Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Project's Journey

I spent a lot of time spinning my Purple Llama yarn, so it stands to reason that knitting a project from it will also take some time. Choosing the right project for this fingering weight yarn has been a journey in its own right.

Knitting Progress of Talland Tee Pattern

After searching through various garment types and styles, always making note of the required yardage to take full advantage of my 1,022 yards (934 meters), I came across a top that I thought would suit the yarn beautifully: Calendula by Hélène Rush.

I thought the drape of the garment would work well with the mix of llama, merino, bamboo and Tussah silk fibers in the yarn. In addition, the Purple Llama yarn has some striping due to how I spun the different fibers together. Between the sideways construction and the lace details, I thought the striping would draw interest while not competing with the stitches.

Based on the yardage amount supplied with the pattern information, I calculated that I would need about 1,034 yards (945 meters) of yarn to complete Calendula. That’s about 12 yards shy of the amount I have — although I round down every time I measure a skein so it could work out. Maybe.

I started to swatch, and needed to go up two needle sizes to obtain gauge, from a US-5 (3.75 mm) to a US-7 (4.5 mm) needle. However, the llama fiber has enough of a halo — that fuzziness surrounding the yarn itself — that knitting this fingering weight yarn on US-7 needles still looked too tight. Instead of the open, draped fabric that I was envisioning, I was getting a much tighter matted-looking fabric. I could move to larger needles and a smaller garment size with the expectation that they would balance each other out, but how would that change the yardage? Theoretically, it should work out fine. But I didn’t want to knit through an entire garment to test that theory.

Reluctantly, I restarted my project search. This time, I landed on the Talland Tee by Sonja Bargielowska. Again it has a nice drape and interesting lace detail. This pattern only calls for about 800 yards (731 meters) of yarn, so I have some wiggle room to make adjustments if I choose.

Bottom Edge of Knit Talland Tee Pattern

The pattern calls for at least six inches (15 cm) of positive ease, which seems excessive. I’m knitting the size I would normally knit, although I went up two needle sizes to US-9 (5.5 mm) in order to get the draping fabric that I wanted. My row height is longer than the gauge specifications in the pattern, so I may need to knit fewer rows when I reach the armholes.

The journey with this handspun yarn isn’t over yet, but I’m optimistic about the final destination.

Oh, and the Calendula pattern? I still love it! It’s high on my to-make list.

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