Monday, January 25, 2010

My Handspun Multnomah: The Process

It looks like 2010 might be the year of the shawl for me, seeing as two of my first three FOs for the year have been shawls! What's up with that? LOL

No matter! I love them, and my most recent, Multnomah (pattern from Hello Knitty), may well be my most favorite shawl I've ever made. Not only do I love the shawl itself...it's so comfy and a perfect size and shape...but I spun the yarn to make it, which makes it extra special to me!

Since this was a handspun project, I thought I'd share a little pictorial review of its process. I started with two Sanguine Gryphon Sir Batt batts (50% merino, 33% superwash merino and 17% silk), 3 oz. each, in the Gwenhwyfar colorway. Opened up, they looked like this (they kind of blend into the colors of my comforter!):

This was my New Year's afternoon project this year...I sat for hoouurrrs and got very fuzzy as I separated these two batts into piles of the five main colors found in the fiber...a light teal, light golden brown, a yellow-green, a deeper teal (which comprised the bulk of the fiber) and finally a small amount of a darker brown (which is mostly hidden behind the dark teal mountain). Sorry, these two are pretty crappy photos, as I took them with my phone camera.

Then I commenced spinning. I thought I took some mid-spinning pictures, but I can't find them. Will add them later if I locate them. However, I spun the singles in the order listed above, and then I Navajo-plied them in order to have five very long runs of the colors that would blend one into the next. Here they are skeined...

And here they are all wound into one continuous cake, 430 yards total. You can see the color gradations pretty well here, though the colors are kind of wonky...bad lighting.

I knew from the outset that I was spinning this yarn to make a shawl. I just didn't know which one. I searched for quite a few nights on Ravelry trying to find one that I thought would show off the color changes without being too fussy. I finally landed on Multnomah -- simple yet pretty -- and knitting commenced! It definitely became a product-driven project at this point, as I knit monogomously on it for a week straight. At the end of those seven days, I had my shawl:

I'm so happy with her, I could just squee! SQUEE!!! See? ;)

She fits around me perfectly, like a soft, warm hug. My finished size was 50" across the top edge and 16" down the center back. I love the shape of it...the sizes are nicely elongated and can either hang over my shoulders in the front or overlap to be pinned with a shawl pin. The yarn is so soft and squishy, it's cozy as all get-out.

Shawl pin, Celtic Budding Spiral, by Nicholas and Felice.

Despite the somewhat odd expression on my face here (I think I was giving my daughter photography direction at the time she snapped it), I am very, very happy with it. It is definitely one of the most satisfying projects I've ever spun and knit. :)

18 comments:

pdxknitterati/MicheleLB said...

Very nice, and what a complete project. Now you'll have to raise sheep and shear them so you can really go from sheep to shawl.

cosymakes.com said...

seriously. a thing of beauty! nice job.

Jane said...

I started this shawl last week, but the part where you YO, K5, YO, is not leaving the holes. I'm a fairly new knitter, what am I doing wrong? btw, yours is just beautiful!

Lisa B. said...

Thanks, Jane! :) As for what you're doing wrong...hm. If you're doing YOs, there should be holes. Are you knitting into the YOs on the way back on the reverse side? Sometimes people end up dropping the YOs when they get to them on the reverse because they aren't firm stitches and they can slide right off the needle if you aren't careful. The yarn is basically just laying over the needle where the YO is, so when you come to it, be careful that you aren't accidentally dropping it. If this is what is happening, your stitch count will be off. You are adding six new stitches for every two rows so counting after each set of rows will help you figure out if this is what is happening. It also might help to place a stitch marker before and after the five stitches in between, that way you know there is a YO before that segment and right after it and can be alert to them when you come to them. Hope this helps! If you want to e-mail me directly if you have more questions, feel free: fibernymph AT comcast DOT net.

Jane said...

I do knit the YOs and as you say have the 6 new stitches over each 2 rows. I wonder if I just knit too tightly, as I had this problem in another pattern. Where I live there is just no one that knits to help me, I've simply taught myself. I've done a few pair of socks so far though, and love the shawls, so was in love with this one. I'm going to frog and begin again. thanks!

Lisa B. said...

Hope you can get it to work out for you, Jane! What weight of yarn are you using for it? If you knit tightly, maybe going up a needle size (or two, depending on just how tight a knitter you are!) would help? Being a shawl, getting gauge isn't a huge consideration, so changing needle sizes could help.

Jane said...

Lisa, I'm using fingering weight. I did rip it all out, pained me though. I am using markers for the YO K5 YO, I didn't before, per the directions, and had trouble getting each row the same,since I wasn't seeing the "holes". After starting ove, I now see them, and have loosened up a good deal. I must be a very tight knitter is all I can think. Thank you for the suggestions, will keep you posted. Jane

ChelleC said...

This is really beautiful! I love your handspun. I spin myself, too. Don't you just ADORE this shawl? It's very nice on you and it's nice to drape a shawl on days when you just need a big hug, like you said.

Jane said...

It's coming along nicely now, but it sure seems the stated amount of year is not going to be enough. How much did you use in your shawl?

Jane said...

oh my goodness, I meant YARN!

Lisa B. said...

Jane, I did mine in worsted, not fingering, but I used 430 yards.

Jane said...

omg, Lisa, I just recognized your name from Facebook! I'm a friend of Angela Kirby's. How funny!

Lisa B. said...

Jane, I wondered if you knew Angela! I saw that you make doggie things and had pics of IGs on your web site. One of them looked like hers, but I wasn't sure. LOL

Jane said...

Sami is not on my first page, but it pictured in my "album" link. Ang and I met from being IG people, she came to a playdate I attended when she was looking for her first dog. Now look at her!

About the shawl, I wish now I had started this in worsted weight, as I don't think I have sufficient yarn for fingering, even though it says 412 yards. Oh well, may have to use a complimentary color as I go further.

Lisa B. said...

Jane, the nice thing about this shawl is that you can pretty much end wherever you want. I didn't have enough yarn to do all of the repeats of the feather & fan section, so I just stopped when I knew I was going to run out, allowing myself enough for a bind off edge. Your idea of using contrast yarn, though, would be nice too! Are you on Ravelry? I'll bet if you look on there, you'll find a lot of interesting variations of how people did this shawl.

Yes, Angela's dogs are so cute! They're so tiny, they amaze me. LOL

Jane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jane said...

oops, sorry it left a post I removed. I realized it was something I had already said in another post from days earlier.

I am on Ravelry, a friend had directed me there, and it actually spurred me to teach myself to knit. I've crocheted since I was preteen, and always wanted to knit. I am definitely afflicted with buying to much yarn and starting too many things at once. I need a cure for that. :)

Lisa B. said...

Haha! If you find the cure for startitis, let me know. Actually...no, don't. It's actually a sickness that I enjoy. ;)