Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Yummy Bumpy Lumpy Handspun

I'm still alive, promise! Knitting away and keeping busy at the gym. 20 pounds off so far! We've had some great news also. My husband has accepted a promotion and transfer that will take us to Portland, Maine. Looks like we'll be moving for September and we can't wait! I'm a coastal girl, so being back by the water will be amazing. Portland looks gorgeous, and having lived in Kingston, ONT, I'm no stranger to snow. This should be a great adventure. I will miss North Carolina though. Funny how in nearly 5 years I've gotten used to the heat and storms. The people in the south are wonderful and warm (for the most part, but this isn't the post for that ;) and that will be sorely missed as well. Maine puts me near friends though, and it's a great fiber area. I'm also looking forward to a drastic reduction in the bug population. Bugs are crazy out of control here where I live!

Back to the blog post as planned. Handpsun! Love love love working with it. Not only spinning, but actually knitting with it. I'm not sure if you recall a while back when I spun a slubby 2 ply called Habitat?
Here is a refresher:

Massive hank! (Skein? I always mix those two up.) Nearly 8oz in total. How did I spin this? I split my roving length wise into 4 strips near how thick I wanted the slubs to be. Then I spun it as a thick single by tugging out large slubs, and smoothing down the ends into a thin drafted single... rise and repeat. You'll end up with a thick and thin slub yarn with thin potions that are overtwisted, and spaced about as long as the fiber staple (important, otherwise your thick slub portions will drift apart.) If you find it's too delicate, feel free to give it a quick felt by dunking it in hot water, then cold water. This will shock some stability into the slubs.
I did this with two different falkland braids, and then plyed them together. I wish I had some photos to show, but maybe I'll stop and take some next time I make some of this yarn. (and I totally will be doing this again in the future.)
If you need any more advice on how to spin this, feel free to ask questions in the comments! It's a great art yarn and I highly recommend giving it a shot. It's also a super fast spin.

I hear "Why in the world would you want to spin such a lumpy drastic weight change art yarn?" quite often. Either you get art yarns, or you don't. As art yarns go this one is extremely accessible to knitting projects though. I decided I wanted a long chunky cowl that I could double over and that this yarn would be perfect. Here is the beginning so far (patternless, provisional cast on of 15 stitches with size 13 needles, and I'm going to knit in garter back and forth until I hit the near end of my yarn, then kitchener the ends together.)

It's hard to describe how dense and comfy this is knitting up on size 13 needles. I could probably have gone to 15, but I'm loving how this is working up so far without spaces and packed together. This cowl is going to be rustic, warm, unique and dense. Perfect for Maine winters I hope! I started out with a seed stitch pattern but it created a messy texture that didn't go with the slub yarn. Switching to garter let the yarn shine, which was truly the point in the end.

So there you go. That is what a slub yarn looks like in a knit! Not so scary eh? If you don't spin there are lots of people on etsy selling some great slub yarns. I haven't noticed many plying two together though, but I'm always willing to do it and I'm sure others will as well if you'd like to buy a truly unique warm bulky/super bulky work of yarn art. I prefer the 2 ply because I find it's more stable, and the thin portions aren't as spindly in a knit item. Just personal preference really.
Working with Habitat has been so addictive I'm itching to spin more and possibly make more of these cowls (for the shop?) I'll wait and see how it turns out first.

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