Handspun: The Last of 2015, First of 2016

There’s so much new in my spinning world these days and it’s absolutely fabulous in every possible way. Inspiring, motivating, challenging — it’s all present and it’s all amazing. I’ve been wanting to expand & more fervently explore this part of my crafting for quite some time so the fact that I’ve recently acquired some new tools to aid in this endeavor has been wonderful. My latest additions were for my travel kit…

img_1863I picked up a few Akerworks flat-pack bobbins. I might be one of the last spinners on Earth to break down and get some of these super fun & colorful bobbins. They have excellent street credit/word of mouth recommendations, but I have plenty of standard bobbins for my wheel so I never sprung for these. When my hubby gave me the travel bag for my wheel, though, and we took our inaugural trip with it, I realized that bobbins aren’t the most pack-able items. These just arrived yesterday so I haven’t had the chance to spin with them yet, but I’m very impressed with the packaging and how small they break down. Suffice to say, I’m very happy with this purchase!  Oh, and I got a little hedgehog threader, too, because I was having some issues with my new flyer’s threader and I thought this cute one was worth a try. Plus, it’s a hedgehog and who can resist a hedgehog?

The best addition to my spinning, however, has far and away been helping to moderate the Three Waters Farm Ravelry group.  As I’ve said before, I learn something new in this group daily. I adore the members and have been having a blast getting to see everyone’s work & start to make connections with everyone on other social media like Instagram, too. It’s really been inspiring me to spin daily. It’s also definitely feeding my growing desire to try weaving, but that’s a story for another day.

Perhaps the best aspect of this group, however, is that for the first time ever I’ve been knitting what I spin — regularly and almost obsessively. Currently the group is doing an SAL + KAL with Susan Ashcroft’s designs and it’s just been booming. I was spinning up a storm to give myself some knitting options and I have two Three Waters Farm finished handspun yarns to show for it and share with you today — hooray!

First, I managed to wrap up the December Top of the Month Club fiber just before the end of the year.

skein1Named “Lingering Light” this is 100% Targhee that I spun this into a sport weight-ish navajo plied 3-ply yarn.

skeinI broke the fiber up so that the color repeats would be rather short and I love the results. I will definitely be doing more of this kind of color handling in the future.

DEC2015TOMCWhen all was said & done I had about a 250-260yd skein — a little lighter on yardage and heavier in weight than I’d been hoping, but it’s really too gorgeous to care too much about that. There are plenty of patterns out there that will help make the most of it. It is quite possibly the bounciest yarn I’ve ever spun and I really can’t wait to knit it.

For my first spin of 2016, I just finished a skein of Broken Pavement on a Merino/Superwash Merino/Silk fiber base also from Three Waters Farm.

img_1806I shared a little of the in-progress spinning recently — it was really quite dreamy.

The finished skein was no less so…

skeinI really love the greeny-grey-blueish neutral here. To me, it looks kind of like the color of a whisper right before you fall asleep.

detThis was my first time working with this particular base and it definitely ‘poofed’ more than I expected during its wash.  I will be mindful of this the next time I play with this base to try to cut down the uneven-ness a little. That said, though, it is handspun which is always unique and I’m not about to complain or bemoan the resulting skein. It’s beautiful and I love it. Period.

I’m definitely still working on regaining those lighter-weight spinning skills that managed to get very rusty while I worked on my heavier-weight skills over the summer. I also went with a slightly looser ply than I’ve been using lately. I think it’ll make for a really nicely draping fabric when knit which really is for what I was aiming. At 350yds I didn’t quite hit the 400yd mark I was hoping for with this skein, but it will definitely serve me well in the Susan Ashcroft SAL + KAL. I waffled a bit between patterns, but I think I’ve settled on knitting a Quaker Yarn Stretcher with it. In my eyes, the simplicity of the pattern will work really nicely with the subtly of these colors and the drape of the yarn itself will make for a very elegant shawl. I’ve got a boatload of yarn winding to get to in the next couple days and this skein will be at the top of that pile for sure!

I’m not quite sure what’s next up for me & my wheel, but I think it’s safe to say that 2016 is off to a banner start. I can’t wait to see where my spinning will go this year!

10 responses to “Handspun: The Last of 2015, First of 2016

  1. Such beautiful hand spun. My goal this year is to spin more and knit with my handspun more. Love your new bobbins. I haven thought about buying the Akerworks bobbins. Can I ask why you bought them?

      • I held off on them for a very long time just because I have plenty of wooden bobbins that work just fine. When it came to trying to pack, as I said, it turns out they makes a difference. Now I can fit my regular *and* jumbo flyer in my bag and still being adequate bobbins, so I can ply on the road just like I would at home. And I don’t feel a ton of difference in the spinning between the wooden & plastic bobbins either which is nice.

    • I bought them because my husband is trying to get me to travel more with my wheel and we have very limited space in our car. These Akerworks bobbins come apart (as you can see), so they pack flat. I wasn’t sure how much of a difference they’d make, but thought I’d try. Now that I’ve seen them I know – it’s a huge difference as far as space-saving goes.

  2. Your skills are beyond incredible. I love the colors and how even your texture is. KUDOS. I don’t spin, but I LOVE the end product of hand spun and it is such a treat to figure out ways to incorporate it into my knitting. Thanks for the Quaker Yarn Stretcher reference; it looks like a great pattern to show off the yarn, but not boring. Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks so much for your kind words. My spinning skills definitely feel like a work in progress to me yet, but I have hope this year that I’ll be able to gain a little more expertise, or at least a little more refined mastery. Quaker Yarn Stretcher
      exactly that – excellent for showing off yarn without being boring. Susan Ashcroft, the designer, has a ton of similar, but unique patterns. 😉

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