Friday, July 31, 2015

First Item from my Handspun Yarn

I had spun 2 ounces of Blue Face Leicester, some of the fibre I got in a kit at Christmas. I showed it to you at this stage:

but it looks like I didn't get a picture of it after I wound it into a cake. Too bad because it was really cute and fuzzy. But maybe that's like a mother calling her baby cute. Of course she thinks so.

Anyway, I ended up with about 140 yards of yarn with a fairly even thickness. I was thinking it would make a nice swatch of a traditional lace. Maybe a miniature Shetland lace piece.

When I noticed the fair had a category (yes, one category) for something made from handspun, I became motivated to find any pattern that I liked that would work. I finally settled on a simple lace tam. (Etoile Hat by Linda Irving-Bell.)

I got a start on it before my road trip last week because I was counting on some knitting time in the car. (At first I wasn't going to bring it because we were going to be camping, but then I realized I could keep it in the car. Problem solved.)

I knit away happily on my tam in between naps. It wasn't until I finished the patterned part and started on the ribbed band that I noticed something was wrong:
Somehow, right from the start, I had done nine repeats instead of eight! (Yup, count the points; there are nine of them.) At first I thought maybe it would be ok because some people on Ravelry said the hat was too small and my yarn was a little thinner than the yarn called for and I was using a size smaller needle. I had a lot of good-sounding justifications going on in my head, but the hat was just way too big. There was one problem it did solve however--I was wondering if I would have enough yarn. Now I knew if I had enough for nine repeats around, I would have plenty for a hat with eight repeats!

I put it away at that point because I couldn't stomach the thought of pulling it out. I was also worried about the yarn. It was pretty fuzzy (which makes it stick to itself) and I had made it (therefore I was always suspicious of its durability).

A day or two later while sitting around the camp, I realized that it was "find out the truth" time and I had to try frogging it. I pulled gently and wound up the yarn, and it held up quite well. It pulled apart in two spots, but I decided those spots needed to be discovered or they might have come apart in the hat itself and caused a hole. So all was good.

The second time through I tried to fix a minor foible of the pattern chart and got myself confused.
I put away at that point and tackled it again in the car. I managed to figure out what was going on and then happily alternated knitting and napping all the way home.

When I got home, it was thiiis big:
Yup, almost ready for the ribbing. I worked on it over the next few days and then suddenly it was done! I blocked it over a small plate and got this:
 And the back side:
The ribbing was ok before blocking, but I'm afraid the blocking has completely stretched it out. It doesn't have a lot of bounce to it. Fortunately the hat is the right shape and the yarn is the right fuzziness that it sort of just sits on your head and stays there.
 I found it very comfortable, and I have to say, I love it! (I am smitten.)
 And in the less than 10 minutes I had it on, my head was very warm.
It will be fun to wear it when colder weather comes.

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