Handspun Fiber Friends

  Michelle Green's Wensley and Dale puppets are sure to make you smile.

I love animals and animal-themed objects, so perhaps it's natural that I was allowed a preview of the new Handspun Fiber Friends to Knit and Crochet eBook. Often animal projects get lumped into the world of children's whimsy, but this need not be the case. This collection features some designs that kids will love, true, but they're showcased amongst projects that will also allow adults to share their appreciation of the fiber-bearing friends who make our hobbies possible.

  Nancy' Roberts' Spider Hat evokes Peruvian vibes.

Inside, you'll find 8 projects to spin, knit, crochet,
and felt:

  • Estonian Hand Puppets by Anu Kotli and Carol Rhoades. It's impossible not to love these smiling, happy knitted puppets. Each one takes less than 3 ounces of fiber to spin, and they're a great way to sample a variety of colorwork patterns and embroidery stitches. The legs are shaped the same way as mitten thumbs, so you'll hone your winter knitting techniques too.
  • Moth Mittens by Sarah Anderson. Speaking of mittens, this pair takes the animal theme in an abstract direction with beautiful colorwork evoking caterpillars, moths, and cocoons. The design illustrates a story of metamorphsis, but I also like to think (though I won't speak for Sarah's intentions) that this pattern is a nod of thanks to those fiber-producing insects who provide us lovely silk with which to spin.
  • Sheepy Mittens by Amy King. What better way to celebrate the natural colors of Shetland fleece then to have knitted rows of sheep marching across your hands? If you've never made handspun mittens, the colorwork here is simple and the 3-ply yarn is forgiving of novice lumps and bumps, so give it a go!
  • Andean Alpaca Poncho by Kaye D. Collins. If this isn't the cutest project of all time, it's definitely in the running. Inspired by the hats and ponchos woven on backstrap looms in the Andes, this poncho features an authentic Andean punta edging, and alpaca fiber makes it soft enough for next-to-skin baby wear. This is definitely working its way into my list of go-to baby shower gifts.
  • Wensley and Dale by Michelle Green. If these two crocheted sheep don't make you smile, you might not be human. From their flowing locks to their flower-bedecked hats to their spunky sense of personality, it's impossible not to feel cheerful when you see this aptly-named duo.
  • Llama Pullover by Mariane Isager. As soon as I flipped the page to this sweater, I jumped to the project instructions hoping to see adult sizes included (they are, hooray!). This sweater evokes the animals and labyrinthine elements found in Latin American designs, and a classic shape and gorgeous natural palette make it simultaneously traditional and timeless.
  • Pom-Pom Bunny by Mary Ellen D'Aurizio. Not only does this project turn an ounce of wool into an adorable bunny, it's also a miniature lesson in fiber processing, including staple length, drafting, making batts, felting, and more. This project is a great one to do with kids, and to introduce non-spinning friends to the fun of working with wool.
  • Spider Hat by Nancy Roberts. In Peru, spiders are called arañas, and Peruvian weaving patterns inspired this design. Though Nancy created her variegated look by dyeing her own handspun, you needn't fear if you aren't a dyer. The handy “Spinning for Stripes” tips will help you create a variegated yarn from commercially dyed fibers.
imageplaceholder Stefanie Berganini
Contributor, Spinning Daily

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