Posts from the ‘Handspinning’ category

New Pattern- Pointy Pointy Mittens

The fall issue of PLY Magazine has been released and I have a new handspun mitten pattern in it.


Triangles, zigzags, chevrons, BIG triangles, triangular stripes, triangles for your head!, and generally pointy designs. They’re everywhere! I want them all. I want them to be mittens. I want them to be handspun. So, when Jacey asked me to write a pattern around the use of color, triangles happened.

The mittens shown above are knit from handspun semi-solid Spunky Eclectic “Dijon” on Shetland and Hello Yarn “Gobbler” on Cheviot, but the world is your oyster as far as choosing colorways for these. The simple patterning will look great in subtle colors as well as super brights. I have been loving spinning 2 ply striping yarns lately and the pattern covers how I split and spin fiber for 2 matching striping yarns (1 for each mitten) from one 4 oz. bag of fiber.

I chose these particular fibers because I wanted a springy, squishy yarn. Shetland and Cheviot are crimpy and puffy yet strong- perfect for these mittens where I wanted the graphic patterning to be softened somewhat by both the color and the slight fuzziness of the fiber.

Size: Adult S (M, L, XL)

Actual Measurements: 8.5” (9”, 9.5”, 9.75” ) circumference and 10.25” (10.75”, 11”, 11.25”) long

To Fit: Choose a size that’s about an inch larger than your hand, measured around the widest part, not including the thumb. When in doubt, go larger. My 7.5” hand is equally at home in 8.5” and 9” mittens.

Gauge: 6.5 (6.25, 6, 5.75) stitches and 8 (7.75, 7.5, 7.25) rows per inch. Stitch gauge is more important than row. No one wants a tight mitten!

Needles: size 2 (3, 4, 5) US for mitten body, size 3 (4, 5, 6) US for thumb, if desired. Finished mitten size is determined by gauge/needle. I find that my knitting is tighter in very small circumferences, so I use a larger needle for my thumbs. If this is a problem for you, too, going up a needle size helps a lot.

Yarn: 120 (130, 140, 150) yards of each of 2 colors. I’d recommend spinning 2 oz./ 174 yards of each in case you need to do any yarn surgery to make the mittens match.

For now, the pattern is only available in PLY Magazine, so snap up an issue! It’s a great magazine.

I received my copy of the magazine today and discovered an illustrative photo on page 89 wasn’t the correct one. My instructions to spin from “the numbered end” make a lot more sense if you see this, instead-



Handspun Baby Clothes

Handspun Outfit of Wooliness

I love it when a fellow wool person has a baby and I can make hand washable baby clothes without worrying that they won’t be loved.  In my book, there’s really nothing better than a fat baby tummy covered in smushy wool, so cover babies’ tummies I do.

I can’t say enough good things about these overalls.  I mean, could they BE any sweeter?  The pattern is clear and simple and the end product is a delight.  After I made these, I was shown a blog post about knitting a crotch gusset, which can only be a good addition, when one considers how much diaper sits in between a baby’s legs.  The more room there, the better.  These are knit at a pretty loose gauge, though, so the fabric is plenty stretchy to function well as written, I suspect.

Handspun Baby Overalls

Patterns: On the Go-veralls and Top Down Bonnet
Yarn: worsted weight 2 ply, 8 oz. and 558 yards- half the skein made both the pants and bonnet
Needles: US size 7 for the overalls and 3 for the bonnet
Size: I made the 6-12 month size in the overalls, but a bit stubby. They’re 16″ tall, including straps. SO TINY.  I made the baby size in the bonnet.

Handspun Patchwork Yarn

I’m really pleased with the random coloring of this yarn. It’s made from scraps of at least 4 different colorways of Hello Yarn fiber.  One ply is super soft stuff like Merino and Rambouillet, and the other is stronger stuff like Falkland wool and Corriedale.  I chose the fibers based on color and had no problems with the combination of breeds. I figured if the shorter fibers puffed up, that ply would just be chubbier.  The yarn was finished gently, with just a soak in lukewarm water and no agitation.  I spun and plied it it a bit loosely, hoping for a light and puffy yarn, which was the result.  The fact that I got a whole pair of overalls and a bonnet out of 4 oz. attests to that!

Handspun Baby Overalls

Oh, hey, and there’s a whole new website!  I’ve tried to move all the important stuff over from the old one, but I did ditch my blog posts from before 2007, as it really wasn’t that interesting back then and I doubt anyone ever looked.  If you notice something that you loved is missing, let me know!  Something happened to the blog categories (as in, they didn’t make the transfer).  I’ll work on that.  All the patterns you used to be able to download from my site are now available only on Ravelry.  You can access them through the Pattern menu above.  It seemed redundant to host them here as well as Ravelry and an informal Twitter poll indicated that pretty much everyone thinks that is exactly what Ravelry is for.

I plan on blogging a whole bunch, including about the building of our new studio.  If you’d like to read about it, you can update your RSS feeds over in the sidebar.


Combining Colorways in Handspun

Amy from Spunky Eclectic is running a spin-along in her Ravelry group and kindly included David of Southern Cross Fibre and me, as well. The deal is, you spin a yarn combining different colorways, at least one from one of our three shops. I love combining fibers, so hopped right in as soon as I got back from my trip to SPA in Maine, which was totally awesome and all kinds of fun, by the way.

What I thought was just a lark turned into a bit of an education about combining fibers and colorways. I tend to throw all caution to the wind when combining different wools. (I do draw the line at mixing regular and superwash wool, but someday I’ll do that to and report back.) Everything worked out just fine, as you can see. I haven’t knit with the yarns yet, but past experience with mixing wools like I did tells me that there will be no problems. I have lots of older projects kicking around that are made from mixed wools and since we wear our woolens half to death around here, I’m confident these yarns will stand the test of time. How these yarns work for you will depend, of course, on your needs and expectations. If you’re spinning for a fine drapey sweater, by all means stick to a fiber that will provide the yarn for that job. I tend to spin the yarn and find the project later, after I see how the yarn behaves, so don’t suffer from much inhibition!

Combo SAL Yarn & Fiber 1

Left to right: Hello Yarn “Sweets” Polwarth, Southern Cross Fibre “Wide Awake” Polwarth, Spunky Eclectic “Eclectic Jam” BFL/silk

Yarn is one ply of each fiber.

Worsted weight, 374 yards, 6.3 oz.

Mashup Yarn #1

This one was made up of three fibers that were pretty similar in value so that the yarn, while made up of a bunch of different colors, is a pretty steady medium value with no bits that scream “LOOK AT ME!” over the rest of the yarn. The yarn as a whole may be screaming just that, mind you.

Combo SAL Yarn & Fiber 2

Left to right: Southern Cross Fibre “Coorong” Polworth, Hello Yarn “Shaking Leaves” Finn, Spunky Eclectic “Mordor” Corriedale

Yarn is one ply of each fiber.

Heavy worsted weight, 334 yards, 6 oz.

Combo SAL Yarn 2

This yarn was made from one rather dark ply, one that varied, and one rather pale ply, resulting in a crazy mixed up skein.

Since both yarns are 3 ply and I stripped the tops into finger-width strips, the colors are nicely mixed up and distributed throughout the skeins. These will make great socks. :D


* If you’re ever in Portland, ME, go to Duckfat. Have poutine. Thank me later.

* After that, go to KnitWit and look at all the Quince and Co. yarns in real life glory!

* My pie plate broke and I found the most wonderful replacement by Roundroof Designs on etsy. It’s wonderfully made stuff and suddenly I feel the need for a toad house.