I had a rather productive weekend. This little monster got the finishing attention it needed:
It's the Espresso sweater from "A Fine Fleece".
This started out its life as this:
Several pounds of raw CVM fleece. I bought a pound of this from a very nice woman named Joy at Arbor Meadows Farm in Washington State. Crimpy, soft, sproingy mutant sheep.
After a bath and a carding, I spun it into very fine woolen singles:
and eventually ended up with about 1400 yards of 3-ply:
I then modified the pattern like crazy, and then ended up with this:
Here is a picture of the original (rav link).
Specs: I used about 1350 yards of dk weight 3-ply. Knitted on US size 2.5 and 4 needles. I tried my best to mix up the plies when I was spinning- since CVM has so many colors in it, I wanted to get the most uniformity in the 3-ply as possible. I got stripes anyway. Ah well.
Not a whole lot of shaping in that pattern, which seems to be the theme throughout the "A Fine Fleece" book. Lack of waist shaping is the kiss of death for me- a sweater will make its way to the back of my closet faster then a rabbit can make rabbits if it lacks shape. I am curvy, and very easily curves will appear to be flab if I am not careful about garment shaping. So my first step was to write in more drastic shaping- I decreased every 8 rows instead of the recommended 14.
The second big modification i did were the sleeves. The way they were written, I would have been done with all the increasing by the time I hit the elbow, making the sleeves huge and awkward. So I put more rows in between the increase rows- i placed increased every 8 rows instead of 6. The sleeve is much more fitted this way. Also, because this was a woolen spun yarn, i did not get really crisply defined cables that I wanted, so I skipped the cabled bands on the sleeves.
The last mod I made was the neckline. I thought the photos of the collar looked stiff and awkward. It's hard to give knitted material structure without making it hugely bulky, and having a collar that stands up on its own made me nervous. I picked up stitches around the collar and did 4 rows of garter stitch before binding off.
Seaming up this beast took quite some time. I decided to use a dark brown sock yarn leftover from the Bettie's Lace Stockings for the task since woolen yarn isn't very strong and the fuzziness was getting to me when I was trying to pick through stitches.
I still need to buy buttons to finish this up and I'm hoping I will be able to find the perfect set at Rhinebeck this weekend. Also, blocking would help the lumpy bumpys I have going on the sleeve caps. But it's warm and cozy and just fitted enough.