Tag Archives: Rolags

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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Sunset over the flax field

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Sunset over the flax field

Background:

I made this rolag set as a sunset-inspired gradient, and decided to spin it as a single gradient yarn. Here you can see the process of selecting each colour to spin in turn:

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I love the addition of the linen in this yarn. Its bright white seems to intensify the beautiful, rich colours, and it adds an interesting bit of texture to the yarn.

Story:

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You may not recognise the golden flax from the field of blue flowers.

It’s hidden inside the stems, needing work from the hands and sweat from the brow to free the fine fibres.

The colours change as the sun descends:

Bright white at first, so the sights of the field are vibrant and clear.

Honey yellow matures to deeper shades.

Tangerine sky becomes cherry red,

As darkness creeps up to put flax to bed.

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Information:

Title: Sunset over the flax field

Composition: Merino/linen/angelina

Weight: 100g / 13 WPI / DK

Length: 195m / 214yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: July 2015

Skein code: 0059

Fibre: 21 micron merino, linen, angelina

Source: Rolags by Story Skeins

Status: Sold

Abstract Expression

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Abstract Expression

Background:

I was given these rolags to spin for a swap. There was so much interesting texture hidden within, it was invariably expressed as an irregular textured single in the spinning. The commercial glitter thread sets it off perfectly.

Story:

Ideas, thoughts, concepts come or arrive or happen or were always there. Sometimes they are fleeting, sometimes more persistent. Some demand to be made. They care not that there is no vocabulary, no construction that can express them. They demand innovation to bring them to life. And the concept that revealed itself to you, which cannot be contrained by conventional lines, may appear differently to each observer. You brought it into being. Now it grows and changes with each interaction. Abstract expression is never static.

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Information:

Title: Abstract expression

Composition: Merino, Alpaca, Silk and Angelina

Weight: 100g / 10 WPI av. / Worsted thick and thin.

Length: 219m / 240yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: November 2015

Skein code: 0080

Fibre: Puni rolags of merino, mulberry silk, alpaca and angelina.

Source: Bits and Hobs

Status: Swapped

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

Devon Memories

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Devon Memories

Background:

I ran a competition for one winner to receive a rolag set, with the offer to spin them if requested. The theme of the competition was food and drink. The entrants suggested their favourite teats as inspiration for their rolag sets. The lucky winner chose the theme of a traditional cream tea for her rolags, and asked me to spin them. I had such fun with this project.

Story:

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Long, lazy days in the precious summer break. Time to indulge: A famous cream tea.

Freshly baked scones, still soft and warm from the oven.

Made by hand as a labour of love, by hands that have worked the dough for a lifetime.

The same hands that took the time to pick, clean and boil the fruit into jam. To heat the cream, slowly and steadily until it gives up its richest, golden crust.

Exotic tea: not of this continent, but still picked by hands. Knowledgeable hands, searching out the tender leaves. Plucking, drying, roasting, packing.

To be brought back to life with freshly boiled Devon water.

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Information:

Title: Devon Memories

Composition: 50% Merino, 15% Milk protein fibre, 15% Soya bean fibre, 20% Ramie.

Weight: 100g / 17 WPI av. / irregular sports weight

Length: 224m / 245yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: October 2015

Skein code: 0073

Fibre: Merino, Milk Protein, Soya Bean, Ramie

Source: Wingham Wool Work

Status: Gifted/Won

One Sky, Many Stories

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One Sky, Many Stories

Background:

One of the perks of working from home is seeing my children get enthused about the work I do, and ask to be taught the skills needed to create with fibre. These rolags were designed by my daughter, Imogen, whose inspiration was both the cloudy blue sky and the starry night sky. They were spun by me, and the story was written by Imogen.

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Story:

I gazed up at the mesmerising sky as it changes, and the clouds fade by.

I watch the sunset colour change from blue to pink to red, and finally to the black of night when the clouds no longer hide the silver, twinkling stars.

I realise: this sky has a story.

