Last summer I wrote in my Fleece blogpost about dyeing some fibres to spin and knit Julia Farwell-Clay’s Tambourine cardigan. I had a productive dyeing session and ended up with a wonderful basket of blue-toned fleece just ready for spinning.Over the winter, I got spinning!My yarn is perhaps particularly colourful and flecked. This is partly because I get bored with spinning just a single colour, and partly because I love the variegated hues that you find in old materials. Look at the shifting tones in this carpet for example. To achieve my flecked and variegated yarn, I spin both from rolags and teased-out fleece, thus getting both blocks of plain colour (the teased-out fleece) and blocks of blended colour. Here, I’m preparing a rolag with white clouds to sit amongst the blue.And here, I’m using stronger accent colours of scarlet and purple to stand out against the blue. Some little bits of glossy alpaca amid the fleece.The finished rolag still shows the accent colours quite clearly.You will see from my finished basket of rolags that there are all sorts of different hues and colours in the rolags alone. Also in the basket is some teased out alpaca ready to be spun as a solid colour amid the blended rolags.I also add little sharply-coloured pieces of brilliant fleece (or perhaps mohair or silk) as I’m spinning to act as highlights. If you look at this spool, you may be able to make out the three components of my spinning: softly-blended rolags, solid colour and accent colours (the little shots of vibrant green).I have large baskets of coloured fleece sitting around as I work; clouds of inspirational colour just itching to be spun. Happy cat Poe helps me with all this processing in her own inimitable way.It is so immensely satisfying to end up with this.Just a wash on the line, blowing in the Northumbrian breezes, and the yarn is ready to knit.Time now to do some knitting and see how this yarn is going to knit up …I’m really pleased with the flecks and variation of colours, but will it work with the raised nups which are an intrinsic part of the Tambourine pattern? Time to look at the swatch properly …Yes, I am so pleased with the swatch – I think the nups stand out well against the variegated yarn. Also good news, my yarn measures up to the same tension as in the pattern, so I shouldn’t need to do any adjustments with the calculations. I decided to do some measuring against another short cardigan that fits me very well. This is Kate Davies’ Deco – a pattern that I love, and a cardi that I wear a lot. So I’m fairly confident that if I base my measurements on this cardi, I will come up with a Tambourine cardi that will fit.Alas, that’s not the case! I get so far, and I know this cardi is too small for me. It is meant to be a close fit, but this is a closer fit than I want. Oh dear, time to do some unravelling, and start again. I am always impressed when I read how positively other knitters undo their work – I hate it! I feel dispirited, and although I love the way my yarn is knitting up, I can’t understand how I’ve got my measurements so wrong.
But back I go to my needles, reknitting the cardi a size larger. Through the spring of this year I busily knit away. New kits come to live with us and discover what fun my knitting is.I’m really struggling with this blogpost now. Moment of truth. I have enjoyed all the spinning, and dyeing and knitting of this project (well, almost all – not the undoing) but I will level with you: I am not happy with the re-knitted and completed cardi! Not happy at all. Oh dear, so much love, so much labour, so much effort!
I finished it a fortnight ago, and so dispirited was I that I just put it away, in a cupboard, out of sight, out of mind. It is only today that I have got it out, and here it is.It actually looks very good considering it’s just tacked together, doesn’t have any buttons, and hasn’t been blocked. The nupps look great, the flashes of colour are good.
But it looks awful on me – the colour is wrong (far too washed out and pale), and the style just doesn’t suit me at all. I don’t really like it at all. I know I won’t wear it.Hmm – I’ve been mulling what to do with this yarn. I have over 1,500 yards of it – about 550 g.
I could do another cardi using this pattern that I swatched a long time ago, and which I like very much. But it’s double stranded as you carry the colour behind the back which makes it very thick. I don’t wear thick jerseys any longer so I don’t think it would work for me.Or, I could do another shawl like this one I finished recently.This is Karie Westermann’s Fika shawl, and it is also knit with my homespun. You can see my trademark colour streaks in the detail of the shawl below. I am glad to say that I am very pleased with this shawl indeed!I’m still just mulling this over. I guess the first thing will be to be brave and actually unravel my Tambourine cardigan.
I’ll keep you posted on what I decide to do next.
And, if you have any suggestions for how I might use my lovingly-produced homespun, please let me know!