Catching on.

After my last project spinning the unsatisfying two-ply yarn, I began this braid of Polwarth from Sheepish Creations with a plan.


Well, sort of.

I knew it was going to be chain-plied.

I knew I wanted a smooth, round yarn, and three-ply is just that. The combination of three strands together tends to balance out my thick-and-thin single into something relatively consistent.

I also knew that I wanted to preserve the colorway, not mix and muddle it. And chain ply does that, too.

So in November, I began spinning.

I spun through the election.

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I spun through the inauguration.

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(Yes, I have an obsession with a certain color combination.)

And earlier this month, I plied.

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A lovely and imperfect chain ply.

(And of course, I immediately started spinning something new…

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…but this isn’t about you, gorgeous blue silk and Merino!)

While I love to spin and knit (and crochet), I haven’t done much in the way of knitting (or crocheting) my handspun. But something about this newly finished yarn made me want to make it into something more.

Maybe because it reminded me so much of a full-color edition of The Wind in the Willows I’d read once around this time of year.

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(I don’t have the one with color illustrations in my personal collection. In college, I borrowed a creaky hardback copy from the children’s section of the public library and carried it to the city park to read. It was a gloriously delicious afternoon well spent.)

With Spring coming on, I too am thinking about getting out and paddling along a stony river in my kayak.

And I started thinking about turning this yarn into a thing more than string. A springy thing.

I searched Ravelry high and low for a pattern to knit. And it even occurred to me that I could crochet something. The only time I ever finished a handspun project, it was knitting. Plus, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I don’t see that many people crocheting with natural fibers.

And it was in that way I decided I would definitely crochet this yarn.

The Ravelry search continued. I kept coming back to the Virus shawl. I’d seen a very pretty one made from Caron Cakes, but the name of this thing. Virus?! How atrocious. If I’d had to pay money for the pattern, I don’t think I would have done it. Who wants to pay for a virus?

At first, the chart intimidated me. I can barely follow written crochet instructions, but a chart?! Yikes. But for real, though: Isn’t this diagram pretty all on its own?

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Then I watched this video.

Once the lightbulbs started popping on, away I went, a-virusin’.
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I loved the shape it was taking, and I felt so smart executing the pattern!

The work-in-progress was the perfect size for one of my favorite project bags, so I stuffed the shawl and yarn inside—which I then stuffed in my bigger bag (yes, I like collecting things Russian-nesting-doll style [like this sentence])—and it went with me everywhere.

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(Bag purchased here. Mine is the small size.)

I crocheted at home watching Love with the Husband or listening to Fresh Air. I crocheted in the truck, riding shotgun. I crocheted during Tuesday “knit night” with my friends while enjoying a butterscotch latte (whip cream, please) at Big City.

And then, on Friday night, as I was crocheting and listening to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (narrated stunningly by Claire Danes), I ran out of yarn.

I finished off. I wove in the two ends. I soaked it. I blocked it.

And like that, I finished a thing.

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My first crocheted handspun!

Instead of “virus,” I’ll call it “catching on” or something. It’s similar in meaning, but far less menacing. It implies getting back in the groove, which I did.

This yarn helped me catch onto making something with my handspun.

I caught on to crochet a little bit more.

Carrying my project with me and happily yarning whenever and wherever caught on.

And I’m here writing. I have ideas. That’s something worth catching onto.

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