Handspun

Let’s take a moment to talk about handspun yarn.

I am a spinner; I consider my self a Knitter, with a capitol K, but I really don’t feel like I’ve reached that point with spinning yet. I do own a drop spindle and a wheel, and I do have a lovely little fiber stash. [Spinners in my spinning group tell me it’s paltry. I feel like it’s enough- for now!]

Lately, I’ve been buying fiber and spinning it to a purpose. There’s still the joy of Making Yarn, something which will always be so cool. But that joy has somewhere to go: a pair of socks, a shawl, a bag. There lies the opportunity to put even more intention into whatever it is that is being made.

Not to mention, the cool factor. I still can’t get over the fact I’m making yarn. But I’ll stop before I go into raptures that get a bit repetitive.

Do not adjust your screen; it really is that eye-blindingly bright.  I bought this fiber right after I began spinning, back in April. Purchased from the now defunct Spingwater in Alexandria, this fiber was with which I tried spinning 1/3 grist of fingering weight. I Navajo plied it, or at least, whacked out some version of Navaho that does the job for me. Whether or not I’m doing it perfectly doesn’t really concern me at this point in time- it worked, therefore, I love it. Navajo plying is my favorite way to ply at the moment, for a variety of reasons. I’ll wax poetic later. I really enjoyed playing with color, but I had no idea what to make with it. I had a little over 4 ounces, and something like 600 yards of fingering weight.

I let it marinate in the stash for a bit. I didn’t want to make socks because I didn’t think I had spun it tightly enough to stand up to the wear of socks.

Then- inspiration!

Enter Swallowtail. I knit this before for my friend Elle as a thank you for putting me up for two weeks when I went out to visit her this past summer. I worried about pooling at first, but then realized that because I had spun it willy nilly, there wasn’t going to be any color repeats. AWESOME.

When I knit it the first time, I knit the nupps. All of ’em. I really didn’t want to do it this time, and thought I would add to my knitting skills with beads. It’s all the rage right now at my Wednesday night knitting group, so I figured why not? The beads take place of the nupps, and woah, I love it. It slows down those rows considerably because you have to stop, pick up the bead on the hook, pick up the stitch, slide the bead on, then slide the knit stitch back onto the needle. I think the results are totally worth it.

My absolute favorite part of the shawl is the Lily of the Vally bits. The color stripes waver, and the beads add that nice little clack. I am in love with this shawl, and I am so not giving it up. Nope. Mine. On top of it being so stinkin’ pretty; I knit it in FOUR DAYS. There is no end of my love.

I wore it to the Montpelier Fiber Festival last weekend, and it was huge hit. I like to joke this is my hunting shawl because there’s no way you’d miss me in the woods.

This, however, illustrates spinning to a purpose:

My little French Market Bag. I did a spinning demonstration, and as a thank you, we were told to take some fiber home. [She was not kidding, dudes. This sweet, generous woman said we could take fleeces home. Fleeces. I restrained myself and took only a few pounds.] This is a mix of a natural black and a natural white. I spun for a worsted weight, and it felted beautifully.

I’ll even knit with other people’s handspun.

I think I’m in love.

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1 comment
  1. Laura said:

    Your knitting is always nice and I really like your “hunting” swallowtail shawl.

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