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December 14, 2006



Well, I'm calling dibs on it in case you decide to get rid of it. :-)

However, I'm honestly pleased to see that you came to the conclusion you did -- sure, I can see how you could be disappointed not to achieve a goal you set for yourself, but I think there's more to be gained by seeing what you have learned out of the experience, think about what to do different for the next time, and still find a good use for the yarn.

As one who dabbles in spinning, and who doesn't sample, I'm getting pretty good at finding uses for what I do manage to spin. No, it won't make heirlooms, but it does make me happy to have a serviceable shawl at the end of the bed on a cold morning.


On your yarn: I think the problem was not enough twist. That is why it is showing signs of abrasion. Then too, Merino is fine as you well know and sticky very sticky and lots of crimp. Drafting in consequence is not easy at all. I spin from the fold with better success.....not always mind you...but most of the time.
Do not discard it. Knit it into something beautiful, you will be surprised as to how much it DOES NOT show the incosistencies.

Deborah Robson

I love hap shawls, and I love honest yarn.

I'm not into funky (I lived through the '60s and '70s), but I've also learned that near-perfection can be either exquisite or boring.

What I see in that photo is honest yarn. Maybe I love yarn with a bit of character because I'm not perfect, either, although that's always my aim {wry grin}.


DO NOT COMPOST THAT YARN!!! I've only been spinning for 8 months or so, and I think it's gorgeous! Send it to me if you don't like it!!! I love using handspun particularly because of the variations in it - it creates a unique fabric that cannot be reproduced with commercial yarns.
Not to say, of course, that I don't understand WHY you are disappointed - I know enough about spinning to have felt the let-down when a fininshed product doesn't live up to the original plan. But still, what you've made is absolutely useable, and is very good by my (puny) standards!!

Lee Ann

If you so much as take ONE measly step toward the compost pile with that yarn, I will come up there and break your kneecaps. I can reach them, you know....

Give it to me. I'll knit it.


It seems like you have plenty of volunteers, but I'll throw my hat in the ring too. I'll knit your yarn! It is most definetly usable.


I think the yarn looks good: it may not be what you want, but it's an honest yarn nonetheless. It can choose from several good homes already, so I won't offer. Just to say it's good to hear from you again.


What Sarah said. Good to see another post... I appreciate your ability and need to critique your work. The yarn is not a step backward, though. If you are practicing with intention, it can only mean progress. Unfortunately with such finely spun yarn, the variances tend to shout out. In the realm of things that must be composted, this most definitely lives outside of it. It is good work.

Barb Brown

I enjoyed the blurb on the hap shawls. I recently inherited the collection of family postcards sent to the settlers in Canada from the relatives back in Shetland (1880's and newer). If you see the "herring lassies" in their hap shawls, you'll know why none are left. In some pictures you can see a newer hap over an older worn one.
The haps (according to my family, who of course could be wrong) were whipped off for a warm useable garment. One advantage to the stripes...you don't notice inconsistancies as much.
I'll try and scan a couple for you.

Now, as to your yarn. You are looking at it with eyes that are judging the lace yarn you are aiming for, and a mind that is affected by SAD. Put it away till the flowers start blooming in the spring. Take it back out. Dye some of it. Knit a terrific colourful warm cozy light weight blanket-hap(py) kind of thing. Put it away. Haul it out next winter when the dark cold and the blues get to be too much. Wrap up in it with a great book, and remember the spring, and the people who would likely walk across Canada just to get their mitts on that yarn.
Barb B.


OK, enough of the self-deprecating comments. The yarn is frickin' fabu, so get over it, shut up and start knitting some of that lacey stuff you are known for! :-)

OK, the SAD. The guy from parlevouz that had the light box is right on. Ditto for the lady sitting in the sun. You can fix the SAD with science.

You need to have 200 footcandles of illumination arrive at the back of your retina for at least one hour a day to avoid SAD. This is easy in the summer. Not so easy in the winter.

You will not achieve this by turning on all the lights in your house. At MOST we are talking maybe 30 footcandles. You are not going to achieve it by sitiing in an office. At MOST 60 footcandles.

