Friday, February 24, 2006

The Vest!

How do you decide what yarn or roving will become? In the case of The Vest the process from roving to yarn to wearable object has been a long, convoluted one. It started with my first trip to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival at Rhinebeck. I was still a fairly novice spinner with exactly a year of experience under my belt. I spent the festival roaming about picking up a little bit of this and a few ounces of that. Included in the purchases were two bumps of indigo dyed
Coopsworth roving. When I saw them I immediately liked the idea of the natural dye method and had a vision of a yoked sweater worked in the two colors.

Fast forward a year. The light blue is mostly spun and I have decided that the two bumps -- totaling about a pound, will not be enough. My mission: to pick up some coordinating roving at the same stand at the same festival. Luck was with me and the stand was in the same
location and this time I acquired a bump of a swirled mix of the darker blue with black and white and a bump of a swirled mix of rose and white and the darker blue. I figured they would go nicely with the other two bumps. Please note, I knew little about how the darker
blue might just cause them to blend in to the intended background color -- this knowledge came later.

Fast forward a second year and we find our heroine with the wool mostly spun and now questioning if she has enough for a sweater. The wool spun up in to a light and lofty two ply and the early skeins of the two blues are some what uneven in thickness. The multis are much better spun and more consistent. My female child and I head to Rhinebeck without the rest of the family and make the rounds. When we come to Handspun By Stefania -- the vendor mentioned above -- we choose two more bumps of wool and leave as happy campers.

Arriving at home I grab the first bump and start drafting. D'oh! The wool is much different, not the shiny, Coopsworth, and results in a much different yarn. Not a bad thing but I was looking for a match of sheen. After much thinking I finally start swatching to get a feel for gauge. The multis are significantly thicker then the solids and I think about a garter stitch striped sweater with the multis used sparingly. Then I calculate my yardage and convince myself that I do not have enough for a sweater. I start looking for vest patterns and even start a couple, always ripping back after an evening or two of work.

In to the house arrives the Winter 2005 Knitters and I find my vest. I know my gauge is way different but then, hey, I want a smaller item anyway. I cast on for the smallest size without changing a thing. Quickly I realize that the row gauge is also way off and since this pattern talks about rows and not inches, I will have to do some quick math. The math again convinces me that I do not have enough of the light blue to do the back and fronts as was the plan. On to the needles goes the dark blue for the fronts and then the blue-multi for the border.

Over all I am pleased with the result but it is a bit smaller then I would like. It still works though and I will wear it for a while and then probably give it to the female child after I make a replacement.

I still have plenty of the yarn and am now thinking about what else I can knit with it. The rose-multi is just screaming to be knit into something -- it just has not decided what.

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