Sockhead Hat

I’ve been trying to actually use my handspun instead of, well, hoarding it in bins. I tend to treat my handspun as a finished project instead of like yarn to be knit (or crocheted, or woven), and it’s starting to overtake my craft room.

This yarn was one of my very first handspun skeins. I had some undyed superwash merino roving that I had gotten from a friend, and I tried dyeing it using the instructions I found on the Yarn Harlot’s blog. I was nervous about the roving floating apart and the colors mixing into a muddle, so I chose these instructions because they involved stuffing the roving into pantyhose in order to keep it from moving around in the pot. I used squeeze bottles filled with Jacquard dye solution to paint the roving (right through the old pantyhose), wrapped the weird sausages in plastic wrap, then steamed them over boiling water.


Yarn in progress

I’ve been dyeing a ton of fiber lately! I think it’s because the weather has been so cold, dyeing just seems like a way to make Crafty Soup. :)

I’m a big fan of our Bare Wool of the Andes fiber for a couple of reasons. First, it’s really easy to spin because the Peruvian wool is a little grippy and lets you control it easily. Next, it comes in 100g bundles which are the perfect size for the bobbins on my Kromski Polonaise – I know that one bundle will fill one bobbin perfectly. Finally, it’s really inexpensive so I can mess around in the dye pot and try strange and/or challenging blends of colors without worrying about being out a pile of cash.


Spindling my yarns

Our Knit Picks Drop Spindle is an affordable introduction to drop spindling. Notice how I didn’t say, ‘introduction to spinning’. Thanks to Abby Franquemont’s book, Respect the Spindle,
drop spindling is no longer considered to be a ‘training exercise’ or
‘a first step towards real spinning on a spinning wheel’. More about
spinning wheels later. 

After you become comfortable spinning
yarn with your first drop spindle, you will want to collect more
spindles. Abby explains that there are practical, as well as esthetic,
reasons for expanding your spindle collection. Between the two, I can
justify nearly any spindle purchase.

Practical reasons usually
involve your wanting to spin different weights of yarns. My Golding is
perfect for DK/Worsted weight yarn. But, if I want to spin anything
lighter, I definitely need to use a smaller spindle.


Spinning Out of Control!

My coworkers and I are so excited that we are finally offering spinning supplies, because we’ve been crazy about spinning for a long time.  I learned how to knit first, and then my love of yarn drove me to try to spin with a drop spindle made out of a cd and a dowel, and later I bought a spinning wheel.  Kelley actually learned how to spin before she started knitting.  In college, she had a work study job at her college’s library, and many of her coworkers were spinners and taught her!  Alison is a spinning maniac, bringing in hanks of handspun to the office almost every Monday morning.  

We all hang out after work for informal craft nights, but we thought it would be fun for everyone to bring their spinning wheels to work so we could gather and spin together!



Every knitter should give spinning a try


I know that my early confidence with knitting was the result of learning to spin before I learned to knit. Transforming fiber into yarn gave me an understanding not only of the properties of different fibers but also what I could expect from my finished yarn.