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December 16, 2007
I've been spinning some... This wreath of hand-dyed hand-spun indicates that I do tend to overtwist still; I think that I just don't have faith that it will stay stuck together as yarn with less twist. Still, the yarn is relatively even and I love the colors. I was planning on plying it when I started, and since my enthusiasm for twisting goes both ways, plying should undo part of the twisting. But now that I see it, I love it as a single ply and am reluctant to lose much of the color variation through plying. Currently I'm thinking of something lacy, but forgiving. If I'm feeling lazy, a larger version of the garter stitch scarf with elongated stitches from Knitting Patterns for Dummies. Or a feather-and-fan something. I'd love a modified version of Evelyn Clark's Swallowtail Shawl in Fall 2006 Interweave Knits, but even a larger gauge/fewer repeats strategy, I believe, will come up short. By my quick calculation, I have about 350 yds and 105g. And I'm guessing a stockinette gauge of maybe 5.5 sts/inch. I'll know more after it's washed.
I have been experimenting with knitting up some handspun yarns, so here's a quick little patternlette for you. Perfect for handspun in all flavors and lengths. I've knit three variations on this theme. The green neckpiece above was some mysterious fiber that I played at plying and my friend Dawn spun up for me. It was really just a microskein -- an experiment -- but it's a fun little finished piece that you can manage to whip up in almost no time flat. Pair it with a vintage cufflink for a closure, or create one by sewing two buttons back to back -- an idea I picked up from Sharon Turner that I love! If you aren't using buttons with shanks, be sure to leave a little space between them and try using two wildly different buttons so that the closure has dual personalities.Below you see another version of the same pattern, knat from a silk hankie I dyed and spun, then plied with sewing thread. This is a single hankie and the finished piece is in the smallish scarf range -- maybe 5 inches wide by 45 inches long.
The great news is that these knit up quickly and I think show off "interesting" yarn in a very positive way. The stitch pattern biases naturally and is forgiving to the idiosyncracies of a handspun yarn. Millspun yarns would work well too of course, particularly those with changes in color or texture, so dive into the oddballs and you can still whip out a couple of these for holiday giving. The smaller neckpiece will take only a couple of hours to finish; a full length scarf is manageable in a couple of days of unfrantic knitting.
a short attention span scarf:
One caveat: with some yarns (like the silk) the fabric has a tendency to roll. It's still cool, like a tube scarf, but you may want to assess this issue for yourself. The two woolier versions I knit did not roll at all.
Yarn: whatever you've got. The green neckpiece used well less than 50 yards of aran/chunky weight yarn. 200 yards should be plenty for a scarf in all but the thinnest yarns.
Needles: Use a needle appropriate for the yarn, or a size or two larger if you want an even lacier effect.
Directions: Cast on any odd number of stitches. I used 13 stitches for the green piece, 21 for the silk scarf and 17 for a "short attention span" version I made by plying all my random scraplets of spinning practice into a single skein about 100 yds long. "One of a kind" would be a charitable description of the colorway.
Row 1 (WS): Purl.
Row 2 (RS): K1 *yo, k2tog, repeat from * across.
Repeat these 2 rows until the piece is long enough or you are nearly out of yarn. Bind off.
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