Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring in Her Step

There are signs of spring all over. The sun is shining, and the bare trees are showing a faint haze of color before bursting into bud. The redbud trees are the rusty red that, oddly, presages the magnificent purply pink of their blossoms. The birds are singing loudly, shouting their delight.

And, while the yarnstruck nephews and niecey are off on a short vacation, we have a very welcome family member visiting, who clearly knows how to enjoy the bright spring weather. It's wonderful to have a dog around the house for a while, something we very much miss.

Now that I've finished cleaning and carding my little Jacob sheep fleece, I've put it aside to spin later. It's time to knit again.

On the knitting front, next on the agenda is a sweater from the Coopworth wool I spun a while ago. This is something I look forward to with both excitement and a hint of trepidation, since I have yet to knit anything from my own handspun. Of course there's nothing to worry about, it's just that slight hesitation you might feel before you do a cannonball into the swimming pool.

The challenge is really in coming up with the right design for the handspun. My guess is that it's roughly a doubleknitting weight; I'll have to try measuring wraps per inch and swatching a little to be sure. Of course, since it's beginner handspun, the gauge may vary. So the design will have to be something forgiving. And I don't have a large amount of any one or two colors; what I actually have is roughly equal amounts of several natural sheep colors ranging from dark brown to a creamy off-white. So what's a good way to use it? I'm not leaning toward an overall stranded design. I would like to let the handspun texture stand out a little more, rather than emphasize a lot of pattern. But I'd like something a little fancier than a perfectly plain striped stockinette sweater. I'm toying with some ideas for wide stripes with a cable motif repeated in each band.

The Coopworth colors I have to work with are actually rather like the colors of the Jacob fleece I've just been preparing. I suppose it's not that surprising, since both are natural sheep colors, that's they're in pretty much the same range. But in the Coopworth, each color comes from a different individual, whereas in the Jacob, they're all on the same sheep!

The biggest danger threatening this sweater right now is the spring weather. After a short trip the last couple of days to someplace that's getting a lot of dreary rain, the sunshine is downright infectious. If this keeps up, I may start feeling strange urges to knit brightly colored cotton tank tops. Of course, there's nothing wrong with that.

But I'm eager to see what this handspun can become, and I don't want to wait all the way until next fall. Oh, be strong! (And knit quickly!)


Bess said...

I can't wait to see what you come up with.

Two Cables and a Frapp said...

The visiting doggie is too cute! Your wool is beautiful. I love the idea you have of incorporating cables w/wide stripes. Some bloggers are already knitting spring/summer stuff but I’m determined to knit just one last winter sweater. Don’t let a little warm weather stop you from finishing your project.