Monday, September 18, 2017

Fading pullover, in handspun

No, wait.  First the yarn:
A few weeks ago, Ann Weaver was having a destash on Instagram, and for one lot of random chunks of spinning fiber from her collection, pieces of who knew what all sorts of sheep or wool or states of prep, I got there first and bought it.  So there was this peach and gray and cream fiber from Carodan Farm with no color name, so I spun it all fluffy and gave it a name:  "Grilled Salmon."  It is as soft as butter. 
Next was something else mysterious from Spunky Eclectic--it is pink and purple and more pink, with a little bit of yellow, possibly accidentally.  I called this one "Plastic Pony."  (I love good color names.  Why wouldn't you give it a great name?)  
This is a merino/tencel blend in a misty blue-gray that matched my ring almost exactly, so--"Moonstone."  
This is another Spunky Eclectic, and it had a label--this is Wensleydale, and she called it "Perfect Storm".  Wensleydale is a "longwool", and on the sheep, the fleece looks like--I'm not kidding--my own hair.  Look.  Dyed here, and spun into a two-ply, it looked less like me and more like tourmaline.  More jewels.  
This last one is a combination of everything and the kitchen sink, including sparkle.  I spun two unrelated fibers as singles and then plied them together, and they made the prettiest yarn of the bunch.  Deep blue and glitter, with flecks of foam: "Ocean."  
The yellow ("Big Yellow Taxi") didn't make the sweater cut, but it looks so good, doesn't it?  Anyway, even though my first impulse is to add these skeins to the stash and let them sit there forever, or at least until they've become way too precious to use for anything, I thought they just looked great all together, so I decided to make a sweater out of it.  I counted up the total yardage, figured out that I had spun this all mostly at an aran weight, and knit a swatch--4 stitches per one inch, on a US 8.  I drew a quickie sketch of what I wanted, measured myself, set Doc to calculating how many rows of each I would need to knit in order to both use it up and also not run out, and started knitting, a self-drafted, top-down pullover.  I measured it a lot as I went, to make sure I was still on track.  I'm not gonna lie, I fretted some; this, I'm sure you've noticed, is not gray.  Purply-pink yarn?  Peach?  Bright blue?  But then, what else is the point of all the spinning, if I'm too chicken to wear the yarn?  Guess what, self?  It's pretty.  You made that.  Shut up and knit.  The project bristled with needles as, at one point, I had the body and both sleeves going at the same time, with strands coming up from both ends of two balls of yarn, and then I came close to running out of yarn--there's no finding a second ball of any of this anywhere--and then, because I'd decided not to use the yellow, I did run short and had to stash dive, coming up with a handspun from my friend Deb's sheep, a rescued orphan of unknown origin called Liam, a few batts of whose fleece I spun four years ago, and which was (shockingly) beautifully balanced and kind of perfect, and which was the perfect finish for the hem and cuffs.  Whew, some gray.  
You guys.  This is my favorite thing I've made this year.  It is so warm, and so cozy, and so just right in every way.  Because it was made exactly for me, it fits perfectly.  It's a little bit heavy, so bring it on, winter!  I'm not afraid of you!  I wore it for ten minutes on Saturday, to the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival, and no less than Jill Draper told me it was beautiful and that she loved it, and that I had done a good job.  I folded that moment into a little origami heart and tucked it away for a rainy day.  Then I took off the sweater and stuffed it in a bag because it was a gorgeous 81 degrees, and bought a whole bunch more yarn.  And a fleece.  For more spinning.