Sierra Silver Moonlight

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Or, how I went from
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- to -
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- using
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- and a whole lot of
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-because I really took my time with this project, and it took a very long time.






See, way back in May 2008, I attended an alpaca show with my friend, Allie Neas.  I think I even blogged about it, and I saw a woman there who was wearing THIS sweater. 
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I was so gobsmacked by it that I actually approached a complete and total stranger and fawned all over her sweater and begged for details.  She was either somewhat snooty, overwhelmed by my boldness, shy, or maybe just mean, but all she would tell me is, “It’s a Rowan Pattern, and I used a zipper instead of buttons.”  Bitch. 

It took me FOREVER to actually find the pattern, based on the limited information that it was a button-up Rowan pattern.  I finally tracked it down - it’s Moonlight, and it’s in this book, number 34.
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The fleece was shorn from a sheep, named Sierra Silver, owned by The Lace Shepherdess.
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Sierra is the one in the middle.  Isn’t she STUNNING.  Her fleece really is silver.  It also kind of sparkles in the sunlight.  I love it LOVE IT.

So, please allow me to introduce my sweater, Sierra Silver Moonlight (I love poetry.)
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Here, let me twirl in front of the camera for you.
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Yeah, I’m pretty pleased with myself – this is my first ever sweater! 

As you can see from the photo with my little dog, Dixie, lying on the washed locks, there is a slight color variation from light to dark grey.  I wanted to knit the sweater so that it would be the lightest color at the collar and the darkest at the hem.  The only way that I could figure out how to do this was to knit the sleeves as I knitted the bodice, only I can’t stand raglan sleeves, so that was out.   I was thrilled to discover that Barbara Walker, a true genius, had already figured it out, and she shared her genius with the rest of us in the book, Knitting From the Top.  Thanks, Barbara!

In order to use this genius idea, it  meant that I had to re-design the whole sweater to be worked from the top down.  Also, I wanted a tighter gauge and a more closely fitted design.  I’m really pleased with how it all turned out.

I learned so much through the course of this project.  I learned that I love Coopworth, and I learned that so does my cat…
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- -  Don't let that look of pure innocence fool you - I couldn’t make her get off of this fiber, the brat.
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Wait, there’s more!
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- - she actually stole my spindle and carried it up to my daughter’s bed.  Look how she’s hanging her head in shame.
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- - the only way that I could keep track of my balls of yarn.

Anyway… I spun this yarn on my toy-wheel spindles, using my most favorite method in the whole world, Tammy Rizzo’s Navajo Ply on the Fly.  If you have shied away from Longwools, thinking that they are harsh, well, you might like to reconsider.  This fabric which resulted from knitting this sweater is sturdy and strong – I figure that if I can keep the stupid cat off of it, I’ll have this sweater for the rest of my life.  On the day of the twirling-in-front-of-the-camera-photo-shoot, it was bitterly cold, and this sweater kept me surprisingly warm. Longwools have a drapey luxuriance -  I’ll certainly be spinning more Coopworth!  Witness my latest purchase from The Lace Shepherdess – Timothy – he’s the handsome lad in front, and here is a photo of his fleece.  Ahhhh……

Encourage one another….

19 comments:

Natalie Servant said...

Wow - that's an amazing long-term project. It's beautiful.

Steph said...

Oh, wow. That is just absolutely beautiful. I'm jealous!

Susan said...

Wonderful sweater--a beautiful job and a perfect fit. That fleece really does glow, and it's a great match for the design.

fleegle said...

What an epic! The sweater is handsome and your spinning is magnificent!

Anonymous said...

MAGNIFIQUE !!!!!!!! What a beautiful sweater . I am not able to use my beloved wheels anymore ( may be I will again later , who knows ) and seeing what a wonderful job you accomplished with a spindle gives me lots of hope . I have a few washed fleeces just waiting for a spindle dance . Thank you for showing it
Danièle

Sandy said...

Love the sweater! Love your post! Love my sheep!
Great job! Your *first* sweater? really? You did good.

Patty said...

Beautiful! A real work of love--and art. Sandy must be thrilled to see Sierra in a whole new way!

Gina said...

It is absolutely stunning. I feel like such an ignoramus for not realizing how complex it was with the gradation of color and set-in sleeves. Wow. You really rock!

atlaw said...

Rosemary, that is really beautiful! And all done on spindle spun yarn! The fleece was gorgeous and so is the yarn. You inspire me to make my spindle spun sweater. All the yarn is already spun, just have to find the right pattern.

elizabeth said...

That is fabulous! It looks great on you, and I hope your cat lets you wear it! I'm sure it's 100 times prettier than the one you saw at the festival!

veganprimate said...

You are amazing! Wow...just wow!

When I gave up my wheel in favor of spindles, I thought, "Well, I can spin yarn for gloves and socks, and maybe a hat, but I'll have to continue to buy yarn for sweaters. Spinning a sweater's worth of yarn would be too much."

I can't believe you did it. Brava!

Laurie said...

Stunning. I love the story behind it, the research. The love. Coopworth is a wonderful fiber. ANd the sweater looks just amazing on you.

Shepherd's Loft said...

well worth the time and effort. What an amazing project! a great photo essay. and best of all - a lovely sweater to have and to hold from this day forth. thanks for sharing.

stringplayer said...

Wow! C'est magnifique. That's a wonderful sweater you've produced and a great fit. Congratulations, and may you wear it in good health.

Barbara

Rosemary said...

Thanks so much, everyone, for your very kind comments. You have no idea how much I appreciate them! Hugs!

If you haven't yet tried Coopworth, then try it now. I'm telling you, it's much different "in the knit" than it is "in the fleece." It's wonderful stuff.

Also, you'd be surprised at how fast you can spindle a sweater. Try it!

Cheers!
Rosemary

Tanya Ehrsam(Philo) said...

I love it! She looks just like my cat, and normally my cat isn't this naughty, but she does attack my knitting needles as well as the yarn...I'm sure its a matter of time. Thanks for the circular knitting needle how-to...I think I'll have a new hobby;-)

Beth said...

Just discovered your blog from a listing at Heart Like a Wheel; And I think I can understand the joy of knitting something you have spun. You really are tempting me. I've given up smocking, heirloom sewing but I have had to add this to my knitting. There is a alpaca farm down the street, maybe I can get some next spring? That would make lovely knitting. take care, will be back.

Patty said...

Hi Rosemary: That is a gorgeous sweater, knit from Sierra who is a very special sheep. I know both Sierra and her doting shepherd and fellow spinner, Sandy. That is an amazing "first" sweater. I can't wait to see your next one!

Rosemary said...

Hi Patty, I wish I knew them both! Give them hugs from me, next time you see them!