This week in the shop, we are focusing on local handdyed and handspun yarns. Working with handspun yarn is a very special thing. If you haven’t done so yet… why not? I know what my big stumbling block was. I thought, “This skein is SO special, I want to make something SO special with it”, but then I couldn’t decide what was good enough. Since then a few things in the yarn world have changed for me. I’ve changed both how I look at my projects and how I search Ravelry for pattern ideas.
First, instead of waiting to find an extremely special project to make with my handspun, I’ve decided that it’s the yarn and my hands that make it special. A lot of my handspun is textured or variegated in nature, so a fancy stitch pattern isn’t always going to show up. Choosing a simple pattern and giving the yarn a chance to shine is the way to go. The very fact that I’m making something with handspun makes it intrinsically special, right? So, no more stashing and waiting for something to be worthy of that skein- I’m going to knit with it now!
Second, I love, LOVE to search for patterns in Ravelry via the Advanced Search & Pattern Browser, where you can specify how much yardage of what kind of yarn you have. If I have a skein of yarn that is about worsted weight and 180 yards, I can search for projects that use just that:
I could narrow my choices further by selecting more categories, like “accessory” or “Ravelry Download”. If I want to push my handspun’s yardage a little further, I can pair it with a commercial yarn in a coordinating color – like a skein of Galway – and knit stripes or blocks of color. Then I can expand my search for projects with a little bit more yardage. I can also use the skein of handspun as my one accent color within a much larger project, like a sweater. Finally, if none of those things are working for me, I will search the “projects” instead of the patterns to see what others have made with handspun yarns.
We currently have some of my very own handspun up for sale at the shop, as well as handspun yarns from Renee, Christine, Betsy, Nancy and Lori! If you check out our display, you’ll also find mill-spun yarns from local sheep and alpaca, such as the FARM Institute’s Cotswold mix herd on Martha’s Vineyard, and alpaca from Edge of the Woods Farm in East Falmouth. Come get inspired and give some local yarns a try!