Ideas for knitting with handspun yarn

Also referred to as art yarn, handspun yarns make knitting so much fun.  If you already knit, weave or crochet with handspun yarn you will no doubt already be in love with all of the unusual colours, textures and possibilities to be found.

You may indeed have acquired quite a stash of art yarn and need some ideas for what to knit with it.  If you are new to handspun yarn, it can be difficult to know what sort of projects to start off with.

This article aims to give you some ideas and inspiration for knitting with handspun yarn.  Please read on to find out more!

This post may contain affiliate links.

What is handspun yarn

Handspun yarn, or art yarn, is yarn that is hand made on either a spinning wheel or drop spindle.  Prepared fibres are attached to the spinning device and then literally spun around to create a yarn of the thickness desired by the fibre artists.

Handspun yarn is often uneven in texture, thick in some parts and thin in others.  This is what makes it so unique and fun to work with.  

The yarn in the following photo is known as a coil yarn, and you see that a stunning, bobbly texture is created as you knit.  Handspun yarn is really interesting to work with as you never quite know what it will look like as it is knit up.

The coil yarn is being knit on 8mm knitting needles.  It would also work well on 10mm or 12mm needles – this would show the thick and thin texture more.

I think that handspun yarn is art.  When I buy it, I see it as buying a pice of beautiful artwork.  Yarn spinners are highly creative people, and as you can see from the photos within this article, the possibilities of what these talented artists are able to create are endless, and awe inspiring.

You also have to remember that each hank of handspun yarn is unique.  Your finished knitting project will be a truly one off, special piece, just as the yarn is.

Where to buy handspun yarn

The best place to purchase handspun yarn is Etsy.

The yarn featured in the photographs in this article was purchased from this wonderful store which is Germany based.

I would also recommend Spinning Wheel Studio (USA) and The Fibre Tree (UK).  I have mentioned these stores as have bought from there and been very happy.  There are many other brilliant fibre artists though – it all depends on your taste and what is available where you live.

Ideas for knitting with handspun yarn

The thing with handspun yarn is that it rarely comes in a large enough quantity to knit a very large garment.  There may be enough for a hat or pair of mittens, for example.  You would have to check the label for the yardage and find a suitable knitting pattern, should you wish to make an entire garment from your handspun yarn.

I personally use handspun yarn as accents on garments made from plain yarns.  I have also used it for smaller knitting projects, such as coasters or fancy egg cosies or tree decorations (see photo below for one of my totally over the top egg cosies).

Here is a list of ideas for knitting with handspun yarn:

  • Ribbing, cuffs and necklines on sweaters and cardigans.
  • Headbands.
  • Stripes in cowls, scarves and hats.  In fact, stripes on anything.  You can see a little hat I knit with a bit of handspun yarn added for an interesting accent.
  • Tree decorations and embellishments for greetings cards.
  • Appliqués or pockets.
  • Baskets and coasters.
  • Hand and wrist warmers.
  • Use for adding texture to knitted bags and purses.
  • Knitted scrunchies.
  • Amazing hand knit flowers for card or wall decorations.
  • You can use handspun yarn in weaving projects – many purchasers of this sort of yarn are weavers.  It creates some amazing wall hangings.
  • Accents in blankets.

How to spin your own yarn

If you are interested in learning how to spin your own yarn, you may find the following resources useful:

Here are some wonderful kits that you can buy which give you everything you need to begin to produce your own handspun yarn:

Thanks very much for reading this article about ideas for knitting with handspun yarn. I hope it gave you some inspiration for knitting a fun and unique piece or two. Have a great day!

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