Sunday, 30 May 2010

Results of the Sweater Challenge

Today was the final day. The bet was that I couldn't finish knitting my cardigan by midnight on 30 May -

Ta Daa! . Even though my husband tried to sabotage my efforts with extra pheasant duties, I finished it with 9 hours to spare. This included having to spin the rest of the fleece to have enough yarn to finish the job and learning a new technique out of a book to make the neckline.

It is the very definition of "homespun" and not exactly a complicated pattern. It's unintentionally more complicated when you use hand spun wool that has a lot of variation in thickness. The front of one sleeve was a good 4 inches shorter than the back, but I worked out how to add some stitches. When the sleeves are rolled up you can hardly tell. A blind man galloping by on a horse would never notice it.

In hindsight, I might have reversed it before sewing it together (the inside seems to be the better side!) but it fits and it's warm. I gave it a trial run picking up eggs this evening. Not too itchy, comfortable, and the sleeves stay rolled up. And the silver colour matches my hair - well, my roots anyway.

I win the princely sum of nothing, as it was a "double or quits" bet. But I do get the satisfaction of meeting a goal I set for myself, in spite of extra work and some gentle ribbing from Mike. In future I might not race to finish knitting projects as it means I'm more likely to drop a stitch or lose count on a row as my competitive streak kicks in.

Each time I knit a new project I gain more knitting skills in the process. That's the best part. And knitting is the only thing that encourages me to build up my feeble math skills. If you really want to geek out on the knitting/maths combo, there are a selection of resources to choose from. Unfortunately our local knitting group has folded (if it were an origami group, that would be a great joke). It's back to knitting from books and You Tube videos. I've got some fleeces to prepare first.


  1. It's lovely! Just out of curiosity, how much yardage did it take?

  2. It turned out lovely. Victory is yours!

  3. Looks great, and I love the color! I admire the fact that you can spin your own yarn- that's pretty cool.

    I've learned a lot of things about knitting from YouTube, which I think is a great resource for that kind of thing.

  4. Wow!! Well done Jen. It looks really lovely. Just think how much you'd have needed to spin if you had carried on double.

    C x

  5. Oh, and may I borrow 'We took to the woods' when you finish?

  6. PJ - That's for the thumbs up!

    Hrist - I don't know the yardage. Patterns are written for wool by weight in the UK. The pattern calls for 10 hanks of DK (double knit)100grams each, so 1000gr of yarn in total. You can have a look at for more info on the pattern/DK jacob wool they use.

    Sara - I can hold my head high now...

  7. Paula - I don't know what we did before instructional You Tube videos. Spinning isn't complicated unless you want to be really really good at it. If you're happy making thickish 2-ply wool, you're laughing. I spend almost nothing on wool which makes knitting a cheap hobby, and it keps me off the streets at night.

  8. Colette - Thanks, I would do this pattern again in a commercial yarn. It's quick and not a bad shape. And I know what to do better for next time. Thanks for saving me from doubling up my yarn - it would have weighed a ton otherwise! Almost finished with 'We Took to the Woods" so it's all yours.

  9. I really like it :o) and as a total non-knitter I'm amazed you can *make* something that good.
    PS also loving your climbing clematis (I think?) in the photo.

  10. