Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Handspun Finishes

I've been working diligently on two handspun projects which both wrapped up on the same day. Does this happen to you? It often happens to me. Often, the bigger and longer the projects are, the more likely I am to finish them on the same exact day. Go figure.

First up: my "Pool Drops" (alert: Ravelry link) shawl made from this handspun gradient. This is a long shawl and it was difficult to photograph. If you look carefully, you'll see the hooks from our Christmas stocking holders at the top of the photo. I'm quite pleased with how this came out. I think I'll give it to my mother, but as I already have a handmade Christmas gift wrapped up for her, I may save this for Mother's Day or her next birthday. She liked the color last time she saw me working on it. 

Mom looks good in jewel tones. The deepest purplish-pink  will suit her well... but maybe not the pale pink at the top. One nice aspect of this design is that the tips are the dark color (because of how the increases work). So if she wraps it around her shoulders a bit, I think she can still have the darkest color right up against her face. (Note my carefully bagged sock yarn in the cabinet below... carpet beetles no longer stand a chance, even if the display is less aesthetically pleasing.)

Because I wanted to use as much yarn as I could, I started weighing the unused ball at the end of each row. In theory, I should have used a bit more yarn with each row, due to the constant increases. This is not what my scale revealed, though... and that's on me because it shows how inconsistent my handspun was. In the final 11 rows of the shawl, I used amounts ranging from 1.9 grams to 2.7grams. Conventional wisdom says that a bindoff should take about 3 times as much yarn as a normal row, and 4 times as much if you work a stretchy bindoff (which I did). I decided to bind off when I had 11 grams of yarn left... but the bindoff only used 3.1 grams and I ended up with a small ball of 7.9 grams of leftover yarn. I'd rather have that than have run out, though. A possible explanation for the discrepancy is the woolen-spun yarn, which contains more air than worsted-spun yarn.

The shawl is kind of difficult to measure due to its shape. I might have been able to straighten out the top line more if I had a larger blocking surface. You can tell where my flat surface ended and the tips were left to hang off the edges. While difficult to measure, I find that these "curly" shawls are easy to wear... and if you have an end hanging down, it twists in an interesting way.

The top edge is 88" long,and the shawl is 18" deep at the center point. It weighs only 193 grams, so it feels light and lofty.

This pattern is simple enough for TV or social knitting, but with enough interest to keep it from being a slog. Garter sections are broken up with an easy lace panel which only requires paying attention every 6th row. I recommend Pool Drops!

All in all, I'm very pleased with how this came out, and in relatively short time. I bought the fiber at MDSW in 2018 and spun it that summer. It's all used up by the end of 2020. Not bad in terms of fiber-to-yarn-to-finish.

In other handspun news, I finished finished the Breed School 2.0 Southdown.

This is a worsted-spun, 3-ply yarn. My initial yardage, measured as the plied yarn was skeined, was 574 yards (139 g)... but I attempted to measure it again after washing and the number dropped to 438 yards. Southdown is a down breed, and the fiber has lots of crimp. The top mill really stretches it out, but after the yarn is washed, the crimp reactivates... and the yarn shrinks and poofs up a bit. I got 14 WPI (wraps per inch) and it looks to be a fingering-to-sport yarn.

I'm glad to have this finished up. I need to spin something COLORFUL next. I have the next Breed School 1.0 fiber waiting (it's natural Perendale, which is a creamy white), but I need a brief color break. Then, I plan to spin the Perendale into a really big, poofy, squishy, bulky yarn. I need a quick project after a month of very fine Southdown singles. Plus, it's harder for me to spin fat than thin right now, so this will actually be good for my technique.

I'm off work for a couple weeks, with no travel in the forecast, so I have extra time to indulge in all my hobbies. I love feeling like I have enough time to knit, spin, weave, and read every day!


  1. That shawl is gorgeous and your mother is a lucky recipient! I hope you enjoy all of your knitting, sinning, weaving, and reading time to the fullest!

    1. That was obviously supposed to be "spinning", but if sinning works ...