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  • knitting1105 10:15 pm on September 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Great Northern Knits, Twin Peaks   

    My Prize 

    A  couple of years ago I entered a few items in the knitting contest at YarnCon, Chicago’s Indy Yarn fair that has been going on for several years now.  My Polar Bear Sweater was the winner of the best knitted sweater, and won the Best in Show also.

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    I was so excited, and received several nice prizes. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

    This sweater was knit during the 2008 Ravelympics.  I knit most of it while sitting at the beach at Lake Michigan, and then knit like a fiend when I got home to the neglect of everything else to finish during the summer Olympics – 2 weeks.  I was really proud of the results, and so happy to win something for my knitting efforts.

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    One of the prizes that I was to win, and receive later was the knitting book Great Northern Knits.

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    I must admit, I don’t even know what Twin Peaks is, but was happy to win a new book.  Then I mostly forgot about it.  I was surprised a couple of weeks ago when a package came in the mail, and I knew that I had not ordered anything.  So to my surprise, this book was inside.  They hadn’t forgot about me after all this time!

    There are some fun patterns in the book, and I will have to delve into it further at some point:

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    But, what caught my attention was this  sweater, knit at a very fine gauge.  Just my type of project.  This is on the to-do list.

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    Thanks Great Northern Knits!

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    • Deborah 9:20 am on September 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      That sweater is fabulous. You deserve all the prizes!

      Like

    • canaryknits 11:39 am on September 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Thank YOU!! 🙂

      Like

    • Diane Hamilton 12:38 pm on September 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I will be anxious to see your finished project. I’m glad they remember to send the book after 2 years. Wonder what took so long.

      Like

    • salpal1 4:58 pm on September 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Very nice prize for an incredible sweater!

      Like

  • knitting1105 1:12 pm on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Beth Brown-Reinsel, Gansey, Knitting Ganseys   

    Knitting Ganseys 

    If you read my last post, you know that Gansey sweaters originated in Guernsey, and the name was modified.  Years ago, I took the Gansey sweater class from Beth Brown-Reinsel.  We made a small sampler Gansey, that I still have.

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    This was at Stitches Midwest in 2002.  At the time I purchased her wonderful book, and she signed it for me.  It was a great class, and I have always wanted to make an adult sized Gansey, but haven’t gotten to it yet.

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    Photos from the original book:

    The book has great History, instructions on how to make the sampler Gansey, and some Gansey sweaters that you can follow the pattern for.  In the intervening years, I have taken at least one more class from Beth on twined knitting.  She is a great teacher. So, when I saw that an updated version of this book was coming out, I was all for it.  This is not the first time that I have purchased a newer version of a book that I already own.  I was not disappointed.

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    This book is hardcover, the first was a paperback.  This is full color versus B&W.  The photography is beautiful, stunning scenery, and gorgeous knits.  I read this like a novel, something that seems to be more and more common with knitting books.  The history that I have garnered from knitting books is amazing.  This has reignited my interest in making a Gansey sweater.  Of course, I found out that there is still a factory on Guernsey Island that makes sweaters after I got back!  I would highly recommend this book.

    I am still keeping my original copy.  Plus it has a note and signature from Beth!

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    • tonymarkp 7:07 pm on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I have the Knitting Ganseys book but never took the class. I made the adult sized sampler gansey for myself waaaay back when the book came out. I’ve knit a lot of ganseys since then. I hope you make some. The sweaters in that book are timeless, and even encourage you to try out steeking with a cardigan. If you can find the yarn, Wendy makes a sport-weight gansey yarn that is totally perfect for the patterns in that book. I have some in the stash waiting to be turned into an Alice Starmore gansey. 🙂 Alice Starmore also published a few gansey patterns knit in the round. It’s been so much fun to read about your trip to Guernsey and your plans to knit a gansey. It’s actually my favorite type of sweater construction!

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 10:34 pm on September 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        You are inspiring me to start one, just as soon as I finish up a few other things.

