the knit/spin connection

Posted on Posted in projects, spinning and fiber, Uncategorized

i’m sorry there was no post yesterday—severe thunderstorms took out our internet access for the evening, and it was very late when we recovered it. due to the unexpected freedom from my desk however, i DID get to spin for about 5 hours last night—it was heaven!

first things first: another update to the knitspot $10 challenge! readers have now donated $172++++ (one ‘+’ for each undisclosed donation), and brought the matching gift up to $120!! let’s have a BIG friday and saturday and make those numbers even higher! the knitspot challenge was going to end saturday night, but then i realized tht i did not count in the second day of the ride, so i am now extending it to sunday, june 25th, midnight PST. you now have one more day to make me a poor woman, and to win yourself some beautiful yarn!

    here is a simple rundown of the $10 challenge (which you can read more about here):

  • go to claudia’s blog and give any amount to her ride for MS by sunday, june 25th
  • write and tell me that you gave (i do NOT need to know the amount, but if you do tell me, i’ll keep a total tally and show it off). if you gave before this week, write and tell me—you are also eligible!
  • i will send claudia $10 for each knitspot reader that gives any amount to her MS ride
  • your name will go into the knitspot hat to win some Briar Rose “Grandma’s Blessing sock” yarn, and, if you give $10 or more, into the hat for claudia’s prize patrol

how cool is that??

all right, who wants to talk about knitting and spinning?? i thought so!
last night (actually, all day yesterday) i got so much knitting done, that it felt a liitle weird. that’s when you know you need to re-evaluate things . . .
i got up early and knit on my skirt before work, while the coffee brewed, and then while i drank my first cup!

i had ripped back the bottom tier the night before, and restarted that in solid green with a black zig-zag just above. now i like it a lot better. this morning i added another bit to it; i think i could finish this by tonite or tomorrow if i don’t get distracted by something else, but i love getting distracted, so, we’ll see! (BTW, i DID try it on and it fits great, but because it did not have a drawstring yet, and i was trying to hold the camera AND hold the skirt up, i could not get a good shot. and then, that just sounded so funny, i thought i’d leave you the mental picture instead . . .)

i also worked on the shawl some more, but it looks about the same to me. i am not deliberately withholding pictures or information about it, but since it is a gift, i just want to keep a low profile with it (yeah right—i’m keeping a secret on the internet . . .)

and then there is the spinning! when the power went off, and the internet went out at 6:02 pm, i took the opportunity to get away from my desk as fast as i could. i went right upstairs to my spinning wheel—no electricity needed! well, the poweer did go back on, but not the internet, which was perfect, because i turned on the book i am reading and relaxed into my work, which at the moment is making sock yarn with this coopworth.

now, spinning is not really an activity that offers much in the way of progress shots—“oh, here is my bobbin empy” . . . then later, “now, here is my bobbin half empty”. right. and that’s about it.
spinning offers a lot of time for thinking, even while listening to a book (have i mentioned that i am a bit of a multi-tasker?? yes, well. there is just so much urgency, y’know, to do everything . . .)

so, because our dear friend debbie j, and our new friend leah, BOTH are anxious to read more about spinning, i thought about what i could write.
“ooh-ooh, i know,” squealed debbie excitedly (nearly knocking over her pepsi to type faster), “puh-leeez talk about knitting with handspun! you could totally tell EVERYBODY how great it is and that you actually CAN knit with it and not just look at it, cuz, y’know, some people show their spinning all the time, but they are NOT making anything with it. a lot of people don’t seem to do that!

O-K, debbie. will do. (hahahaha! doncha just love her??! wait til you read her yarn reviews . . .). i’m sure she is wrong about the knitting with handspun, but she has a point about not
seeing a lot of it.

(please excuse all the wrinkles; apparently intense love does not raise the conscioussness for neatness inside the closet of one’s “other half” . . . and he is SO neat everywhere else . . .).

debbie recently acquired some of my sock yarn and made steve a pair of socks, which he apparently loves.

this seems to have incited a riot of pro-handspun knitting and spinning activities in their household. my favorite was when debbie was having trouble last week handling some dyed roving, and steve patiently pre-drafted it for her, so it would spin more smoothly.

