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.
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.
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 :)