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.