For most of my knitting life I didn't even know that people still hand spun yarn, I thought it was a thing of the past. When i first saw hand spun yarn I absolutely fell in love with it and knew I had to learn how to make yarn for myself! I have been spinning yarn and knitting with hand spun ever since (almost 3 years now) and although there are numerous mill spun yarns I adore, I can honestly say there is nothing quite like hand spun. People new to hand spun yarn sometimes ask why it is special and wonder if is it really worth the extra cost. So I thought I would share a few reasons why I believe it is worth it to take the plunge and give hand spun yarn a try!
1. You Are a Beginner Knitter
This may seem backwards but actually the beginner knitter is the perfect person for hand spun because it allows you knit a basic pattern that ends up looking beautiful! You can impress others and make your knitting skills look superior by making a pattern look more complicated than it actually is! Start with the good stuff! Many knitters just starting out don't stick with the craft initially because they don't want to "waste" money on good yarn before they are "ready" and so the yarn they are using is of an awful quality. I remember starting knitting with acrylic and not enjoying the process because it felt terrible which leads me to my next reason...
2. Hand Spun Yarn is a Tactile Dream
One of the things I love most about knitting is the meditative feeling I get as I work and feel the wool running through and around my fingers and needles. If you love the experience of knitting you are in for a treat if you try hand spun. The feel of hand spun is part of what makes it so special; it is full of life. Mill Spun yarns can lose some of the wool's natural luster and bounce since it is wound tightly on cones, skeined, and put in boxes for shipments. Hand spinners can create yarns using a variety of techniques to allow for each breed of sheep's wool to shine through, while ensuring great quality because of the care that goes into spinning, setting, and storing each individual skein of yarn! If you are a process knitter you will LOVE working with a balanced, functional hand spun yarn.
3. Make Your Projects Pop
Hand spun yarn has a truly unique look. Whether its the subtle changes in a fractal 2 ply, the lovely stripes and round shape in a navajo 3 ply, the variety and texture of a thick and thin, or an even spun natural colored fleece, hand spun yarn has a special look that you just can't get from a commercially spun yarn. Small inconsistencies in the yarns weight give a special handmade touch and add to the sentimentality of the project you are working on. Check out the Down River Collection for knitting designs that were created specifically to showcase different styles of hand spun yarn.
4. Work with Breed Specific Fibers
Ready to take your love of knitting to the next level? Try working with the many beautiful and unique breeds of sheep wool. Many hand spun yarns are breed specific which means they are not a blend of different fibers, they come from only one breed of sheep! When you try different breed specific fibers you learn so much about what makes a yarn perfect for any given project. Looking for a well wearing, warm, rustic yarn? Try Romney or Shetland Wool. Maybe you want something silky that will allow for a lovely drape in your knitted object? Try Blue Faced Leicester. Or maybe you want something incredibly soft for a baby project? Go with Cormo, Angora, or Cashmere! Your knitting objects improve in style and wearability when you know your fibers well and use them according to their strengths!
5. Support Local Farms and Artists
One of the wonderful things about hand spun yarn is that it is often made from locally sourced fibers. That means when you buy these yarns you are supporting the farming fiber industry in America, humane animal husbandry practices, and the local artists who dye and spin the fibers. Many of the hand spun yarns that I create are domestic, while some are sourced from out of the country (this is something I am working to phase out). It also may be possible to visit the farms from where the fibers come and meet the sheep who gave their fleeces! How cool is that?
6. Hand Spun Yarn can Feature Creative Blends and Textures
Ready to run down the rabbit hole in creative yarns? Art and textured hand spun yarns are a world unto themselves! These are the perfect yarns for weavings and embellishments in knitting projects. Creative blends and textures are often not available in commercial yarns. Texture can be created by add-ins like silk, bamboo, nylon, or even feathers can be added in for effect! This makes for some truly unique yarns which are sure to make your projects stand out in a crowd!
7. You May Spur on a New Hobby!
Trying hand spun yarns and learning about the love and energy that goes into them has a tendency to open your eyes up to endless possibilities of yarn and knitting!
If you are truly adventurous it may even lead you to learn to spin yarn for yourself!
Are you intrigued by all that hand spun yarn has to offer? Check out the hand spun section in my shop to see some of the latest skeins off the bobbin!
Are you a hand spinner yourself? What are some of YOUR favorite reasons for using these gorgeous yarns?
I would love to hear why YOU love hand spun so please share your thoughts in the comments below!