The other day, I asked for advice on a handspun shawl that was at a crossroads, and you guys really delivered. The question was whether to continue with a second ball of handspun in a different color from the rest of the Citron shawl.
The tally: 25 said to bind off. 18 said to forge ahead. Also included were a range of suggestions including: remake it in Fibonacci stripes, overdye it, add some Fair Isle, add some lace, add a fancy bind off, embrace the wabi sabi of it all, and—frank comment of the day—bind off now and cut my losses. There was also the philosophical question I should ask myself: “Why did I start this?”
Why? It was because I had a skein of handspun yarn, and I wanted to see what it would look like when I knitted it into something. That was the whole reason. It wasn’t “Why?” It was “Why not?”
I opted to keep going. Recently, with all the sock-making with the crazy yarns, I have discovered a new skill. I am able to knit pretty much endlessly while staring slack jawed at the yarn.
I’m a sucker for handspun yarn. It’s as rare as hummingbird lips. It’s completely handmade, except of course for the sheep’s involvement early on. It has irregularity and surprise and inconsistency that would make a quality control manager lose it.
It’s also a pain: it’s irregular, surprising, and inconsistent—in this sort of mixed colorway, I mean. There is no way to predict what is going to happen, so if you’re looking for a reasonable, comfortable ride, handspun is your nightmare. This particular handspun has an almost total lack of stitch definition. You can’t tell where one stitch ends and another begins, because the colors of the two plies constantly shift and intersect. It’s a blur.
As I moved ahead with Purpley Green, I loved seeing the long stripes appear. But those stripes are really at odds with the ruching of the Citron pattern. It’s not a good match, this yarn and this pattern.
Yet I kept knitting anyway.
This will turn into a semicircle when I take it off the needles. And blocking it will do something to it. I can imagine actually wearing this next fall, as my portable Tribute to the Unknown Handspinner (can’t believe I can’t find the info on who made this!). But I wouldn’t give this to anybody because it really is an odd thing.
Elliott has heart eyes for this thing. He doesn’t care. At all. He loves handspun with poor stitch definition. He loves anyplace where he can deposit his awesome arsenal of fur. This is the most beautiful landing site he has ever seen.
Thanks to everyone for the help. I’d love to hear of patterns where you’ve used handspun yarn successfully. Seems like a rectangle of garter stitch might be the way to go!