Here’s what I made with that first batch of my handspun yarn. And how to make something similar yourself, if you’re interested!
I really wanted something simple, that would let the (ahem, very thick-and-than-thin) nature of the yarn shine through. But, I’m not a knitter who’s happy with endless rounds of stockinette. No offense to those that are, but I just need a little something pattern-wise to keep my brain engaged, and let me see that I’m making progress.
My gut-instinct guess was that I’d have enough yarn to make a small but substantial cowl. Of course, there’s no label on my handspun to let me know the yardage, but I was able to estimate how much knitting I could get from the yarn pretty successfully. I knit a swatch in my pattern, measured the dimensions, and weighed it, so I knew about how many square inches of knitting I could get from a certain amount of yarn by weight. Then I weighed all the yarn I had, and used that number to figure out about how many square inches of total knitting I could make from it in this pattern. I tried on a cowl I had, and estimated how big it would need to be to comfortably fit over one’s head, and how tall I would ideally want it, and arrived at a compromise number to cast on.
The finished cowl is 25″ around, and 7″ tall, which turned out to be plenty big! At my gauge of 2.5 stitches/inch, I cast on 64 stitches. I used Jeny’s Stretchy Slipknot Cast On. (In this yarn—yes really! More about that here.) I did two rows (or maybe three? Forgot to write that down …) of plain knitting to make a little roll at the bottom, then switched to my pattern; alternating blocks of four knit and four purls stitches, and switching them after 4 rounds.
Of course you could use another simple pattern for the body of the cowl. Just make sure that the total of your pattern repeat (in my case 8 stitches) divides evenly into the number of stitches you cast on.
When I was getting near my estimated total height, and at the end of a pattern repeat, I knit a couple more plain rows, and then bound off, using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind-off. I ended up using almost every bit of the yarn, which was definitely my intent!
I almost never buy yarn this chunky, so it seemed like the whole thing took about 5 seconds to knit. In reality, it took parts of two days of traveling, and it was done! So far, it seems like spinning is actually speeding up my production of finished knitted items, if that’s possible. I actually have another finished handspun thing that just needs photos … and this one is off to live with someone dear to me, hopefully it will keep her neck warm this winter!
In the meantime, I hope this is helpful if you’re looking for something to make with a special bit of
thicker yarn, whether made by you or not!
Love the use of a checkerboard pattern with a cowl! Looks really effective. Beautiful 🙂
I love the textures in this! It must feel good to have done all the steps in this. Congrats on your first handspun!
Thanks ladies! Yeah I have to admit, knitting with my handspun feels pretty great—everyone should try it! 🙂
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