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


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

  2. 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.