You ARE going to achieve this by being outdoors during the day. Average 200 to 1000 footcandles and higher.

You are also going to achieve it by looking at a bright lightbox from a distance of about 3 feet. So buy or make yourself a lightbox that has at least 4 32 watt T8 four foot long fluorescent lamps in it. The lamps should be at least 4000 Kelvin. They should be tri-phospher lamps with a CRI of at least 80. We are talking about 12,000 lumens of light. Set the box up about three feet in front of your favorite chair and bask in the glory of its radiant rays.

AND spend more time outdoors in the sun.

This is not bullshit. This is science. There is no need to suffer.



I have some gorgeous white bfl that I will be happy to send you in exchange for your yarn.

BTW - it's beautiful yarn.


sorry - that's bfl fiber to be spun ...


I think perhaps that yarn that wasn't quite up to snuff was used elsewhere, perhaps stranded together for sock knitting or the like, and problems in knitting were ripped out and redone.
I honestly think your yarn is beautiful, and I agree that right now you may not be able to distance yourself enough to see the possibilities that it has.
Jim is right on with his advice about a light box. I was able to borrow one a few years ago and it helped immensly. Even though I wasn't able to devote the time to it that I was prescribed, every little bit helped. Exercise outside during daylight hours (or in front of the light box) also helps, for me the combination of light and physical activity seems to stimulate chemical production more effectively than either on their own. Fortunately, we're about to start the slow slide back into the sun, things will feel better soon. :)


I think your yarn would make a lovely hap shawl and I think you did an admirable job with spinning it! It's just a step in the right direction towards your goal so try not to fret! Dye it in subtle but interesting colors and go knit it up! Like Raku pottery, there beauty is in what others might consider "imperfections".

Diane in Chico

I always learn something when you post. Thanks, Mr. Ted.

And you're right not to make any rash decisions while the light is wintery weak regarding that yarn you spun. We used to have a saying, "Never make a decision when you are Hungry, Angry, Loney, or Tired." (H.A.L.T.)


You're being awfully self critical on that yarn. Today it is possible to buy tons of perfectly spun commercial yarn. If it's handspun it should have the unique character of handspun....a reflection of the life of the spinner is in that yarn.
Also, what Sharon Miller says about Shetland shawls: "You have to work yourself down to fine gauge lace" is also true for spinning fine yarns. Bit by bit, you work yourself down to it.


OMGosh! You've appeared! It's so good to see your blog posting! I've missed you!

That yarn is perfectly usable yarn. I realize it doesn't meet your expectations, but perhaps you set the bar a tad too high?

Like the rest of the folks who posted, if you don't want that yarn, I'd be happy to take it off your hands.


Sorry to do this, but what is 'sanitoria'?


Did I get the word wrong?

//checking the dictionary.//

I'm using "sanitoria" as a plural of "sanitorium": perhaps I have it wrong? The dictionary offers "sanitorium" as an alternate to "sanitarium".

Anyway, a sanitarium was a place for the ill to stay at while recovering: I've heard it used for people with TB. My dictionary also offers "health resort" as a meaning.


Well, good to see you resurfacing, and I'll toss my hat into the ring with everyone else who thinks that yarn looks just fine. It'll certainly make a lovely hap, at any rate.

Remember, only a few more days until the solstice. Until then, just try to get out and catch every bit of sun you can. I get most of mine driving home from work in the mornings - very handy for someone living a vampire lifestyle, though it makes me more dependent on there being decent weather.


Beautiful yarn! I'm not sure what standard your using but it's lovely stuff. If it doesn't suit your intended end use it will surely suit something. It's lovely. L:


oh, i am SO glad you talked about this book—i have been searching hi and lo for such information. having been interested in hap shawls for quite a while, i decided i would like to know a LOT more about them, but have found little info on the internet.
thanks to you, i ordered the book, and with any luck, will be curling up with it to read through the holidays!


That is some fine looking yarn!


You are far too hard on yourself. What Dan and Laritza say is so true: variances in laceweight feel glaring; knit up, most of these variances will hardly be unnoticeable (if at all).

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