Tag Archives: Stories

April Rolag Club: All Fools’ Day

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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 tinyurl.com/RolagRevellers
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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.

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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.

 

Every Good Thing

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Every Good Thing

Background:

I was sent a braid to spin for a swap. I wanted to do something really special with it so decided to ply it with a luscious blend from Countess Ablaze:

The supplied blend was all light and brightness and fun, fresh colours. The darker blend was deep and subtle and more mysterious. They seemed like two sides of the same story, and as I wanted the yarn to arrive as a Mothers’ Day gift, so the story came about.

Story:

1. The Light: “Nurture”

Watching them breathe whilst they sleep.

Sleepy eyes and rosy cheeks when they wake.

Joyful cuddles and time together.

Precious moments, rushing by too fast.

Playing in the park: candyfloss and water slides.

Making daisy chains in the sun.

Bedtime stories.

Sleep.

2. The Dark: “Indulgence”

Having a day all to myself.

Dropping responsibility and embracing freedom.

Staying up late and sneakily raiding the chocolate stash!

Because I’m a grown-up (so they say) and it’s allowed.

Doing something just for me. Just because I want to.

And looking forward to being with them again.

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Information:

Title: Every Good Thing

Composition: Fibre supplied

Weight: 200g / 13 WPI / DK

Length: 468m / 512yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: February 2016

Skein code: 0086

Fibre:

  1. Unknown blend – Looks like Merino, Silk & Angelina.
  2. “Gothika” – Merino, Black Bamboo & Rainbow Trilobal.

Source:

  1. Spin City
  2. Countess Ablaze

Status: Swapped

Unlocked

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Unlocked

Background:

I love spinning gradient yarns, and had another chance to indulge this hobby for a skill swap with a very talented knitter. As the yarn was created the colours spoke to me first of metal and then rust, merging into the colours of dusky rose petals. The gradient fibre set, from the very talented Hilltop Cloud, was called “Padlock”, so I named the yarn “Unlocked”.

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Story:

Leave the shelter of the homestead – hearth and warmth and family – and step over the threshold. Survey the garden wilderness, full of hidden nooks waiting to be found.

Follow the path as it slowly becomes more and more overgrown. As what was open and passable becomes a natural obstacle course of leaves, twigs and fallen branches.

A dead end? But, not quite hidden, a door, and hanging from it a rusty padlock hinting of past treasures once hidden from uninvited guests. Unused and ineffective now, you push the crumbling timbers of the door. Hinges squeak, grumbling at the call to action, and finally the sight, hidden for so long, comes into view: twisted, overgrown and thorny, but in bloom!

The rose garden is rediscovered. 🌹

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Information:

Title: Unlocked

Composition: 50% Merino, 37.5% BFL, 12.5% Silk

Weight: 140g / 18 WPI / Sockweight

Length: 600+m / 650+yd

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: March 2016

Skein code: 0090

Fibre: Merino, Bluefaced Leicester, Mulberry Silk.

Source: Hilltop Cloud gradient set: “Padlock”

Status: Swapped

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Dark Side of the Swoon

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Dark Side of the Swoon

Background:

I made this skein for a mystery Valentine’s Day swap. I tried to disguise it as best I could with an anonymous label but, needless to say, I was caught out straight away!

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Both the yarn design and the name were inspired by the iconic Pink Floyd album cover. This was a really fun yarn to spin and I loved the result.

Story:

Maybe dancing butterflies and bluebirds on your shoulder is not your thing.

Maybe it’s the hidden, the unknown, or the unwise that pulls you in.

The secret known to only two souls. The destructive pas de deux. The live fast, split young experience. The intensity of life ruled by wild impulse. The same basic instinct that drives many beings to seek out one who makes us realise we’re understood, and part of a greater whole. It’s just some like things to be … that little bit darker.

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Information:

Title: Dark Side of the Swoon

Composition: Black Welsh wool, commercial glitter thread and beads.

Weight: 100g fibre weight / 13 WPI / DK

Length: 210m / 230yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat. Hand Wind

Details:

Date: February 2016

Skein code: 0087

Fibre: 100% natural Black Welsh wool

Source: World of Wool

Status: Swapped

Orchid Ripples

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Orchid Ripples

Background:

I was commissioned to make some thick ‘n’ thin yarn in hot pink, lime green and white. I decided to spin a long-striping yarn in these three colours. The fibre was split into 5g sections and an irregular single was spun in a repeating colour pattern. I then used navajo plying to create this thick and thin textured yarn.

Story:

There’s a slice of paradise that I choose not to share.

Where the wild orchids grow, immodest in their radient pinks, standing proud against verdant greens.

I approach – request an audience. Their bobbing flowers acquiesce.

The lake appears as I crest the brow of the hillock. At the lakeside I dip my toe, and the water answers with ripples.

The orchids’ reflection is broken, like the turn of a kaleidoscope. Rippling pinks, whites, and greens. The world responds to my presence, and yet I am at peace.

 

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Information:

Title: Orchid Ripples

Composition: 67% Merino, 33% Whitefaced Woodland

Weight: 100g / 12 WPI av. / Irregular DK

Length: 187m / 205yd approx.

Care: Hand wash only. Dry flat.

Details:

Date: February 2016

Skein code: 0089

Fibre: 21 micron dyed merino and natural whitefaced woodland

Source: World of Wool

Status: Sold

What’s my job?

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What’s my job?

It’s only three years since I was a new spinner. I’ve reached the point where I find myself mentoring other new spinners as they start exploring this fascinating craft.

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One of the most common complaints I hear (often offered as an apology for the perceived deficiencies of the new spinner’s own yarn) is about irregular yarn. It’s something I remember about my first efforts at the spinning wheel too. I thought my first yarn was quite ugly. But at the same time I was so proud of it because I made it all by myself!

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There seems to be a common journey for spinners, with early efforts being thick and irregular, and subsequent yarn gradually becoming thinner and more consistent. Then you reach a stage where you want to spin thicker yarn again, and almost have to re-learn how to do it. And you may want to spin irregular, or thick and thin, or even more exotic yarn and so you go about learning those techniques, continually refining your knowledge, your practice and your control over the process.

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What I’ve come to realise is that, as spinners, it’s not our job to replicate machine-spun yarn. When we judge our early efforts, that’s the yardstick most of us use for comparison.

But the thing is, if I wanted machine-spun yarn, I could just buy it! It has its place and I use plenty of commercially-spun yarn, but it is a different beast from handspun. There is a sense of satisfaction for the spinner to know that, if you choose to, you can replicate the fine consistency of machine-spun yarn. But my plea to spinners (new or otherwise!) is to see consistency as a design choice, rather than a value judgement.

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I often think of handspun yarn as being full of life. And I think that relates to this question of what is my job as a handspinner. I see my job as creating something unique every time I go through the process, from inspiration to yarn design, to the final skein.

What commercially-spun yarn can never replicate is that sense of the unique creation of every millimetre of yarn: the possibility of a story in every stitch.

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