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FO Friday–Shawl Edition

So here is a snapshot of the shawls that I have knit in the last few years. I know it’s not a lot. But you also know that I’m the slowest knitter in the world and maybe in the universe.

Shawls that I’ve actually knit in the last couple of years.

All of these are available on Ravelry. Front left to right: Striche, Shard, Camau, Raddiant, Conflagration and Maryland, my Maryland. Some of these are available as kits in our webstore: Strisce, Camau, Raddiant and Conflagration. You can find them here.

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FO Friday Sweater Edition

I’ve written here before that I happen to be the slowest knitter in the world. And part of that is because I try things that are over my head. And then I have to take things out and redo. But even with that, I just finished another sweater that is still drying from the blocking process. So this sweater is not on the stack for obvious reasons.

This Friday, I wanted to celebrate….celebrate something, especially now when the world is upside down and small businesses like mine are being squeezed by the travel and festival closures.

Cables, lace and simply stockinette sweaters I knit all by myself

So here is my pile of sweaters….these sweaters were knit by me. I have many sweaters that I commissioned. Those should be celebrated as well, and I will do that in the future, I promise. Today is about the skill of my own hands, dye pots, and animals.

Pile O Sweaters

What does your sweater pile look like? Are you knitting them yet? Do you want to knit one now? Reply to this post and let me know!

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Is swatching a dirty word?

Do you do it? Or do you just dive right into a project?

Newest swatch for handspun sweater made with BFLXCormo lamb fleeces

As many of you know, I started this journey as a weaver.  How closely you set your threads is the key to getting the fabric that you want.  And once you know that you can build the rest of your calculations and get your yarn on the loom.  But knitting isn’t quite like that is it?  Most of us try to match the yarn in the pattern and if that yarn isn’t available in your collection or in your yarn store? What then? Some of my friends, and you know who you are dive right in with enthusiasm and the dream of a great new garment, but as they knit they realize, hey this is just too big or this is just too small.  A shawl, a cowl or a scarf can be very forgiving. They don’t have to be a particular size.  But what if you want to make gloves, mittens, socks or a sweater, fit does matter.  

I’ve been having yarn spun for me for several years now. And one thing I know for sure is that a small mill spun yarn is very hard to get spun in those classic sizes of DK or worsted or sport. I can get a yarn that is on the line between DK and worsted. I can get a yarn that is between sport and fingering.  So how are you supposed to use these yarns to make a published pattern?

You need to swatch! And you need to swatch any particular stitches that are in your pattern.  If your sweater has a cable, swatch it. If your sweater is in a basket stitch or a double moss stitch, swatch it.  What I hear people saying is, it takes time!! It takes extra yarn!! And you may be perfectly lucky and your garment may turn out the right size and shape without it. But what if it doesn’t? Then how much time have your wasted? How much material have your wasted? Will you rip it out or will you just set it aside in disgust?  

Here is my current long term project. I want to make my first handspun sweater.  I have a pattern in mind. It is a cardigan. It has double moss stitch as the body and the sleeves are cabled.  I am using 2 lamb fleeces from my Blue Faced Leicester/Cormo crossed ewes.  And I need to figure out if I want a 2 or 3 ply yarn.  So I need to sample the yarn AND the sweater.  And I need to determine the best way to process this fleece, whther to card or comb.  This past Crafternoon, I knit my swatch out of 3 ply. I was also able to really get a grip on how to spin these fleeces to minimize the noils and bits of chaff. I am combing the wool and then spinning off the combs.

Fleece on the combs ready to be spun

And as you can see, the resulting yarn (on the right) is turning out more lustrous and smooth than the carded yarn on the left. 

left side is carded fleece and right side is combed fleece

So please, spend the time to swatch. You will be a happier knitter.