Monday, January 06, 2014

Happy Distaff Day 2014

Distaff Day is officially tomorrow, though the local celebration will be held in Cowichan this weekend.

My Goal to card, blend and spin two fleeces during the 12 days of Christmas, was successful.  Even without the setbacks, that was one heck of a challenge, but very rewarding.  I think I'll set myself a 12 day challenge next year as well.  Make it something of a tradition.

The icelandic sheep Dune is a lovely sandy colour, at least on the sheep it is.  Once it was washed, it was disappointingly white.  So I blended it with fibre from our rescue alpaca Herman who is sadly no longer with us.

It's roughly 40% Alpaca and 60% Icelandic wool.  Made 9 skeins of 2 ply yarn at between 8 and 12 WPI for a total of 1040 yds.  I spun it in a deliberately handspun texture because I wanted to knit a sweater that shows off the yarn.  I noticed most of my sweaters that I knit over the years show off the knitting skill, but now I'm interested in a more rustic look.

I'm not entirely certain if I have enough yardage for the sweater, so I'm knitting Elizabeth Zimmerman's sweater from her book The Sweater Workshop.  That way, I can change the design as I go along.  I can have a colourwork yoke or a simple raglan cardigan steeked up the front - depending on how much yarn I have.

It's knitting up very quickly on 6mm needles, at a gage of 3.25 sts per inch; however, when I measured the actual garment, I think I may have gotten the gage wrong.  It seems to vary from 13 sts per 4 inch all the way up to 14.5 sts per 4 inches... After 5 inches of knitting, I need 4 more inches around... so I think I'll take Zimmerman's advice and increase along the side seams, instead of frogging the whole thing and starting again.

But still, it's pretty.

The down side of this yarn is that it doesn't have much spring to it, the upside is that since it doesn't have much spring to it, the drape of the fabric is really nice.

I'm still not decided if I like the colour.  I really wanted it to look sandy like the sheep, but no such luck.  When it's in skein form, it looks a bit like a dirty white, but the knitted fabric looks better, almost like a sandy white with a glow to it - not a shine, but like the wool captures the light and projects it out again.  Maybe oatmeal would be the right way to describe this colour.  Mmm... I like oatmeal, now I know what to have for breakfast.

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