Sunday, September 24, 2006

All Wound Up


My love affair with Handpainted Yarn began a year ago with Malabrigo. I heard about it from someone's blog, ordered a few skeins from Webs, and went gaga over the stuff from the day it arrived. It is so soft, so saturated with colour, so natural, and so merino. A few months ago, I was chatting at Elann and discovered that Malabrigo is just a fancy market name for Handpainted Yarn. I promptly went to their eBay store and made a pig of myself. I bought that "Shocking Pink" for my cabled sweater. I also bought some funky stuff for a shawl later on, and I bought some lace weight merino.

On eBay or on Handpainted Yarn's website, you can get their beautiful soft merino yarn in just two weights: six-ply bulky, and one-ply laceweight. The photo above is of one 100g skein of lace weight in a colour called "Stone Blue." There are over 950 yards of yarn in that one skein. eBay sent me a package of three of those for twenty-two dollars US.

Now, you need to know that I do not own a swift or a mama bear, or a papa bear, or whatever the device is called that you use to wind skeins into balls. The only fancy apparatus I have for winding skeins into balls are the two hands that I was born with. I wound one skein into a ball and cast on for a shawl. About ten rows later, I gave up. No way. I recently calculated that I have knit over 15,000 metres of yarn into this and that over the last calendar year. It was a rough calculation. I was a bit scared to find out the actual figure. Nevertheless, I was not up for knitting three kilometres of lace-weight merino. Not this year anyway. So I chucked the ball and the two skeins into stash and let them cure there for a few months.

After I finished knitting my pink cabled sweater, I got to thinking. That bulky pink stuff was six strands. I have three skeins of that laceweight. I wonder what guage I'd get from three strands knitted together.


I began winding up the other two skeins into balls.


There they are...three kilometres of yarn, all wound by hand.


I put each ball into its own bowl so that they would not get tangled as I wound them together into one ball.


Now I have one 300 gram ball of 950 yards of unbroken DK weight Handpainted merino. Not bad for 22.00 US. I swatched, and yes indeed, I get 22 stitches to four inches on 4mm needles. I would guess that two strands would get sport weight and four would get worsted.

Oh...and just when I was feeling really impressed with myself, I discovered that kPixie sells a skein of Shetland lace yarn that yields 1200 yards in just 25grams. I am so not ordering that stuff.

12 comments:

Grace Yaskovic said...

Your bithday is in the next month, do what I did last year and buy yourself a swift and ball winder!!! IT will make your life easier, I promise. I bought mine from Elann to get me to the gift certificate faster!! I love the shade of blue, very very pretty!

Anonymous said...

I, like you, need a swift. I bought 5 skeins of laceweight from hpy last year and wound them all by hand. Yarn or swift/bw? That is the question. BTW, I made the cocoon lace scarf/wrap with one skein of laceweight and it is one of my favorite things. It seemed to take forever but the end result was worth it. I love the blue you chose--can't wait to see what you do with it!

Kellygirl

jayne said...

I love the colour too. I have a really nice pink/red mix that I blogged about a few days ago.

Yes...a swift/bw would be helpful, but I'm a hands-on kind of girl. I don't actually spend that much of my life winding yarn, and I don't mind the process. Not to mention, that knowing me and machinery, I'd end up making a huge mess of it.

I think I will try something light and lacy one day, Kellygirl. With one ball, not with three :)

CatBookMom said...

The color is gorgeous! And I thank you for keeping me from ordering several skeins of laceweight from them. Y'see there's this autumny colorway and the Something-Forest shoulder shawl which would be beautiful together.... Sigh.

Trish - My Merino Mantra said...

Such ingenuity! I used to do the same kind of thing, and sometimes, it was fun. However, one of the best self-purchases I ever made, was for my ball winder and swift.

CatBookMom said...

Their website has even more selections of yarn. If you don't already know it, try www.handpaintedyarn.com But I'm not being an enabler here, nosiree!

Vamanta said...

Jayne, love the story & love the yarn! You are a clever girl. But please, please, treat yourself to a swift and winder. They are without a doubt the best investment I ever made. You can still be a hands-on girl bc the whole process is very tactile, feeding the yarn etc. Plus you make these lovely balls that sit flat on the floor.

PS..I am ordering from Handpainted Yarns at your rec. Will LYK how I make out.

jayne said...

So true, CBM, I never bother with the eBay site anymore, I just go directly to their website. I have it bookmarked on the sidebar of my blog. That oughta tell you how much I like it. :)

They are coming out with new things all the time these days.

benne said...

Oh, Jayne, you are bad, bad, bad. I read your blog and ordered two skeins of merino laceweight in the lettuce violet colorway. ;-}
Do get yourself a ball winder and swift. I use mine all the time for skeined yarns and to rewind those wonky balls of yarn that won't cooperate.

jayne said...

No, it's CBM who is bad. I went to her blog and she sent me off to a sale where I acquired whole bags of Debbie Bliss merino. I'm already plotting revenge.

Karin said...

Jayne, I thought I had yarn porn goin' on this week - holy smoke Girl! I may have to stop reading your blog :). I love handpaints and am scheming for my next manos project, but malabrigo has been all over blogland and I am teetering on the edge - this student thing is a big pain in the Stasher's A**! I too, need a swift, if you find one in your sale travels, let me know.

T said...

I have a swift and ball winder, but my swift is not very pretty and my DH hates it so I try not to bring it up from the basement...It is a remnant of the 70's do-it-yourself-and-for-heaven's-sakes-doni't-wor`ry-how``-it-looks-because-ugly -is-more spiritual approach to woodwork, and I got it secondhand who can remember where, but it works... I will try to post a picture on my blog - anyone with a handsaw could probably make one, and the chances are very good it would look better than mine. In fact, mine would probably be immesurabley improved by a paint job...I think the lumber came from a deconstructed luan hollowcore door...it reminds me of finished basements...