knit | spin

Baby Lottie

July 29, 2013

IMG_7540This is the second garment I entered at the Wool Show. I’ve called it Baby Lottie because, well, I am a desert of ideas right now. It does kind of capture the scandawegian look I was going for though.

There is a lot of geekery that follows so if you don’t knit or spin, just look at the pictures.

I used two fleeces for Baby Lottie that I bought raw. The main colour is a natural white Finn fleece from Fairfield Finns in Bullengarook, Victoria. It was the first fleece I ever bought and it is like spinning bits of heaven.  Maureen and Gerald Shepherd (great name for sheep farmers eh!) raise Finnsheep, sell the fleece, fibre and yarn from their website and farm shop.  The day we visited it was perishingly hot but we still trooped out to meet the sheep and greet the alpaca who guards them.

The blue contrast is also Maureen’s Finnsheep but dyed in an indigo bath as fleece.  I learned how to do this at a workshop at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria with Sue Tannett.

IMG_7265The grey contrast is a natural coloured Polwarth fleece from Wendy Dennis, at Warncoort near the Otways, in Victoria. Their farm is old, really old, like first settlers kind of old.  The Dennis family bred the Polwarth in 1880 from Saxony Merino and Lincoln. It was the first Australian bred sheep.

Both fleeces have a mid to fine range crimp and long staple, ideal for worsted spinning, where all the fibres are lined up parallel with each other.

After soaking and scouring, I prepared the fibre worsted style with a flick carder. It was spun into a worsted 2ply. Can’t tell you grist or twist per inch or ratios because I don’t understand all that yet.

The design is my own but you may recognise the rough shape of the garment from the Golden Hands Peasant Outfit I knitted for one of our dollies.

IMG_7541It features

  • Top down, seamless construction
  • Hybrid raglan and yoke shaping to maintain flow of Fair Isle peerie border.
  • Invisible increases at chest and sleeves using Lynn Barr’s method of yarn held double
  • Crochet steek for button tab
  • Button tab knitted on to held yoke stitches
  • Provisional crochet cast on underarms
  • Meg Swansen’s  jogless jog for stranded colourwork
  • Short rows to raise back neck

The lace pattern in the sleeve is Single Lace Rib from Harmony Guide Vol. 2, (2007) and the Fair Isle patterns are #23, #106 and #137  from 200 Fair Isle Motifs, Mary Jane Mucklestone, (2011).

IMG_7542This was my entry for the category Article of Garment for a Child 0-5 using own Handspun Yarn. It was awarded first place. Second place was awarded to Sue Tannett who taught the indigo dye class. Third prize went to Maureen Shepherd who raised the Finnsheep that all three entries were spun from! How intertwined and destined does that sound!

The judges pointed out that by using finer needles I could have improved the consistency of the stitches.  I used a 3.25 mm for the main garment and 2.5 mm for the button tab.  The lace was a good gauge but the colour work was too loose. A small needle would have firmed this up and increased the definition of the pattern. I did know this but just ran out of time to change it.

Apparently, if you win a first, there are prizes! I did not know this so I had a very exciting pick up time when I collected my entries at the end of show. Thank you to Fibers and Threads in Tasmania for the hand dyed merino roving and skein of sari silk. They are beautiful.

IMG_7544Waverley Spinners and Weavers also award a special pale blue ribbon to the winner of this category. The ribbon is in memory of one of their members, the late Wendy Thomas.  According to the Woolcraft Secretary Dot Vallence, Wendy Thomas was an extraordinary, indefatigable member of the Waverley group. The ribbon hangs next to my spinning wheel – it will inspire me to great things I am sure.

 for Baby Lottie’s project page.