Coopworth Batwing

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I knit a batwing in an attempt to knit a shawl using handspun Coopworth yarn. See?

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This is another project that I made from spinning the yarn all the way to FO, only I don’t have pictures of the fiber or the spinning process. I’m not even sure when I spun the yarn; I know it was within the last four years, but the story of the yarn starts in 2010…

I had just learned to spin from some really generous and great enablers teachers in my knitting group. We decided to have our second annual (and as it would turn out, last) holiday party at fibre space in Alexandria, which is about an hour away from where we were meeting up. We organized two Yankee swaps – one for knitting and one for spinning: I participated in both. I don’t remember what I ended up with for the knitting swap, but for the spinning swap I lucked out with hand carded Coopworth from Reggie, who was just getting The Fiberists off the ground with his husband Spencer. I was struggling with washing and carding fleeces I bought in the spring, so having some hand-processed & hand carded Coopworth was a real treat.

But then I didn’t spin it – I had other projects in mind. And then I started playing roller derby and gradually slowed down doing fiber art after trying (and failing) to launch The Yarn Office. The knitting group gradually fell apart as people moved out of the area, interests changed, and friendships ended – all perfectly natural things in the course of life.

Years passed.

I finally spun the Coopworth during Tour de Fleece 2015, my first after skipping 2013 and 2014, right before I stopped playing roller derby in August. This spin was the beginning of a gradual ramp up and rekindling of my love of fiber art. I tried again with The Yarn Office, and abandoned it again. In addition to participating in Tour de Fleece again every year (except this year), I tried Spinzilla in 2017.

Now 2019 is the year I’ve decided to finally knit with the handspun I have sitting around and that Coopworth has been on my mind. I spun a traditional 3 ply (not chain plied – plied from 3 bobbins) that ended up being light fingering to laceweight, about 200 yards. Having been on a hat-making spree, I thought I’d try making a shawlette instead. I started a pattern, one I’d already made, but it just didn’t seem right or fun to knit.

I ripped it all out and rewound the yarn, then pulled about my stitch dictionaries – good old Barbara G. Walker provided the inspiration I needed and I started a triangle shawl knit from one tip to one side. I knew I’d be able to use most if not all of the yarn with a flexible design like this and the mesh stitch pattern I chose is open enough that I thought I’d get a decide size shawl. I added some short rows to increase the length of one side of the shawl; they’re evident in this progress picture but ultimately didn’t impact the FO enough to be noticeable after blocking.

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The stitch pattern is Garter Stitch Faggot Beading from Walker’s first stitch dictionary, A Treasury of Knitting Patterns with a 3 stitch garter border on either edge. If you’d like to make your own, with lace or fingering weight yarn and US size 5 (3.75 mm) needles:

Cast on 3 stitches.

Row 1: Knit 1 in front and back (increasing 1 stitch); knit in front, back, and front again (+ 2 stitches); knit 1 in front and back (+ 1 stitch). 7 stitches. III II III II

Row 2 and all even rows: Knit.

Row 3: Knit 3, yo, knit 1, yo, k3.

Row 5: K3, yo, k3, yo, k3. I II II

Row 7: K3, yo, *K1, yo, k2tog* repeat until there are 5 stitches left; k2, yo, k3.

Row 9: K3, yo, *K1, yo, k2tog*, yo, k3.

Repeat rows 7-10 until the shawl is as wide as you would like it to be, finishing with a row 10 (knit the whole row).

Final border rows:

Row 1: K3, yo, knit to last 3 stitches, yo, k3.

Row 2: Knit.

Repeat border rows 1 and 2 three times; you should have 3 garter ridges. Bind off using Jeny’s Suprisingly Stretchy Bind Off or the stretchy bind off of your choice. Block heavily.

I will warn you that your garter border stitches should be very, very loose. Maybe even choose another stretchier border stitch? If you do – or if you have an idea for one – let me know! The garter stitch row gauge is slightly less than the garter stitch faggot beading stitch, which grows considerably with blocking.

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6 thoughts on “Coopworth Batwing

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