sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Monday, October 27, 2008

handspun wisteria sweater from twist collective

Umpqua, superfine Corriedale lamb fleece-- silver to steel grey with taupe tips
from Whitefish Bay Farm

scoured in lock formation

handcombed into sliver

spun worsted (short forward draw)

...all for Wisteria by Kate Gilbert from Twist Collective, Fall 2008
Started: August 25, 2008
Finished: October 17, 2008
(spun yarn during same timeframe)
US 8 needles, variety of lengths


I really like this sweater. The idea, the shape, the silhouette. The top down yoke! More than just on me, from browsing finished Wisterias on Ravelry I really like how well this sweater seems to fit a huge variety of sizes *well.* I tried and tried to take a picture of myself in it and nothing worked (not used to taking full on body shots and not feet, I guess), but I like how it looks on me-- a rare thing. I knit the 47" (!!) size, giving myself 3" for the bust for ease and relying on the gentle shaping at the waist Kate provided to give me some shape (illusion with my linebacker frame) and it worked. I guess I'm just surprised that a sweater can really fit a range of body shapes and sizes in a complimentary way :)

I'm also surprised I managed to spin an entire sweater's worth of yarn as I knit... I'd comb-spin-knit, comb-spin-knit... I spun 1355 yd over 7 skeins and 500 grams (not including combing waste) and really, IT WASN'T HARD. If I can do it, anyone can :) Now, was each skein the same yardage per gram? Nope. Should I/could I have spun all my singles at once and mixed older and newer bobbins when plying for a more even end yarn? Probably. But I was impatient to knit, as fast as this sweater knits up I wanted it done. I'm not entering it into a wool show, I'm not asking for curious viewers to turn it inside out and look for irregularities where I added in a new skein*... I just wanted and got a really nice sweater that I'll wear and wear and that I am thrilled I took from fleece to finished object.

Speaking of wear and wear, I've worn this sweater a lot over the past few days... at least five. (Yay for cold weather and putting off turning on the heater!) I'm already seeing pilling wear at the underarms and across the lower part of the body.


Aside from needing to buy a sweater shaver, I don't really care. I do find myself thinking about it though... I intentionally spun the combed sliver with a short forward draw (inchworm) for a "true worsted" yarn (inchworm from fibers all the same length and combed in one direction), so I was a little surprised to see it appear so soon since a true worsted yarn should be smooth and dense. The more I think about it though it makes sense... the lamb's fleece was very, very short (2.5") and extremely crimpy/lofty-- not really the wools "meant" for combing and smoothing down into worsted yarn. I did remove a lot of waste from the fiber when combing, but maybe the prep and spinning method couldn't overcome the nature of the fleece itself.

Too esoteric.

As you may have guessed, I find myself locked in a love affair with raw fleece lately... I actually take a lot of enjoyment from every step, and really dig the individual characteristics of each greasy beast as I wash, comb, and spin them. This one-- the color of the fleece was what had my toes curling, pale to deep grey all tied together with the taupe tips made the color change on how you looked at it. First it was grey, bands of grey where you can see each little puff of sliver spun and run out...


...where a different angle brought out the warmth of the light brown shades mixed in during combing.


And another.


Definitely not a brown sweater, but not just a grey either.

As happy as I am (and that those who love me think it's spectacular, too)... I'm thrilled to be finished combing this fleece so I can start on another. :) Big plans!!

Til then, moo!

*one more idea i had spinning and knitting this sweater... i've seen designers use a smaller needle to achieve shaping across a garment where a pattern would make it difficult to insert traditional shaping. what would be cool is to think about spinning different weights of the same yarn from a single fiber to achieve that effect-- slightly lighter weight yarn at the waist/lower sleeves for a clingier effect, slightly heavier when incorporating cables and don't want to do increases to compensate for the pulling in, etc. lots of possibilities where shaping is concerned. i can't think of any commerical yarn where it comes in weight/grist gradation across the same colorway (much less dyelot), but for spinners! kind of a neat thought experiment, anyways :)


Krista McCurdy said...

Your sweater is so inspiring, Aija-- and it looks absolutely fantastic on you!

Knit - R - Done said...

It's really lovely. I would be so proud if I made this from scratch like that. There is an oly Spindlicity issue that discussed knitting a smoke ring from yarn spun from thick to thin.

adrienne said...

That is so Gorgeous! I am so jealous and inspired! It looks amazing, and you must be so happy with it :)

Harlem Purl said...

My jaw hit the floor once I saw your sweater. I am absolutely amazed at its beauty. Its stunning! I'm a spinner also but I have always thought as spinning yarn for a sweater as such a daunting task but your project has given me so much hope. I'm off to go through my stash of raw fleece to see what I can experiment your theory with :-)

Necia said...

