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Gallery of Handspun Haps

A traditional Shetland hap pattern inspired these ambitious spinners to create beautiful versions of their own using treasured handspun.

Spin Off Editorial Staff Jul 3, 2024 - 8 min read

Gallery of Handspun Haps Primary Image

Elizabeth Johnston’s handspun hap made from Shetland wool. Photo by George Boe

Inspired by the stunning Shetland Old Shell Hap created by Shetland spinner and knitter Elizabeth Johnston for the Fall 2023 issue of Spin Off, we asked spinners to join us and make a handspun hap or half hap. Supportive hap-along members cheered each other on, whether they were crafting a knitted hap from their handspun yarn, or were finishing up their own WIPs and simply offering encouragement to their fellow knitters along the way. We appreciate the creativity shown by all, and we asked them to share a photo and a few words about their handspun haps. —Editors

Denise Bartels: Cohesive Scrap Yarns

Denise used 24 colors of leftover yarns. Photo by Denise Bartels

I was reorganizing my studio and realized I had a lot of odds and ends left over from the shawls I have knitted. Since it was all handspun, I wanted to make something out of them, but the design would have to accommodate lots of different colors and amounts. In addition, while the yarns were all laceweight, there was a fairly large range of yarn grist.

The obvious solution was a deviation on a Shetland hap using a variation of the Feather-and-Fan stitch that would highlight the striping that would happen. I also decided that I wanted a circular shawl instead of a square one because I love the sense of movement you can get with a circular shawl; I named my pattern Are You Daft?!

I was concerned that I would get bored knitting so much Feather-and-Fan, but I found that the changing colors made the knitting a bit like eating potato chips—I wanted to keep going—especially since I was never sure how wide each stripe would end up.

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Elaine Fuller: Starting with Rare Breeds

Elaine has started sampling to determine her color progression. Photo by Elaine Fuller

When I saw the thread on Ravelry about knitting a half hap, I decided to take my spindles on a rare-breed stash dive, resulting in yarns spun from Jacob, Manx Loaghtan, Shetland, and Tunis wools. I’m still spinning for the shawl, but I do have a color sample and a bit of the edging started.

Marina Ma: Squish Factor

The elasticity in Marina's yarn resulted in a warm, squishy shawl. Photo by Marina Ma

I knit up the half-hap version using a variety of naturally shaded batts I collected over the years. The very fine Shetland wool was grown by Caramel Mocha, Mara, Sarin, and Cora, who are fed and hugged by Jen and Rich at Whispering Pines Farm (note their photos in the image above). While not the traditional open lacy yarn one would normally use with a hap, the yarn I spun has great elasticity and roundness from my tight ply, thus creating a lovely, squishy shawl.

Barb Rusnacko: Worth the Wait

Barb is putting her precious handspun to good use in this modified version of a traditional hap pattern, this one starting with a center diamond. Photo by Barb Rusnacko

I was inspired to begin knitting a hap during a group knit-along in the Spring of 2022. I always want to be sure I’m using my handspun yarns after I put the time into creating them, and I had two yarns that, along with one commercial yarn (the yellow shown here), blended nicely together. The handspun yarns are laceweight, which was my default yarn when I was a new spinner. I found a laceweight hap pattern, the Diamond and Flowers Valentine Hap by Julie Kubitsky, that I would modify slightly and use as my inspiration for this project.

The brown yarn was spun from an indeterminate wool roving obtained from a sale the local weavers’ guild was sponsoring. The multi-color yarn is 100% Romney that came to me as a pencil roving from a local fiber festival. I spun each fiber as a two-ply on my Kromski Sonata wheel.

The project, which I estimate to be 65% complete, was mostly knit very quickly in May and June of 2022 and has languished since then. With this recent prompting from the Spin Off team, I pulled out my neglected hap and gave it a little steam bath to open the lace and smooth the wrinkles. My interest in this project was never gone, just hibernating, and I am looking forward to finding my place in the pattern and continuing. How nice it would be to throw over my shoulders this fall when the weather turns cool again! As if finishing a long-awaited project isn’t reward enough, I noticed there are a few dozen stitch markers that have also been hibernating in this project that could be reclaimed—I wondered where they had all gone!

Kate Larson: Natural-Dyed Beauty

And, finally, editor Kate Larson created this half hap based on Elizabeth Johnston’s instructions in Fall 2023 Spin Off.

Kate used light gray Shetland handspun overdyed with onion skins and indigo. Photo by Matt Graves

I spun up a light gray Shetland fleece using a long draw, then plied to create a fingering-weight two-ply yarn and wet-finished the skeins. I dyed the skeins using simmered yellow onion skins, removing one after only five minutes, one at 15 minutes, and the last after 30 minutes. These were shades of yellow, which created a lovely yellow-green on the gray wool. I repeated this process with the same dyepot the next day. Since the pot had longer to steep before being reheated, it yielded orange colors. Lastly, I gave one (unmordanted) skein two dips in indigo.

When I was ready to start knitting, I followed Elizabeth’s color sequence instructions, choosing to knit my lace edge and center in MC, which differs from the pattern.

Have you knitted a hap or half hap during this past year? Share your photos with us via our email address.

Read Elizabeth Johnston’s full article, “The Classic Shetland Hap: Woolen Warmth and Shades from the North Sea,” plus find the instructions for her Shetland hap in the Fall 2023 issue of Spin Off.

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