carding wool · fibre preparation · handspun · knitting · knitting with handspun · shawl · textured yarn

the other half.

Part of a project, for me, is the fibre prep and yarn spinning but the other half is the almost, if not more, important, which includes finishing the yarn and knitting something for use.

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This yarn started as an adventure in making ‘mini’ batts off my drum carder when it was new. I loved the colours I had chosen and quickly wanted to start sampling different yarns. After spinning some on my spindle, I quickly switched to my wheel and spun the rest on my Lendrum as high-twist singles to be plied into a traditional 2-ply. Half way through, I went back to the drum carder and made some more to create even more yarn.

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‘Mini’ batts off the drum carder and ready for spinning. Spinning on my fast flyer at 15:1, I used my Lendrum for this yarn.

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After the yarn was finished and skeined, I started a project quickly afterwards that unfortunately was a big flop. The texture of the yarn competed with the texture of the pattern, which wasn’t much, but even garter stitch was too much competition for my lovely, textured yarn. I stalled and felt quite frustrated. I am slowly learning that this is part of the process for me, even though I wish it wasn’t!

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A dear friend of mine called on Friday morning in January at a loss for a knitted project to take on a local ferry to Victoria to visit family and her aunt, who had just been admitted to hospice care. We chatted about some good patterns on Ravelry that would fill her need but in the end, we came up with the simplest of shawl patterns, much to our surprise. It was perfect and while we chatted about the pattern, I pulled this yarn out from stash and started knitting, casting on together.

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Pattern :: Vanilla shawl by myself (pattern below)

Yarn :: Handspun textured ‘mini’ batts in Merino, Corriedale, Silk, Perendale, Firestar, SW Merino, Ravelry projects page here, previous blog post here

Needles :: 3.75mm ChiaGoo Lace 32” circulars

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I’m not sure I could be happier with my cherished yarn! It turned a plain shawl pattern into something I could stare at for … years. The yarn is so interesting to look at that the plain, vanilla Stockinette stitch is perfect to showcase it. I trusted my gut again, and it worked out!

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Plain, simple vanilla stitches show off the lovely handspun texture of the batts. I couldn’t be more pleased.

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So, how did I make this, you ask? It’s simple.

Using appropriate needles for the handspun (or commercial yarn) of choice, cast on 11 stitches. Next row, K3, place marker (PM), P3, PM, P2, PM, K3.

Pattern repeat begins for vanilla or Stockinette stitch section of the shawl ::

*Things you need to know: Make 1 Left (M1L), Make 1 Right (M1R), Knit 2 through back loops (K2TBL)

Row 1 (RS): K3, slip marker (SM), M1L, knit to marker, M1R, SM, K1, SM, M1L, knit to marker, M1R, SM, K3

Row 2 (WS): K3, purl across, slipping markers, to last marker, SM, K3

Repeat rows 1 & 2 until shawl measures desired length.

Border ::

On next RS row, work Row 2 as follows for garter stitch, K across all stitches, slipping markers as you come to them. Work Row 1 & Row 2 in garter stitch until border is desired length.

Cast off loosely as follows ::

K2, * slip both stitches back to the left hand needle, K2TBL, K1, repeat from * until last stitch, pull yarn through. Weave in ends to secure. Wash and block as desired.

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I blocked this very aggressively with blocking wires through each side of the shawl and pins to stretch it as far as possible. The effect is wonderful and I used the new Wrapture from Eucalan, which has left a wonderful Jasmine scent. I absolutely love it.

Until next time,

– r.

5 thoughts on “the other half.

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