7, 6, 5, 4

No, not a countdown to New Years Eve, but rather a countdown of needle sizes to find the one that works best.

This Christmas I gave Dan 14 skeins of yarn.  A brilliant gift, that gives back.  (Plus I had a $50 Gift Certificate, it was also 20% off, so a great bargain as well).  This yarn has been on my wish list to knit with.  It is Shelter by Brooklyn Tweed, the color is Birdbook (not sure exactly what that means).

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The sheep are all American, and it is processed in the US as well.  And soft to boot.  Here is the story of the sheep from Wyoming, and the yarn processed in New Hampshire.

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The yarn is  a soft woolen spun :

The distinctive character of Targhee-Columbia wool shines in Shelter, our versatile medium-weight yarn. Shelter is woolen spun, meaning the fibers remain in a lofty jumble that traps air and offers remarkable warmth and lightness. Its two plies are gently twisted to preserve that buoyant quality, so Shelter is a little more delicate than most commercial yarns. Woolen-spun yarns are also more adaptable in gauge, as they can compress to a dense sport weight or bloom to cohere as a gauzy fabric when worked on large needles. Shelter has a dry, soft hand and a faintly rustic nature; woolen spinning sometimes results in slightly thinner or thicker sections, and you’ll find the occasional fleck of vegetable matter that proves our wool is never treated with harsh chemicals. Garments knit from Shelter achieve their full beauty after a wet blocking, as each stitch relaxes and bonds with its neighbors to produce an even, light, plush fabric with a halo. You shouldn’t notice any change in gauge. Shelter is designed to be a workhorse yarn that invites cables, ribbing, textured stitch motifs, open work, plain stockinette and garter stitch. We think it’s ideal for sweaters of every variety, winter accessories, and blankets.

The green tweed is lovely, but I really wanted to make sure that Dan liked it as well, which he did.  Gauge on this yarn says 20 sts/4″ with size 7 needles.  I started with that, but it was so loose and sloppy that I tore it out, it probably would have been good to keep as an example.  Then I progressively went d0own in needle size, I was thinking that eventually the fabric would just become too dense, but it didn’t.

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Size 6 was still wonky, with large gaps between the rows.

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Size 5 was getting better, but not the fabric drape that I was looking for.

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Amazingly enough, size 4 was a perfect fit.  18 sts/4″.

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All the time while working these swatches, I was thinking that I wanted to make a sweater using the English Tailoring method that I had learned in a couple of Vogue Knitting Live classes from Julie Weisenberger, aka cocoknits.

I chose the pattern Antonia/Antonio.  This pattern has a gauge of 18 sts/ 4″, a perfect fit.  I was prepared however to adjust the sizing once I got the fabric density correct.  I am not sure who could get the gauge of 20 sts/ 4″ with this yarn on size 7 needles.

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The sweater starts at the top and is knit down with no seams. I will add hidden pockets to this, and most likely a bit longer in the torso, as Dan is fairly tall.   A brilliant gift if you ask me, this makes gift giving so much more pleasurable.  Plus I can try it on him as I go.