In December 2020, we invited handspinners to join us for a spinalong and make a handspun cowl using the craft of their choice. For three months during the winter of 2021, this cheerful group of makers dyed, blended, spun, knitted, wove, and crocheted while providing support for each other along the way. Many of the participants gave their cowls to friends and family, sending a warm hug when they were unable to give one in person. We admire their creativity and generosity.
We asked the cowl-along members to share a photo and a few words about their handspun cowls. Here’s just a sampling of the many wonderful cowls our group members made. View all three galleries at spinoffmagazine.com. —Editor
Dominique Voisin of Marcinelle, Belgium
“The yellow cowl is the Östergyllen Cowl by the Swedish designer Anna Friberg. The yarn is made of Merino, alpaca, and silk. I was inspired by Suzy Brown to blend the fibers on a hackle, following her hackle-pattern system.” [To learn more about Suzy Brown’s system for blending on a hackle, see the Spring 2021 issue of Spin Off. —Editor]
Emily Born of Tabernash, Colorado
“My cowl was constructed in Tunisian crochet, using the Tunisian full stitch. The yarn is a handspun Merino/Angora blend, and the Angora is from my Angora rabbit, Frida. I made the cowl for the doctor (shown at left) who treated my dad for COVID-19 last year and who ultimately saved his life. I found her to be the most deserving person of a ‘hug via a handspun, handmade cowl!’”
Gina Geaudry of Greenleaf, Wisconsin
“The rainbow cowl was unknown wool that I dyed with Kool-Aid, carded, spun, and then chain plied on my Lendrum. Once I had the yarn made, I found a pattern that would work with it, the Dragon Wing Cowl by Jessie Rayot.”
Shannon Kelly of Chicago, Illinois
“I’m working on the Livestock Conservancy’s Shave ’Em to Save ’Em challenge, so I decided to use this cowl as one of my breed projects. I purchased Black Welsh Mountain lamb’s roving from Desert Weyr farm in Colorado and spun it on my drop spindle into the fluffiest two-ply woolen yarn I could manage. This was my first time spinning a yarn with a finished object in mind, so I wanted a simple stitch pattern and chose to knit the cowl in fisherman’s rib, following pattern instructions from Purl Soho. It’s a little scratchy for next-to-skin wear, but it does a great job of keeping out the cold!”
Päivi Eerola of Vantaa, Finland
“My idea was to make a winter fairytale with white horses and snowy scenery. The dark wool is a hand-dyed camel/silk/alpaca/Merino blend from Hedgehog Fibres, and the white wool is a Finnsheep/Angora blend from a small American Finnsheep farm. I used Elsebeth Lavold’s pattern Niella as a base, but I designed horse motifs, made different brimmings, shortened the hood, and adjusted the stitch count to go with my thinner yarn.”
Have a finished object to share? Tell us about it! Contact us at [email protected] to submit your project.