Sunday, July 18, 2010

Holiday Knitting

My holiday reading list is already stacking up, and in only 2 days I will be able to start it properly! Until the last couple of days however the weather has been so miserable (good for the garden though - I've been very neglectful of my watering duties so far this summer) that I've been thinking about autumn, and that of course leads me to the autumn clothes that seem to take up all my wardrobe space and never let the summer stuff shine through...and thence onto knitting. And from there we jump to my latest project-to-be.

Years ago when I was first learning to knit I came across this cardigan by Sirdar. Loved it from the start. It's knitted in Sirdar Clik. But I wanted to make it from my own handspun yarn. And so I set about doing the maths and got myself a lovely 600g of oatmeal Blue-Faced Leicester roving from Wingham Wool Work. That was last year!
^ mon pull de reves, as I have decided to call it ;)
^ Sirdar Clik, in a multi-coloured colourway
^ beautiful oatmeal-cloured BFL roving

Now I've got some spare time coming up (although it's already filling up with all sorts of things...I have a horrible feeling I'm not going to be as free as I'm deluding myself I will be!) I have trawled through the vast quantities of rubbish in my posession and have unearthed to pattern, found my lovely BFL fibre, and my spinning wheel is waiting impatiently in the corner of my bedroom. I haven't done any in months, what with college work, parties and a slight weakness for sitting on the sofa watching Judge Judy reruns rather than doing anything useful...but now I am determined! Come the autumn drizzle I will have a beautiful handspun BFL jumper!!!

So, where do I begin? Having looked at the pattern I can see that for my size I need 9 balls of Sirdar Clik, at 50g/75m per ball. 9 x 75m means I need to spin 675m of yarn for this, not including room for mistakes. 9 x 50g means I should be able to achieve this with around 450g of fibre, if i do it right ;) . I bought a bit extra cos I was originally going for medium, but I have decided I don't want to be swathed in extra fabric so I'm going for small, but at least this will leave me extra for experimenting, making mistakes, and maybe a hat at the end of it if I'm lucky.

Anyway, so now back to Sirdar Clik. It's a 3-ply yarn, soft and quite stretchy, but full of acrylic or something. Of course, using different fibres to those specified with give my yarn, and thus my jumper, slightly different characteristics, but as I'm using wool, which is naturally quite elastic, and BFL which is I think the softest British-bred breed, I'm hoping it won't make much of a difference. But obviously I need to do testers to check! The first stage of doing this is checking the wpi or wraps per inch. To do this, make a wrapping:
  1. Cut a strip of thin or medium cardboard and stick some double sided tape on one or both sides of it, front and back. The cardboard should be a few inches long.

  2. Get your yarn, and stick the end to the sticky tape on the back of the cardboard.

  3. Now wrap the yarn around the card, making sure not to stretch it or allow it to bunch up - careful on the tension. Make sure the strands are sitting right next to (but not overlapping) each other. The sticky tape will help to hold it all in place.

  4. Continue for OVER an inch, at least 2 inches preferably, depending on the yarn(s) you're measuring. When it's long enough secure the other end of the yarn to the sticky stuff.

  5. Now, get a ruler and place it so that you're measuring 1 inch in the middle of your wrapping. Use the middle to try and get an average.

  6. The number of strands of yarn that fit into that inch is your number of wraps per inch, or wpi. So, if, as for my Sirdar Clik wrapping, I counted 12 strands in that inch, I know the yarn has a wpi of 12.

I now know that my finished yarn must also be 12 wpi for it to be of the same thickness as Sirdar Clik.

^ measuring the wpi on my wrapping

Anyway, from hereon in I need to get experimenting with my own fibre, trying to get the right thickness, ply and texture to my yarn. It's all down to trial and error, and I'll tell you all about it when I've actually got round to it ;)