I have had a life long addiction with knitting and spinning that borders on obsession. It's also my psychotherapy, or at least that's what I tell my husband when I fondle deliciously soft mohair at the yarn store, and I look at the price tag, and I swallow hard, and I look again, but that didn't change the number. Then I look at Steve, who patiently stands by, and I say shyly, "It's cheaper than psychotherapy", and Steve pats my shoulder and takes the yarn to the cash register, bless his heart.
I started spinning my own yarn eleven years ago, which has made both Steve and me happy, because we save a lot of money, while I found yet another form of psychotherapy in my spinning.
At craft shows where I sell my yarn and other hand knit creations, a lot of people are so amazed and impressed that I spin my own yarn, but it's really not that hard. I want to show you the process of how I start with the raw materials and then end up with a handknit creation.
For example, take this brand new pixie hat I must made.
Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of handpainting and dyeing the roving, but that's an entirely different subject, which I will address as soon as I dye another batch.
So here is a batch that I dyed a couple of weeks ago.
Then I spin and spin and spin, and spin some more. In the summer, I do it outside, but in the winter, I sit in front of the wood stove. It's almost impossible to take good pictures inside, so here you have the summer version.
When the yarn comes off the skein, I soak it in water, then hang it with some weight to take out the twist and "set" it.
When the yarn is dry, I start knitting. Here is the hat on needles, first the cast-on project, then progressively more knit, and finally, all done! I used two strands of yarn for it: one is my yarn, the other is a yarn made from recycled wool and cashmere, which is really amazing. It's called Plymouth Yarn Refashion, and it goes perfectly with my own yarn.
And here is another pixie had I made for Eva last year. She loves it, and whenever she wears it, people stop us to ask who made it. I knit that one from my handpainted, handspun yarn as well. I will post the pattern once I get a chance to write it down.
And here is another one I just made today, and I sell the pattern for it here:
On the way back from our photo shoot in Rasar State Park, a beautiful rainbow made the drive home extra special.
FREE PIXIE HAT PATTERN:
Size: This hat has a circumference of 16 inches unstretched, and 18 or more inches stretched, which means it can fit a 6-12 months old baby up to a 3 year old child.
Needles: four double pointed needles in size 11 (8.0 mm), and a longer needle in size 11 (8.0 mm) for casting on (since you can't fit 42 stitches on a small double pointed needle)
Gauge: 3 stitches = 1 inch. A word on gauge and sizing: You can use a bigger gauge with bigger yarn (or just double it up) and bigger needles and thus get a bigger hat that will fit an older child.
Yarn: This yarn or this yarn would work beautifully for this hat. Personally, I use my own bulky yarn (You can order it at www.creationsbycorina.etsy.com).
Cast on 42 stitches on the longer needle.
Distribute the stitches evenly onto three double pointed needles, so you have 14 stitches on each needle.
Use the fourth needle to start knitting in the round, being careful that the stitches are not twisted around the needle.
Place a marker at the beginning of the round. Knit until work measures 3.75 inches, or 1 to 2 inches longer if the hat brim rolls up quite a bit.
Decrease 6 stitches: (Knit 2 together, knit 5) repeat what's written inside the brackets for one row (36 stitches left).
Knit 4 rows.
Decrease 6 stitches: (Knit 2 together, knit 4) repeat what's written inside the brackets for one row (30 stitches left).
Knit 3 rows.
Decrease 6 stitches: (Knit 2 together, knit 3) repeat what's written inside the brackets for one row (24 stitches left).
Knit 2 rows.
Decrease 6 stitches: (Knit 2 together, knit 2) repeat what's written inside the brackets for one row (18 stitches left).
Knit 1 row.
Decrease 6 stitches: (Knit 2 together, knit 1) repeat what's written inside the brackets for one row (12 stitches left).
Knit 1 row.
Knit 2 together, repeat this for one row (6 stitches left).
Knit 2 together, repeat this for one row (2 stitches left).
Put all 3 stitches on one double pointed needle and start working I-cord in the following way:
Knit the 3 stitches. Do not turn the work. Just slip your work to the other end of your double pointed needle. Your working yarn will be at the "wrong" end of your work. Pull the working yarn tightly along the back of your work and knit the next row. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have I-cord of about 3.5 inches (or shorter ,or longer).
When the i-cord is as long as you want it, thread the yarn through a needle and fasten off all three stitches.
Weave in all loose ends.
If you like what you read here, you can sign up for my newsletter, where I teach about homesteading and living a healthier, happier and more sustainable life! I am giving away my e-book "Three Essential Skills for Homesteader and Urbanites".