunday, and the unfortunate after-effects of eating large quantities of pulses … Finally we have two guest makers this month. Jennifer from Forest Valley Designs has made the unique stitch markers, and Becca from Get Hooked Crafts has made the stunning WIP bags.

I hope you enjoy it all.

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“Passion” and “Greens” rolags, inspired by Carling Sunday.

In this box you should find:

  • 20g rolags in “Passion” – 77% Bluefaced Leicester, 11.5% Bamboo, 11.5% Faux Cashmere and a hint of angelina.
  • 10g rolags in “Greens, shoots and peas” – 84% Merino, 16% Ramie and some wool neps.
  • The story of Carling Sunday
  • A handspun mini skein in “Pea flowers”
  • Tea in ‘Love’ and ‘Stomach Ease’ blends.
  • Stitch markers from Forest Valley Designs.
  • WIP bags from Get Hooked Crafts.
  • A recipe for carlings
  • Adopt the carlin pea
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“Pea Flowers” handspun mini skein.

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Stitch markers by Forest Valley Designs

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WIP bag from Get Hooked Crafts

 

There are several recipes recorded for the carlin pea. I have also discovered that the day after Carling Sunday was known as Farting Monday, so don’t say I didn’t warn you! Though I did include some Stomach Ease tea.

 

Carlings

225g dried green peas

50g fresh breadcrumbs

1 onion, finely chopped

½ teaspoon mixed herbs

Salt and pepper

25g butter

Soak the peas overnight in cold water. The next day, drain and put into a large saucepan. Add 750 ml water and bring to the boil. Boil steadily for 2 hours until the peas are tender. Leave to cool. Mix with the breadcrumbs, onion, herbs and seasoning to make a stiff mixture. Shape into cakes and fry in the butter until brown.

Reference: Cattern Cakes and Lace by Julia Jones and Barbara Deer, Dorling Kindersley 1987

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The carlin pea in flower.

 

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February Rolag Club: Collop Monday

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February Rolag Club: Collop Monday

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Welcome to Forgotten Festivals Rolag Club!

This month we are celebrating Collop Monday on the 8th of February.

Many of us may be looking forward to pancake day on Tuesday. Some of us may still use its traditional name of Shrove Tuesday, and remember the reason we like to cook and eat pancakes on the last day before Lent starts.

Lent is the traditional Christian fasting period for the six or so weeks before Easter. The word is of Old English derivation, traced back to the word for spring and possibly referencing the lengthening days at this time of year. Prior to Lent comes Shrovetide, and the old verb ‘to shrive’ means ‘to seek absolution via confession and penance.’

Part of preparing for the Lenten fast involved using up the rich food during Shrovetide. Shrove Tuesday’s pancakes use up the eggs, milk and sugar, but Collop Monday was the last day to eat meat before lent, and cooking the collops (traditionally made of bacon) provided the fat for the coming pancake feast. The traditional breakfast on Collop Monday consisted of the bacon-collops and eggs. It turns out this is a great excuse to create a whimsical “Full English Breakfast” themed rolag box!

With thanks to our guest makers, Sarah from Setting the Twist who has made this month’s mini skeins, and Kirsty from Buttons Be Good who has made us some beautiful mushroom-themed buttons.

I hope you enjoy it!

In this box you should find:

  • 20g of rolags in “Flesh” – 70% Corriedale, 15% Faux Cashmere, 15% Soya Bean Fibre
  • 10g of rolags in “Fowl” – 67% Romney, 33% Corriedale
  • The story of Collop Monday
  • A handspun mini skein from Setting the Twist in “Tomato”
  • Mushroom buttons from Buttons Be Good
  • Mini chocolate eggs
  • Beans by Jelly Belly
  • Tea in English Breakfast and After Dinner blends
  • Knife and Fork stitch markers

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“Flesh & Fowl” rolags – inspired by a traditional Collop Monday Breakfast.

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Mushroom buttons by Buttons Be Good

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Knife and Fork stitch markers, made by Imogen.

Tomato mini skeins by Setting The Twist

Taurus

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Taurus

Background:

A companion mini skein to accompany Milky Way, reflecting the recipient’s star sign.

Story:

Bull. Solid muscle.

Power and raw emotion,

But made of starlight.

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Information:

Title: Taurus

Composition: 70% merino 30% silk

Weight: 11g / 13 WPI / DK

Length: 28m / 31yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: June 2015

Skein code: 0046

Fibre: 70/30 merino/silk blend.

Source: World of Wool – “Taurus” from the Constellation range.

