Posted on September 20, 2012 at 10:17 am
The new Knitty is up, Deep Fall 2012. You may notice that this issue marks the website's 10th anniversary which makes me take a moment to check my clock. It seems like so little time ago when I wandered onto the internet wondering if there might be people on there talking about knitting, and found the place crowded around the knitty coffeeshop. Amy Singer was one of the internet's pioneers, planting a flag in the html wilderness back when most websites flashed and heralded your arrival with dancing gifs and 8 bit music. As far as we've come as a community and knitting has developed as an identity, much of that distance we all owe to Amy, Jillian Moreno, and the talented tech editors, writers, designers, and advertisers who made knitty possible for all these years. Don't miss Amy's letter this issue, it's a little bit teary and sweet.
What makes Knitty's 10th anniversary extra special for me is that I have a pattern tucked in there among the luminaries. It's the one photographed by Caro Sheridan:
It's a handspun sweater I'm calling Party Mix. The idea came out of a conversation I had with Amy King of Spunky Eclectic about the nature of stash and spinning for a sweater. The pattern bridges a gap for me between a short attention span for spinning and the fact that I favor sweaters as my primary knitting.
Like many spinners, I have plenty of six to eight ounce bits of fiber (I tend to buy bumps in pairs because one is never enough), but very few sweater lots of fiber. Six ounces is about all I ever really want to spin out of something before I lose interest and want something new. Meanwhile, I have favorite colors I gravitate to when I buy fiber so the stash already has a lot of coordinates.
Party Mix is knit out of that stash, made of pieces that are designed with 4 to 6 oz units in mind (for most sizes), so that out of a motley pile comes an elegant sweater. The front and back can be two different yarns, unified by one yarn devoted to the sleeves and triangular side panels. This unifying yarn can be handspun, or it can be a commercial one. You can even push it further, and make each piece out of a different yarn.
For the yarns, I chose to make a 2-ply, partly because I am lazy, but really because a 2 ply leaves the component colors more intact and lets them stripe as much as possible in the knitted fabric. A 3-ply would have blended them down further, and I really wanted to highlight the handpainted quality of the original roving. You can make that decision for yourself of course, and if you are combining rovings for your yarn, a 3-ply gives you the option of using three different rovings, which means you can really explore your stash even further. Adrian of Hello Yarn has a great post on this technique to check out if this is a new-to-you idea.
The vital statistics on the sweaters include the fact that Random Kelly spun the yarn I used in the front of the top version in about a weekend, because that's the kind of get 'er done spinnner she is. It took me about a week to match her output. All the yarns are from Spunky Eclectic BFL/Silk in various colorways that had a burgundy quality in common: Toronto for the body and Sangria for the sides and sleeves of the bottom version, Tahiti for the front and an edited version of Sangria (minus the darkest parts to make it coordinate with the Tahiti) for the back of the top version, along with a Cascade 220 color called Provence for the sleeves. All yarns were spun to 9 to 10 wpi, most of them about 1000 ypp. Kelly's yarn was lighter than mine (she's an accomplished woolen spinner while I am still working on getting air into my singles) so while she ended up with the same wpi, her yarn was closer to 1100 ypp. That's something for me to work on.
Meanwhile, if you aren't a spinner, and you like the pattern enough to make it, rest assured that any worsted-ish weight yarn you love will work. I suggested Noro Silk Garden in the pattern specs, but you can easily use a variegated yarn like Lorna's Laces Shepherd Multi or Crystal Palace Mochi Plus coordinated with solids (or not). Its really all about play (as it often is for me) and messing around with what you love.
Happy Anniversary, Amy & Jillian. Thank you for all that you do!