Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I have an Ashford Traditional spinning wheel. I am not a great spinner, and it took 2 years to find a functional default yarn. I learned to spin at courses at John C Campbell Folk School. I am a spontaneous spinner and don’t spend a lot of time comparing my twist during the course of spinning a particular yarn. However, I love making yarn.

I started out making a lot of 2 ply yarns then didn’t know what to do with them. How much was there when I was done? Who knew? Certainly not enough for an adult sized sweater. Not living "up north" anymore, I don't need a scarf and I've given everyone I know who lives there at least two. And as much as I love my little niece and nephew, knitting them a sweater out of handspun that might be headed for the washing machine just didn’t seem right. Apologies to my sister (my brother in law assured me “I would NEVER do that!”)

As in the last two years I have mostly knit shawls, and my 2 ply yarn tended to be too chunky for those fine lace shawls that I love, I switched to doing singles. I can now produce a fairly useable fine singles at about 12-14 (or more!) wraps per inch to use for a lace shawl yarn. And when the yarn is used up, however much the yardage, the shawl is done!

Here’s an example of a shawl from my single ply:

Evelyn A. Clark’s Wild West Lace Shawl

This was spun from roving from Gale’s Art (met Gale at Folkschool), blue faced Leicester. For this yarn I actually separated the colors as I spun to get longer lengths of one color. This is actually more of a kerchief than a shawl. I modified the lace patterning thinking I had enough yarn so added an additional lace section, then I didn't have enough to do the buffalo tracks at the end. I'll just have to do it again!

If you scrunch up your eyes, you can see the buffalo in Evelyn's clever lace design to the right.

Finished in March, this was the first shawl that I used blocking wires to block. I got mine from Knitpicks. Nothing beats the thrill of seeing the lace expand as you pin.

1 comment:

  1. So interesting!! The power of blocking is truly underestimated!!