Monday, December 26, 2011

Handspun Shawl #1


Slowly, I'm adding entries into my spinning journey.

I was away for the holidays for 4 days. The entire time I did not miss knitting, but I sorely missed spinning.  
Something about letting the fiber glide through my fingers while my feet treadle away just feel so satisfying. 
It alos seems be my cure for stashing up yarns.  I have not made a purchase of yarn since I started spinning. 

My spun yarn may be uneven but I love making them.  I also love dyeing up my own colors and see what they turn into. It's like magic. In some ways, it reminds me of printmaking.  Being a painter, I'm so used to see result as I paint, but with printmaking, you can see the color of ink, the image on your plate, but there is always that slight mystery with the final product. That is what dyeing my own fiber and spinning and knitting with it was like.


I wanted a shawl using merino, so I had some ideas in mind of how I will approach it. But being a complete beginner, there were so many surprises along the way, both good ones and bad ones, which all made the process that much more exciting. When I dyed the fiber, I had an image in my head of deeper purple and more light brown areas. I was envisioning a purple/brown combo. But as you can see, it didn't turn out that way. While spinning, I was feeling a bit disappointed how the color combination came out.  Then I liked the colors much better when I was at the knitting stage.  It was like a roller coaster ride with my feeling towards the colors. Spinning merino took a lot of my patience. I truly thought I was spinning it at a pretty fine and even thickness until plying.  I was surprised at how uneven and thick the yarn turned out to be. And, I was even more surprised at the yardage being less than I thought.


The knitting design was pure improvisation. I knew with the stripey look an all over lace would be too much. I just knitted in plain sts and inserting 2 rows of eyelets. I used US #7 needles for a more open look with St sts. Half way through knitting, I realized instead of using the same chaging color yarns for the lace border, it would be better with a solid contrast color.  I spun up some BFL without dyeing it for the border. Oh, how I love spinning BFL. It is just as luxurious as merino but easier to spin.  BFL is my favorite fiber to spin so far. The color section was knitted until I ran out of all 4oz spun merino yarn (~375 yards,) then I made a simple lace design for the border, and it used about 100 yards of the 135 yards spun from 2oz of BFL.  

I like the shawl as the final product..  Even though it is not my wardrobe style at all, but I like it because it truly was a wonderful journey to dye, spin, design, and knit. 

5 comments:

  1. It is so interesting to read the story behind your shawl :-)) It is very lovely Connie :))) I love the way the colors worked out and the white border is a great idea too :-))

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  2. I cannot believe where you're at with spinning in such a short time!! That's fantastic. I feel like such a slacker now :).

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  3. What a fabulous journey and welcome to the wonderful world of spinning. I echoed your sentiment in this beautiful shawl...remarkably marvelous! It will bring you many uplifting cheers in the years to come :D

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  4. I love the colors of this shawl, and it looks to me like you are doing a great job spinning. I just spent a few hours at A Verb For Keeping Warm today, it was a "Day Of Color", I dyed a skein of sock yarn in indigo, very interesting, can't wait to see what it looks like next weekend when I un-bag it! The very nice people at the shop were trying to convince me to learn to spin. I am afraid, very very afraid :-). I do. not. need. another. hobby...

    Great idea to use a natural/white color for the edging, this is a beautiful project!

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