Have you heard of the spinner’s handshake? Like knitters and weavers, spinners often extend a hand to examine and admire the handmade piece a fellow maker is wearing. At an event like the Spin Off Autumn Retreat (SOAR), this is often the primary conversation starter, whether passing someone in the hall or getting to know them at a meal.
Now imagine 80+ spinners talking about their handspun projects together in one room at the same time—that’s one robust spinner’s handshake.
This unique experience occurred on the final night of SOAR 2022. Part low-key fashion show, part spin-in, and part charkha circle, it was a memorable way to wrap up the event.
As each person talked about their piece and walked around the room, the energy and excitement could be felt by all. We wanted to bring this unique experience back to share with you by displaying photos of many of the fantastic pieces that made an appearance. From one spinner to another, we hope you enjoy this virtual fashion show and find some inspiration from your fellow spinners.
Rosemary T. (left) shows her handspun Carbeth Cardigan, and Angela S. (right) shows her Bejeweled Rainbow Wavy Wedges scarf.
Rosemary T. (left) shows her handspun Carbeth Cardigan: “In 1999 or 2000, friends traveled to New Zealand . . . [and] they bought 3 kilos of dyed roving for me. Only problem—I didn’t know how to spin yet. Ten years later, I finally spun this pink on dark fleece. And ten years after that, I started this sweater. And I finally finished it in January.”
Angela S. (right) shows her Bejeweled Rainbow Wavy Wedges scarf: “I blended the primaries into a 12-step color wheel, then blended each color step with coordinating color [of] shredded thrums of textured rayon yarn left over from weaving scarves. I carded these blends into rolags and spun them into a low-twist singles with a woolen long-draw. . . . Why choose one color when you can wear them all?”
Shirley W. (left) shows her knitted short-row scarf, and Laura W. (right) shows her Granny Square Cardigan.
Shirley W. (left) shows her knitted scarf, featuring a leaf-inspired edge using short rows.
Laura W. (right) shows her Granny Square Cardigan: “It started with raw fleece from colored Merino, a Romney lamb, and Romney x Corriedale cross. . . . The yarn was spun to form a 2-ply fingering to sport-weight yarn. The granny squares were crocheted and the cuffs, waist, and buttonbands were knitted. . . . The tagua nut buttons were dyed with chamomile and madder.”
Devin H. (left) shows their yak/silk kimono, and Laureen B. (right) shows her mobius cowl.
Devin H. (left) shows their yak/silk kimono: “Every fiber event I went to where Greenwood [Fiberworks] was vending, I would purchase a Mallard bundle of yak silk or a braid. Eventually I had enough to make a garment. Warp is 2-ply handspun, weft is green reeled silk. . . .”
Laureen B. (right) shows her mobius cowl: “I took many of the singles spun over the last 15 years or so and created a 5-ply where one of the singles is Polworth to (try) and blend all together.”
Grace T. (left) shows her Ginormous Shawl, and Cathy L. (right) shows her silk sampler scarf.
Grace T. (left) shows her Ginormous Shawl: “Halfway through knitting I ran out but managed to find more yarn (handspun) from a different spinner. The original skein [won] best in show at the Iowa State Fair 2014. . . .”
Cathy L. (right) shows her silk sampler scarf: “At the end of [a silk] class the instructor mentioned there was enough silk from the class to make something. So I spun a worsted 2-ply yarn . . . and wove a scarf. . . .”
Ruth B. (left) shows her knitted sweater, and Cynthia E. (right) shows Sylvia’s chinchilla scarf.
Ruth B. (left) shows her knitted sweater, which pairs one ply of brightly colored silk blend with one ply of black to make it pop. She knitted the sweater side to side to achieve this beautiful color patterning.
Cynthia E. (right) shows her Sylvia’s Chinchilla Scarf: “Handspun by a Colorado maker . . . of wool and chinchilla from animal combings. Knitted by my mother Sylvia. The remaining yarn was passed to me at her death.”
Marjorie B. (left) shows two projects, her Mariechen cardigan and Bogue Banks Beach Tote, and Rebecca R. (right) shows her Green Earth shawl.
Marjorie B. (left) shows two projects, her Mariechen cardigan and Bogue Banks Beach Tote: “[The cardigan] yarn [was] spun from natural coloured CVM from Disdero Ranch . . . [and] allowed for good stitch definition and a lightweight garment. . . . [The bag was] spun from Lincoln . . . [and] Louet Jacob grey wool top. . . .”
Rebecca R. (right) shows her Green Earth shawl: “I found this series of shawls . . . and it perfectly fit this yarn I had spun from a cloud and did not enjoy spinning. I re-blended [the fiber] on my Clemes and Clemes electric drumcarder . . . with a gray lamb fleece from a local fiber festival.”
John M. (left) shows his Silky Granny Sweater, and Marci E. (right) shows her woven twill shawl.
John M. (left) shows his Silky Granny Sweater: “This sweater started as two large six-sided granny squares. . . . All yarn is a blend of silk and something—yak, Polworth, etc.—finished with a tablet-woven zipper band.”
Marci E. (right) shows her woven twill shawl: “My fiber is from [The] Apothefairie and woven on my Yarn Barn Louet David Loom.”
Becky C. shows her purple vest (left) and scarf with cat hair (right).
Becky C. shows her purple vest (left) and woven scarf with cat hair (right): “Not too long after I got my first drop spindle around 30 years ago, my sister-in-law gave me a bundle of lovely purple longwool. I spun it all and had too little to knit a vest. So, I dyed some white wool with Kool-Aid and spun that. . . . The vest smelled fruity through many washings. [For the scarf,] I had saved cat combings for years . . . [and] I spun the cat on a light drop spindle as well as the angora rabbit and dark alpaca on my wheel. . . .”
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