Since I started knitting a couple of years ago, I've been mostly using wool from the cheap haberdashery stall at the Nanango markets, I’ve gradually been tackling more difficult projects and gaining confidence in my knitting abilities. This year at the Nanango Show I decided to treat myself to some lovely smooth alpaca wool. It came in a hank, which is basically a long loop lifted straight off the spinning wheel and twisted into a pretzel. The lady at the stall (who had spun the wool from her own alpaca fleece, wow!) told me that I would have to wind it into balls.
|Here's the finished balls|
This is the first time I had thought about the forms of wool, here is a great post that explains the names of all the different “wool bundles”.
And here is some instructions for transforming an unruly hank into tame balls of wool.
|Here's the neatly wound hank pretzel|
I don’t have a spare patient person to hold the hank, but I had no trouble draping it over a chair, which I placed in front of where I was sitting and proceeded to wind the hank into balls. I took the advice in that post and tried to wind slowly and carefully, even so, I did have a few tangles to deal with. I can see why you can’t knit straight from the hank. As I wound the wool, I was able to handle it and see a few minor imperfections, its a good way to get to know to texture and weight of the wool and understand what you could make with it.
|The hank unwound.... getting nervous...|
I really want to make a soft shawl on big needles with a lacy stitch. I don’t exactly have a pattern, but I have a wonderful book of knitting stiches (50c from the op shop!), so I chose a lacy stitch and practiced the stitch using cheap wool until I was happy with it. Then I practiced using the alpaca wool. Then I cast on lots of stiches, with the intention of making a long wide rectangle shaped shawl.
|The hank slung over the back of a chair|
The influence of different yarns, needles and stiches on the final fabric is still a bit of a mystery to me, and that makes it difficult to visualise and plan for more complicated projects. The more I knit, the more I learn though.
Are you knitting this winter? Any tips for handling hanks and balls and bundles or wool?
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Previous posts about knitting and crochet: