This is the result of my first plying session. I took a shortcut with sampling because I found the piece of cardboard with a length of single wrapped around it that I used when I made the yarn for my Celtic Dreams sweater. I made a length of four ply yarn first which is what I thought I wanted seeing as that’s what I used last time but it didn’t speak to me at all and I preferred the three ply version. I didn’t knit the four ply because I knew it was going nowhere but I knitted the three ply to see if it looked like a sweater. It was slightly underplied but even so it looked respectable on a 4mm needle. The bottom of the piece was on a 4.5mm needle and it wasn’t bad for a first guess but it wasn’t right. You are probably thinking that this is a very small swatch to be basing a sweater on and you’d be right but this isn’t the swatch that determines the tension for the sweater, this is the swatch that tells me whether I’m making the right sort of yarn. The next swatch will be bigger. It may be sleeved shaped but it will be bigger.
I did fill six bobbins before I started plying although some were more full than others because I was pretty keen to see the yarn. The last two suffered from my impatience and were rather skimpy and perhaps not entirely full by any reasonable definition. I ended up with two skeins of about 220 yards apiece from about four bobbins of single. There’s a lot of “about” in there but seeing as I don’t know what yardage I want for a sweater I have no pattern for then I can’t see the point in knowing exactly how much I have. My rough guess is that I’ll need a bit under 1200 yards so I know that I have about a third of what I need so I’m not anywhere near the magical point of “enough”. If I fill these six bobbins again and ply everything then I should get another three similar skeins which will take me to the 1,000 yard mark and that’s close enough to be starting with.
I’m planning on having a contrast edging so that’s what I’ll need for the cast on row. Again I have no idea how much I will need but it won’t be a lot so although I bought 100g of the lovely dark wool I’ve only spun 30g of it. This is wool from Wingham Woolwork, its from a flock bred from NZ Halfbred and Romney and comes in two grades and four colours. This is the black which is the normal sheep black known to the rest of the world as brown. It’s been tested on merino boy and deemed to be “not scratchy” so that’s a win. I’d quite like it to be really black but the only fibre I’ve had that was truly black would be too harsh or alpaca so that’s out. My reasoning behind the contrast edge is that if he grows out of the sleeves first then it will be easy to take out the original contrast edge and knit down. The reality is that there will be little to no chance of me keeping any of the original yarn so I’m planning ahead to avoid having to match the original grey. If I need to work the contrast in a different dark shade it won’t matter, I’ll take out the edging on the sleeves and the body, add some length to the sleeves, reknit the body trim and call it good. If the new contrast doesn’t match the old yarn at the neckline it’s far enough away for it not to be too noticeable. It might seem overkill to be planning on extending the life of a sweater that I haven’t started yet but young males who are nearly 13 grow like weeds in the night.
I didn’t finish the socks, I started something else instead. This is the cashmere that I spun before Christmas now dyed in Crunchie colours and on its way to being a Honey cowl. I know that some knitters have fallen down the rabbit hole with this pattern and made one after another but I’m pretty sure that this one is my last. I know that I get three rows of fabric for every four that I knit because of the slip stitch rows but it doesn’t feel like a four to three ratio. It feels more like a two to one. Either I’ve slowed down a lot over Christmas or there’s something mindbending going on here. In some alternate reality I must be turning out piles of these because I find it hard to believe that I can knit for so long to produce so little. When it’s finished (if it ever is) it will be going straight into the gift heap to replace the cowl that was a music teacher gift in 2012.
I had to complain about the lack of daylight didn’t I? My preventative measures of snow tyres and my stockpile of frozen milk, dried yeast and bread flour might be enough to stop a single flake from falling providing I could keep my mouth shut. No, I had to whinge about the lack of light. When those grey clouds have finished unloading snow and the sun comes out (tomorrow, according to the forecast) then it should be very bright indeed.