knit | spin

Handspun Hat

September 26, 2017

Last post, you saw my recent spin, a 3ply semi woollen Finn x Border Leicester.

This was spun for a very particular pattern, A Beer on the Dock by Thea Coleman.  Spinning to substitute for millspun yarns is my new addiction.  Listening to what a fleece wants to be has its own pleasures but right now I am enjoying mining the pattern notes, the fabric description and yarn characteristics for clues and speculating about how I might achieve such an effect myself. What fibre would best suit, what spinning method, how many plies will I use? I also like to challenge myself to spin to a consistent, predetermined weight.

This pattern called for a light worsted weight and since it would touch the skin on my face, I was looking for a soft handle, lots of loft and light weight but with a round bulkiness to the yarn. I had just enough Finn x BorderLeicester from Fairfield Finns after a friend gave me her sample from the same fleece to make a hat and I wanted to try the method I had been sampling with the Shropshire for a bulky woollen yarn. You probably can’t get much more difference between the two fibres though, the Finn x Border Leicester had a very long staple, was silky and lustrous and the Shropshire was short stapled and crunchy. Nevertheless, I thought it might work.

I carded the Finn x Border Leicester into rolags despite it being a little long for carding. It worked fine and spun up beautifully with a short forwards draw. I initially planned for three plies because I thought the hat was cabled but it turns out that is a mock cable created by the lace decreases and increases. Still, I think the round yarn worked really well with the pattern.

My only modifications were to decrease sharply using garter ridges instead of in-pattern when I realised I was about to run out of yarn. I had about 20 cm left over. Ravelry notes here.

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    1. Thanks Mary. It’s a good result i think but not an end with so many ideas and questions prompted. Such is the way with spinning i guess.

  1. Ooooh I love the hat. And I absolutely applaud the desire to spin your own yarn specifically for the project. These days I find it difficult to spin unless I have an end use in mind. So much so that a recent gift of gorgeous roving has left me in a total quandary.. I don’t know what I want to do with it so can’t seem to get around to spinning it. As always your spinning is beautiful and an inspiration.

    1. Thanks Jane, yes, utilitarian spinning is joyful to me. But contemplating your roving gift sounds like a pleasure itself! Enjoy your thoughts.

  2. Well done!

    I have a Teeswater/Corriedale lamb fleece that I’ve scoured and started to comb. Those breeds are almost as different as the two who made up your fiber. I’m finding the on the soft side-fleece, when I comb it, to be fluffy, springy, and full of presence (from the Corrie), but it has a glow and is relatively long stapled for a lamb (the Tees input). I will see how it “wants” to spin.

    1. Crossbreeds are so fascinating Sophy. You just never know which genetics will show. I totally agree, yours is a fleece to listen to.

  3. Great job! I have a friend who has become obsessed with spinning to grist, over and over again using a milligram scale until she gets it right……..I too am obsessed but as you know fly/spin by the seat of my pants!! Very even plying, love it.

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