As I was browsing Instagram the other day I saw some beautiful handspun yarn photos. Taking a chance, I clicked the website link and there before my eyes were beautiful, colorful skeins to purchase! It wasn’t cheap, at $38 a skein – see the store link below this photo – as would be expected for good quality yarn of this type – but finding handspun yarn in such lovely colors is nearly impossible, so I jumped in and ordered two skeins.
Wound Up Fiber Arts is the name of the shop where I purchased the bright pink “Fire Starter” and lovely “Toasted Coconut”, and I’m so glad I did. Today – the day I am typing this – they are offering only roving or top (not sure that is the correct term), fiber, to be spinned into yarn. There is not one skein of yarn left for sale. Of course that will change, I’m sure, but it’s hit or miss unless you keep up with the postings of such a site. On Instagram they admit to being “sporadic”. And that seems to be the way. This beautiful type of yarn doesn’t come off a machine. It is painstakingly crafted.
I believe that a lot of people who spin their own yarn use it themselves! It’s hard to get buyers to understand the higher price, so I understand.
Sample Swatches of the Handspun
For my swatches here I used a size 7 needle for the pink, and a size 10 for the tan. Each swatch is only around 25 stitches across, but I wanted to see how the colors looked knit up.
When I look at a skein or ball of this yarn I can’t imagine how it will look in a project. When knitting a hat or sweater using this yarn for colorwork, each shade will carry a longer way so the colors will slowly work their way up the garment.
I always wind my hanks of yarn into a ball because I don’t have a winder. This yarn was easy to wind and I found no knots. I just love the colors of this pink. It’s so soft and quite a big skein too. Both are over 300 yards.
I think I’ve found a hat I’d like to make where this yarn could be used. Hats are one of my favorite items to knit. The swatch will be ripped back now that I’ve seen the colors.
Finding More Handspun Yarn to Purchase
Many types of yarn are hand-dyed, but not all that many are also hand-spun. With any luck you may find a yarn maker who is happy to share how they came by their wool / fiber and explain the process of hand-spinning it into lovely knitting yarn. I purchased a large skein of blue variegated handspun yarn from Clarion Call Fiber Arts on Etsy, where she explained that some of the fiber used in the yarn came from her sister’s bunny! The brown skein below is from her as well, but it is very scratchy.
I’ll admit that after buying Wound Up’s yarn and Spincycle’s yarn, I prefer those over Clarion Call’s, for color and softness.
Handspun yarn is time-consuming to create, and that is probably the number one reason it is in short supply. I’ve read articles about how spinners create these lovely collections of color and it’s interesting. It can be done using a drop spindle or a spinning wheel. But there is a lot involved, and I am no expert. YouTube has numerous videos on the subject of hand-spinning.
What to Knit With Handspun Yarn
I now own five skeins of variegated handspun yarn. I need to find a way to show them off in projects!
On Ravelry and Instagram the main knitting project using Wound Up Fiber Arts yarn is socks. Yuck, I dislike making socks. This yarn is too pretty to go on my feet, so I will save it for something like stranded colorwork on a sweater or hat. Although I see why people use this yarn for small, circular knitting. Each section of color will make pretty stripes.
Mill-spun with similar appearance of hand-spun
Andrea Mowry of Drea Renee Knits has a shawl pattern called “Nightshift” that I’ll bet you are familiar with if you knit anything at all. This shawl is all over the internet and has been knit by thousands of people! And she often calls for handspun yarn in her patterns. This is how I came across Spincycle yarn. The problem is that many of Spincycle’s yarns are not in stock, and especially those lovely colors needed for Andrea’s patterns.
Spincycle’s yarn is really lovely, but these skeins contain 200 yards only as compare to the yarn above, and each skein is around $32.
Here is a pullover sweater named “Shifty” which calls for 4 different colors of Spincycle handspun yarn. If I wanted to knit this sweater I could only buy 1 of the 4 colors named in the sample pattern (at the present time) because the other three are sold out.
Handspun yarn is especially pretty when combined with other colors and used as colorwork. As you knit the contrasting color pattern the variegation of the handspun adds even more uniqueness to the design.