(smile) like i keep sayin’—knit socks for your man, and he will be your love slave!
and handspun socks?? well, can you purr “honey, i’d rather spin than cook tonight”?

anyway, knitting with handspun is what got me rooked into the whole spinning thing in the first place! once you go down that primrose path, there is no turning back. knitting with handspun is like eating food that you just picked fresh from your garden.

handspun yarn is alive with spring, with light, and with depth. and those qualities show through in the finished garments as well. it handles quite differently than commercial yarn, which in comparison, can seem dull, limp, and lifeless.
and don’t even get me started on the joys of exploring the variety of fibers, and breeds of fibers, and how that changed my view of yarn forever. seriously—we will be here all day if i get going on that stuff . . .

don’t get me wrong—i still love ALL yarn! and i recently rediscovered commercial* sock yarns in a big way (they are SO much better now than they were 10 yers ago!).
*when i say commercial here, i am strictly speaking of all mill-spun yarn; i am not referring to dyeing.

it’s just that, well, with handspun, you can really feel the the good karma—when you knit with it, you can actually feel more love in it! so it’s perfect for those special gifts, the ones when you are trying to say “i love you” with each stitch, whether it is a sweater

or a really cozy hat, or a humble pair of sox

of course knitting with handspun might require you to spin specifically for a project, but not necessarily. sometimes i just start spinning and make whatever yarn seems to want to come out of the wool. then i put it in the yarn closet and wait for an inspiring design to use it in. other times, i see the fiber, and the finished product, and i have to tame my spinning to fit within those parameters. it all usually balances out to feel right!
here’s an example of a yarn which i had spun too finely for the sox i had intended for it—it was not going to make sturdy socks at all, and i didn’t want to waste it

it sat and sat for months, maybe a year. then i got onto a lace kick this winter, and the ostrich plumes stole was born! suddenly that yarn was just right for something! more than just right!

of course, if it is sweaters that you want to make with handspun, you may have trouble fitting the yarns to published patterns which are formulated for commercial yarns. handspun often has a stitch-to-row ratio that is lightly off, probably due to it’s plumper nature. of course it IS possible to spin to a certain consistency, but getting exactly the yarn you need to obtain a certain gauge can be tricky.

it is well worth it then, to explore and begin using some of the many calculating tools available to knitters—everything from sock calculators to sweater design software is available to help one build a pattern from a unique gauge swatch.

now if they could only come up with software that would calculate a way to make my job disappear and still keep my salary . . .
and my work day is calling now, so i better go. but before i do, let me show you the coopworth, which i finished last night (hooray!).

the twist is setting now (i like to leave it on the bobbin for that). once that happens (anywhere from overnight to a few days time), i will roll it into skeins. i don’t know how many yards yet, since i haven’t skeined it, but i would say somewhere around 450-550 yds. maybe enough for two pair!

more later, and thank you all again for your generosity in the knitspot challenge!!

9 thoughts on “the knit/spin connection

  1. Sorry I haven’t commented lately but I have been busy… But I’m loving the skirt and the lil baby dress… But most of all I love the spinning…. I’m really really loving the spinning talk…


  2. BRAVO,BRAVO!! Oh Anne, I just LOVE this blog report. Your handspun items are just EXQUISITE. Didn’t I tell ya’ll she makes the most GORGEOUS yarn AND items. Steve LOVES his socks and I am determined to spin sock weight for more. I LOVE the spring socks and sweaters you mad eand to bad for the people who only get to see this on the net,in person,Anne’s things are truly DROOL WORTHY!! I got so excited when I saw this post I just KNEW I couldn’t type as fast as my brain was whirling. This should awake that spinner in EVERYONE! Love it Love it Love it!!

  3. You must stop this, Anne! I don’t spin at all and you’re making me yearn to start. As if I don’t have enough to occupy my days.

    To make matters worse, I’m testing some superwash merino and some Australian wool roving for addition to my line and so I have freshy dyed roving in my workshop as we speak.

    Sigh. NOOOOO. MUST NOT LEARN TO SPIN. NO!!!!! Stop it, Anne!!!

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