Free Download: Handknit Handspun Wallpapers

I started the #handspunchallenge because I’ve spun lots of yarn and only knit a few skeins of it. Grab your handspun and knit, crochet, or weave it up! Handspun is too precious not to use. Read about how the #handspunchallenge got started here.

For #handspunchallenge this week, I’m picked out my favorite photos of handspun in action to make into desktop and mobile backgrounds. The first is of my Dotted Rays Shawl and the second is of my Present Cowl. Since we’re talking about handspun, the first wallpaper set I made featuring Texel singles is a perfect match to this set too. 

I’ve also got plans to cast on for a handspun hat but I haven’t picked out the lucky skein yet. Or a pattern. Yeah….

Handspun Dotted Rays

I started the #handspunchallenge because I’ve spun lots of yarn and only knit a few skeins of it. Grab your handspun and knit, crochet, or weave it up! Handspun is too precious not to use. Read about how #handspunchallenge got started here

Dotted Rays wasn’t the first shawl I knit out of this handspun skein. The first was a pattern of my own design that I’d sketched and knit a mini sample of. I happily cast on, knit several inches of it’s crescent shaped body before deciding the edge increases just weren’t quite right. Rip it. Rip it. On my second attempt, I got a little farther before I needed the needles for another project. When I came back to the shawl again, the love was gone. If I wasn’t enjoying my own design, I couldn’t expect anyone else to either. The to be frogged shawl went into a bag that went under the bed to await it’s fate. 

Scrolling through new patterns on Ravelry, like one does, I found Stephen West’s Dotted Rays. The more I looked at the combination of the crescent shape, short rows, and eyelets I knew that it was the perfect pattern for the fractal handspun hiding under the bed. Because I wanted Dotted Rays to be a treat, I didn’t actually frog the ill-fated shawl and cast on until months later when I needed knitting for the train ride down to Stitches West. 

By the time I got to Stitches, I’d worked enough the pattern to rock my knitting world. The short row treatment was ingenious and completely different from what I expected. Just that one instruction was worth the cost of the pattern. And when I saw Stephen West at Stitches West, I made sure to tell him exactly that.

I could not put this shawl down. Turns out that you can finish something rather quickly when you work on it everyday (Thanks #yearofmaking!). The fact that I only had ~500 yards instead of the recommended 720 for the small size might also have had something to do with it. After my last full wedge, I worked as many rows I could get way with before started the i-cord bind off. Even after blocking, the shawl is on the small side but still big enough to be cozy. I’m glad it matches my favorite jacket because I’m going wear it all the time. 

Pattern: Dotted Rays by Stephen West

Yarn: 2-ply fingering weight fractal handspun; fiber dyed by Yarn Geek Fibers 

Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm) circulars

Dates: February 19 - March 15, 2015

@Ravelry

Winter Pinoak Reveal

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I finished this skein of handspun several months ago and I’m finally getting around to showing it off. I spun it before I got married and before I moved cross-country. I only finished spinning it in March 2013 but this yarn already seems like a relic of a different age. Maybe it is.

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Whatever time this yarn marks in my life, it was the first handspun that I wanted to knit as soon as it was off the spindle. I even wound it by hand while traveling over bumpy roads during the move. It was going to be road trip knitting and the first yarn I worked with after weeks and weeks without knitting. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find just the right pattern and I still haven’t. Will the yarn turn into a Trillian? Or a Freesia? I just don’t know. The handspun is waiting patiently for me to decide. For now.

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The Specs:

462 yds of fingering/sport weight yarn

4 oz of Bluefaced Leicester 

Dyed by Yarn Geek Fibers 

Colorway: Winter Pinoak

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Tour de Fleece 2013

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Tour de Fleece has officially begun! How’s your Tour going? I got a late start on Day 2 and was finally able to prep my fiber and get to the business of spinning. Today, Day 3, I’m just enjoying the process and putting a few more yards on my spindle between mundane tasks. Washing all those dirty dishes  really cuts into my spinning time. 

I’m keeping my goals short and simple this year. 

Spin everyday.

Spin in public. 

Practice new techniques.

Spinning everyday should be easy as long as I don’t have to spend another day acquiring and assembling furniture. Spinning in public will be something completely new and strange for me but doable. Learning and practicing new techniques is something I try to do all the time and have a long list of things to pull from.