Bravo! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your wisteria. The fact that you went from fleece to sweater, makes me love it even more. I know you are so proud of yourself. Hell, I'm overjoyed for you! So, what's next?

Micki said...

That sweater is a masterpiece! I hope you're still wearing it when you're 90.

lexa said...

That must be the coolest to be able to say, "Why, yes, thank you. I did knit this sweater, and I also spun the wool for it."

joan said...

Wow! What an amazing accomplishment.

Tikabelle said...

I saw you wearing it at Color, and you're absolutely right. It looks fabulous on you. Your card went in the mail today! :D

Sus said...

Wow. The sweater is amazing! So cool that you *really* made it from *scratch*! Congratulations!

sula said...

What a wonderful journey! I've seen the word "inspiring" in several other comments, and that is just what I was thinking, too.

wenchlette said...

SOOOO inspirational! Makes me think my measly 80 and 90-yd 2-ply skeins are laughable. :P


Kate said...

Absolutely amazing! Wonderful spinning and knitting.

the Lady said...

Sweet f.o.!

To prevent pilling, a fiber needs to be spun to the correct diameter - too thick for a fine wool and the fibers work loose to the surface, causing pilling. What weight did you spin your singles?

Kathryn said...

Waugh! Awesome sweater!

That thing would make even the most fleece-skittish spinner long for spring.

I look forward to the next fleece-to-finished project of yours.

June said...

Super duper!!! And your speed, omg, I bow down to you (mumbling "notworthy, notworthy, notworthy").

I agree with your thoughts about the pilling. Curiously, I once knit a sweater from Berrocco Wensleydale yarn, which supposedly is/was a commercial worsted-prep, worsted-spun yarn, and it pilled, too. I'm guessing that was attributable to fiber breakage? Hard to know.

Really, wonderful accomplishment you have there - love it.

Anonymous said...

Your entire effort from prep to spinning to knitting is really impressive and inspiring! What a beautiful sweater!

Vilde said...

Wonderful!!! I love the sweater, and love it even more for knowing the journey of the fiber.

I've been snagged by the love of raw fleeces lately too, and you make it seem so possible to go all the way from fleece to sweater! I'm on board!!

Jenifer said...

So incredibly cool! I love seeing the transformation from raw wool finished piece. Truly inspiring!

elizabeth said...

Way to go, you!!! I love it. I'm currently knitting a gray/brown handspun cardigan and I know exactly what you mean about the color - it's making a button choice difficult!

farm-witch said...

Oh, woe could I clear the schedule and work on my spun/in spinning sweater, now - yours has me all aflutter with desire for sweaters already running deep in my beautiful! And such a fine accomplishment!

Elena said...

Oh, lovely lovely sweater!

April said...

Wow. Just wow.

You're amazing. :)

KiwiMam said...

What a beauty! I'm going to start spinning for my own Wisteria over the coming months and yours is very inspiring. Your experience with the corriedale combed top and pilling is similar to my own and I'm experimenting with different things to try and remedy it before I begin.
Great work!

Zonda said...

Thanks for sharing the start to finish. I just love the sweater!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I am so impressed that you finished so quickly. The sweater looks great. Judith M-M would be horrified that you did not mix your bobbins but then again, you can always break the rules "if you have a good reason"! You have a really beautiful treasure!

Javajem said...

Wow spun and knit in such a short timeframe - you rock!

I am so in love with this pattern - I may be making one too!

Mary-Kay said...

Oh wow, I'm so impressed! I want to do this too! It's absolutely STUNNING! Excuse my ignorance, but could you also use a drum carder, or will that give you a different outcome on the spun yarn?

I love it!

Meghann said...

Beautiful! It really is amazing:)

kelp! said...

Wow! Both yarn and sweater look amazing!

danielle said...

this is beautiful, but... ummm... you scare me. like, i'm glad that you are fascinated with fiber arts because if you put the same genius/energy into weapons manufacturing we'd all be toast.

i am so in AWE of you! rock on!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Just . . . wow. How amazing to be a part of every step of the process, and to do it all so quickly!

I am in awe :)


WonderMike said...

Aija, you are HANDS DOWN my favorite inspirational blogger. HOW DO YOU DO IT ALL? Seriously, woman! Your spinning is to do die for. Your knitting is gorgeous. And I just love reading about your fibery adventures.

Thanks for being so darned excellent!

Courtney said...

amazing!! Great job!

DeAnna said...

Wow! Lovely, and you knit it so fast. Which part of the whole process did you enjoy the most. It's is really beautiful.

BobL612 said...

I am working with a beautiful fleece from Whitefish Bay Farm. A gray silver fleece from a sheep named Tatiana. I am impressed at your quickness, combing, spinning, and then knitting. How many passes through the combs and what type of comb? I just go combs in August, English combs, 5 pitch.

Anonymous said...

thanks for share.

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