Our founder Ashley Thurman is back today reviewing some scrumptious handspun yarns by Australian spinner: “Alex Made!” You can find Alex’s yarns on Etsy here, and we definitely recommend you follow her yarny adventures on Instagram. But first, read below for Ashley’s full review. (The short of it is: we think “Alex Made” is reeeal groovy.)
I was so thrilled when Alex from @alexmadestagram offered to send me some of her handspun art yarn to use in upcoming weaving projects. First of all, I’ve spent many an hour (or two) scrolling through her feed and oogling at all the colors and textures and immediately I was like “HECK YES!”. Secondly, who would say no?!
Handspun yarn is something that up until a few weeks ago I’ve been very good about buying and hoarding, but not very good at actually using (the keyword in all of this: hoarding). It’s not that I don’t WANT to use them…I’m just crippled with the fear I could possibly waste them on a project not worthy of their awesomeness. So instead they wait for their time to shine, and taunt me with their wasted potential. BUT when my three bundles of beautiful handspun arrived – while intimidated – I was bound and determined to get over my fears and put them to use. I really love them all, but my favorite from the set was “Marshmallow Ocean”. A 2-ply blended from merino, locks, mohair, and just the tiniest bit of sparkle. I was determined to use that one first in a theory I feel closely resembles ripping off a week-old bandaid. Ya know, “just face your fears and all that”.
I had previously purchased two round looms from Rainie of the @theunusualpear and since I hadn’t had a chance to use them yet I figured since I’m already trying new fibre I might as well go all out…and boy am I glad I did. In my humble opinion, handspun is made for circular weavings. I mean, obviously it’s made for other things…but if I had my way: handspun in ALL the round weavings. Someone quick…create a hashtag and make it a thing.
Once I got comfortable with the round weavings…AND used the whole skein of “Marshmallow Ocean”, I was ready to try my hand at a more traditional tapestry shape and get ahold of the “Sapphire Lake” – a gorgeous thick and thin spun merino single dyed with the loveliest shades of blues. Quite honestly, I quickly fell even deeper in love with this yarn once I started weaving with it, and the soumak stitch is what did it for me. Once I completed one line of stitches I fell into a rabbit hole and couldn’t stop.
I managed to save a tiny bundle of this loveliness for a rainy day – but really one of the awesome things about weaving is a little bit of yarn can go a really long way. With two skeins of yarn I was able to complete at least 7 weavings by mixing in bits and pieces of other yarn and scraps making a purchase at Alex’s shop quite the bargain!
And as if I couldn’t say enough good things about Alex’s yarn…I would like to add that playing with this yarn is actually what pushed me over the edge and inspired me to try my hand at spinning beyond my few lazy attempts on a drop spindle. One day, on a whim, I ordered myself a brand new spinning wheel and purchased and gathered some fiber and patiently waited for my new toy to arrive. I’ve been happily spinning along for a couple weeks now and there is no end in sight. Love this fiber community and the way each and every one of you inspires me to get out of my crafty comfort zone and try new things AND meet new people.
Thanks Alex for sharing your talents with us!