Her Handspun Habit: A Handspun Yarn Quickie

When life gets hectic, rediscover the benefits of a quick, down-and-dirty spin. Sit at the wheel, fiber in hand, with nary a plan, nor even a purpose, in mind, other than satisfying the itch for a bit of time spent making handspun yarn.

Between work deadlines and a move, my palette-cleansing spin included a BricoBatt by Bricolage Studios in the Fire Dot Lichen colorway. I was drawn to this batt’s bright, coppery pops of color and the unusual mix of fine, yet toothy, wools. I find battmaker Emily Wohlscheid’s style of repurposing textural components in her carding process—such as yarn, scraps of denim, and ribbon—intriguing.

handspun yarn

A BricoBatt by Bricolage Studios in the Fire Dot Lichen colorway.

I decided to spin up the batt into a lofty, textured (dare I say art) yarn. I spun a thick, low-twist singles yarn and spiral-plied it using a bit of leftover Merino/silk singles in a coordinating color. Then, I attempted to add glazing wisps—or, in my case, chunks—of a bright, emerald-green silk hankie (affiliate link) at the same time I plied. While the finished yarn is slightly underplied for my tastes, I still dig it!

handspun yarn

Debbie’s textured handspun yarn.

So, what did I gain from this exercise? I managed to spin a lofty, soft yarn in double drive, a system I am still exploring, and I got a refresher in spiral plying—a technique I had not worked before on this particular wheel. Best of all, I spun up yet another, albeit small, item from my stash, leaving me feeling just a bit virtuous.

This type of quick spinning project looks a bit different for each of us, but here are some key elements it might include:

  1. Use of texture.
  2. Colors, fibers, or preparations outside your normal range.
  3. Experimentation in spinning style.
  4. Thicker or thinner yarn gauge.
  5. Freer approach to spinning.

Making handspun yarn with intention is certainly fulfilling, and I intend to continue, but an occasional quick spin provides not only a skill-building lesson, but a chance to really let go.


Featured Image: Detail of Debbie’s textured handspun yarn. Photos by Deborah Held

What will you spin next?


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