Peach Sweater

When I started this blog in January, my goal was to post once a week. I had been successful until a couple of weeks ago when things got out of control. We had a series of house guests for extended visits, including our daughter, our son and his girlfriend, and my sister. We felt this was safe with windows open much of the time, people assigned to separate bathrooms, and rolls of paper towel in the kitchen and half bath. During this time I participated in a modified covid appropriate annual reunion at our family cabin, attended outdoor group meals with chairs six feet apart, endured multiple severe storms resulting in 15 inches of rain and one tornado, picked up and hauled tons of brush, went swimming and bike riding, and did other activities that did not involve writing a blog.

In my “spare” time I have been carding the bison fiber that I wrote about in my last post, and knitting another pair of socks. Today’s post is about a sweater I made years ago, using photos scanned from an old fashioned scrapbook.

Wearing the peach sweater with my 2009 haircut and glasses

The sweater project was ambitious considering my spinning experience at that time. I wanted to card and then spin enough yarn for a sweater, using a blend of wool and alpaca, and then dye it all the same color. The two fibers would take the dye differently, resulting in a slightly variegated yarn. The experience I had with dyeing involved small batches of wool or yarn. In this case I wanted to dye all of it at once, after it was spun into yarn.

The Textile Center near the University of Minnesota has a dye lab where they offer classes. The space is also available for member use, so I reserved it for a couple of hours in order to use their giant pots and other equipment. It was a fun adventure with a successful outcome.

The first step of the project was blending together some commercially prepared merino wool with some alpaca fiber using my drum carder. The fiber wraps around the drum as you push it in the bottom and turn a handle. When the drum is full you peel off a rectangle shaped batt, as seen below sitting next to the drum carder. Some people spin directly from the batt. I prefer to peel strips from the batt for spinning. My notes in the scrapbook indicate that I carded 32 batts. I don’t know how many ounces that was, but in retrospect I have never carded that much of the same thing again.

Blending professionally prepared merino wool with alpaca using my drum carder

Spinning from strips off the batts, I filled 16 bobbins worth of single ply yarn from the 32 batts. I have four bobbins, so I would have spun two batts onto each one, then combined two bobbins together into a two ply yarn. Then repeated with the other two bobbins. And then repeated all that three more times. The original 32 batts turned into eight skeins of bulky yarn.

Eight skeins of yarn from 32 batts of fiber

I picked out some Cushing dye in a color called “peach”. It reminds me of a dreamsicle.

Following is a (blurry) photo of all the yarn in one large pot with the peach dye. I dyed some other yarn green at the same time.

A very large pot to fit all eight skeins of yarn, plus a smaller batch with green dye

There was a nifty tray for draining water from the skeins of yarn.

Draining water from the yarn after dyeing is complete

Back at home I hung all the yarn on a drying rack.

Completed yarn on a drying rack

I used a pattern called “Foresta Round Cardigan” for the sweater. It is designed for bulky yarn. I must have bought it at the local yarn shop, but there is a listing on Ravelry. It says you can buy the pattern at schoolproductsyarns.com. .

Completed peach color sweater from the back

This sweater is very heavy and warm, so it comes in handy on cold Minnesota winter days. I still have some of the peach yarn left waiting for another project.

Published by Meg Hanson

Hello. I am a recently retired empty nester. My husband and I moved to Jewett Lake in Otter Tail County, Minnesota, after living most of our lives in the Minneapolis area. I have no trouble keeping busy with knitting and spinning of wool, selling yarn and handmade goods, reading, walking, watching movies, surfing on the internet, traveling, doing bookkeeping for our family cabin, and spending time with family.

8 thoughts on “Peach Sweater

  1. Interesting project, Meg! Glad you still have your peach sweater. What a summer you have had, and you have graciously handled all the challenges and changes with love. Happy your family has been there with you!😍

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just keep saying over and over again how amazing you are! So creative and innovative with so much ambition and the energy to match. I envy you…. but in a good way 😉. One great project after another. What I admire most is your ability to proceed with something you have never done before… and come out undaunted! Way to go !

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is super cool to see the project step by step in the photos. And fun to see your old, downstairs fireplace in one photo. It is a nifty pattern, it looks comfortable to wear. Would that pattern work in a lighter weight yarn I wonder?

    Liked by 1 person

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