        Liked by 1 person

  • knitting1105 10:29 am on August 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: guernsey Island, Guernsey sweaters   

    Ganseys in Guernsey 

    This past summer we had a wonderful 2 week trip to Europe which started with 3 nights in Guernsey.  Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands, technically a part of England, but situated much closer to the Normandy coast of France.  We flew into London, and took the ferry the next day from Portsmouth to Guernsey, an 8 hour ride.

    Arriving in the beautiful port at Guernsey, we were already smitten.

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    Why Guernsey?  This question was asked of me more times than I can count.  Originally, our big trip this year was going to be to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.  We quickly realized when we started planning, that due to difficulties getting from one country to the next, we would need more planning time.  Our next choice was Guernsey, Aix-en-Provence and Paris.  I had lived my junior year in Aix, and had been wanting to go back for some time.  And who doesn’t love Paris?  But Guernsey?  Well, it all started with a book that I read, that lead to a fascination with the island.

    8110V2WqqLL During WWII, Guernsey  and the other Channel Islands were occupied by the Nazi’s for 5 years. This is a fictional account of that time period, and how the residents suffered under the Nazi occupation.  After reading it several years ago, and having little knowledge of the island, and none of it’s history, I started trolling the internet to find out more.  What I discovered was beautiful scenery and an island that fascinated me.  That motivated me to have the island high on the “travel to” list.  And, I knew that Guernsey sweaters (later referred to as Ganseys) originated on the island.  As well as Guernsey cows.  Jersey island is right next door with it’s Jersey cows.

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    We loved our stay at Guernsey, definitely the highlight of our trip.  We stayed at the Ziggurat, and this is the view of the harbor outside of our window.

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    And the view at Breakfast

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    My husband is the best at indulging my interests, especially when it comes to knitting.  He found  The Folk and Costume Museum, and thought they might have some of the Guernsey sweaters there.  It was in a beautiful old converted farm.

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    Dan got his history of the island, and I found Guernsey sweaters.  My photos are not the best, the museum was very quaint, but poorly lit.  What I found really interesting is that they are known for these sweaters, but had no sheep on the island.  All of the wool was imported from England.

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    The guernsey is the mainstay of Guernsey’s knitting industry which can be dated back to the late 15th century when a royal grant was obtained to import wool from England and re-export knitted goods to Normandy and Spain. Peter Heylin described the manufacture and export of “waste-cotes” during the reign of Charles I. The first use of the name “guernsey” outside of the island [2] is in the 1851 Oxford Dictionary, but the garment was in use in the bailiwick before that.[3]

    The guernsey came into being as a garment for fishermen who required a warm, hard wearing, yet comfortable item of clothing that would resist the sea spray. The hard twist given to the tightly packed wool fibres in the spinning process and the tightly knitted stitches, produced a finish that would “turn water” and is capable of repelling rain and spray.[4]

    The guernsey was traditionally knitted by the fishermen’s wives and the pattern passed down from mother to daughter through the generations. While commercially available sweaters are machine knit, the final finishing of these machine-knit parts is completed by hand.[4]

    Through trade links established in the 17th century, the guernsey found favour with seafarers around the British Isles, and many coastal communities developed their own “ganseys” based on the original pattern. Whilst the classic guernsey pattern remained plain, the stitch patterns used became more complex the further north the garment spread, with the most complex evolving in the Scottish fishing villages.[5]

    Mary Wright argues that the use and wearing of guernseys throughout the British Isles for over a century and a half almost justifies the guernsey for qualification as a national costume.[6] A guernsey from the Folk Museum Guernsey was included in the 2010 BBC project A History of the World in 100 Objects.[7]

    The term can also refer to a similarly-shaped garment made of woven cloth, also called a Guernsey shirt or smock. There are a number of different names for the same garments, for instance Guernsey frock, Guernsey shirt, smock-frock, or fisherman’s frock. Essentially these are all the same garment, with the materials varying based on the purpose for which it is worn.[8]

    There is still a factory on Guernsey making the traditional style sweaters.  I am regretting not visiting that.  We were, however, so smitten with the island that we really want to go back and visit Guernsey again, and Jersey, Salk and St. Malo.

