Tag Archives: Rolag Club

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.

x

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

Tutorial: Spinning Seed Beads into a Single

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Tutorial: Spinning Seed Beads into a Single

December’s rolag club, seen here, featured ‘Evergreen’ rolags and ‘Holly Berry’ beads. I have done quite a few beaded yarns in the past and there are several ways to add these kind of inclusions into yarn. In a plied yarn it is easy enough to thread your beads or sequins onto a thread and ply that thread along with the singles, as in this yarn, or you may be able to thread your beads directly onto one or more of your singles, but sometimes you want to spin your beads directly into the yarn. Here’s how:

Assumed knowledge

  • Staple length of fibre: refresher available here.
  • Basic Spinning: refresher available here.
  • Park and Draft for the Wheel: refresher available here.

Materials

  • Fibre
  • Beads
  • A beading (or very fine) hook if you have one, and
  • Cotton thread if you don’t.
  • Something to spin on! A wheel or spindle.

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Method

I don’t have a hook fine enough for seed beads, so I am going to show you a method for threading beads onto fibre using ordinary sewing thread.

  1. Cut a length of cotton, around 20cm long.
  2. Thread the bead onto the cotton, just as if you were threading a needle.
  3. Pull a reasonable length of thread through the bead, so that the bead sits roughly in the middle of the thread.
  4. Now take the end of the cotton once more and, leaving a large loop, thread it back through the bead. Take it slowly at first, and leave yourself plenty of length on either side of the bead.
  5. Now you should have a seed bead threaded such that you have a large loop on one side, and two ends of the thread on the other side.

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Now let’s consider the fibre:

  1. Take the fibre you wish to spin and draft out a few fibres from one end.
  2. Pull out a few fibres. Just pinch at the very top as you pull gently, so that the fibres removed are a single staple length. Your bead will sit in the centre of this staple length.
  3. Twist them with your fingers, just as if you were spinning them, to make them easier to handle.

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  1. Carefully thread your twisted fibres through the loop of your cotton thread.
  2. Move your bead along the thread, towards your fibre.
  3. Pinch your fibre back on itself, such that your bead can slide from the thread to the fibre.
  4. Move your bead along and then gently pinch one end of the fibre, so that the bead cannot come off, and ease the other end of the fibre right through the bead so that the bead ends up placed in the middle of your staple length of fibre.

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Here is a close-up showing the bead being threaded into the fibre. You can see that, having twisted the fibres, they show a clear distinction between each end of the fibre, as if it were a thread. The loop which has just passed through the bead has distinct ‘legs’. As you hold one end of the fibre, pull gently on one of these legs. If you feel a firm tug on the fibres you’re holding, try the other leg. It should connect to the free end of the fibre and allow you to pull that free end right through the bead.

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Follow this procedure for each of the beads you want to spin into your yarn:

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Now put the beads aside and start spinning your fibre. Here I am attaching my fibre to my leader:

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I like to get the spun single established first before I think about spinning in the beads. Here I am checking the gauge of the singles yarn against the commercial yarn (a worsted weight single spun yarn) that I am using in my project.

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Now it’s time to start adding the beads into the yarn:

  1. In order to control the spin, I will stop the wheel when I get to the point of attaching the first bead, just as in the Park and Draft for Wheels video, seen here.
  2. When I want to attach a bead, I stop spinning the wheel and draft some fibre out to my desired thickness, just behind the pinched off twist.
  3. I take a pre-threaded bead. (It is easier to handle these by picking the beads up, rather than by picking the fibre up.)
  4. I hold the end of the fibre that passes through the bead with the thumb and fingers that are holding the twist in place, and lay the beaded fibre parallel to the section just drafted.
  5. I restart the wheel and allow the twist to run up the drafted fibres, capturing the bead and the fibre onto which it was threaded in the process.

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  1. Repeat as often as desired, and the result is a beautifully beaded singles yarn:

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Adding beads whilst spindle spinning

This is slightly trickier as you have to control the spin, as well as the beads, with your hands. Review the technique of Park and Draft on the Spindle, shown here. I would spin this sitting down so I could hold the spindle between my knees to keep it still when needed.

Follow the steps as above, to the point you want to add your first bead into your yarn.

