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Made in Ontario baby knit sweater

Finished in no time flat back in February was this first of the knits for my baby nephew.

Telemark knitted baby pullover in Sheepspot Clun Forest Sport by irieknit

The design is Telemark Pullover 2.0 by Erika Flory in natural wool.  I substituted this lighter Sheepspot’s Clun Forest sport-weight yarn with glee.  As Sasha’s newsletter told us she sourced the fleeces from a single flock, Ferme Luciole, in Alfred, Ontario last June.

stitch definition Clun Forest sport handdyed yarn by Sheepspot handknit for Telemark baby  Pullover

Stitch definition!

The wool is springy but has such a crisp look in the Paprika colour and this simple sweater.  I was 2 stitches under the recommended pattern gauge.  At the 20 stitches per 4″ in stockinette stitch using 3.25 mm needles, I cast-on for the 1 year size, and fell between a 3 – 6 months size.

Machine washed knit swatch in Clun Forest Sport dyed by Sheepspot

Swatch through the wash

Sheepspot has processed their wool with a lighter chemical touch – none used to dissolve vegetable matter or to treat the fibre.

Loving the more natural process is one thing but why choose this for a baby garment?  Well, I had a hunch that a 100% Clun Forest yarn would have some of the Down breed family’s superwash quality.  In her History of the Clun Forest Breed, Rosemary Ruddell writes:

Early in the 19th century, Southdown rams were introduced into the region that includes both the Clun Forest area and the heathlands to the east, and by 1840 there had emerged a distinctive new type of sheep that was general to the region, and is ancestral to both the Clun Forest and the Shropshire.

As you will see in a later post, the word “Southdown” rings a bell for me!

A little knowledge being a dangerous thing, I have experimented on the swatch.  Before going through the front-load washer & dryer cycle it was 6.5″w x 5.75″ h.  It’s now all nice round numbers.  The approximate change is 8% less width & 13% less height.  It is ‘fulled’ & has a softer hand after washing.

Not bad!  Not bad at all.  50% is reported for a Corriedale sample in the Winter 2015 Spin-Off magazine by Cindy Craft, p. 46.  I wish more numbers were given from her 6-breed experiment in the article.

If you would like to see the project notes on Ravelry it is called “That Seventies Telemark.”  Whatever its laundering future, this is a hardy sweater made in Ontario for baby F’s first cold weather days.


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The why of my knitting

Last Tuesday, the man sitting across from me in a coffee shop struck up a line of questioning.  I was a little in love with swatching my Clun Forest wool yarn from Sheepspot it being for baby nephew and all.

Yarn and fibre from London Ontario indie dyer Sheepspot

He had asked if I knitted my sweater.  Nodding, I added that I made the yarn, and dyed it.  We talked just a little about cochineal, and he told me about knitting with his Grandmother as a boy.  Then he asked penetratingly,

You knit because it is relaxing, yes?

“No,” I answered laughing.  “I knit because I get to have the things that I make,” pointing meanwhile to the little swatch-in-progress.  He & the 2 friends were stumped.  He gave a, “Huh,” and asked again.

“Right. It is relaxing.  I like the process but I knit to make things.”  The conversation marched on.

That Tuesday’s sweater is a good example of what, “I get to have this” means.  A 100% Finn wool sweater that left the industrial complex at an early stage as combed fibre.  It ticks these boxes: soft, comfortable, fits, layering, warm, and brighter than anything an Ontario winter can throw at it.

Even if I could get this breed-specific wool as a durable, fitted sweater off the shelf (and I can’t), the single greatest attribute of my version is the expression of ideas.  It is what I chose for lunching with my spinning mentor/friends that day.  They last saw it on the needles.  It said, “Yeah, people spin yarn,” in a coffee shop, and that a red dye is from scale insects.  Right here on TKK it was all about the neck steeking, and the stress knitting in its day.  Later on, I had to shorten the long sleeves.  It is documented on Ravelry; could still be even more.

In special cases like the expected baby nephew, I knit, and even spin for deserving others.  Sometimes knitting is relaxing.  Sometimes it really isn’t relaxing at all.  Sticking to it gets you more than entertained, and that’s the point as I see it.

Here’s to hoping that all our FOs will be all that and then some in their own time!

Columbia wool story with Zoë the CPW

In the last post, I shared a new purple wool spin on the Canadian Production Wheel’s bobbin.  It was the Columbia wool roving at the bottom of the box there.

Handspun singles of Columbia wool spun on Canadian Production Wheel

Columbia wool singles

This roving was 119 g of Sasha’s ‘Orchid 1’ colourway.  I really enjoyed the darker spots.  The 1st bobbin was spun before our trip last year, and the 2nd bobbin followed on January 18th.

Handspun Columbia wool roving on Canadian Production Wheel

Skeined! Woolen-spun Columbia yarn

The 310 yards were plied on the same wheel after I reversed the twist in the drive band.  This Philias Cadorette CPW really does better spinning left if I reverse the band.  I also changed to the second ratio.

Spinning natural Columbia wool roving on Canadian Production Wheel

Stash-busting!

One good long-draw experience leads to another!  I have spun all 150 g of this Columbia roving from the Fibre Garden up now.  We are still climbing over the big girl because the 124 g batch has come out to play as well.  I may need to get more soon!