24. August 2011 08:03
Often when you buy a new spindle... a handful or chunk of some sort of fiber is included - presumably so you can test out the spindle and learn how to use it properly. But what do you do with all of the little yarn samples? they aren't really big enough to make an entire project with, but at the same time it feels wrong to just throw them in the leftovers bin with all the other tiny leftover balls of yarn. (If I was smart, I'd likely throw some of that stuff away, but you never know when you need waste yarn to do a provisional cast on, or tie tomato plants to a trellis...)
This is what became of the sample of Ashland Bay Merino that came a few weeks ago with a Turkish spindle I acquired... I didn't weigh the fiber itself, and I didn't measure the final yardage of the thread - but there was lots and lots. I'd hazard a guess of somewhere between 100 - 150 yards of light lace weight. The thread itself is 2 ply, and a little bit lighter than a standard lace.
I love the color! This is the "Violet" solid colorway. I often shy away from solid colors, but I think I should try something like this again. I liked the simplicity of the spin... no handpainted colors to arrange, or heathers to worry about even spinning so the colors would mix appropriately.
The swatch is another piece from the Haapsalu Shawl Book (which I've raved about many times before, and no doubt will again). I've been working different samples from the book with the hopes that someday I will be capable of knitting myself an authentic (or as close as possible to it) Haapsalu shawl from handspun yarn. Traditionally these are knit from 100% wool... which has a nice amount of bounce and stretch, and apparently is the best thing for knitting Nupps (the little bobble-ish things you see in the center of the diamonds above. Nupp rhymes with "soup") This particular pattern is one of the "Diamond" motifs, named Diamond Pattern #4 in the book. The swatch was knit on size 4 mm needles, with a slipped stitch on the left and right edges to make an easily blockable rectangle of lace. I like the way that the slipped stitch creates the chain-like edge... Perfect for simple blocking. The finished sample swatch is 9 x 18 inches - if I had had 3x as much, it would have almost been a whole narrow scarf! Yeek!
People have asked before what I actually do with my lace swatches, and the simple answer is - basically nothing. I have a little pile of lace pieces. I pet them, and play with them, and generally abuse them by carrying them in pockets to see how the yarn holds up to wear. I've thought of sewing them together or something, but they are all different shapes and sizes. The thought also crossed my mind of having some of the pretty ones framed or something. Mostly, the swatches just help me to learn about the yarns I make, practice blocking intricate laces, and also practice knitting complex and foreign lace motifs. It's like test-driving a pattern/motif before really committing to it ;) I know some people hate swatching with passion, and feel that it is a big waste of time. I think I might be a swatch-a-holic!