    Here are a few more photos from Guernsey:

    The walk up to our hotel:

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    View from lunch one day:

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    The German Occupation Museum.  This was really fascinating.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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    • salpal1 5:30 am on August 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Wonderful! My grandparents had a vacation on the channel islands back in the 60’s or early 70’s. I got a red Guernsey sweater that I loved. As I loved that book! Adding it to the bucket list! I wonder how life will change on the islands with Brexit? I imagine they have liked having the open borders, being so close to Brittany and Normandy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 12:29 pm on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        How cool that you had a sweater from Guernsey! My husband and I cannot recommend the island enough. We are waiting to go back after all the Brexit stuff has settled out. right now, the island feels more French than English, and the boats from St. Malo come regularly.

        Liked by 1 person

        • salpal1 7:38 pm on September 2, 2018 Permalink

          I expect that life will be quite different if they can’t come and go to France at will. I will definitely add it to my list. I spent a lovely week in Brittany, and several days in Normandy, I am sure I would love the channel islands.

          Like

  • knitting1105 11:46 am on November 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    English Tailoring Part II 

    A few years back, I took a class at Vogue Knitting from CocoKnits on English tailoring, and loved it.  We made a baby sweater in that class, which I gave to a friend’s grandson.  I repeated a similar class with her a couple of years later, hoping to hone this process and apply it to more sweaters.  Most recently, I gave Dan yarn for Christmas last year, and have attempted to knit one of CocoKnits top down sweaters for him, I had great difficulty with the gauge, and he has yet to receive that sweater.  I am thinking that this might be a good Holiday project for me…

    So, I posted recently that I was working on this Dale of Norway baby sweater, and wanted to do the set in sleeves as the English tailoring method.  I am proud to say that I have completed this, there was a bit of ripping back and experimenting, but I am quite proud of the end result.

    The only seaming is a few stitches under the arm.  And, the fit is a nice shoulder.

    This sweater has a sweet flower pattern at the bottom.  The pattern called for knitting the fair isle back and forth, but I choose to knit it in the round for those few rows, and steek it.

    I also knit the sleeves in the round.  These few adaptations really made this work as a great English tailoring sweater.

    Hoping to sew the short steek soon and finish this up.

    Julie Weisenberger is a really great teacher and I would highly recommend her classes.  If you are not able to take one of her classes, I highly recommend her new book, which I purchased this past year.

     

    Julie also has several great tutorials on her website that you all should check out, regardless of whether you use the English tailoring method.  I am always on the lookout for new techniques that either minimize finishing or give my knitted objects a more finished professional look.

    Another book that comes to mind is The “I Hate to Finish Sweaters” Guide to Finishing Sweaters.  This is a great book on sweater finishing, i.e. thinking about how you set up your sweater before you start knitting.  Many, many years ago I took a finishing class, and the instructor recommended this book.  It is a short spiral bound book, and one that I refer to over and over again.  I saw it on Amazon for $36!, but found reasonably priced copies here.

     

     
    • Diane Hamilton 12:29 am on November 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      The baby sweater is so pretty, I always admire your talent and skill in knitting. The time you put into these gifts is something that can’t be measured.

      Like

  • knitting1105 5:18 pm on July 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    This Sweater makes me sad 

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    To be clear, this is one of my favorite baby sweater patterns, I have made several, and have plans for another.  I love the kimono style wrap, which is very easy for dressing babies.

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    This was made with Baby Ull by Dale of Norway, now Dale Garn.  I have been knitting with this yarn for many many years, it is my favorite baby yarn that I have ever tried, and I have tried many.  The colors have always been so amazingly beautiful and rich, and the yarn is faithfully great quality.  Until recently.  I just heard that they had shifted production of their yarn from Norway to China a couple of years ago.  I have not made a ton of baby sweaters in that time.  Then I was working on this, the brown yarn and the blue yarn were the quality that I have come to expect from DoN.  Then, I was finishing this up last week for a gift, and decided that the lovely grayish purple would be the perfect 3rd color.  Knitting with it, I started to find slubs in the yarn and some poorly spun areas.  Not something that I had ever encountered with this yarn before.  When I looked at the ball bands, the brown and blue were from my older stash, and made in Norway, the Purple was from China; not the same quality.

