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WIP Wednesday–No Rhinebeck Sweater

Iounn Sweater from Knitting

Well the knitting is done. Now on to the blocking and then the steeking. I will block this afternoon and it will take some time to dry. It’s a pretty dense fabric. I got some grosgrain ribbon and you all voted on the leather buttons. Well not all of you…but the consensus was the leather buttons. I have 4 of them. I intend to just put them on the top half of the sweater. I’m leaning towards the brick red ribbon. I have 10 days until Saturday…. I think I can…I think I CAN!!

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the no-rhinebeck sweater

So that’s it. All the fiber festivals that I was going to be at are now closed. They aren’t totally closed. Many will have a virtual marketplace instead and I’m participating in at least 3 of them. At this time of year, most Rhinebeck goers would be planning their Rhinebeck sweater. Now there’s no Rhinebeck. But we still need a new sweater, right? So let’s coin the new hashtag….#norhinebecksweater.

My #norhinebecksweater will be a yoked cardigan that is knit in the round and steeked. Yes, I will be cutting my sweater up the middle. And I’ve been planning this for a long while. I’m using my handspun lamb’s wool.

I have great farm yarns and one commercial yarn that are fantastic in sweaters. LiViLy is our cormo heavy DK/light worsted 3 ply yarn. It is super soft, next to the skin soft. I have some neutrals and some brilliant jewel tones of this yarn.

Trasna is our BFLXCormo wool that is a heavy sport/light DK 3 ply yarn. It is also next to the skin soft. It has a lustrous quality from the BFL part of the wool.

Synergy is a wilder farm yarn. It is a merino, marled, 2 ply yarn. There are 2 weights: their is a worsted weight and a sport weight. I have 11 different colorways of that yarn. In a garment, it will do some gradual stripping and it is super soft as well.

Finally, the commercial yarn is Alto. It is a 50/50 blend of superwash BFL and silk. It is a DK weight yarn. It is highly lustrous. And it has a fantastic drape to it. You will love your sweater knit with this yarn.

What will your #norhinebecksweater be?

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Learning how to substitute yarns

There is a lot of conversation on Instagram and FaceBook about designers and indie dyers. Some people feel discriminated against because they can’t use expensive yarn. I think I am hearing that some knitters feel unseen by the knitting industry.

There is a lot that goes into a collaboration between a designer and an indie dyer and even more when you think about farm yarns. There is the cost of the yarn and the marketing of the pattern along with the yarn. And sometimes, the yarn recommended in the pattern becomes unavailable. There are so many choices of yarns and many of those choices are regional.

New fingering weight Cormo farm yarn

Because of this it is important to learn how to substitute yarn in a pattern. That way you have all the freedom to use yarn in your stash, yarn from a big box store or yarn from a fiber farmer like me. I just published a podcast all about yarn substitution. You can find it on itunes or you can click here to listen.

Here are the highlights:

  1. You can measure the size of the yarn in your stash with this tool.
  2. You can search for patterns that would use this size of yarn on Ravelry.
  3. There are times when gauge counts and times when it doesn’t. Know which is which.
  4. If you are making a garment that needs to fit, you have to swatch….Sorry! You just have to.
  5. I give you a couple of easy swatching hacks so you don’t feel like you’re wasting time, money and yarn.
  6. I also show you 2 patterns where I totally changed the needles and the yarns and you can see how they turned out.

And if you like the podcast, I would appreciate you leaving a review on itunes. I’ll be addressing more on this topic in the future. Have a question? Let me know what it is. I’d love to have some Q & A sessions as well.

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farm to needle yarn

I’ve been thinking a lot about farm yarn. One of my big 4 goals this year was to widen out my line of FGF yarns. I want to have an offering at every standard weight of yarn. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Watch this video that I recorded this week for my #farmchickslive #ThursdayThreads.

Here are some of the farm yarns that are already in our line.

Trasna Dkish yarn Find it here.
LiViLy Worsted wt yarn. Find it here.
Synergy Merino Dkish wt yarn. Find it here.
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goal attained!

This year one business goal was to widen out my farm yarn line. I have lots of choices in the Worsted weight yarn. I have Synergy: the marled yarn that looks hand spun. I have LiViLy that is from my fine wool Cormo Sheep. I have Trasna made from the long lustrous fleeces of my BFL Cormo Hybrid sheep. I have Fingals which is from my pure bred BFL sheep. That’s a lot of yarn in one single weight.

So this year, I wanted to add a fingering and a sport weight to my wool yarns. I also wanted to replenish my yearling mohair that is a fingering weight yarn. And I have a LOT of PolyPay wool that I bought from a shepherd in Virginia. I really want it to be a bulky yarn.

So yesterday I unboxed my yarn shipment from the mill. And I was sooooo happy.

I have a beautiful fingering weight wool from the hybrids. there are over 400 yards in a 4 oz skein.

Fingering weight fine wool yarn

I have a lovely sport weight yarn with the cormo wool that has over 300 yards in a skein.

Sport weight fine wool yarn

The yearling mohair came back perfectly matching the previous run.

Fingering weight mohair yarn

The polypay did not come back as bulky. It came back as worsted. But it is lovely. The wool “tells” us how it wants to be spun. And it really didn’t want to be bulky.

Worsted Polypay yarn

Time to get to the dye pots and see how these babies do. I usually don’t list my farm yarns in it’s natural form. But if you see something you really need, just shoot me an email.

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yarn spotlight: Cacao

This is a 100% mohair yarn made from the fleece of our mohair goats. The leader of that pack was a lovely goat named Cacao. That’s because she was milk chocolate when she was born. She faded throughout her life. This yarn is a 2 ply that is DK weight. It is a light tan color with lots of sheen.

This is a great yarn to use for outer wear. You really won’t want to put this next to your delicate skin on your neck. But a hat, mittens, sweater and even slippers would be a great use for this yarn. You can grab some for yourself today here.

Corstorphine Sweater using Cacao and Puck
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yarn spotlight: Puck’s Choice

Puck’s Choice yarn is a farm yarn made from the fleeces of our beloved Puck, our first sheep. She was a BFL cross, a typical lustrous longwool sheep. I took her fleeces and blended them with charcoal mohair from Twilight and her babies as well as a black alpaca fleece that I purchased from an alpaca farm in Virginia. The blend is equal parts of these 3 yarns. The result is a wonderful dark charcoal yarn that has varying saturations of color.

This yarn is a 2 ply that is a DK weight yarn. It is soft and durable. Is it next to the skin soft? No it isn’t. But it will make a great sweater. I imagine an Icelandic inspired yoke sweater that is all the rage. You can add beautiful color for the colorwork and have Puck as the body of the sweater. It will make great hats, showing off cables or even lace. And it will make good socks and slippers. It is really versatile.

If you are local, in Maryland, you could use this yarn for the garment competition at MD Sheep and Wool Festival. There is a special award for those using a Maryland yarn. If you are within our fibershed, you can call this local to you and make a garment for your #oneoutfit100days. You can be sure that these animals were treated well and even spoiled. The yarn was made from animals with names. You can get the yarn by clicking here.