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Information:

Title: One sky, many stories

Composition: Merino, Falkland, Angelina, Ramie

Weight: 100g / 15 WPI / sports weight

Length: Cloudy sky – 146m / 160yd approx.; Starry sky – 134m / 146yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: July 2015

Skein code: 0051

Fibre: 21 micron merino, Organic Falkland, Angelina, Ramie

Source: Fibre from Wingham Wool Work. Blended by Story Skeins

Status: Sold

Cherry Blossom

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Cherry Blossom

Background:

This gorgeous, soft, squishy yarn was inspired by the May cherry blossom in the local park. It is a 3-ply yarn and each single has a different composition. Two singles were spun thickly and with lots of texture to reflect the ragged blossom and stamen seen in the cherry flowers. One is white organic Falkland with highlights of pale pink merino. The second is pink merino with highlights of cherry-coloured mulberry silk. The thinner, worsted spun single representing the dark cherry bark is made from 70/30 merino/silk blended tops in shades of brown.

Story:

Spring’s signature sight: the pinky-white clouds of the cherry tree. Delicate pastels cluster around the dark, twisting bark support. Get close up and the petals reveal all the deep colour and ragged texture of cherries-in-the-making. It won’t be long until they shed their coats, celebrating with nature’s own confetti the progression to summer.

Cherry Blossom
Information:

Title: Cherry Blossom

Composition:

Weight: 135g / 9 WPI average / Worsted to Bulky

Length: 135m / 148yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: May 2015

Skein code: 0025

Fibre: Organic Falkland, 21 micron pale pink merino, strawberry mulberry silk, 70/30 merino/silk in browns.

Source: Wingham Wool Work

Status: For Sale

Crystallised violets

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Crystallised violets

Background:

This is the first yarn I spun from my own rolags.

Story:

There’s no scent on earth like the sweet smell of violets. They seem to remain from a bygone era:

The aroma of the fifties, or of your grandmother’s home.

Petals preserved in their unfurled lilac tones. Sugar crystals glinting like magic dust, sprinkled on to cast a spell; preserving a moment in time like a sweet snapshot.

Crystallised Violets

Information:

Title: Crystallised Violets

Composition: Bluefaced Leicester, Bamboo, Angelina

Weight: 71g / 13 WPI / DK

Length: 190m / 208yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: June 2015

Skein code: 0042

Fibre: BFL, Bamboo, Angelina

Source: BFL dyed by Truly Hooked. Bamboo and Angelina from Wingham Wool Work

Status: Gifted/Won

Singularly Cheerful

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Singularly Cheerful

Background:

My daughter wanted to design a set of rolags, and chose simple, bright and bold colours with just a hint of purple sparkle. They became one of my favourite ever skeins.

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Story:

There’s something about those colours,

Those bold, bright, clear colours.

Primaries and secondaries.

Nothing else. Nothing in between.

No subtle hues, no delicate shades.

Just there. Bold. Shouting!

Shouting at you: “I’m here! Look at me!”

It seems to me the colours of childhood, the colours of play.

The bold inks of the nursery paint box, the pile of crayons, the picture books.

But above all else, what this happy palette brings to mind is an all-time favourite:

The upturned lego box!

Singularly Cheerful

Information:

Title: Singularly Cheerful

Composition: Merino with a hint of angelina

Weight: 100g / 14 WPI / DK

Length: 277m / 303yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: July 2015

Skein code: 0060

Fibre: 21 micron merino and purple angelina

Source: Wingham Wool Work

Status: Sold

Oh! The Places You’ll Go.

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Oh! The Places You’ll Go.

Background:

A friend of mine won a set of rolags from Defarge Yarns, which I offered to spin. There were all manner of colours and, especially, textures in the fibre. It was quite an adventure!

Story:

A journey like none you’ve been on before.

Verdant shrubs, wiry thicket, soft seagrass, beach and blossom.

Stroll the smooth dunes

Hop over the hillocks

Hide behind the boulders

Take time to look, and to see.

Appreciate the landscape, for it is unique.

It will take you places you’ve never been before.

The adventure is in the journey.

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Information:

Title: Oh! The Places You’ll Go

Composition: Mixed fibre

Weight: 50g / 13 WPI average / DK ish

Length: 117m / 128yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: July 2015

Skein code: 0055

Fibre: Mixed

Source: Defarge Yarns

Status: Gifted