There really is nothing like working with handspun yarn. And wearing a hat made from woolen-spun yarn is a comfy, cozy, toasty treat!
I designed this hat for PLY Magazine's Winter 2013 issue using woolen spun 3-ply yarn made with Kyle William dyed BFL in the colorways Silver Thaw and December Sky (often available in the shop HERE).
Carefully spun by NY spinner Aaron Bush, it was really a treat to be able to make a hat using materials that had been so lovingly prepared.
The fibers come in 4 ounce quantities, and the hat uses under 100 yards of each color. When Aaron spun up the fiber, he blended the colors together by creating rolags of built-up tufts of fiber. This method created an evenly-varigated finished yarn.
If you aren't yet a spinner, talk to other fiber friends, or check artist sites like www.etsy.com for options. Compare the yarn you're considering to the details in the project, and if it's close, chances are, it'll make a nice finished hat.
And for those who prefer commercially spun yarn, a light worsted or DK yarn should fit the bill. This pattern is a little more difficult than others to re-size since the pattern repeat is so large. Altering needle or yarn size will change the finished dimensions.
...and beyond my small contribution, I have to tell you. PLY Magazine is chocked full of thoughtfully worded articles and beautiful images. Want to learn to spin? Already an expert? Seriously, this magazine has a lot of great information (it even includes some great product reviews!)
I hope you'll check it out while you can!
Deciding what to get for the holidays can be stressful. Fear not! I have created a list of suggestions for things I'm loving this season. Click on an image or link to be directed to the websites.
Handmade ceramic yarn bowls from Mud's Evolution Pottery! Crafted in Raleigh, NC, this cute bowl was thrown on the wheel and altered. Then the artist applied adorable little lambs cast from a hand carved mold.
As you know I love ceramics. If this bowl is gone, consider a beautiful bowl. Useful for display of yarns and also works to hold yarns in progress.
Darn Good Yarn is a fantastic fiber company founded by Nicole Snow. They use their business to empower women in Nepal and India while reducing waste.
This year, Darn Good Yarn became the U.S. distributor of llama wool yarn from the Andes Mountains in Chile. Purchasing this yarn means helping out the Chilean farmers and their llamas.
For the fiber connoisseur, llama is super warm, strong, washable, and even flame retardant! It's a less common fiber and one sure to be admired (and enjoyed)! This particular line of yarn is of the highest quality and promises to be the beginning of a cherished finished object.
Darn Good Yarn also offers recycled silk and sari yarns, and a selection of ribbons. If you're unsure of what to get, consider a gift certificate.
50 gram, sport weight, 163 yards
I. LOVE. THIS. DOLL. Yes, It's true. Part of the "Lovey" doll collection and made in RI, it features a cashmere body and handspun art yarn for the locks of hair. Carefully (and wonderfully) made, this is an adorable piece that could sit on a desk at work to remind the fiber lover of the spinning/knitting/crocheting/weaving fun that awaits them after a long day.
Kate of Dragonfly Fiber Art is a fiber magician (and a good friend!) - I love her creativity and passion for making. There are a few pieces listed in her etsy shop, including this adorable piece!
Schacht Cricket Looms are a perfect introduction to weaving for someone who is interested in broadening their horizons. I'd recommend buying the 15" width between the two, but either loom will easily make scarves, table runners, and placemats!
They come with everything you need to get started (except the yarn) but if you talk to the good folks at Purlescence Yarns they can suggest some yarn to include in the shipment.
Call them to plan the ultimate gift! (408) 735-YARN (9276)
Michael Woody from Long Beach, CA makes beautiful and simple drop spindles. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this walnut parasol spindle.
Hand turned with a special finish, this specimen is 3.75" dia x 10.5" long and weights about one ounce.
Here's a little-known secret: I owned a few drop spindles long before I ever spun fiber into yarn. They make me happy sitting in a vase and from time to time I will take one out and marvel at its beauty and simplicity... remembering how so much yarn was spun from a tool this simple.
Natalie of Namaste Farms offers beautiful breed boxes. If you are buying for a spinner, consider one of these carefully curated collections.
Each containing an ounce of 10 different breeds, it is a lovely introduction into cleaning raw fleece and trying out different fibers.
(Oh.. and Natalie is AMAZING! She runs her CA based farm and works hard to educate others about the work involved in caring for a fiber flock.)
Wild Fibers Magazine
Celebrating a decade of fiber excellence, Wild Fibers Magazine is the "National Geographic" of the fiber world. Dive headfirst into exotic destinations and learn all about the people (and animals!) that contribute to the crafts.
Beautiful imagery and writing educate and inspire.
A US gift subscription begins at $30.00
Halos of Hope, founded by breast cancer survivor Pamela Haschke, is a nonprofit organization who made it their mission to provide handmade hats to those facing the disease. Supported generously by crafters across the country (and around the globe), they use individual donations to cover the cost of organizing and shipping hats to centers across the United States.
Cancer doesn't take a holiday, and I'm certain any donation made in the name of your fiber friend would be much appreciated. A gift of $25.00 delivers hats to (and touches the lives of) 80 people.
Stonehedge Fiber Mill makes fantastic yarn. My favorite (and a real eye-catcher!) is Stonehedge Crazy. Each skein is unique. They are made up of random bits of llama, alpaca, and wool in unpredictable colors.
$8.50 / skein
How about a knitting (or crochet!) bag that works for guys or gals? The SWIFT from Tom Bihn is still my favorite even after owning it for a few years. Offered in a variety of color and material combinations, it includes two clear interior zippered pockets, and an o-ring and key snap.
It also comes with a Yarn Stuff Sack which is a clear bottomed drawstring project bag that will also become a fast favorite.
Made in the U.S.A.
Starting at $90.00
A collection of 15 hat patterns donated by designers across the United States and Canada, I created this volume of Good Deeds to benefit Breast Cancer Connections (a nonprofit based in Palo Alto, CA that offers support and resources to women facing breast cancer).
This e-book is a great gift to give because it provides a library of hats to make, and all the proceeds from the sale of the project benefits a deserving nonprofit.
Spinning yarn takes time, patience, and skill. The artistry of Ilga shows up in her shop over and over. The time it takes to make yarn is worthy of proper compensation. I did a lot of searching for a good example of handspun yarn and settled on this WA based spinner because the pricing is set at a fair amount for the work that goes into the product.
Fiber: 25% silk / 75% BFLwool
Weight: 8.1 oz., 229 g
Length: Approx. 820 yards, 750 m
YPP: Approx. 1620
WPI: Approx. 18-22
Ply: 2 ply
The best set of needles I own? Addi Turbo Long Lace Clicks. I like the longer length and sharper points of these needles, and REALLY love that I can change the length of the cord to suit my project. For VERY VERY VERY big projects (think blankets), there's a connector to join two cords together.
Camilla Valley Farms has a great webpage that details the available sets and I'm sure if you get in touch with them they'd offer advice as to what they think your fiber lover will like based on what they knit.
Their online shop is not automatic - you'll need to fill out their order form or give them a call: (519) 941-0736 to place an order. They also have gift certificates... so if you're totally confused, that's always an option!
Begins at $169.00
What items are on your wish list this season? Share in the comments and include website links if you have them. Here's wishing you and your family have a safe, happy holiday season!