Spun It, Knit It, Gave It

Another handspun hat has flown off my needles and onto a loved one’s head. (Rav page for yarn here. For hat here.)

Fiber from the Cosymakes Falkland Fiber Club, the January 2012 colorway, spun on a drop spindle. 

This knit was a little eye opening for me and I learned something about spinning and about yarn in general. This yarn was my second attempt at spinning and it is horrid. Thick and thin, overspun here, underspun there, under plied all over, horrid. But, look at how beautiful it knitted up! Even badly spun yarn can make a lovely hat!

Three things about this knit –

1. The pattern was totally improv – I knit a cable band approximately the circumference of The Dancing Queen’s head, joined it into a ring, picked up a bunch of stitches, and knit straight for awhile. When it was time to decrease, I worked decreases at three points around on every row until I had only a few stitches left. A pom pom finished off the yarn (until I realized that I still have another skien hiding in the back of the yarn cabinet).

2. The Dancing Queen has been on a yellow kick for a few months now, and when she saw this fiber on my spindle, she claimed it as her own. She was very happy to see it become a hat and she can’t wait for it to get cold enough so that she can wear it.

3. Knitting hats is an excellent way to be creative and use up weird yarn. It is fun to just knit without a plan and then find that a really cute hat is at the end of the journey. Makes me want to spin some more, too!

Fibery Goodness

Cosymakes Falkland Fiber Club, March 2012 “Fresh”

Family Pendragon Mystic MCN, “Inner Wild”

Corriedale from Wildcard Fiber Arts, natural

Looks like my spindle is going to be busy for awhile. As a matter of a fact, I don’t even want to knit with all these luscious wools calling to me from the stash cabinet.

Oh, and check this out. This is totally cool.

When I told Kaylan at Wildcard Fiber Arts that I was a beginner and didn’t know much about the various spinning fibers available, she graciously sent a bunch of little samples to me. I have been fondling and sniffing and playing. This little bunch of bits is just the coolest thing and it perfectly compliments my current night time reading.

I am usually a very fast reader, but I am taking this book slowly. There is so much information packed in and I know almost nothing going in so it is a little overwhelming. But I am learning and loving it.

Oh, and there is knitting happening here, too. More on that tomorrow!

The Fall

My second handspun yarn is finished. Wanna see it?

I have forgotten the clever name that this colorway came with and am now calling it “The Fall” both because of it’s glorious autumn hues and because my drop spindle fell a lot in the making of this lovely yarn.

First a note on spindles. This is only the second yarn that I have spun, so I am in no ways an expert, but I do have  a word or two about spindles. Not wanting to fork out the big bucks for a hobby that I had never tried before, I spent $10 on a wooden drop spindle. It works just fine. In fact, for the amount of times that it hit my concrete floor, I am glad that it was not very precious. However, since I got my new spindle, which cost quite a bit more, and have started spinning with it, I can already tell that quality does matter. My cheap one was difficult to spin suspended with because it wouldn’t spin very long, whereas my new spindle spins forever and I am only limited by how long my arms are. So, as far as I am concerned, get a nice spindle (whatever that means) and you will enjoy spinning a whole lot more.

Now, about this yarn. 

This is the first in the Cosymakes Falkland Fiber Club and it came in a 4oz braid in late January. When I started to work with it, my goals were not really yarn centered. That is, I didn’t really have a yarn in mind that I expected to produce. Rather, I wanted to concentrate on perfecting my new art.

First Goal – Suspended Spinning. My first spun yarn was entirely spun using the “park and draft” method, which was an excellent way to learn (plus, my hips were bothering me at the time, so I couldn’t stand and was spinning in a reclined position on my couch). It only took a short time (about the length of Batman Begins, in fact) to get the hang of suspended spinning (pun intended).

Second Goal – Consistency. I didn’t really care what I was consistent in, whether the yarn be thick or thin, but just so that it didn’t vary so greatly along one short length as my first try did.

Third Goal – Drafting. I wanted to figure out my favorite method of predrafting and holding the fiber. I experimented with tearing off a chunk and holding that in my hands. Then, I played with long lengths of predrafted fiber draped over my arm. It was the latter that won in the end.

Now, looking at this yarn I can see my improvement and I almost wish that I hadn’t plied it. One ply, the first ply that I spun, has little consistency and is thicker in general than the second ply, which is much more consistent and quite thinner. The two plied together make a pretty okay yarn, however, and I am pleased with how it looks (for my second try, anyway).

This yarn tells a story, the story of my struggle for perfection. The yarn that came before was terrible, and the one that came after is almost too good (more on that later), but this one is my own adventure, twisted up into a skein.

I think that is pretty cool.