Okay, maybe some of you remember that I started spinning? Well, I just finished my first handspun sweater. I dyed, spun and knitted this sweater all by myself and I am enormously proud :) And that is the reason why I am showing you another sweater today ;) I couldn’t help it, I just had to show the pictures to the world :)
To refresh your memories: I bought 600 g of Dorset Horn roving and dyed it with Ashord wool dye (color were Emerald and Teal) and I spun approx 300g of it with my drop spindle until, finally, my first spinning wheel arrived here. I ordered a Woolmakers Bliss ST in July and waited until September when it was delivered, Woolmakers had a summer break. Luckily the wheel arrived before I took of to this year’s camping trip and I could bring it with me. I spun outside in front of our camper and a lot of people asked me about the wheel and the thing I’m doing. Most of them were not sure whats it was I was doing but all of them reacted super positive, they seemed happy to see someone spin. Some of them told stories about their ancestors who spun or knit. And everyone made THE German spinning joke. I’ve heard it a lot. You mus know that if you literally translate the expression ‘I am spinning’ to German it not only means that you are a spinner, but also that you are crazy. I never had those reactions when I knitted in public. Spinning seems to be more special, you don’t see many people doing that in public. And there are quite some public knitters in Germany, so that explains that I think. And if you#re wondering why I spoke German on my trip to Italy, that is because we visited Lake Garda and it seems there are more Germans there than Italians. But that is another story.
I needed some time to get used to spinning with a wheel. But I like learning by doing and so I’m not frustrated when something doesn’t turn out perfect at the beginning. I needed 20 g to realize that I was spinning in the wrong direction. I checked that before, I think I was a little overwhelmed. Okay and also I have a problem with directions. I still don’t understand in which direction you have to turn the key to unlock a door, or in which direction you have to turn a screw. Often I have to think about which side is left and which is right, well, you get the point ;) after those 20 g everything went okay I guess. My thread got even (well, even enough ;)) and I was able to get about the same thickness as they previous 300 g that I sun on the drop spindle. However I didn’t realize until after I had finished the yarn that the threads spun on the wheel had a lot more torsion which isn’t optimal for plying. But as I didn’t know that I didn’t care and just plied those threads together and it kind of worked out :)
I plied three singles together to even out the slightly uneven threads. And the finished yarn looked nice. When I plied it I watched out not to overply the yarn, however I didn’t count my treadles or anything.
After bathing the yarn something peculiar happened that I didn’t understand until a week ago, when Chantimanou published a video on the topic (in German). The torsion in a single can fall asleep (that is what she calls it). If you let the single rest for a longer time on the bobbin the thread twists lesser with time. When you bath the single the torsion will ‘wake up’ again. I let my singles rest for some time on the bobbins and I checked whether the yarn was overplied when the torsion was still asleep and so I actually underplied it. Like a lot. When I bathed the yarn eh torsion woke up again and my yarn looked like crap.
There is not that much on the Internet concerning underplied yarn. It seems that most people rather overply their yarn and search for help ;) What I did was put the finished yarn on my wheel again with a small ratio and tightened brake and I gave the yarn another bath. The yarn turned out good (well, good enough ;))
After measuring and swatching I found that my yarn had a weight somewhere in between DK and Worsted. With thus information I started looking out for a pattern and found the Dragonflies Jumper by Joji Locatelli. My yarn wight wasn’t what you call a great fit for the pattern, but I liked the pattern and thought the color of my yarn would look lovely with this design. With 3.5 mm needles I almost got the gauge, but I also knitted very tight, so tight that my wrist hurt after some time knitting. Beauty knows no pain.
The sweater is knit top down with raglan sleeves. You start knitting rows to shape the back and at some point change to knitting in rounds. I knitted size 30/32, one size smaller than what I would have needed, because my gauge was still a little bigger even with small needles, than what was required in the instructions.
I liked the instructions. You have to bear in mind that the lace pattern really isn’t that simple. There are separate pattern charts for each size, so you don’t have to worry about centering the large pattern and I thing that was a lot of work for the designer. Plus there is an extra chart for the top of the sweater where you have the raglan increases. Apart from that or better:that included, the instructions aren’t that detailed. There are no written instructions for the lace pattern and the whole instruction is printed on only 3 pages. Plus the instruction tell you to knit XY cm and start the ribbing. That only works out if your gauge didn’t change in length after washing, and because of the pattern it will. Those are all no real issues for people who have a little experience in knitting sweaters. I’m just mentioning them to make the point that this sweater isn’t for beginners.
It also isn’t for beginners, because the pattern is really wide and I think you have to be able not only to read charted patterns but also to read your knitting, so that you can see what row you’re on and so that you can realize it when you’ve made a mistake and fix it. And if it is clear that the pattern isn’t meant for beginners the instructions really are fine. Well, formatting could be better, there is too much on each page, but, well, nevertheless I really enjoyed working with them and it really seems like the designer put a lot of work into them, the pattern is totally worth it’s price.
Moving on the fit. The bodice is knit straight down without decreases or increases. But as the pattern makes the fabric so elastic I think that is fine. Plus it would be some work to adjust the pattern to decreases and increases.
The sleeves were a little wide on me, but my gauge was off, so that was most likely that. I simply knitted more decreases.
I knitted different ribbings because I liked them better and because I ran out of yarn. My ribbings are simply p2, k2.
I wet blocked the finished sweater and let it dry on my floor heating :) The sweater gained some length and I love how it turned out, I think it fits me great. But I#m not that objective, i mean: this is my first handspun sweater, of course I do like it!
You can definitely see that the yarn wasn’t super even, especially if you look at the sleeves that were knit in plain stockinette. I will call this a tweed effect or something. I really don’t care. My brain seems to be very uncritical when it comes to handmade things. I would definitely have stopped sewing otherwise. I remember sewing my first dress and I wore it a lot and I was so proud! Three years later I can see that the neck shaping was kind of screw and the hem was uneven. So maybe I will have the same effect with this sweater one day, maybe not. I don’t really care right now and I love this sweater! And I am motivated to keep on spinning. And I’m having a great time!
If you want come and look at this project on Ravelry. Have a great day!
I loved this post from start to finish. I’ve had one go st spinning and failed miserably. Your yarn is epic. The colour is beautiful and your finished jumper is stunning. Well done you!
Thaks Sue :) You should try again, spinning is a lot of fun once you get past a certain point :)
Oh, I am impressed. You must be so proud of your work. Great colour and great jumper :)
WOW!!!! I am so impressed, I cannot even begin to say how much! That is amazing work! I would dearly love to learn how to spin too, I’m absolutely terrible at it… can I please come over and get a lesson from you? ;)
Thank you Carolyn! Sure, come over :) I would love to have you here :)
Amazing!!! I think it’s incredible that you have made it from scratch, it’s gorgeous! The colour is perfect (one of my favourites) and you’ve chosen a super pattern that really compliments it.
Thank you so much Lynsey :)
WOW!!! Just wow!!! Seriously…. you must feel so proud and pleased to wear this absolutely gorgeous sweater! Fantastic job from start to finish!!!
:) Thank you! :)