My first "wheel spin" was from 3 oz. undyed, boring-white merino I got for $1.00/ounce specifically to practice on. I got very bored, very fast with boring-white, but spun about 10 yards until I got the hang of it. Then I went to 4 oz. beautifully hand-dyed BFL that I bought in Connecticut from Painted Sheep. I found that when I had fiber I cared about, my spinning got way better. And during this first spin, I got on a roll where I was whipping along, I mean, at a very good clip! And my yarn was coming out more even then, than when I was being careful.
Here's the fiber.
Here's the yarn. But I plyed it on my plying spindle. I didn't trust my inexperience with plying on the wheel yet. (Still don't.) 109 yards, heavy-worsted/bulky BFL.
Here's what I made with it. I love this cowl. It's going to my everyday practical-wear cowl, because it's made specifically to (a) keep my neck warm; and (b) not make me feel strangled because normally I hate turtlenecks; and (c) cover any gaps between the back of my shirt's neckline and said cowl; and (d) lay flat under my jacket, and not be flipping up because it's being stretched too tight.
Pattern: (length is not complexity, this length is chat)
Inspired by "Simple Ribbed Neckwarmer" (free download on Ravelry) but wanting modifications, here's what I did after asking advice for what I had in mind on Ravelry's "Cowls" group.
Needles: Size 8, 9, 10-1/2 and 11 circular needles.
Yarn: 100 yards heavy-worsted/bulky weight in a next-to-skin yarn.
WPI = 11wpi (thinest) to 8wpi (thickest), most was 10wpi
Gauge: 4-1/2 sts./inch.
Cast on 68 sts. (or whatever even number your gauge will yield a 15-inch circumference) on 24" Size 8 circulars LOOSELY (I cast onto both needles, doubled). If you need to use a different size needles, jump sizes progressively accordingly, as below.
K1, P1 and continue for 2-1/2 inches, knitting loosely.
K1, P1 and continue for another 2-1/2 inches, knitting a little tighter. (That's your neck area's under layer. It makes T-neck fold over nicely.) Total 5" so far.
Switch to size 9 needles. Continue K1,P1 for another inch.
Switch to size 10-1/2 needles (technically 2 needle sizes). Continue K1, P1 for 1-1/2 inches or thereabouts.
You now have about 7 or 7-1/2 inches, maybe 8.
Switch to size 11 needles, continue in pattern for 2-3 rows.
Bind off LOOSELY using Elizabeth Zimmerman's "sewn bind-off" and I mean loosely. What I did was, every time a stitch went off my needle, I tugged on the completed bound off area, each and every stitch. Just give 'er a pull. It doesn't get any looser than that.
Finished Specs: Cowl ended up 8-9 inches tall, approx. 15 circumference at neck (ribbing stretches easily to go over head but snaps back to fit VERY comfortably at neck) and about 24" at bottom if no stretch applied to it at all. (With the 1x1 ribbing, there's plenty of give so it'll lie flat under your jacket.)
So that's that. Sheeesh. From the time I started this post to now, I went to the store and forgot to take the trash out. A big black lawn bag full of yukky trash. I came home to trash (and I mean the yukky part became very real since I'd cleaned out the fridge) and it was now ALL OOOOVER the place. Kitchen floor was covered! Family room got a dog-loved stash brought in there. My office got its share. This trash, among other things, had chicken bones (how stupid was that!)
Bad dog. Baaaaaa-aaaaa-aaaaad dog.
Stupid dog owner. Stoooooopid dog owner! Chicken bones? Forgot to take it outside?? I stand corrected, but it's now been 12 hours and she's fine. She did barf up a huge mass, and it included what looked like chicken bones. Whew.