At the beginning of the new year, instead of setting resolutions for myself that I knew would be lost after a month or two – I instead tried to come up with a list of crafting goals for myself in 2012. And wouldn’t you know it, I have been slowly been tackling new projects and checking off my goals! One of the things I knew I really wanted to try this year was spinning. And aside from the fact that you get to make your own yarn, I just loved the zen-like calm that spinners have about them as they sit at their spinning wheel.
Combined with the fact that I had a wealth of information all around me since so many others here at the KP office know how to spin, I finally faced with the fact that it might be time to learn. I had a good chunk of Wool of the Andes Roving in Tidepool Heather that I started on with a drop spindle, and that is where my spinning adventure started!
During the very first sock summit (which was almost three years ago, back in 2009!), I got overtaken by all of the fiber fumes and came home with a drop spindle. I hadn’t the faintest clue as to what I was going to do with said drop spindle, but I knew I needed one everytime I walked past someone drop spindling as they were standing around, waiting in line, or just hanging out. After I recovered from the fiber festivities, I tucked my drop spindle away in one of my craft containers.
Finally a year or so later, I dusted off my drop spindle after a visit to an alpaca farm where I couldn’t resist buying some fiber. From then on out, every few weeks I would break out my spindle to spin up a bit of fiber. It took a while to get the feel for drafting, but every time it got easier and more natural.
If you have ever been intrigued by making your own yarn or spinning with a drop spindle, we have an entire 6-part series video class to help you get started! Kelley’s Drop Spindling Class covers everything from terminology to drafting, finishing, and even plying your yarn. It really is so much fun and a great way to play with fiber!
This project has been a long time in the making! I dyed my fiber last year using Greener Shades dyes, then spun it into four different 250g skeins of bulky weight 2-ply, and now I’ve finally transformed it all into a finished object.
When I’m stash busting or using up unlabeled yarn, I tend to create my own patterns that are a) extremely basic and b) allow me to change plans mid-stream in order to work around yarn shortages. For this project, I decided to do a basic crochet ripple afghan – I wanted something soothing that let me really enjoy the texture and colors of my handspun without concentrating on a difficult stitch pattern. I also planned on creating stripes of varying widths so that I had more options for using up the majority of my yarn.
When I first started knitting with my handspun yarn, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished for a magical label marked with yarn weight, recommended needle size, yardage, and washing instructions. Over time, I’ve gotten better about documenting my handspun as I create it; when I don’t take notes, though, I have to just wing it!
For a recent cross-country trip I decided to give myself a little challenge – I packed nothing but 4 skeins of handspun yarn and an assortment of needle tips and cables. The four skeins I chose were finished more recently, so I hadn’t had time to measure the yardage, weigh them, or even match them up with other yarn for projects.
Over the past few weeks Birch Bay evolved from an unspun batt, to spun singles and then to a two-ply yarn. Today, I finally finished
knitting it into a delightful slouchy hat (a bit slouchier than I
intended, but more on that later). I know that I was imagining a red and
black hat last time, but I decided to start at the opposite end of the
ball and wound up with an (almost) entirely vivid blue hat instead! I love that the colors shift into the dark magentas towards the crown and the shiny strands of sparkle really pop too.
I had a little bit of relaxation time during the holiday season, and it was nice to be able to sink my teeth into some fiber projects (both new and old). I did start a bunch of knitting projects, but I also had time to take my spinning wheel for a, um, spin.
Birch Bay is a very, very bright Layered Spinning Batt from Hanks in the Hood. I usually gravitate towards those cool, milky blues or soft, grassy greens like Hoquiam or Mercer Island. Not this time. Birch Bay
was calling to me like a hot coal, fresh from the fireplace. Really, in
the end I was mostly curious about how the colors would transition and
how that fiery red would look plied with the icy blue further inside the
Love the look of spinning fiber but don’t you don’t spin? Do you have a ton of fiber odds and ends that are too precious to toss, but aren’t quite enough to make a skein of yarn?
I bought a pack of empty clear glass ornaments at Target – I think it was $6 for a pack of 9 ornaments, although I’m pretty sure you could find them cheaper elsewhere. In the office, we have samples of the Hanks in the Hood layered spinning batts that just launched on the website, and they come in a really beautiful spectrum of colors and textures and sparkle.