11 December 2014
The cobalt blue with sparkles was purchased at Uncommon Threads in York, Pennsylvania back when the shop had a different owner and was located in the downtown rather than the Queensgate Shopping Center. It was in a bargain basket in the back of the shop, tossed in a pile. I'm guessing it had been used for a class or demo. It was marked as superwash wool. While most of it was cobalt blue, some of it was a lighter blue. At the time I didn't even think to weigh it, so I can't say how much I bought. I can say there was plenty of it (12 ounces? 16 ounces?) and that I still have some. I bought the crystal metallic over at The Mannings. My recollection is that I tried to card the sparkles into the blue, with mixed results as they were different staple lengths. When I spun at the wheel, the sparkles distributed very unevenly because the wool fibers and the sparkles were not the same length. I persevered in my poor spinning technique -- I was a newbie who didn't know better -- and eventually produced a two-ply.
The multicolor is Louet Northern Lights 100% wool top in color 28 violets. The top comes dyed in short blips of color, similar to hand-painted sock yarn. On their website, Louet sells Northern Lights in half-pound bags (8 ounces); but The Mannings usually divides theirs into 4 ounce bumps. I purchased 8 ounces that I'm sure were from the same dye lot. This was also spun up a a 2-ply.
Thus, all the body yarn was purchased as colored fluff and spun. The locks were purchased raw this year at Maryland Sheep and Wool. I've already blogged about how I dyed the locks in a disposable turkey roasting pan and tailspun the yarn.
I taught the Swirl Jacket this summer as a knit-along class that met three times. The idea was we'd make our jackets during the summer and finish them just as the weather cooled. I get a lot of use out of my previous swirl based on the Plum Perfect pattern. Since that was an off-centered circle, I decided to try the off-centered oval. I chose the Coat of Many Colors. Now wearing the finished garment, I think the circle is more flattering on me than the oval. Because I was working with handspun yarn and was wary of yarn shortages, I skipped the first two welts of the pattern. This also made for a narrower collar, which I think is in better proportion to my body size. I was somewhere in the sleeve increases and traveling on the West Coast when I ran out of the blue yarn. But I had more raw materials in my stash, so I merely had to wait until I got back home to make more. And then I ran out of the multicolor. The Mannings did have some Northern Lights violets in stock, so I ordered it. Don't look too closely, as it is pretty obvious this is a different dye lot. Furthermore, some elements of my spinning have changed in the four or five years since I first made these yarns. The extras are not quite as close a match as I would have liked. But, better to make more and saunter onward than to rip out a pound of handspun yarn that has been cut up into separate pieces every time you've changed welts.
I also changed the pattern stitch a bit because I was working in two colors. Normally, this would be purl 5 rounds for the blue and knit 5 rounds for the multicolor. Instead, I knit the first round of the blue. This causes all the purl blips to fall to the multicolored side of the fabric. This is why the fabric is two-sided rather than reversible. Both sides are good, but they are not identical.
The garment is also a little more bold and graphic than I had intended. I was shooting for a statement jacket. Perhaps this speaks too loudly?