Crochet with Handspun: Merino Cowl

Working with handspun yarn you're not crazy about can surprise you. When I finally used this yarn with a fun free cowl pattern, I found its true potential.

Sometimes, working with a soft but seemingly lackluster handspun yarn can surprise you. I spun a skein of single-ply yarn out of some fabulous merino combed top, but I wasn’t very excited about the results. It sat around for a couple of years while I pondered its fate. This winter, while looking for a quick and simple project to knock out in between working on larger garments, I found myself yearning for something thick and soft to counter all of the thin, hard lace I’d been working. My handspun yarn just felt so luscious. I’m glad … read more

Crochet with Handspun

Using my own handspun yarn has made some of my crochet projects even more enjoyable and rewarding.

Using my own handspun yarn has made some of my crochet projects even more enjoyable and rewarding. Single-ply lace weight This delicate scarf was made with baby suri alpaca yarn. Pattern: Alpine Frost Scarf Designer: Amy O’Neill Houck Source: Interweave Crochet Two-ply worsted weight This winter sweater for my thin-furred dog was made with merino wool yarn. I made it to fit her specifically so there’s no pattern written up for it, but you can see more photos in this post. Chain-ply (three-ply) dk weight This vest was made with merino wool yarn with … read more

Core Spinning

Core spinning involves wrapping fibers around a strand of spun yarn. The fibers cover the strand of yarn, which becomes the "core" of the new yarn.

Core spinning involves wrapping fibers around a strand of spun yarn. The fibers cover the strand of yarn, which becomes the “core” of the new yarn. You can use virtually anything for a core: another strand of handspun, thread, commercial yarn… Here I used a commercial fingering weight acrylic yarn that’s been sitting in my stash for quite a while. (Why did I ever buy acrylic sock yarn? Oh yeah, it was really cheap.) I finally found a way to use some of it up. How to Core Spin Feed your core into the wheel slowly, … read more

My First Spinning Wheel, and a Bit About Drive Ratios

My first spinning wheel is an old Ashford traditional. Let's discuss drive ratios and different types of wheels, and you can see my first wheel-spun yarn.

I’m so happy with my new Ashford traditional spinning wheel! New to me, that is. The beautiful wheel is older than I am. After referring to Ashford’s timeline for the traditional wheel (which is an interesting read in and of itself), I think it was made in 1975 or shortly after. Well-loved in its early life, it has been well taken care of. Its previous owner decided it had been simply an ornament for too many years and finally parted with it via craigslist. I was surprised to be the first, and one of … read more

A Beginner’s Adventures in Handspinning

Join me as I take on a new fiber hobby to complement my crochet: handspinning my own yarn. Part 4 includes my further progress as a new spinner.

Part 4 I feel like I’m making progress as a new spinner and things are going pretty well. I’m starting to move beyond the park-and-draft method of having to stop the spindle to catch up with the drafting. I’ve been trying to spin a little every day, as suggested for beginners to really get the rhythm down. I’m still inch-worming along a bit, but working on drafting longer and longer sections. My speed and consistency are improving. Pictured on the spindle above is some corriedale wool roving that I plan on making into a 2-ply yarn. Here’s … read more

A Beginner’s Adventures in Handspinning

Join me as I take on a new fiber hobby to complement my crochet: handspinning my own yarn. Part 3 includes my first finished two-ply yarn.

Part 3 I’ve finished spinning my first 2-ply yarn. Spinning the dyed combed top with my light drop spindle, I got the singles as thin and uniform as I could. It’s still taking me some time to get the rhythm and consistency down. I spun two singles and wound them into balls. I love the way the singles turned out, and the colors were so fun to work with. However, attempting to ply seemed to catch me off guard, and I didn’t seem to realize how unprepared I was for it. In hindsight, maybe I should have twisted the … read more

A Beginner’s Adventures in Handspinning

Join me as I take on a new fiber hobby to complement my crochet: handspinning my own yarn. Part 2 includes my first attempt at spinning a single.

Part 2 I’ve finally embarked on my journey in handspinning yarn. Here it is: my first single! Becoming familiar with working with fibers and manipulating them into yarn has been a slow, but quite interesting, learning process. There are so many factors that affect the character of the spun yarn. Getting everything to come together as planned is something that will take some experience. Beginning with undyed superwash merino wool combed top, I started out by playing with drafting techniques and getting a feel for the relationship between the spin and the … read more

A Beginner’s Adventures in Handspinning

Join me as I take on a new fiber hobby to complement my crochet: handspinning my own yarn. Part 1 includes an introduction and resources.

Part 1 I’ve been itching to try handspinning my own yarns. My fiber addiction finally got the best of me. For too long I’ve drooled over others’ handspun yarns. I’ve fondled wool fleeces, fantasized about color combinations. It was time to try it for myself. My man made me a small and simple drop spindle, a bottom whorl with a hook at the top. I’m going to have him make me a slightly larger one as well. I also made myself a wpi (wraps per inch) gauge so I can measure the thickness of … read more