And here it is…my final project for the Spinning Certificate run by the Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria.
The pattern is a Pattern for a Sleeveless Spencer by Marian Leslie from the Shetland Wool Week Annual 2016. I used a fifty:fifty blend of alpaca and Polwarth fleeces, carded into rolags and spun into a two ply, woollen laceweight yarn. You can read about my sampling and spinning process in a previous post.
The sample garment shown in the Shetland Wool Week Annual is in natural white and it looks very pretty. My first thoughts when I finished my version in undyed silver grey was that it looked a little WWII-make-do-and-mend-things-you-can-make-with-a-worn-out-sock! I can see all the inconsistency in my spinning and blending. But then I remind myself that this was a technical exercise, intended to demonstrate the knowledge gained during the Certificate in designing a yarn with a particular function in mind and I think the project has worked well in this regard.
- Firstly, it fits! The yarn knit up in gauge to make a predictable, well fitting garment.
- The pattern design and yarn work in tandem to produce a highly functional garment. Side seams support the structure of the garment so it won’t sag which otherwise might have been a problem with a seamless garters stitch garment
- The garter stitch whilst plain actually works to increase the warmth of the garment, using double the amount of light, air-trapping yarn next-to-the-skin of a stockinette fabric.
- The yarn works perfectly for the function of the garment, maximising warmth in a super lightweight, discreet layer for underneath regular layer.
Next time however, I would like to try using singles of alpaca and Polwarth plied together instead of blending to improve the colour consistency. I would like to try making it in white or very pale silver and with sleeves. I would also really like to try the Finnsheep as one of the singles.
I also realise that I need a Part Three, for although I know the garment fits and is not scratchy, I haven’t worn it for any length of time. It needs road testing, so look out for another post when we get our folios back.
Till then, if you are interested in learning a bit more about the Spinning Certificate and are curious about the other final projects, the Guild is holding an exhibition of Certificate work which opens on Tuesday 16 May and runs for two weeks. The Guild is located at 655 Nicholson Street, Carlton North and is open Tuesday to Saturday 10 – 3pm.