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A new obsession… something fluffy!

January 17, 2017
handspun stocking

I’m always swamped by creative ideas in the winter! In the lead up to Christmas, I’m inspired by the opportunity to make handmade gifts of all sorts. And I’m filled with the desire to get new things started as I think forward to the coming new year.

My latest obsession is a desire to get back to spinning. When I first embarked upon my fibre obsession, back in 2008, I learned how to spin using a drop spindle, and then on my mom’s old Ashford, and made a few pretty yarns. Since then I’ve felt that spinning was too impractical, time consuming, and took to much time away from the knitting and designing side of things, so I’d laid it aside.

handspun yarn

Some of the handspun I made back in 2008 when I first learned to spin.

But for some unknown reason, this strange need to spin has bubbled back up, and the desire simply wouldn’t be quieted, despite my logical self still having the same reservations! I think my closet dream the truth is that I really want to spin myself enough yarn to knit myself a sweater.

So what did I do?  I ordered ALL the fibres from John Arbon. Then every day that passed, I woke up and wondered… when will my lovely box of fibre arrive? I started researching second-hand spinning wheels on Ebay. I started thinking about ideal designs for handspun. I essentially danced around the house in a state of anxious excited energy!

Then, not very much longer, the fuzzy stuff arrived!

I told my hubby John I needed to go out for milk (so could he please bathe and bedtime the babies), then I ran out of the house, and walked around the block a couple of times while googling how to make a DIY spindle. It was 7pm, and I simply could not wait till the next day, when I could buy a spindle at my LYS. I got home, cleverly having wasted enough time that I had only to kiss the little darlings and shut their door, and then I ransacked the house for suitable supplies.  20 minutes later I was spindling (albeit on a less-than-ideal tool!).

30 minutes after that I had fully remembered why I thought spindle spinning entirely impractical… and had cast on a … something.  I thought perhaps a baby hat, since there were 60 sts on the needle.  But then the tube got longer and longer, and I decided that in fact it was going to be a Christmas stocking! No pattern, I just sort of winged it.

handspun stocking

So as much as I don’t love spindling (well, I do, but I feel it’s just too slow for my needs), I remembered how much I DO love spinning.  So I’ve now ordered an Electric Eel Wheel… but I have to wait till May for it to ship! So anybody in the UK with a second-hand wheel they’d like to lend or sell me at an affordable price for the interminable interim period?! I’m serious! Email me –

There’s something really special about handspun, and about knitting with handspun… I think it adds another layer of excitement into knitting, above and beyond the adoration I have for the sport at present!

handspun stocking

It wasn’t done in time for Christmas, but it’ll be perfect for the next! Now I just have to make 3 more for the rest of the family…

Are you a spinner? Do you have any tips for great fibre dyers that I should order from in the UK?

I did a little search of the Ravelry archives for Tin Can Knits designs knit up in handspun, and some of the results are below… Very Very pretty stuff!

Project Credit: debby’s rye socks, spinnydread’s pop, peacethrufiber’s Low Tide, twincookies’s barley, loribird’s Antler Hat, and jessicam’s flax

TCK patterns to make your handspun yarn shine:

mc-spotlight-tmb-aPK-hipster-tmb-aFlax Light





7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2017 2:55 pm

    Love your red and white spinning project! Looks so cool!

  2. Kathie permalink
    January 18, 2017 8:53 am

    Emily – you’re cracking me up with “I have to run out to get some milk.” I sure hope that there is someone that can lend you a wheel until yours comes in May – what a long wait!!!

  3. Anita permalink
    January 18, 2017 7:55 am

    Emily ,I live in Vancouver. Do you want me to bring some fiber to Edinburgh when I attend the festival? BFL is always nice to spin

  4. January 17, 2017 4:08 pm

    That stocking is awesome! Yes look up Shunklies on Etsy she’s my sister she dyes wool tops and sells carded batts she has an instagram account too. She knows so much about wool! (She’s on Rav also). Enjoy!

  5. January 17, 2017 3:00 pm

    Hope you get a wheel, I’ve tried drop spindling but like you I prefer the designing and making bit. I will spin enough yarn to make some gloves or a hat for next winter though!

  6. Johanna permalink
    January 17, 2017 1:56 pm

    Since I lost my mom on November 21 I am suddenly grabbed by deep desire to spin. My amazing neighbor is teaching me and gave me some roving and a Turkish drop spindle. It is magic.
    As you say you do have to spin a lot to make enough for a sweater. I think it feels good when I need to slow way down like I do now.
    I feel it is a G-d send,
    Thanks for your writing about it!

  7. January 17, 2017 12:14 pm

    They are still on break from holidays, but definitely check out Nunoco!
    Also, try changing your spindle, having the right spindle (right is different for everyone) can make all the difference. Not all spindles are created equal, try several different brands and styles if you can, you may find one that will sing to you.

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