    I still love how the sweater came out.

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    Here is one that I made several years ago for my Niece Riley.  The colors make it feel so different.

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    Of course, I needed to make booties to go with this sweater.  This is a free pattern, Christine’s stay-on booties.  I have made these before, they are fun and look like little moon boots for those “Fred Flintstone” shaped newborn feet!

    To make matters worse, I recently read that DoN will no longer be selling to the US market.  I do have quite a stash of Baby Ull (for those few who have been privy to my Baby Ull hoarding), but lacking in a few of the neutrals.  I took care of part of that with a recent order to KidsKnits.

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    And while I was there, they had all of their DoN booklets on sale so, I added to my collection.

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    I must say that while these books are nice, they come nowhere near the level of sophistication and color work of the older booklets.  I am happy that I have many of the older ones in my library.

    I think that i will stash up a bit more, and morn the loss of the beautiful designs and yarn.  I am hoping to find some North American yarns that can fill the void.

     
    • Pam 9:10 pm on July 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I will check what I have and share with you…if it isn’t made in China. I bought it for a baby blanket.

      Liked by 1 person

      • knitting1105 9:58 am on July 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Pam, no need. I have plenty for the moment. Thanks for thinking of me. Make that baby blanket!

        Like

    • Gracey 7:42 pm on July 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Lovely colors….I felt like that when I found our Manos would no longer make their cotton stria…I stocked up on it whenever I saw it…

      Like

    • Diane F Hamilton 10:17 pm on August 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      It is too bad that they switched to China production, but the sweater still turned out very nice!

      Like

  • knitting1105 3:18 pm on December 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Shelter yarn   

    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.

     
    • Heidi Klick 11:12 am on March 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Cool sweater and great yarn. Totally captivated by Brooklyn Tweed yarn. Lovely feel to it. Biedbook is one of my favorite colors.

      Like

  • knitting1105 8:08 pm on March 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Procrastination 

    Many many times I complete the knitting portion of a garment, and it sits waiting and waiting to be finished, mainly sewn together.  Blocking to me is fun, but piecing a garment together is not, and I need to get over this.  Today I sat out all of the pieces for my Batwing Pullover.   I thought for sure that I would do it this afternoon, now it looks like tomorrow.

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    There are only 4 seams…

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    Then, I would get to knit the cowl, which looks fun.

     
    • Diane Hamilton 12:04 am on March 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I can understand the piecing would not be as much fun as the knitting or the blocking to see the final project. Hope you get it done so we can see the finished project soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  • knitting1105 4:53 pm on January 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Pullover Progressing 

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    Batwing Pullover pieces

    All but the collar is knit up on the Batwing Pullover that I started a couple of weeks ago.  Aurora 8 by Karabella is one of my favorite cabling yarns, it is so soft and squishy to knit with, holds the structure of the cable beautifully.  Unfortunately, I have to agree with comments on Ravelry that this yarn is expensive ($10/98 yard skein), and has way too many knots in it.  Someone had to tie the knots, so they know that there are a lot.

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    Batwing Pullover Detail

    I had 20 skeins of this yarn in deep deep stash.  Finding a use for it was exciting, and I knew that even with that amount, I would run short of the yardage required to complete this sweater. While Aurora 8 is still produced, my Turquoise color had been long discontinued.  Searching the internet, I found 2 skeins in a clearance warehouse that I ordered.  There were some on people’s Ravelry pages, but I did not have luck acquiring those.  I did yet another google search this time using the color number, not the name.  Bingo!  I scored, and found a stash.  I purchased 6 skeins, hoping that that will be enough to finish the collar (which is big).

