I’ve had an idea bubbling in my head for a while. It’s no secret that I’m also a fanatical handspinner, and I love sitting down at my wheel just as much as I love knitting. The past year and a half I’ve really felt like I’ve come into my own with spinning; instead of spinning whatever, however I’ve begun to really put a lot of thought into the yarn I want at the end of the spin, and specifically, what I want that yarn for.
I’ve jumped ship from spinning and then finding a project, to spinning for a project.
And I did it without really thinking too hard about it. I think that transformation had been slowly happening for a while, but the last final push was when I spun for my Juniper sweater during the summer of 2018. I had a pattern, I had the fleece, now I just had to get the yarn that I wanted for it. I sampled like crazy, and picked the brains of many of those in the spinning community, and ended up with a sweater I absolutely adore.
In April of 2017 I made a pattern using handspun yarn (Vestiges of Winter), and I wanted to do that again. But instead of using the yarn for a pattern I had in mind, I wanted to create the whole pattern. I wanted to start with an idea, design the yarn specifically for that project, and then knit it. I wanted to really think about specifically which fibre I was going to use, and create a whole idea around utilizing this fibre and yarn for a project that would speak to it. I also really wanted to start thinking about adjustability – we spinners often have quantites not called for in a pattern, so creating patterns that are easily adjustable to fit our handspun stash is paramount.
This winter I started formulating the first of a collection I plan to do in this vain to release next year. There’s some work involved – I can’t just go out and grab the yarn, it has to be sampled and spun first. I have lots of plans, and projects I’m already working on, surrounding this idea of harmoniously creating a yarn and a pattern together.
But that’s a bit all far away, isn’t it?
While the main bulk of this work won’t be ready until release in 2020, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to jump ahead a bit and do a smaller, stand alone pattern for this year, and I have one such planned for the spring.
This is a bit of a sneak peek – what you see is two bobbins full of North Country Cheviot singles – locally sourced from a flock about 2 hours from me. Cheviot is a fantastic wool. It’s sturdy hard wearing, making it perfect for the knit I have in mind. Cheviot can be thrown in the wash, as doesn’t lend itself to pilling or felting very easily. It creates a real workhorse yarn, excellent for knits that need to be able to stand up to some abuse. While it may not be next-to-skin soft for everybody, it is an awesome choice for accessories like socks, mitts, and toques.
I’m really excited about this project, and as I’m working through this collection, I’ll be sharing updates and peeks into what is currently in progress. I’m really excited to be working on such a holistic project, and I hope you guys, my fellow handspinners and knitters, are excited too.