  1. Stop the spindle and hold it still.
  2. Make sure you have your pre-threaded beads to hand.
  3. draft out a length of fibre to your desired thickness.
  4. Pick up a bead and lay the threaded bead alongside the freshly drafted fibre.
  5. Position your hands such that the finger and thumb that are pinching off the twist can hold one end of the threaded fibre in place, and you have other fingers available to stabilise the other end of the threaded fibre.
  6. Use your free hand to restart the spindle spinning and let the twist travel into the drafted fibres, capturing the bead as you go.

A video tutorial will follow as soon as possible and I will add it to this post.

December Rolag Club: Tolling the Devil’s Knell

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December Rolag Club: Tolling the Devil’s Knell

December 24th: Tolling the Devil’s Knell

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Welcome to Forgotten Festivals Rolag Club!

So many traditional celebrations fall in December. It seems almost universal for a culture to need a cheering festival of light as the days reach their shortest point. With so many festivals remembered and still celebrated, it has been a challenge to choose a forgotten one. This celebration is not so much forgotten as lesser-known outside of the local area.

This month we are celebrating Tolling the Devil’s Knell on December 24th.

Tolling the Devil’s Knell is a tradition local to Dewsbury in Yorkshire and dates back to the middle ages. The legend tells that in 1434, Sir Thomas de Soothill, in a fit of rage,  committed the  murder of a servant. As penance for his crime, he donated a tenor bell to his parish church in Dewsbury. The bell came to bear his name, being known as “Black Tom of Soothill”. Sir Thomas is credited with starting the tradition of tolling this bell, once for each year since the birth of Christ, ending at midnight, just as Christmas day begins. This was probably not such a mammoth task in the time of Sir Thomas as it is in 2015! The tradition continues each year at Dewsbury Minster, only pausing during the war years. Dewsbury Minster’s website lists all the bells in its bell tower and their inscriptions. The tenor bell, “Black Tom”, is inscribed:

I shall be here if treated just

When they are mouldering in the dust

Bells are the dominant theme of this box, inspiring one set of rolags, the stitch markers and the extra treat. Further inspiration comes from the traditional sights, scents and tastes of this season. I hope you enjoy it.

x

In this box you will find:

  • An introduction to the tradition of “Tolling the Devil’s Knell”
  • 20g of rolags in ”Medieval Metal” – 60% Merino, 25% black diamond bamboo, 7.5% gold stellina, 7.5% bronze stellina.
  • 10g of rolags in “Evergreen” – 60% Shetland, 40% Bamboo.
  • Seed beads in “Holly Berry” – be careful when you open these!
  • A Handspun mini skein in “Jack Frost” – Falkland plied with glitter thread.
  • A set of stitch markers.
  • Tea in “Three Cinnamon” and “Spicy Chai” flavours.
  • A winter-spiced tealight.
  • A chocolate bell.

 

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November Rolag Club: St. Clement’s Day

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November Rolag Club: St. Clement’s Day

Forgotten Festivals Rolag Club


I love marking the passage of the year, making sure the seasons don’t merge into bland anonymity. We all know the big festivals, but throughout the year there are hundreds of other celebrations which have been largely forgotten.

To celebrate these days I have picked a different festival each month and will create a rolag gift box fitting the theme.

The boxes are designed either as a spinning taster box, or to work together as a collection, spinning a little each month until you have enough of your own handspun yarn to create something really special, be it a scarf, a cushion, a set of boot cuffs, or whatever your imagination can conjure up.

 

This announcement was made on the 10th of October, allowing an introduction to a forgotten festival:

 

Devil’s Blackberry Day.

Although there is some debate over the date of this festival, the most agreed date is October the 10th. Legend has it that blackberries should never be gathered and eaten after this date. The story goes that this is the day St. Michael kicked the devil out of heaven. He fell to earth and landed ignominiously in a blackberry bush. This would probably rile the best of us and satan responded (rather mildly) by spitting on the blackberries. Satan’s spit is said to magically reappear each year to poison the berries. According to thepastonaplate.com there is some botanical truth here, as a species of fly appears around mid-October each year to lay its eggs on the remaining berries. So remember to enjoy your blackberries before October hits, and stick to the blackberry jam thereafter. x

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November 23rd: St. Clement’s Day

 

Welcome to the very first Forgotten Festivals Rolag Club!

