I am something of a hand spinner, and have been for about a year and a half, though this is very much a secondary hobby of mine. I knit constantly, or nearly so. I spin in spurts, usually in the summers.
I've sold a bunch of my hand-spun in the past, and generally I think this is as good a use of the yarn as anything, because I tend to like really fine yarns, and really regular and sturdy spinning, so as a knitter handspun yarns aren't really my thing. Which I've been totally content with. I've also said, that I didn't want to knit something out of a yarn that I spent a lot of time making only to have the sweater not come out.
As my mother will surely attest, I'm something of a yarn compulsive: I tend to fret endlessly over yarn requirements and running out of wool, even though I have no gumption about dye lot changes mid sweater. So using hand-spun doesn't work particularly well with these tendency, at least in my head (where it counts!).
So to recap: time is a major concern, as is the weight of the finished yarn.
In the past two days I spun up 8 oz of black "hat merino" from R. H. Lindsay wool company. I spent less than 2 hours each on each 4 oz ball, and I'm pretty pleased with the results. It's not quite dk or sport weight, but a little heavier is just fine. By my math, I could have spun the yarn for a stranded sweater in... 16 hours. (I figure 2 lbs should do it.). If I spin for half an hour a day, this is about a month. I generally take 6 weeks or 2 months to knit a sweater of this type, so I think this is something I could easily do.
This of course means that I could conceptually spin enough yarn so that I only knit my own hand-spun. Which would be pretty nifty. I don't think I'd actually do this, on account of, wanting to get finer yarns and more consistent yarns for some projects (socks?) but it's a cool idea.
Before I go, I think I should give a progress report of sorts.
I'm to the ribbing at the bottom of my grey, accent cabled, endless sweater using fingering weight yarn and size 1 needles. I have sleeves and the yoke. Plus the second half of the ribbing (again the first half took two days of intermittent knitting. And I'm going to knit hem's on this one I think. I still have a lot, but I'm almost completely done with the most tedious part of this sweater, so rock on for that. I'm making this sweater using a "middle out" construction, which is pretty cool. The pattern is going to go in the book. I might make a worsted weight version of this sweater at some point, Maybe out of hand-spun.
Speaking of the book, I haven't worked on it much. I think the ticker is at 13,000 words, unedited. I've written about 3 sweaters, and I need to get another one done. I also need to make charts for the patterns, but that isn't as pressing, and requires freeing up a little RAM. I'm pleased with this, and my next phase for this project, is to get it over another hump (another pattern or two) and then do a little work in promoting myself. This includes a little pod-casting and more blogging, which I want to do anyway, as well as writing additional patterns to publish.
I'm also working on the coat. I'm a little worried that the ribbing pulls in too much (ie. that the difference in number of stitches between the ribbing and the sweater is to great.). If it were a pullover this wouldn't be an issue at all, but it's a jacket/cardigan, and this might affect how the hem lays. and acts, and I want to avoid fucking up another cardigan. Having said that the math looks right from the notes. so shrug. It might be worth it to do some preliminary blocking to see how it'll act. We'll see.
Faroe is on hold till I figure out what's supposed to happen on the gussets. My memory isn't that good.
I finished the Teal Tunic sweater I have some ends to weave in. It's nice enough. I think I'm going to give it away, because I made it very intentionally to big. That is, it came out the size I wanted it to be, I just for some reason had this notion that I was bigger than I am. By 4 inches. sigh
Oh yeah and I have to get into graduate school too.
Chris' back. Woot! You get to hear someone other than me blather on.