Shivering Sheep Shawl

The second project for the month of April, using only handspun yarn, is a shawl that I am calling the Shivering Sheep Shawl.  It is a pattern that I have developed myself.  This is the first project I have used the pattern on.  I plan on test knitting it using several other yarns, from fingering to worsted weight, to get a better handle on size and amount used.  Anyway, here is the first go-around with the Shivering Sheep Shawl.

I had about 505 yards of handspun, and used just about all of it except the last 5 yards.

Sh-01 Yarn-wp

Sh-01. Yarn for Sh-01, Shivering Sheep Shawl.

The fiber I used was roving that I had.  I don’t remember whether I purchased the fiber or if it was a gift from a friend, but it was about 4 oz of 90/10% wool/mohair.  It has been aging nicely in my stash since 2004.  I figured it was time to use it.  It was spun approximately to a sport weight.

The Shivering Sheep Shawl pattern is very easy.  The pattern will be available on Ravelry once I have finished test knitting it with several different weights of yarn.

Sh-01 Shawl 170406-wp

Sh-01. Start of Shivering Sheep Shawl, as of 4-6-17.

I started the shawl on April 6, after finishing the cold sheeping socks.   It was finished and just needed blocking on April 22.  The yarn was very nice to knit with and I do wish I had more of it.  Oh, well.  I had three hanks of spun yarn 505 yards) that I used.  This is a top-down shawl, so, of course, each row has more stitches than the previous row.

I used U.S. size 6 (4.0 mm) 48″ needles (Clover needles to be specific).  I basically knitted it until I had just enough yarn to do the picot edging.  The first attempt a the picot edge was not successful because I ended up running out of yarn when I still had about 4 inches of the edge left to do.  The unsuccessful picot edge used three chain stitches between each bind-off.  To make it to the end, I had to frog it back to the beginning of the bind-off, and changed the number of chain stitches between bind-offs from 3 to 2.  That made a big difference and I was left with about 5 yards of yarn when I was finished.

The finished shawl can be worn as a scarf or shawl, which makes it very versatile and usable through more seasons.  I do like how the shawl came out.  It stays on the shoulders well because of the curve the top of the shawl.

From tip-to-tip, the span of the shawl is 68″ (172.7 cm).  The length of the shawl from top to bottom is 19.5″ (49.5 cm).

Sh-01 Shawl 170424-01-wp

Sh-01. Finished, blocked Shivering Sheep Shawl, as of 4-24-27.

Sh-01 Shawl 170424-02-wp

Sh-01. Shivering Sheep Shawl, side view, as of 4-24-27.

Barbara. sheep-icon-04


Cold Sheeping Continued – Socks from Handspun

Over a week ago, I finished the handspun socks dyed with butternuts (S-06 Socks).  I just needed to weave in the ends before I photographed them.  For some reason, finished socks can languish for days or weeks on a shelf in my bedroom, just  waiting to have their ends woven in.

Well, I finally wove in the ends and the are officially done!  Now that it’s spring, I think they may be a little to heavy to wear.  At least they will be ready for next fall.

For those who want particulars, here goes…

S-06 Socks - Cold sheeping continued.

S-06 Socks. Handspun East Friesian wool, dyed with butternuts.

I used about 222 yards of handspun East Friesian wool.  The wool was skein dyed to minimize any possibility of felting.  The yarn is a worsted weight.  I used size US 3 (3.25mm) needles.

The socks were knitted from the toe up, using a pattern I developed around 1998 or so.  The stitch pattern is a K1P1 rib.  I always like how it looks.  There is something elegant about a K1P1 rib.  It’s a little tedious to do, but the result is worth it.

I started with 289 yards of wool, and have about 67 yards left.  At least I used most of it, and will put the remainder to good use later.  Just for the record, this yarn was spun and dyed in 2002.  I guess you could say it is well-aged and has ripened nicely.

Barbara.  sheep-icon-04




April: Starting the Month of Handspun Cold Sheeping

I have been a hand spinner since the late 1990s.  In that time, I have created a lot of handspun yarn.  Like most hand spinners, I have not used up all of what I have spun.  With that in mind, I decided that April 2017 will be the month of cold sheeping with handspun.

The handspun cold sheeping idea came to me when I was going through a very large bag of yarn that was hand-dyed with natural dyes.  Much of that yarn was natural white yarn that I had spun from roving or from a fleece that I processed.

I grabbed some light brown yarn that was spun from an East Friesian fleece I had acquired from Wooly Acre Farm, in Lisle, New York.  Although East Friesian sheep are considered a dairy sheep,  their fleeces can also be used for handspun yarn.  It is a medium grade wool with a relatively long-staple length.  It is great for hard-wearing boot socks and outer garments.  The wool is very springy, has a slight luster to it, and spins up very nicely.  It also takes up dye very well.  The spun yarn produces beautiful stitch definition due to it’s springiness.  It is great for cabled and texture-stitch garments.

East Friesian handspun yarn

East Friesian handspun yarn for S-06 socks. Yarn dyed with butternuts.

I am making socks from the yarn I spun and dyed in 2002,  Talk about well-aged stash!  It is a worsted weight yarn.  I decided to make a pair of socks from this.  I have about 290 yards of this yarn, more than enough for socks.

I started working on the S-06 socks on April 2, 2017.  I always knit my socks from the toe up because I could never get the kitchener stitch to look right.  I blamed that on my being left-handed.

I use a basic toe-up pattern that I developed for myself.  It starts with a figure-8 cast-on for the toe, then increasing to the number of stitches needed for the foot.  I chose to do a K1P1 rib for the instep and cuff.   I also use a short row heel.