This November we are celebrating St. Clement’s Day on November 23rd.

Although more well known from the traditional rhyme about London’s church bells, St Clement, a 4th century Christian martyr, is the patron saint of blacksmiths. His feast day was popular until relatively recently, and blacksmiths would parade with an effigy of “Old Clem” to beg for alms (which was called “clementing”), with the money donated to fund a local feast. Such feasts became known as Clem Suppers.

    If you’re familiar with the halloween game of apple-bobbing, you have St. Clement to thank! This game was traditionally played on November 23rd, and leads to the alternative name for St. Clement’s day of “Bite Apple Day”.

    Most appropriately for fibre fans, Clementide Sheep Fairs were held in certain counties at this time, and Clementing cakes were traditionally sold. In this box you will find fibre for spinning, a cake recipe, tea and more. I hope you enjoy rolag club, and I can’t wait until next time.

x

 

In this box you should find:

  • An introduction to St. Clement’s Day
  • 20g of rolags in “Oranges” 60% Merino, 40% Tussah silk and a bit of sparkle.
  • 10g of rolags in “And Lemons” 40% Merino, 40% Soya bean fibre, 20% Texel and a bit of sparkle.
  • A handspun mini skein in “Citrus leaves”
  • Stitch markers from Hooklicious
  • An organza bag to keep your working fibre safe and clean
  • Lemon and mandarin tea
  • A recipe for St. Clement’s Tartlets
  • The history of “Oranges and Lemons”

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St. Clement’s Tartlets

 

8oz/225g shortcrust pastry

1 orange

1 lemon

3oz/75g butter, softened

2 eggs, separated

¼ tsp vanilla essence

 

  1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6
  2. Roll out the pastry and use it to line individual tartlet tins.
  3. carefully remove the rind from the orange and lemon and chop very finely.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl. Beat the egg yolks and gradually stir into the butter/sugar mixture.
  5. Juice the orange.
  6. Add 2 tbsp orange juice to the mixture. Stir in citrus rinds and vanilla essence.
  7. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and gently fold into the mixture.
  8. Pour into the pastry cases and bake for 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

 

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

 

Oranges and Lemons

 

Oranges and lemons,

Say the bells of St. Clement’s.

 

You owe me five farthings,

Say the bells of St. Martin’s.

 

When will you pay me?

Say the bells of Old Bailey.

 

When I grow rich,

Say the bells of Shoreditch.

 

When will that be?

Say the bells of Stepney.

 

I do not know,

Says the great bell of Bow.

 

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,

And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!

 

The first printed version of this nursery rhyme appeared in 1744, with quite different lyrics:

 

Two Sticks and Apple,

Ring ye Bells at Whitechapple,

Old Father Bald Pate,

Ring ye Bells Aldgate,

Maids in White Aprons,

Ring ye Bells a St. Catherines,

Oranges and Lemons,

Ring ye bells at St. Clements,

When will you pay me,

Ring ye Bells at ye Old Bailey,

When I am Rich,

Ring ye Bells at Fleetditch,

When will that be,

Ring ye Bells at Stepney,

When I am Old,

Ring ye Bells at Pauls

 

As you can imagine, there is variation, including regional variation, in the names of the churches, and the rhymes ascribed to the bells of each church. It is thought that this traditional rhyme would be sung on festival days, when the church bells would be ringing in celebration. So why “Oranges and Lemons”? There are two churches identified as the St. Clement’s church of the rhyme. Both are located near the wharf where merchants would have brought citrus fruits to London from warmer lands.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oranges_and_Lemons

Citrus Leaves

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Citrus Leaves

Background:

These mini skeins were spun as part of the first installment of my monthly rolag club. The theme was St. Clement’s Day, which was a great excuse for some fun, citrus-themed fibre.

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Story:

Waxy green leaves sit

Atop fresh astringent baubles

Hiding citrus zing!

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Information:

Title: Citrus Leaves

Composition: 100% Merino

Weight: 150g in total / 15 WPI / Spots weight.

Length: 40m per mini skein.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: November 2015

Skein code: 0076

Fibre: 21 micron merino.

Source: Wingham Wool Work.

Status: Sold