Friday, April 13, 2012


I'm always talking about plying two different colorways together.  This is one of my favorite things to do because it results in some amazingly beautiful yarns.  Here I have a bobbin of merino/tibetan yak/silk (on the left) and a bobbin of baby camel/merino/silk (on the right). I was experimenting by combining two very different colorways.
I always say this is where the magic happens.  So fellow spinners, don't ever be afraid to throw caution to the wind and ply odd combinations of colors. Step outside your comfort zone and experiment. You can start by plying all those small amounts sitting on your bobbins after plying the same color on itself.  
Here is a close up and I have just the perfect project in mind. [You can click on the pictures to enlarge.]
I have had this conversation with many of my handspinning friends and the other day it came up again.  My friend and I were talking about how much we love to spin and create beautiful unique yarns -- yarns you really can't find in most yarn stores.  We spoke of how special these handspun yarns are and how we love to knit and crochet with them, mainly because we have created them with our own hands and every skein is one of a kind.  Every fiber of each of these skeins has touched our fingers as we spin.  Unlike commercially spun yarns, our handspuns have a much different feel -- like they have life -- and are absolutely delightful as they move through our hands. And . . . if we've spun a yarn that has variegated colors, it is magical to watch the colors unfolding as we work on our project.

So when we talk about these special yarns, we also talk about the time involved in spinning your own yarn.  It really is a labor of love.  Even when we sell a skein, we never get compensated for all the time we've spent, but . . . it is a labor of love, this handspinning.  And, occasionally when someone buys a skein of our handspun, we're thrilled and sometimes it motivates them to want to learn to spin.  Bringing a new spinner into the fold, that is what it is all about. Passing these skills on to others. Keeping the work of hands alive.  
My handspinner friends and I take care with our handspun yarns and the scarf, hat, socks, sweater or other garment we create from those yarns.  I always tell people who buy my yarns to treat them delicately -- they're not meant for a washing machine or a dryer.  You put so much of your time into making something beautiful with your hands, don't treat it harshly -- use a delicate wool wash (like Soak or Eucalan) in tepid water.  These are delicate washes with natural scents that can be left in and also deter little critters.  
 [Scarf by my dear friend, Pam Carlson - handspun and handknit]

If you want to preserve something beautiful, treat it gently and you will have it around to enjoy for a very, very long time.  If you treat it without care, you may end up with a felted mess.  And if you use washes with harsh chemicals, they destroy the integrity of the yarns as well as its colorfastness.

I am now off to Seattle and Bellingham, WA, for a relaxing little get-away and lots of knitting.  I'll be back soon, hopefully with at least a couple of project knitted from what else?  my handspun yarn.  


Taos Sunflower said...

Lori: There should be a caution added to this post that once you start knitting with your own hand spun yarn it makes knitting with commercial yarns a lot less exciting (for me it has, anyway). Thanks for all the reminders...have a wonderful week.

Sarah said...

"Bringing a new spinner into the fold, that is what it is all about. Passing these skills on to others. Keeping the work of hands alive." So true. It's what I love about spinning...especially when I get a young kid to spin.

My handspun socks looks as new as they were first knitted two years ago. I wouldn't trade it for another pair of commercial socks for sure.

How was your visit to Washington?

Sam said...

Hi! I have just started spinning and found your blog :-) Just wanted to say "hi" and I am now a follower. Sam xox