What to do with Your 1st Hanks of Hand Spun Yarn

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Did you start spinning yarn yet? If not, and you're thinking about it, do it! I signed up for two more classes while Craftsy was having their sale, and I'm excited to get started on them. My biggest time challenge right now is focus. I have so many ideas, and so many things started I feel like nothing is getting is done. Well, I switched gears again and started something new. Luckily, it was done in one day! Which was a relief since I'm currently having a pattern tested, writing a new one, spinning another single (that's been on the wheel for 4 days now), trying to dye a pumpkin spice latte colorway (it failed, so now I have It's Fall Ya'll instead) and trying to figure out how to Facebook and reach people. Being creative is fun, and chaos.

Back to this awesome one day project. In July when I brought Orabelle back out I was rusty. Not that I was ever great at spinning yarn, but now I couldn't even figure out how to draft and get the uptake right, so I made a lot of funky, bumpy, interesting yarn. I put them on a shelf because it was some of the 1st yarn I had spun! I was not going to throw it away, even though I knew it wasn't likely I'd crochet with it. I did use some of my early spinning for the Shauncho Slouch, but this stuff was the boring, undyed merino and alpaca I spun while getting the hang of all the basics again. While perusing Pinterest I came across a few posts about wall hangings, and while a lot of them are perfectly trimmed, made from mill spun yarn that is uniform in every way, and color coordinated by a professional, there were some that were funky, bumpy, and chaotic. A much better fit for my personality. 

Do I need a wall hanging? The wall on the left says, "yes, you do need one, because I'm blank, and I have been for years. Except these oddly placed nails you use to hang one thing during Christmas!" Ok wall, I hear you. 

Something will be hung on it today. Leaving this wall blank is extra cruel, given this is what the wall next it looks like. I'm no interior designer, and this wall needs some help too, you can see the effort though. Which is better than I'm currently giving left wall.

Here I have my 2-ply merino, some single spun alpaca, and some single spun merino with lots of great fat spots. Mixing fibers and textures will give your hanging a lot of character. You can use yarn that is uniform if you prefer a modern, or a minimalist, symmetrical look. I have a lot of yarn in the shop that is plied with thread. This would look awesome on a wall hanging, but I would knot somewhere on them or braid those pieces, unless you want the the thread to unravel. The twist is set, but thread doesn't bond to fiber like fiber plied with fiber does.

Once I figured my yarn out I cut my hanks. You can see none of these hanks were taken off the wheel using the same niddy noddy, so they are not the same length when cut in half. That's ok! It will add more interest to it. If you are using the same hank of yarn you can pull a section out and cut it again if you'd like to have different lengths. You have a ton of options when it come to how you'd like to arrange your yarn and what lengths you want to use. For now, my yarn is all approximately the length I want to use. I will save the trimming until the end, because you are bound to tie it a bit unevenly. No sense in trimming your lengths perfectly now, then have to do it again. Next you will tie it all on. I fold the yarn in half with the loop side on the top of the dowel, fold the loop over the dowel, pull the cut ends through the loop, then tighten. Here's a brief picture tutorial.

Once you have all your yarn tied on, hang it where it will go, and evaluate. This is where I decided how to tie, trim it, and what color to do. My wall is a boring beige color, so I couldn't leave mine undyed. If this were going on my yellow wall, I would have just trimmed and added my knots and braids. I did two big knots a few inches down on each side, then braided the alpaca, did two big twists, and added two small bunches with two knots on them in the middle. Then I trimmed it to be sort of a point. 

To do the twists I made, make a knot in the bottom of a medium size bunch, split the bunch above the knot, and loop your knot backwards in the split until it starts to get all twisty. You can cause it to twist on itself by turning your knot the direction of the twist and it wraps around itself. 

Time to dye it! I had a really hard time deciding what to do. I wanted to hand paint, because I could get several colors on it, but I didn't know how to exhaust the dye without the colors all running. 

Since I don't have an oven dedicated to dyeing or a large flat pan so I could use the stove, dip dyeing was the easiest method I could think of. I attempted to get a color gradient by letting it process with a high concentration of dye for 15 minutes, adding a 2nd color processing for 15 more, and filling with water/vinegar.

It didn't work out as I had hoped, though I still got one nice line of color gradient. I used the dowel to hang the strands in the pot. I would wet your strands down 1st so they soak in the dye better. If you want to repeat this color it is .001g of amethyst, .003g of coral reef aqua combined with 4 c of water, then I added .003g of amazon green with 4c water after 15 minutes, then added 4c water and 1c of white vinegar to exhaust after 15 more. My final color has no purple, or green in it, but it is a nice shade of Indigo, which reminds me of a Trevor Hall song, Indigo. Give it a listen. It always makes me smile. I'll embed the video at the bottom of the post.

I hope you enjoy this use of hand spun yarn! if you make one, I'd love to see it, so please share it via Facebook.


Inspired to learn to spin? Check out my post on a Craftsy class review! Online learning isn't for everyone, but I really enjoy it for crafting!