Friday, March 10, 2006

i've been inexplicably obsessed with handspun yarns lately.

probable top reasons why i love them:

1. they're simply beautiful. colour explosions, clever combinations, and interesting textures. how can you not drool?



l to r, t to b: spunky eclectic on kpixie, felt studio on etsy, bulky handspun on pippikneesocks, superbulky on helloyarn

2. kara janx's hats in her project runway collection.

so cute, right? she mentions in an interview that she got 'help' with the handspun handknit hats from purlsoho and suss. all paths lead to the ozark yarn which kara most likely used. yay. thank you, kara, for putting a stellar fashion-forward shoutout to the craftypeeps. plus, your collection rocked!





3. the knowledge that a human has put great care into the work. comparing handspun to say, stuff you get at the local art supply store, is like comparing an original and inspiring oil + canvas painting to... a thomas kinkaid print at walmart. in a cheap frame. and faded.

there are many more reasons, though i am conserving my energy...

however, just for the record, there are things that are, at times, not perfect:

1. the sheer energy and time it takes for a spinner to make high-quality yarn (all factors from fiber to dye to spinning to selling) makes things super expensive. i have seen yarn that is 50 yards for $40. small skeins can go even to $60. it's scary.

2. i adore the thick-thin, organic look of the yarns. however, it's sometimes confusing on what needle size to use. you're either on tiny needles when a big lump of roving comes your way, or feel silly working the teeny plies on too-large needles. what's the secret? using the largest needle size necessary? or just relax and let it just 'become'?

3. i wish there were patterns out there tailored specifically for handspun yarn, something to let the best qualities shine. maybe i havent been looking hard enough but all i can really see out there are drop-stitch scarves (you can only work that for so long) and funky hats. are there some interesting and unique felting or hand-knotting techniques? or just more pattern selection?

anyway, i did realise i had some handspun in my (small, i swear) stash, from linda of stoneleafmoon yarns. she makes some crazy, amazing stuff. i bought the tiny 21 yd skein for $5 at the summer market in union square last summer, and she was incredible to send me an additional 62 yds of the 'kitty' colourway gratis. that's no small freebie! thank you linda!

so i've always wondered how best to use this gorgeous yarn. (digression: this colourway from midnightskyfibers looks süpersimilar.) i finally came up with a brilliant project that will suit the yarn perfectly.

you can take a guess (and i'm also test-driving a new technique, knitting in-the-round with two circulars, ooooooh), though whatever project you're thinking, chances are you'll have to think again. :)

5 Comments:

Blogger Reese said...

i have the same question about the thick/thin yarns. i'm working with davos right now and i can't say that i really like it. maybe i'm too conformist and need to have the regularity of regular yarn?

1:21 PM  
Blogger Rhonda said...

Let it become what it wants to be. Middle of the road size needles would work for me on thick/thin yarns ... As you saw the other day, Christine it isn't past me to use very large needles with sport yarn even ... the candy canes worked great!

Happy knitting!

1:53 PM  
Blogger honeybee33 said...

Check out old Colinette patterns - she designed her pieces to showcase her think-n-thin hand-dyeds.

BTW, did you listen to Tim's 2-part podcast about the finale? He describes Kara's collection as a revelation - she struck him almost speechless - a first! (for both) *meow*

~ hb33 ~

2:45 PM  
Blogger String Bean said...

Try the Hip Hop Coat pattern by Ann Budd in the Winter 2005 Interweave Knits.

3:24 AM  
Blogger mid said...

it's best to use middle of the road needles with handspun, that way you will get some bumps and some more lacey bits as you are working with the yarn, but still get a decently dense fabric. Then again, I love the look of very lacey handspun knit in to a scarf (I do mostly lace though, so im sure that has something to do with it) :)

handspun yarn also makes great gloves/mittens/wrist warmers, socks, shawls/wraps, ribbed and roll brimmed hats, stripes in a sweater, etc. I also use leftover peices in parts of making squares that will eventually become a blanket.

A lot of it depends on how you want a project to look and what it needs to do- for socks, smaller needles for a dense fabric, scarves and shawls often work well with larger needles (handspun yarn thats not super thick and thin will also look lovely with very simple lace patterns (pruse stich, feather and fan, etc)

~jenn
midnightskyfibers.com

8:31 PM  

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