March 22, 2010
Slowly but surely, I am starting to use my handspun yarns. When I started learning to spin, my main focus was on creating an even, balanced yarn, but I didn't think about knitting them into specific projects, should they have turned out in decent shape. The yarn was enough. One thing at a time.
Now, I find myself thinking about what project each spun yarn should be, and I try to spin the right yarn for the job. at the very least I aim for a specific weight of yarn.
My first project with handspun yarn is this pair of half-finger gloves for Brian. This Corriedale was the first wool willing to cooperate with my beginning spinning efforts. I spun two ounces on a spindle, it turned out well, and I decided it was suited to rustic half-finger gloves. I bought two more ounces of wool to complete the project, and having obtained my wheel in the interim, set out to spin the rest of the yarn on the wheel.
Would you expect a novice spinner's wheel-spun efforts to match her spindle spinning? ah, no. and it didn't. Though the spinning went much faster, the yarn ended up smaller and tighter than the yarn from the spindle. of course, I found this out after I had a glove and a half complete, with not enough of either the spindle or wheel-spun yarn for a full pair. As a solution, I used a half and half method - ripped both down to the cuffs, and used the finer yarn to re-knit the hands.
So, in the completed gloves, the ribbed cuffs are spindle-spun yarn, and the hands wheel-spun yarn. It made sense to increase stitches at top of the cuffs and proceed with the smaller-gauge yarn. The hard part was abandoning the one already-completed hand, ends woven in and everything. and if you've ever knit gloves, you know there are a lot of ends.
Now that they are complete, all those ends were worth it. Just in time for the weather to warm up! ah, well they will be ready for next fall..