When I saw this amazing handspun Strokkur pop up on Ravelry yesterday I immediately wanted to find out more about the project, so I asked its maker Kristin a few questions. She was kind enough to let me share her responses and her photos here – thanks Kristin. You can see more of her work on Ravelry — BrineyDeep — and she also has a few cute patterns including this tea bag tea carrier. I always have a few tea bags stashed in my bag when I travel so I think I need one of these. Kristin also has a pattern for bike helmet ear warmers that would come in very handy in the winter.
I’m so impressed that you spun a whole sweater’s worth of yarn – I keep buying fibre but that still seems kind of impossible to me. When did you decide to do that? Did it take forever?
This has actually been a long project in the making. I knew when my mother gave me the wool over 3 years ago that it was enough for a sweater and I spun the yarn with every intention of it being knit into one eventually. The actual spinning took about 3 months and the knitting, swatching, and finishing took about 3 weeks. It was the 3 years in between the spinning and the knitting when I was looking for the right pattern that made this project take such a long time.
Did you spin the yarn with Strokkur in mind, or choose the pattern afterwards?
I actually spun this yarn with the intention of turning it into a Cria cardigan. I’m not sure when I abandoned that idea and decided to make a fair isle yoked sweater instead. Mom thought it was a great idea and volunteered to dye 2 of the skeins for me for the colorwork parts. At this point I ran into my biggest challenge: finding the right pattern when I was limited by yarn weight and the number of colors that could be in the fair isle section. When I saw Strokkur, I knew I had finally found the pattern that would fit my parameters and be fun to both knit and wear.
On your project page you said your mom gave you the fibre, do you know what it is?
This wool is from a prize-winning Corriedale fleece from the Ohio State Fair that my mother bought and split with a friend. Her friend processed the fleece and also carded a little Mohair into the batts. There was still some grease on the wool when I spun the yarn but after several washings, I have been pleasantly surprised by how soft the fiber is.
Did your mom teach you to spin and knit? What was it like to collaborate on this project?
My mother is actually a very talented handweaver and has always encouraged my fibery pursuits. She was the one who taught me to spin and her mother, my grandmother, taught me to knit. Mom and I regularly talk about our current projects (much to my father’s chagrin), but it’s only now that I realize how unique this project is because we both actively had a hand in it. I did all of the spinning and knitting, but without my mother’s gift of the wool, demonstrations in getting grease out of handspun, and consultations about colors and dying the skeins, it would have been a very different sweater. It’s been so nice to learn from her and build such an organic collaboration on a project.
I love the colours you choose, I’m kind of obsessed with that dirty gold. How did you choose the colours?
My mother dyed both colors, so all credit goes to her. I originally requested olive green and chocolate brown for the two colors but, because of the nature of hand-dying colors to order, they both came out on the yellow side. I really like how the colors ended up and am glad (and a bit relieved) that they complement each other so well.
Can you tell me about any mods you made?
I love wearing 3/4 length sleeves, so I shortened the sleeves on this pattern. That involved measuring the desired length versus expected length and multiplying this ratio by the number of rows called for in the pattern. This row count estimate was the starting point for deconstructing the sleeve from the top down to get the right number of increase repeats and stitches to cast on. The sleeve is almost exactly where I wanted it to be, so I’m calling that a victory for math.
Is there anything else you want to share about your project?
Now that I’m at the end of this project, I’m really glad I had extra handspun on hand. Partly because it gave me the flexibility to change patterns and partly because I didn’t have to use the two skeins that were thinner than the others. Spinning extra yarn is something I’m definitely going to do for my next handspun sweater.
Thanks for inviting me to do a Q&A. This has been an epic project and I’m excited to share the process and the product with others!
I can’t wait for it to be cold so I can actually wear this sweater.
Yay! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful sweater with us Kristin, I hope you get to wear it soon!
Inspired by Kristin’s amazing sweater? Enter the code ‘Briney’ at the checkout to receive 20% off the Strokkur pattern until 4 September, or just click here to buy it now with the discount already entered.
Do you have an extra special project made from one of my patterns that you’d like to share? Or would you like to nominate an amazing one that you’ve seen? Let me know and I’ll contact the maker — I’d love to make this a regular feature. Do you need more eye candy? I’ve been pinning projects that I love.