Last January, I started to spin four braids of Wool for the Dame merino wool, three green and one blue. I started with the greens and decided to spin a giant true 3 ply, spinning straight from the braids. Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of the greens before spinning them; here they all are on the bobbin.
Initially I was going to spin that one bump of blue and chain ply it into a small skein, but then I started thinking about what to do with the finished yarn, something I don’t always consider when I start a spinning project, and decided to make a sweater, my fourth made with handspun. I talked with Christina, the owner of Wool for the Dame, and she happened to have two more bumps of the blue that matched the initial bump of fiber I had, lucky for me.
I did spin the blues slightly differently from the greens. Because two of the blue bumps were the same and I wanted to ensure maximum color variation and blending in the final yarn, I separated the second bump into piles of component colors, blended it on my drum carder, made rolags, and spun one of the blue plies that way.
Once I finished both of the yarns, I started swatching. I tried various stripes, seed stitch, side by side cables, and finally the winner – linen stitch. Linen stitch blended the blue and green together and seems to highlight the best features of both colors.
Choosing a pattern for this sweater was less complicated than you might think. I could have plugged my swatch numbers into Ravelry to get a list of patterns at that gauge, but I instead chose to use Tin Can Knits Strange Brew pullover pattern. I bought the pattern when Strange Brew came out a few years ago but hadn’t had a chance to use it yet, so dove in knowing I wouldn’t be making a patterned yoke, which is what the pattern is intended for.
After a false start, I went down a needle size and up a pattern size. Also, linen stitch doesn’t lend itself well to increases spread across a row, so the yoke of the sweater has imperfections in the linen stitch pattern. And if I’m being honest, the sleeves also show some problems in this area. But the sweater is done. I started it in March and kept on knitting it until June, when I took a break from the sleeves for the summer. I picked it back up in mid August and am happy it’s done and ready to be worn for cooler fall weather.