Happy Leap Day. I spent most of February traveling to visit my brother in California and then my sister in Hawaii on the big island. I brought my knitting with me. I completed or nearly completed two yokes that I’m still working on the bodies and sleeves for. One is hand spun and one is from commercial yarn and destined to become a pattern, I hope. The photo above is neither of these but a design that was finished before I left for my travels. The pattern is currently being test knit. With so many sweaters on the drawing board and under construction I’m hoping to post one each week in March.
Happy new year! I’ve been spending time converting some of our accessory patterns to commercial yarn so we are able to offer yarn that goes with out patterns. At the same time I’m still spinning. The photo above is my most recent handspun sweater. I purchased the fleece at the Fiber Festival of New England. The fleece is from the Northampton Smith vocational and agricultural school. It came with a note letting me know that the ewe’s name is Pumpkin and her lamb is Pie. Pumpkin is a Romney ewe with a pretty consistent grey fleece. I’m a sucker for a grey fleece but often the color has many shades making if difficult to spin an evenly colored yarn. Pumpkin it turns out it a pretty even grey. She’s also a pretty dark grey. I originally had planned to knit a sweater that was grey and over dyed grey with mustard but the over dyed grey with mustard didn’t create enough contrast. Even the navy over the grey is still fairly muted but I was pleased with the level of contrast with this pattern which is fairly busy. The photo shows the fleece to finished object with the washed fleece to the left, the carded fleece at the top, the handspun yarn to the right and the finished sweater. With my designing focused on commercial yarns I’ve decided I will try and spin and knit a handspun sweater a month to make use of the yarn I’m still spinning. We’ll have to see how this goes, especially when you add new design work and re-knitting. Always good to have a goal though!
It’s been forever since I’ve written a blog post. The last couple of months have been spent preparing for the fall and winter shows. I wrote and had the Stars in the Summer Sky sweater test knit and add a hat and mittens to go with it. At the Adirondack Wool Arts Festival I started on a sweater for myself from my handspun. The yarn is from a lovely almost black Romney fleece and the white is from a Montadale fleece. The first of that breed that I’ve ever spun. The wool was lovely to spin. The sweater pattern is based on a hat pattern that I designed years ago. This will hopefully be my Rhinebeck sweater for this year. We’re nearly ready. Stop by and stay Hi if you’re at Rhinebeck.
I totally missed the month of July. I was in the garden. My passion for gardening is at least as strong as my passion for spinning, knitting and designing so at this time of the year I take a break from the fiber. The clematis is Betty Anne Corning. It’s a favorite. As the weather begins to heat up it’s less fun to work in the garden and I begin to return to the fiber. I’m just up from knitting in the garden in a small shaded stone patio down the steps and and to the left. I’m working on a new sample of Hedgie’s socks in our new hand dyed commercially spun yarn. The journey from handspun yarn to commercial yarn in our samples and in the yarns we sell has been interesting and educational. I am a hand spinner. I love the process from raw fleece to finished garment. I love my handspun and that has had an effect on the commercial yarns I find acceptable. To start with as a team (Sarah and I) have agreed that we want wool that is raised in the US and spun in the US. It goes beyond that in that I prefer yarns that are two ply and not overly processed while still being soft. This means the wool is probably from a finer breed of sheep like Cormo, Merino or Rambouillet. It’s not right, wrong or the best it’s just what I like and imagine in my designs. At this point we’ve sampled a lot of yarns and settled on three that will allow us to support our current designs with yarn sourced and dyed by us. As I mentioned several posts ago the yarn so important in achieving the finished garment that you want.
March has been a quieter month. We had our last show at the Wayland Winter Farmer’s Market Fiber Days and I did a program for my spinning guild on blending for a gradient. Mostly I’ve been knitting for myself. I made the brown sweater in the photo above. The brown is a from a fleece from Black Brook Farm that I’ve had forever of unknown breeding and the white is from a Border Leicester fleece that I acquired several years ago from a horse acquaintance. I’ve had the idea of a yoked brown sweater in my head for a long time. I’m not totally sure I’m in love the the yoke pattern but the sweater fits wonderfully and will be a great addition to my wardrobe.