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A Shawl of Homespun

posted Jan 24, 2009, 5:10 PM by Kathleen Peters   [ updated May 12, 2009, 10:46 AM ]
I have been working on making a shawl all the way from fleece for some time now, and have finally finished.  The fleece came from a beautiful Coopworth sheep and was purchased at Hodgepodge Handicrafts in Newport, NH.  I purchased it in its natural colors of silver, cream and charcoal.  After carding the wool on a drum carder, I then used a single treadle Ashford Traveler spinning wheel to a 2-ply yarn.  (In the pictures below, the fleece and yarn are shown in a beautiful egg basket made by Jane Darling at Firefly's Farm.)  

                        Cleaned Coopworth                                                                        Balls of homespun

After several attempts at using patterns that didn't meet my approval, I finally settled on an original design in which I knit from the top center and expanded out into a large triangle.  Two lace stripes run vertical down the spine and the bottom is bordered with a simple lace before it is cast off.  I received a beautiful maple through-hole for a shawl pin from Josh Trought of D-Acres.  The pinning stick is made of ash and was whittled by Merrill Snell.  I love the shawl pin as much as the shawl, and I felt they really complimented one another.  Here is the finished product with me squinting into the sun!

Kathleen H. Peters in her shawl of homespun

I learned two very important points from this creation.  The first is that blocking a finished knit item does, truly, make a world of difference.  Before the shawl was blocked, the lace edge was very wavy and indistinct.  Blocking the shawl really give it an exquisite finished look.  

The second thing I learned was that my children really do pay attention to what I do when I work with fiber.  While trying on the shawl for the first time, moments after casting off, my daughter came running to me with her beloved "special" blanket.  I wish you all could have seen her eyes when she realized I had an extra shawl pin!  It was pure delight!  How I wish she wasn't growing so fast!

Kathleen H. Peters with her daughter, trying on the shawl for the first time.