A Shawl of Homespun

Post date: Jan 25, 2009 1:10:41 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

Back view of homespun shawl

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.