Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Handspun Sweater

This story starts about six months ago, when I attended the Hansen miniSpinner retreat in Port Townsend, WA.  It was a wonderful experience, and I brought home some roving that I purchased at Taylored Fibers; some beautiful CVM/Merino/Silk.  I had asked Barry about CVM because I wanted to try it.  I had bought a little bit of it previously and it was awful to spin - lumpy and kind of sticky.  Barry told me that it was probably not very good quality and he kindly searched around until he located a quantity of this nice blend.  I bought three bumps; about 21 ounces.

I started spinning it soon after I got back home and after a few months, I had it finished.  I decided to 3-ply it to try to make the fabric look tweedy, and also because it was spinning fairly thin.  When I finished, I was delighted with the yarn.  The judges at the Evergreen State Fair were, too, as I received an award for Class Runner Up for one of the skeins.

The problem was that I only got about 750 yards and didn't think that was enough for a sizeable sweater.  I contacted the Taylors and asked if they had more fiber and, of course, they didn't.  I searched around for sweaters that used a minimal quantity of yarn, and settled on the Summer Open Cardigan from Knitting Pure & Simple.  It's a short raglan style with elbow length sleeves.  I thought it would give me flexibility to end whenever I got short of yarn, so I began.  I knit it pretty much as written, except I put in some waist shaping.  I knit until it was about hip length and then started both sleeves.  I had a couple of minor setbacks on the sleeves; they were getting too tight and one ball of yarn had a lot more green in it, so they were a little mis-matched.  I ripped back a ways, took out some of the sleeve decreases, and started alternating balls of yarn.  The yarn is fairly thick and warm and I thought short sleeves might not be a good idea, so I just kept knitting and managed to get full length sleeves done.  I actually had quite a sizeable ball of yarn left; I must have used less than 700 yards for the sweater, so success!  It took a couple of days to dry after I washed it - we're having record rain even for Seattle - but it fits and is super cozy and warm.

A happy ending to a very satifying project!

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