On the spindle is the singles I spun yesterday afternoon; on the needle the fabric knitted with yarn straight off the spindle, before the twist has had a chance to set. This is something I’ve wanted to do since I first saw pictures of ‘energised singles’ (‘energized’ in the US) in the Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook.
I loved the look of the stockinette, the pattern of parallel ridges pulled high and twisted sideways by the torque in the yarn. Having made some, I am absolutely hooked, because the fabric is amazing. It’s alive. It’s elastic in a way that ordinary knitting is not, it twists and moves in your fingers. It feels heavy, slightly resistant, bouncy, almost greasy, I think because there’s so much twist in the yarn that the knitted fabric is slippery. I may have over-twisted it (see the yarn spiralling back on itself between the needles and the spindle), I clearly need more practice. Because the book is right — this will make fabulous socks.
Note that I dislike the colours intensely. More precisely I detest the melon orange-pink, and I dislike the overall pastel-ness. But isn’t that the point of hand-spinning? I should be able to play with the roving to change the way those colours work. I’ve already discovered that running a strip of one colour with another creates a spiral that makes mottling (as opposed to heathering, which I suspect comes from preparing the roving). With a bit of luck, thought and practice I might be able to turn those pastel stripes into something more reminiscent of an opal’s fire. But with less melon. Local birds will have melon-coloured nests next year.
Ah, yes. The Sweater that fits. I started this on Saturday in a fit of enthusiasm, measuring the back of my neck and following the basic instructions for a v-neck raglan in Barbara Walker’s Knitting from the Top. I almost immediately realised this was not the sweater I was looking for: the neck was going to be far snugger than I had envisaged. So I took it off the needles and left it to him to rip and roll (he’s good that way) while I went to sulk in a hot shower. Fortunately I had the forethought to take a tape measure, paper and pencil, so was able to spend 10 minutes in front of the mirror pretending the front of my neck was the back of my neck, working out where I wanted the V to end (remembering there’ll be ribbing) and so forth. Then I measured the body of one sweater I actually like. The result was this (I’ve redrawn it for you but tried to keep the, er, spirit of my pencil scribbles. Eunny I am not).
The swatch I like is 19st/4″, 7 rows/1″. At a guesstimate I want a neck opening 8″ wide at the back and a correspondingly wide v-neck going down c. 6″ (ribbing will preserve my modesty if necessary). The back should be 21″ wide (I measured an existing sweater); the front could be less, but will need short-row shaping for the bust. The bottom edge of my belt is c. 11″ down from the armpit of the sweater, and I think I want about 3″ ribbing… but that’s the least of my worries. From an existing sweater and some fudging I think the raglan seam will be c. 9.5″ long; I’ve tried to calculate the number of rows needed for that because I need to know the rate of increase along the seam (I spent most of 2 hours’ walk on Sunday thinking about this sweater). At this point I became confused (see the scribbled note in the middle of the sweater) because I forgot that the back is fed by two raglan seams. Brain the size of a pea…* OK, I can use the same rate of increase as Walker, which is 2 stitches (one for the sleeve, one for the body) on each seam on every right-side row. 65-ish rows give 32-ish stitches/seam. 32+32+38 (the neck I started with) give me counts on fingers 102 stitches across the back at the armpit-equivalent. More than I want. I’ll have to slow the rate of increase, ideally somewhere the slope can flatten appropriately… near the underarm, perhaps. I’m a bit worried because Walker uses the 2-stitch rate of increase for a sweater with a 5″ neck-back when I’m starting with 8″; I wondered whether I would need a steeper angle (ie to add fewer stitches to the back) because I’ve got more to start with, but the maths seem to suggest not. I would really welcome comments when my brain stops hurting.
Never mind, I can spin. It’s addictive. Joanne, you KNEW this, didn’t you?
* Some years ago I read something, somewhere that claimed that the tail of some dinosaur-or-other was guided by a ‘brain’ (read ganglion or cluster of nerves) the size of a pea. I remind myself of this when my much-vaunted human brain fails to notice the painfully obvious and I doubt my ability even to steer a tail.