Tuesday, May 28, 2013

No Nupp Annis - My First Handspun Shawl!

It is high time for me to knit a shawl out of my handspun yarn.  I decided to knit the Annis shawl, a simple crescent that doesn't require a ton of yardage.  

Both skeins of handspun silk yarn.   Wound Cake - Spun on Drop Spindle.  Twisted Hank - Spun on my Kromski Fantasia Spinning Wheel. 
The handspun yarn for this story is very interesting.  I spun the first part of these Cascade Head Hanks in the Hood Silk Hankies on my drop spindle, and then I spun twice as much on my spinning wheel.  I had trouble deciding which yarn to start knitting with.  On one hand, the yarn from the wheel alone should be enough for the entire shawl.   I'm not sure if there is consistency between the two different skeins, and the spindle spun might appear totally different than the wheel spun.   

My options are:
1) Knit Entirely out of wheel spun yarn
2) start with drop spindle yarn until it runs out, switch to wheel spun
3) start with drop spindle yarn through the lace portion of the shawl, then switch to the wheel spun.  (this way there is a clear break that won't look strange in the middle of the short rows.)

Both yarns are ~ 27 WPI.  Could be very similar...  but I think that I will go with option #3 to be safe.  Now I only need to decide whether or not to do the nupps...  I'm thinking I will skip them because that should help me in the yardage department.  I could add beads, but I think that this yarn will have enough shimmer without them.  

Closeup of Ball 2 (Wheel spun)
I cast on with size 10 knitting needles using the backwards loop cast on method.  I then purled 1 row to finish this cast on. (This is my prefered method with all bottom up crescents.)  I then knit the rst of the shawl on size 8 needles.  

There is not a lot of give to this yarn, I'm a little terrified that I am going to break it while I'm knitting.   Row 1 (!):  I just had my first break in the yarn.  I fixed it with a little knot.  I hope that this list is going to be a short one...  (Turns out this was right next to a break that I repaired when winding the yarn onto the niddy noddy.)   Thankfully this was the ONLY break I had while knitting this shawl.    As the rows progressed, I became more confident in my abilities to knit with this 100% handspun silk.  

A few rows into knitting, I am beginning to regret my decision to use size 8, rather than 7 or even 6 knitting needles.  This silk yarn has no halo and isn't fluffy, so it is really creating a very open fabric.  I think that the overall effect will still be beautiful, but I really should consider swatching with my handspun yarns in the future.  (I could have started over, but I really didn't want to!)  

2 g remain of the spindle spun yarn (13 g used) upon completion of all of the lace rows.  I am happy with the gauge at this point and am excited to finish this up!    

Although the second skein had the same WPI as the first, the yarn is MUCH thinner where I started the short rows.  Therefore, the yardage may be way underestimated because the yarn gets thicker towards the inside of the ball.  

As for the difference between the two yarns, I noticed something as I wound the ball of the wheel spun yarn. (At this point I had already completed knitting the lace portion.)  There are a lot more navy blue sections here than there were in the previous skein, where most of the blue was mixed in with the green and pink.  This comes from a difference in the hankies themselves, not really from my spinning methods.  

With 1 stitch left on the WS from short rows, S1, P across to last stich, p2tog.  S1, K across row, then bind off on next WS row.  So I like the tight P2tog bindoff, but sometimes it can be a litle tight and make the crescent really small.  I want to make sure that this shawl has some space.  I therefore switched back to a size 10 needle for the bindoff.  7.5 g of ball 2 was consumed.  

I let it soak for 60 min (to give the silk a chance to get saturated) before blocking.   Uhoh... Should have added some vinegar to the rinse.  A LOT of pink dye leaked out into the cool rinse water.  The colors are still really pretty, but there is less pink and more of a muted purple.  I didn't want to add vinegar and heat the silk a bit because I didn't want to dampen the green and blue.

I'm having trouble photographing the colors, so you may not be able to see the loss of pink very well.  I blocked the shawl fairly agressively to see the details.  

The final shawl is as delicate as a butterfly's wing.  I love how simple it is and it is a great accessory for a fancy occasion.  It may not be the warmest shawl, but it is perfect for adding something a little special.  

I am so proud that I finally completed a shawl with my handspun yarn!  Who knows what I'll knit up next.