S-06 sock foot completed.

S-06 socks.  East Friesian handspun dyed with butternuts. Foot completed as of 4-2-17.

I am using US size 3 (3.25 mm) needles for the socks.  Normally, for commercial worsted weight yarn, I use US size 4 (3.50 mm) needles for socks, but since handspun can have some minor inconsistencies, resulting in a slightly “thick & thin” yarn, going down one needle size works best resulting in a consistent stitch gauge.  I do the same thing for sweaters and other garments knitted with handspun.  That little rule of thumb has served me well over the years to get garments that fit.

S-06 sock, heel completed.

S-06 sock, short row heel completed as of 4-4-17

I am now working on the cuff, and hope to get the first sock finished and the second one started this weekend.   Socks work up very quickly when knitted in worsted weight.



Barbara. sheep-icon-05








The TGV Scarf

The TGV (Tricot Grande Vitesse – high speed knitting) scarf, designed by Susan Ashcroft, is one of my favorite scarves to make, especially with self-striping yarn that has long spans of each color.  I have made three of them.  Although it looks like it might be complicated, it is very easy and quick to knit.  Basically, the first half is garter stitch and the last half is just K2P2 rib.  It is also a great way to use up sock yarn which is way too pretty to use for socks that will be hidden in your shoes.  Another thing, if you don’t want to use skinny yarn, you can use heavier yarn.  According to the pattern instructions, you can use up to bulky yarn with this pattern.

Wisdom Yarns Poems Sock-#968-wp

Wisdom Yarns Poems Sock, Color #968/ Narnia.

I am using Wisdom Yarns Poems Sock yarn.  It is a superwash wool/nylon (75/25%) blend.  The colorway I used this time is #968, Narnia; 100 g/3.5 oz; 420 m/459 yds.  I bought the yarn in December 2016 at The Glitter Ninja, in Kirkwood, NY.

I have four more skeins of this yarn in other colorways.  I have plans for them, that’s for sure.

I started the scarf late Monday night.  All I wanted to do was get it started.

Sc-01, TVG scarf, as of 3-20-17.

Sc-01, TGV scarf, as of 3-20-17.

I am using Clover bamboo circular needles, 48″, size US 6/4.0 mm.  If you can’t find these needles locally, you can order them directly from Clover, which is where I bought mine.

You may be wondering what those green stitch markers are for.  I use them for two reasons.  1) I put them on  the “right side” or in this case, the odd-numbered row side; and 2) to see my progress. At the start of each day I work on the scarf, I place a marker on the last row worked.  Then, by the end of the day, I can see how far I’ve gotten.  As the scarf gets longer and wider, this helps me realize how much I have knitted on it.

Sc-01, TGV scarf, as of 3-21-17.

Sc-01, TGV scarf, as of 3-21-17.

I worked on the scarf again last night.  This scarf is great to work on while watching television or a movie.  I guess I’ve made a bit of progress.

Unlike other colorways of Poems Sock, this colorway has more subtle color changes than some other colorways, but they still are noticeable.  I like how it is working out.

This is another cold sheep project.  Thanks for stopping by.


Cold Sheeping – Start – The Long-Forgotten Cardigan

C-01 Cardigan, Finished-wp

Cardigan C-01

Sometimes projects just have to completely ripen before they are finished.  This sweater was started in January 2013 but lay around, stuffed in a knitting bag for four years.  It was finally finished in January of this year.  It is fitting that I start my yarn stash decreasing with this sweater.

I included this sweater as my first cold sheep project for 2017.  I considered any project that is completed and wearable in 2017 as part of this year’s finished projects.

As I mentioned above, this sweater was started in January of 2013.  Due to real life getting in the way, I never completely finished it.  I had finished the body in stocking stitch,  button bands, pockets, and neck ribbing.  I just never did the finishing.  This poor sweater would be moved from my office to the bedroom and back numerous times until I finally took a good look at it and realized it was almost done.

After two evenings of finishing work, which included mattress stitching the button bands on, weaving in all stray ends, and attaching buttons, I finally washed and blocked it.

C-01 - Yarn-wp

Yarn for cardigan C-01 and socks S-01

When I wore it for the first time, I realized that it is one of the most comfortable sweaters I have knit.  I am wearing it now as I write this entry.

Now for the interesting part.  I bought all 8 skeins of this yarn from Rose Spring Farm at Rhinebeck (also known as the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival) in 2007 or 2008.  It sat, ripening and aging nicely in my stash until Early 2013.  It is a blend of border leceister, finn, and mohair.  It knits up easily.  The yarn is a worsted weight.  Each 4 ounce skein contains 218 yards.  I used US 7 (4.5 mm) needles to get 5 stitches per inch.  The color is called Hot Nights.

S-01 - Finished Socks-wp

Socks S-01

After completing the sweater, I still had 3+ skeins of yarn.  That meant I had enough for a pair of matching socks.  I love to have socks match my sweaters.  I normally buy enough yarn so I can make a pair of matching socks once the sweater is completed.

The socks were knitted from the toe up using my standard K2P2 rib toe-up sock pattern.  I used size US 3 (3.25 mm) needles.  Once the toe was completed, I had 44 stitches on the needles.  The socks were started on January 6th and finished on January 8th.  Worsted weight socks work up very quickly, that’s for sure.

Total yards used for both cardigan (1241 yards) and socks (218 yards) is 1449 yards

Thanks for reading and more cold sheep projects are coming.