Status: Gifted

Midnight Clear

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Midnight Clear

Background:

These mini skeins were spun as part of January’s rolag club. January’s rolags were inspired by the seasonal skies, and the “Midnight Clear” minis complemented the theme, inspired by the clear starry night skies that we are treated to on those cold winter nights.

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Story:

Watch the universe:

Star scenes play ancient dramas.

A winter night’s gift.

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Information:

Title: Midnight Clear

Composition: 70% Merino, 30% Trilobal

Weight: 15 WPI / Sports weight

Length: 40m per mini skein

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: January 2016

Skein code: 0084

Fibre: 23 micron merino and rainbow-dyed trilobal nylon

Source: World of Wool – “Glitzy Ocean”

Status: Sold

Jack Frost

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Jack Frost

Background:

These minis were spun to accompany December’s rolag club, and are seen in action here:

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Story:

Wake to frosted land,

A world of washed-out colour.

It cracks under foot.

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Information:

Title: Jack Frost

Composition: Falkland plied with glitter thread.

Weight: Sports weight to heavy laceweight

Length: 40m per mini skein.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: December 2015

Skein code: 0081

Fibre: 100% Organic Falkland

Source: Wingham Wool Work

Status: Sold

January Rolag Club: Plough Monday

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January Rolag Club: Plough Monday

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Welcome to Forgotten Festivals Rolag Club!

I hope you’ve all had a good break over the festive season. Now it’s a new month, a new year and time to get back to work.

This month we are celebrating Plough Monday on January 11th.

Plough Monday falls on the first Monday after Twelfth Night. The traditional Christmas celebration was a full twelve days of feasting, culminating in a huge and rowdy party on twelfth night, the 5th of January. So what better way to mark the return to work, when ploughing would begin for the next crop … than with a feast?

In villages around the country there were a variety of traditions. Leaping dances were held, with the young and fit encouraged to leap as high as possible because it was though the height they achieved marked the height of the forthcoming corn crop. In some places, a “fool plough” was decorated and dragged around the streets to encourage villagers to donate money, sometimes under threat of having their garden ploughed if they were less than generous!

Inspired by the theme of ‘back to work’, this month’s rolags reflect  January skies, and the box contains a mixture of extras to help you get going at the start of the working day, and help you relax at the end of it. I’m particularly thrilled to introduce our guest maker, Leanne from Solocro who has made one of your treats. I hope you enjoy all of it.

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In this box you will find:

  • 30g of gradient rolags in “Shifting Skies” – 42% Corriedale, 19% Falkland, 19% Gotland, 11% Rose fibre, 9% Milk protein fibre, and a hint of sparkle.
  • A mini skein in “Midnight Clear” – 70% Merino, 30% Trilobal.
  • The story of Plough Monday.
  • A set of stitch markers.
  • Tea in ‘Refresh’ and ‘Revitalise’ blends.
  • Bath, or foot bath, salts.
  • Handmade hand cream from Solocro.

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“Shifting skies” gradient rolags, inspired by the January weather.

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“Midnight Clear” mini skeins, inspired by the starry winter sky and spun as my favourite style of gently thick and thin singles.

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Bath salts from the old apothecary in Haworth.

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Handmade handcream from Solocro

The Single Skein

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The Single Skein

As a handspinner, my creative path has led me to specialise in unique single skeins. Often the indie dyers I follow also have single, sometimes one-of-a-kind, skeins available. Or sometimes, the budget will only stretch to one luxury skein from a spinner or dyer.

I often see knitters and crocheters searching for that perfect one-skein project for their special yarn. This post explores ways of using small amounts of special yarn. (I will confine myself to knitting and crochet for now. Weaving is a whole other topic!) We will look at one-skein projects suitable for different yarn weights, but also think about more imaginative ways to show off that extra-special yarn.

The one-skein project

The key here is knowing what the essential information is, and knowing where to look for patterns.

If you have received a skein from me, or have read about my skeins on this blog, you will see that every skein is categorised according to its WPI (wraps per inch) – from which we calculate the yarn gauge – and the total length of the yarn. Knowing these measurements allows you to search for a project to suit your yarn.

Undoubtedly, the best place to find patterns is Ravelry. It is free to sign up, and as a member you can use the excellent pattern search facility. Simply go to the advanced pattern search, select the appropriate options for meterage or yardage and yarn gauge, and see what comes back. It’s likely you’ll have dozens, if not hundreds or thousands of options to choose from.

Now let’s think about typical yarn lengths for different gauges. Approximate values are given below:

Aran weight: ~160m per 100g skein.

