A Swatch

I have now knit up a swatch with the Jacob yarn I’ve made from Bloomers. I wound by hand the little skein of two-ply spun from the drum-carded batts, cast on 50 stitches using U.S. size 6 needles, and knit my swatch over the last several days.

The yarn is good to work with. Much of the pleasure comes from my having been involved in so much of the process, from scouring the wool, to flicking and carding, to spinning. And the yarn itself pleases me–with its pretty variations in color, a nice twist, and a robust yet soft feel. The swatch is wonderfully scrunchable. When I was just a few rows in, I realized what I wanted to knit with this yarn: a cardigan sweater vest.

I have a growing list of favorite patterns I’ve collected in my Ravelry notebook. Among those favorites are several sweater vests. I don’t currently own such a garment, and it seems like quite a useful item for a teacher’s wardrobe. I think the yarn I am making is either a sport or dk weight, so I’m looking at Carol Sunday’s Nancy’s Vest or Churchmouse Yarn’s Library Vest. Both have the simple classic look I’m after.

I like how my yarn speaks to me, how it tells me what to make with it. I’ve read that some spinners begin with a specific type of yarn and project in mind. I also know that there are many different spinning techniques: short forward draw, short backward draw, long draw, supported long draw, spinning from the fold. There’s woolen spun and worsted spun yarn. And there are different ways to ply, too. I look forward to advancing my skills and learning more of those techniques. But for now I’m still getting familiar with the experience of twisting fibers into string. I like the meditative practice: feet rhythmically pumping, fiber moving through my hands and fingers, wheel spinning round, and flyer…well it does fly, whirling around at speed. For now, I’ll make the yarn first and decide what it wants to be after I’ve knit a while with it.

I’ll knit more swatches with the yarn I’ve spun from Bloomers. I’m curious to see a fabric made with size 5 needles. I might like its density. I’ll also knit a swatch with the two-ply spun from rolags and with the three-ply yarn. Soon I’ll scour the rest of the raw Jacob fleece. It will take some time to flick, card, and spin it. But it won’t be long before I cast on a vest with yarn I’ve made by hand. I don’t care one whit how long it takes. This is my pleasure and not my work. Every step of the process teaches me more. No deadlines here. I let the project carry me.



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