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    I really want to finish this, but the sewing of the pieces needs to happen first, and I need to be in the right frame of mind, with the right lighting.  I guess that it will not be completed to take to knitting tomorrow.

     
  • knitting1105 4:06 pm on January 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Diane will be Proud 

    On a recent post, my sister Diane noted that it was really good that I was starting a hat using yarn that I already had in my stash.  On a trip to the bookstore last week I purchased the Holiday 2015 issue of Vogue magazine.

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    All of my magazine subscriptions have been let go, some for a long time now.  I vowed to only purchase a magazine when there was a pattern, or perhaps a particular article that I really wanted.  Well, this is the pattern that made me choose this magazine:

    VK H15 photos by Rose Callahan

    Batwing Pullover

    I just love the look of this sweater, much like a cape or poncho, but I think more practical.  So, when I was looking at the pattern, I remembered some Karabella Aurora 8 yarn that I had in stash.  20 skeins, I thought for sure that would do it.  I love Aurora 8, it cables so beautifully, and holds it’s structure well. Turquoise would not have been my first choice of color, but the amount of yarn needed for this sweater would be a major investment, the stash yarn that I have was purchased at a deep discount years ago.

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    When I started comparing the recommended yarn and yardage needed, I was very disappointed, as I was still quite short of what was needed.  A search of Aurora 8 found this to be a discontinued color.  I decided to swatch the yarn for gauge and see where I was, thinking that I could just make the lower band and collar of a different color.  To my surprise, my gauge was such that I could knit the small size and achieve a large version.  That really helped with the required yardage.  Online I found 2 skeins at an outlet on sale, and one person on Ravelry has agreed to trade me 5 of their skeins.  One store still has some at full price also.

    So, I started, and even though this color of yarn bleeds onto my hands as I am knitting, I am in love with this yarn once again.  Very anxious to complete this.  I think that it will make a superb Fall/Spring sweater for outerwear.

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    Batwing in progress

     

     
    • Diane Hamilton 4:12 pm on January 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      So in quilting I always say buy 3 yards if you don’t know how you will use the material. In knitting, it sounds like you need 30 skeins for a large project???

      Like

      • knitting1105 2:00 pm on January 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Normally about 1,500-2,000 yards would be sufficient for a sweater, but it all depends on weight of yarn, cabling, and how big you are making it, in addition to the design. I am happy that I have finally found a purpose for this yarn!

        Like

  • knitting1105 10:56 pm on November 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    All done but the buttons 

    I have finally finished my first handspun and hand knit sweater using Woolgatherings fiber.  The process from fiber to sweater was fun.  I first spun the variegated as a 3ply,

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    Then I ordered and spun 2 plys of eggplant and one of rust as my semi-solid contrast. My problem here was that my spinning was not as fine with the semi-solid as it was with the variegated. After that, and a couple of false starts with patterns, my friend Jane suggested the February Ladies Sweater.  It was the perfect match.  I was able to most of my semi-solid to maximize the length.

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    Then I needed to choose buttons.  These were the 2 choices that I had on hand.

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    Even though there is no green in the fabric, I think that it made the best option, pulling out the other colors.

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    Problem is that the buttons are a bit too heavy for the drape of the sweater.  I will be on the lookout for something similar though.  The 3/4 length sleeve is just right.  If I were to restart this sweater I would have fractally spun the variegated so has not to have the long concentrations of pooling.  That said, I do love the colors, and the fibers were a dream to spin.

     

     
    • Diane 11:00 pm on November 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      It always amazes me to see the starting fibers and the finished product…looks great!

      Like

      • knitting1105 11:40 am on November 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        This was my first sweater, I wasn’t really sure how it was going to turn out, but I am happy with the results.

        Like

    • andresue 9:00 pm on November 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      It’s beautiful!

      Like

    • knitsbyjenn 10:51 am on November 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Lovely work!

      Like

      • knitting1105 11:39 am on November 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you! I think that I have to change the buttons though, they are too heavy for the fabric.

        Like

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