Kids = mad colors. As in, Mad-Hatter colors. Sure I love antique rose and linen, but my nieces don’t. Give them kaleidoscopes. Give them a hundred rainbows. Take a pack of crayons, melt them together, and they will love it. I need to remember this, because although there’s a part of me that wants all children dressed in Ralph Lauren fox-hunting attire, the girls in our family much prefer Disney. Plain and simple. And a good thing to remember when you’re making wearables for the people you love: make what they want to wear, not what you want.
It just so happens I have, stashed away, bundles of inexpensive handspun I purchased long before I learned how to spin. I knew most of these would become kiddie accessories, (because really, I don’t want to spend eight hours spinning a fine yarn, then another three weeks knitting a hat that would be tossed to the floor within seconds of unwrapping.) The crazy colors are fun to knit, and the bulky yarn means the knitting will go quickly. My only gripe with this particular array of handspun, is how underspun it is. The lack of proper twist means a simple tug pulls the yarn apart, making you curse (which is very unbecoming, I admit, but I was really angry after about the 7th time that it pulled apart.) So I’m brought back to this: with handspun yarn, you get what you pay for. If you buy 5oz of bulky single-ply handspun for $30, chances are it was spun very quickly and has not enough twist to withstand proper knitting. Or the opposite nightmare: you buy a $30 single-ply handspun that is so overspun, it has kinks galore, curls back over itself, and generally drives you mad as you try to knit with it. A good price-range for handspun yarn is anywhere between $50-80 per skein, depending upon what kind of yarn it is (single-ply, 2-ply, 3-ply) and what weight it is (cobweb, fingering, worsted, bulky, etc.) In the past I have bought handspun for $60+, and I’ve sold my own handspun for that amount as well. The good spinner knows the value of her time and skill, and will charge based on that. Keep in mind, you’ll always have some kinks, some unevenness, some funkiness, etc. Afterall, handspun is HAND spun, and the fact that it isn’t perfect makes it, well, perfect. But I’m talking skill and artisanship here: as a general rule, a good handspun yarn will be balanced, it will be consistent in quality, and it will never pull apart. A good spinner, therefore, will take his or her time, and spin for quality.
And now that I got that off my chest – aren’t the colors so pretty? This one’s for my niece, Elenia, age four. She’s gonna flip. (BTW, the hat pattern is called ‘Capucine’, and it’s positively darling.)