Monday, October 6, 2008

The Aran Sweater wakes up for Fall.

The aran sweater that I promised to knit for my friend has been pulled out of hibernation. I started this in June after finally finding just the right pattern. My dear friend Barbara who lives in Australia asked me to knit her a sweater quite a while ago, like maybe a year ago (eek) and I finally got around to it. (some friend I am!) Anyway, she said she has wanted one of these classic aran sweaters her whole life, and we sent pictures of patterns back and forth for a while before settling on this one from Lion Brand Online Patterns. It only cost a couple of dollars, but the pattern is a disaster to follow in its original format. The whole pattern is squeezed into a single page, very small font, no chart, and furthermore, the cable pattern is written out without abbreviations. (slip two stitches to a cable needle and hold to the back, knit two stitches and then purl two from the cable needle...) I had to translate it into something I could work with, and with the help of my pattern row counter (thanks again turtlegirl76!) I have gotten this far.. I probably would never have knit a sweater like this on my own initiative..but it is really starting to grow on me. The yarn is lovely (Knit Picks Superwash Bare), and the texture is run your hand over the top of it and it feels so neat..smooth and bumpy at the same time.

And here is that stuff from Maine Woods Wool that I spun a while ago, but have not been able to photograph to my satisfaction. It looks really neat actually and is quite sproingy. I think this will be socks. Eventually. After I finish a billion other things..
And here we have a big, major, learning opportunity. My mother-in-law Penny and I bought some raw but washed alpaca fleece at the Black Sheep Gathering. We set to work trying to learn how to hand card, but it is hard..Penny is doing pretty well, but the stuff I did has these big lumps in it, like tangles. They make big bumps in the yarn. Maybe I just didn't card it enough? any suggestions anyone?
I may be getting too much fiber on the cards, but it is really hard to pull it apart into smaller chunks to load. Does fleece always stick together like this?

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