Knitting · Spinning

Adventures in design with handspun

The local alpaca rancher I spin for recently asked if I would design and knit her a vest out of the homespun.  I agreed to this task as I was really interested in how this bulky yarn was going to knit up.  Armed with her measurements and a few ideas I came home to brain storm.  I originally thought I would use Anne Budd’s book as a template to expand upon, however, I found her designs to be rather uninspired.  Then I went to ravelry to look at vests there.  Again, not so much to use for inspiration.

The woman I am knitting for wanted a long sweater and both of us wanted me to utilize both the white and black hand spun I had created.  After fiddling a bit with what to do about the color change, I finally decided to add a bit of color work that broke up the color change so it did not look like this sudden black to white division.  I knit and was happy to get the project to a point where I could join the shoulder seems and baste the side seams for a fitting.  This being my first custom knit project for someone other than my children, I really want things to fit well, before I finish it off.

There I am, 11 pm the night before I am taking it down for the fitting, steam blocking the vest under my can lights….  The whites don’t match!!!!  When I joined a new ball, the new one is MUCH whiter.  since this is a natural fiber, I kind of knew it could happen, but It is SO noticeable!   Luckily, I have more of the fiber both the whiter and the more dingy.  Also, lucky for me, since I am knitting at 3 st per inch, re knitting it is not as much extra work as it seems.  After trying it on, the front pieces really do need an extra inch before I put on the front bands so I would be re-knitting anyway.  I have heard of dye lot issues, but I never have had it happen to me and not in such a drastic way.  And I am not even dealing with a dye lot.  Just two different alpaca fleeces.

I will report to being pleased with the way the hand spun is knitting up.  The color flubs are working well and I have realized that I have been a bit too even handed with plying in the bits of color.  All of my flubs happen at intervals that are a bit to regular and so the tend to group in areas.  There are enough random ones to keep things looking even, but I need to shorten the spacing.

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