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I love it when the things you love to do, become the things you have to do. I have been knitting and crocheting some samples that I will have ready for SAFF (<— note the definitive statement, I WILL HAVE THEM DONE) I am using all the things I know about working with handmade yarns, getting clear on working them into a garment that I will want to wear. Emphasis on “want to wear”, because to be honest, when working with crazy handmade yarns, I can have a blast knitting up something, but the “fun” textures, just for it to be way too wild for primetime. And I live in Asheville–where you can fly your freak flag pretty high when it comes to street fashion. I mean I love rainbow yarns, but do I really want to wear a hat that looks like a clown vomited on my head?

Also, as many hand spinners know, roving for hand spinning usually come in 4oz increments. But, what to do with 4 oz of yarn? And, seriously, if you were able to get more than 4oz, is using a whole garments worth of handmade yarn really the best way to highlight that yarn? Art yarn…such awesome texture can just get lost when it is knit up in a stockinette fabric.

Here are my top 5 techniques for working with handmade yarns (and by handmade, I mean hand spun and hand dyed)

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1. Playing with textures. Combining yarns is one of my favorite ways to show off hand spun art yarn. Super textural yarns look awesome next to smoother yarn, play with contrasting colors. I give lots of tips about doing that in my stash buster shawl pattern. Check it out, it is a free download.

 

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Image via janethornley.com

2. Feather and fan. A super simple stitch that is a great go to stitch for blending hand painted yarns. It is also great for stash busting. Jane Thornley wrote an awesome ebook that break down how to use feather and fan to blend yarns. (that is her image above btw).

 

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3. Scribble lace. A super thin yarn mixed with a super textural yarn. You will need a double pointed needle for this one. Here is a free scarf pattern that outlines this technique.

 

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4. Elongated stitches. I love elongated stitches. It is super conservative with the yarn and shows of textures nicely. I wrote a scarf pattern that uses this stitch. It too is a free download.

 

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5. Freeform crochet and knitting. As I have mentioned I have a new found love of free form crochet. Prudance Mapstone has some awesome tutorials that will get you started.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of what I know. Those sweater I will be premiering at SAFF? They are samples of techniques that I will be teaching at the beginning of next year. I will be offering more information in the weekly VIP love letter. So if you are not already on the list, sign up in the green box below or in the sidebar.