Yes indeed, this was all done by hand, unless you count a spinning wheel as a machine!
Toney Road Sweater
Pattern: My own with some serious help from Barbara Walker’s Knitting from the Top.
Yarn: My own handspun. A three ply yarn made from two plies of Toney Road fiber from The Little Barn and one of Royal Blue merino from Ohio Valley Natural fibers. Spun on the Lendrum.
Needles: Size 8 Crystal Palace circs
Spun and Knit: Started spinning sometime around Oct. 2007. Started knitting up 12/22/07. Knitting finished 1/17/08. Zipper install completed 3/16/08.
I almost can’t believe it. It’s finally finished! I was beginning to think I would never see the day that I could wear this sweater, but it has finally come. Despite an almost fatal fiber shortage, a small miracle and a first zipper installation, I finally have a sweater made completely by me from the yarn on up.
The zipper installation, while not exactly what I would call “fun”, wasn’t really that terrible. The hardest part was pinning everything in place. I decided to do one side at a time because I just couldn’t maneuver everything all at once.
Once one side was pinned in, I did a long basting stitch with needle and thread on the side of the zipper tape farthest from the zipper. I did another row of stitches, much smaller this time closer to the zipper teeth and a final row, somewhere in between in stitch size between the first two rows. I don’t think this sucker is going anywhere! And despite the pain of the sewing, the end result is totally worth it and I will, no doubt, be tackling a zipper install again in the future.
The sweater came out nearly exactly what I had in mind. The length in the torso is right where I wanted it, not too low, but not too short. The hem has enough ease so that it doesn’t bind along the hips.
The raglan increases that I used give a little bit of a lacey feel to an otherwise plain jane sweater. I was worried about them being too unstable to hold up the rest of the sweater, but so far they seem to be hanging in there nicely.
I wanted a big, fold over cuff and I definitely got that too. There won’t be any cold breezes going up the sleeves of this sweater!
One thing that I had considered and I wish I had done would have been to add in a couple of short rows in the back. It rides up a little bit there, but not enough to be super annoying anyway. I also probably could have done a slightly higher collar, but I was worried about having enough yarn at the time. In the end, that would have meant more zipper to sew in so I’m just as glad.
I learned a lot about spinning and knitting while working on this project. At the end of the process, I think I’ve done fairly well. There aren’t too many changes I would make. But I do know that I probably need to take my spinning to the next level now. This sweater is *really* heavy. It might be time to start learning about spinning a lighter yarn for a project like this. It’s kind of exciting to think that there is so much more to learn with these crafts!
I’m really happy with this sweater. It feels like a huge accomplishment to have made something so large with my handspun. Not only that, I conquered my first zipper! I think I’ll be wearing this one for a long time to come.
Related posts:Handspun, sweaters