 

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Near the top of spinning techniques list is Fractal Spinning which I’ve wanted to try since I first read about it. Fractal spinning is a way of dividing fiber to spin for self repeating colors. Knitty published a helpful article on the process in their Winter 2011 issue. Whenever I open up a bump of fiber, I check to see if the colors were well arranged for fractal spinning. This happy bump of yellow, grey and white fiber from Yarn Geek Fibers was the first to really fit the bill.

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I spit the fiber lengthwise in half and then split one half lengthwise three more times. The smaller strips are working their way onto my spindle first. Since I’m aiming for a fingering or sport weight yarn, this is probably going to probably going to take me the entire Tour to spin. Such a difference from last year and its 5 finished skeins!

We’re just 3 days into 3 weeks of Tour de Fleece and there’s lots of yarn to spin. I wish you the best of luck!

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Spinning Winter Pinoak

Winter Pinoak on BFL by Yarn Geek Fibers

Winter Pinoak on BFL by Yarn Geek Fibers

I am a sucker for the color green. The socks I’m knitting on and off are green. My last batch of handspun was green. Last week, I bought green yarn. I have overloaded on green and need something to cleanse my palette. The only new project I’ve started - well, the only I can write about at the moment - is definitely not green. 

After finishing the last handspun, I was ready to start spinning again and picked something from the not green segment of the fiber stash. Didn’t take long to go through that scant selection and I should probably change that at some point. Careful deliberation led me to a lovely bump of fluff called Winter Pinoak from Yarn Geek Fibers. Winter Pinoak looks exactly like it sounds. There are blues, dark greys, brown, cream, and a wonderful bit of orange at the end. I can’t help but think of the orange as that one stubborn leaf that won’t fall off a tree even in the dead of winter. The orange is what first grabbed my attention in the Etsy photos and pulls all those cooler colors together. Plus, I was reminded of my alma mater's colors which didn’t hurt.

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Unchaining the roving didn’t make the fiber figuratively jump up and tell me what it wanted to be. That’s what usually happens so the fiber and I had to get to know each other a little better first. After looking at the colors and gauging the softness, I, or rather the fiber, decided it wanted to be a shawl. Quite possibly the Trillian Shawl too. Being the good fiber mama that I am, it was time to fulfill that wish.

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The fiber was split lengthwise down the middle so I could spin 2 singles to ply for a 2-ply yarn. There was a problem. The orange. It was all the way at the end and that just wouldn’t do. It could end up on a cast-on row. It could end up on the bind off row. It might not make the finished project at all. The orange is what I love about this bump and it deserved to be celebrated. So, I split the fiber at the midpoint and ended up with 4 happy coils.

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Finished spinning the first single on Wednesday. It started off blue and grey and ended with blue and cream. In the middle is this amazing section of red orange that I cannot wait to uncover in the plying. Instead of following the color progression as dyed, tearing the fiber in half let me put the orange right in the middle. It will be boltstered and framed by the cooler colors around it. At least, that’s what I hope happens. I also hope I’m up to the task of spinning 400 yards of fingering weight yarn. That may not happen but 300+ yards of sport weight is also a pretty great thing to get off the spindle too.

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Stash Enhancements

This year I used my birthday as an excuse to splurge on some hand dyed spinning fiber from a few choice Etsy shops. Up to this point, I only had 2 criteria for new fiber. Number One, the fiber had to be mostly wool or a natural fiber which I could spin some awesome yarn from. Number two, pretty colors. No further explanation required. 

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During the Birthday Shopping Fiber Binge, I was prompted to add a third criterion - will I actually wear or use those colors (or will any of my friends)? - and it’s all this pattern’s fault: Unleaving by Lee Juvan. Okay, a hank of my handspun named Rhonda takes some of the credit too. I was cleaning up my Ravelry queue and came across Unleaving which is a scarf pattern knit with handspun. I looked at the materials list and I looked at my handspun. I look again and my brain reset. In my stash was the perfect skein of handspun and it even had enough yardage. I’d spun enough yarn to knit way more than a hat or a pair of fingerless gloves. I had enough for a lacy scarf. Honestly, after more than a month, I am still really excited about this. 

So, when I was shopping around, I had to ask myself what the fiber would eventually become which added a whole new level of excitement. This lovely bit of Blue Faced Leicester from Yarn Geek Fibers will probably turn into a slouchy hat. 

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Also some BFL from Yarn Geek, this bright explosion of yellow and grey will potentially become a pair of long fingerless mitts. 

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This lovely bit of superwash wool roving is from Dawning Dreams. Not too sure what this is going to become but it’ll be great.