Ideal one-skein projects: Fingerless mitts or ear warmers.

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Photo by Story Skeins. Yarn by Truly Hooked. Pattern.

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Photo by Story Skeins. Yarn handdyed by Story Skeins. Pattern.

DK: ~220m per 100g skein.

Ideal one-skein projects: Scarf or cowl.

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Photo by Heather Young. Yarn by Devon Sun Yarns. Pattern.

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Photos by Laura-Jo Webster. Yarn by Story Skeins. Pattern.

Sock weight: ~400m per 100g skein.

Ideal one-skein projects: socks or shawls.

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Photo by Story Skeins. Yarn by Excelsior Yarns. Pattern.

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Photo by Story Skeins. Yarn by Lang Yarns. Pattern.

Laceweight: 800-1200+m per 100g

Ideal one-skein projects: Large shawl or wrap, for example this Wrapped in Lace Shawl.

Please note that these measurements are a rule of thumb, and most appropriate for yarns which are predominantly wool. Fibres with higher density, such as many plant fibres, may give less length per 100g for an equivalent yarn gauge.

Feature Yarn

Another option is to use your special yarn as an accent in a larger, plainer piece. My favourite example of this is my Nordic Shawl, which makes me smile every time I see it. The rainbow stripe is “Six Colour Rainbow” from Unbelieva-wool. The oatmeal yarn is Stylecraft Life:

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Further examples:

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Photo by Clare Davidson. Accent yarn handdyed by Clare.

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Photo by Becky Shay Pollard.

Patchwork

This option uses small amounts of a variety of yarn to build up a project. It’s a great option for mini skeins, or ends of yarn. Try to keep the yarn gauge consistent, and choose to do your project entirely in animal fibres (or predominantly animal fibre mixes), or entirely in plant fibres (cotton, bamboo, etc), or entirely in synthetics.

My increasingly large collection of mini skeins (again from Unbelieva-wool. I’m quite a fan!) are destined for a Beekeeper’s Quilt. I am using my 30g of rolags from my monthy rolag club to make a wrap based on the When Alice Fell motif pattern. And one day I will make myself a Log Cabin Scrap Blanket.

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Photo by Story Skeins. Pattern.

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Photo by Story Skeins. Yarn handspun by Story Skeins. Pattern.

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Photo by Story Skeins. Yarn and pattern from The Art of Crochet.

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Photo by Sonia Bowmar-Scothern.

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Photo by Stacey Galbraith.

Scrap projects

For even smaller amounts of yarn there are many options for scrap projects, made of tiny lengths of yarn. My favourite is the linen stitch scarf.

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Photo by Rox Driver. Hook by Hooklicious! Pattern.

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Photo by Shadow Gilboa-Way.

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Photo by Alison Horne.

Using textured and “art” yarn

Hanspun yarn has so many delicious possibilities. It can be smooth and balanced and regular, and mimic machine-spun yarn. But can also be so much more.

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Photo by Story Skeins. Yarn by Weird and Twisted. Pattern.

The only limit to using these yarns is your own imagination. A small amount of textured yarn can make a great trim, or a pair of cuffs, transforming an otherwise plain garment into something really special.

For her Road Trip Scarf, Kirsty has combined the irregular button yarn I spun for her with a second skein of handspun to create a bulky yarn for a quick project.

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Photo by Story Skeins. Handspun yarn by Story Skeins.

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Photo by Kirsty Rodger. Yarn by Story Skeins. Pattern.

Close-up:

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I have an inspiration board on pinterest called “Great for Handspun” which includes all sorts of projects, using yarns from the conventional to the wacky. This is my particular favourite.

My general advice to my customers is: the more that’s going on in the yarn, the less there should be going on in the pattern. Just as complex lace or cable patterns are shown to their best advantage with a plain yarn, so complex yarn is at its best advantage when used with a simple pattern. When the yarn is creating the intetest for you, the pattern should stand back and allow the yarn to show off!

Freeform

Finally, don’t feel the need to be constrained to a pattern. You are making art and have the freedom to explore as you please. If you don’t like it, just pull it back and try something else.

The world of freeform crochet has really taken off over the last few years, and this article explains how hanspun yarn is a perfect match for this art form. Here is an example of a stunning freeform crochet blanket.

I hope you have found inspiration for your beautiful, unique skeins here. I also have a gallery on my facebook page of fantastic creations made from handspun yarn. Please feel free to send me pictures of your work if you would like to futher inspire your fellow crafters.