Sunday, November 26, 2017

…in which she finally finishes a sweater

I have exciting news – my handspun, handknit sweater is done!greenbow1

Longtime readers will remember that I bought this fiber at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival in 2015. It was called “Romoca,” a blend of Romney wool, mohair, and alpaca from Singleton Fiber Processing. The colorway is called “sea glass.” It’s mostly green, but you can see that it has a ton of other colors in it, too – hence, I called my handspun “greenbow.” IMG_2177

I finished a 3-ply yarn in January, and then the yarn marinated. I tried not to let it sit toooo long, though, since I resolved to knit more handspun in 2017.

For this sweater, I used Ysolda Teague’s pattern Blank Canvas. It is worked bottom up. It is a plain sweater which has one important detail that sold me: a shoulder that is a combination raglan/saddle shoulder construction. I know from experience that raglans don’t fit the best on me, and I looked forward to this mod. You can see it well on the back of the shoulder:greenbow5

Of course, my gauge with handspun did not match the pattern gauge. I worked the smallest size in the pattern (30” bust) in hopes of getting a 38.74” finished bust size.

Mostly, this worked pretty well. Ysolda writes her patterns with with numbers of rows, though, which meant quite a lot of math since length at her row gauge did not match length at my row gauge. I think I did not do this perfectly, as my sweater is a bit long. I also think the fiber blend has something to do with it – both mohair and alpaca grow a lot and you can never quite tell how much with a small swatch. There is definitely a bit of bunching in the back that I don’t love (but I can live with it):greenbow6

Some things I want to remember about this sweater knitting experience:

  • It is really difficult to judge size when knitting bottom up. The sleeves are supposed to be 3/4 sleeve, but they are a bit long for that. Since they were worked cuff-up, it is harder to alter them now. I could knit a new cuff and graft it on, but because of the color variation in handspun yarn, there will be a distinct line where the yarns change… a line I don’t want to see every time I look down at my hands. Perhaps I should have blocked the sleeve while it was still on the needles to see how much the fabric would change…?
  • Speaking of handspun inconsistencies… I tried alternating skeins as I got near the end of each skein, but I must not be doing it right. I’ll have to work on that more another time. I eventually gave up on that.
  • The pattern calls for a few short rows at the top of the back (near the neck), and it suggests using a “wrapless short row” rather than the traditional "wrap-and-turn” technique. I looked this up and used Carol Sunday’s video, which is excellent. I now LOVE wrapless short rows and will never wrap and turn again!
  • While this shoulder construction is an improvement over a straight raglan, I still think it produces some odd creases and bumps on me, especially in the underarm area. I’m still looking for a great shoulder (preferably in a top-down construction). And since I don’t mind seaming so much, maybe I’ll just go back to the set-in sleeve.


Overall, though, I am pleased with this sweater. I think it will be a bit warm for me to wear indoors (at least at the office), so this may be a winter weekend sweater for me.

Finished weight is 442 grams. I don’t know about yardage because I usually don’t bother to work that out. I know I should… but I also know that handspun is delightfully inconsistent. I bought 1.5 pounds to begin with, and between sampling for spinning and swatching for knitting, I still have a skein and a half or so left. Hats, anyone?greenbow3


Bonny said...

Your sweater looks terrific, and you look terrific in it!

Steven said...

Love this sweater, and even more your thoughtfulness while knitting it. I like the hybrid shoulder. I wonder if those wrapless short rows are kin to the German short rows that Staci is always talking about -- I've never tried them myself, but might have a chance with the sweater I'm knitting for Jeff. I, too, have sleeve length issues, but since most of my sweaters are bottom up, I have this problem more often then you! I'm mostly going by faith on the sweater I'm knitting now.

Greenbow is one of my favorite words now.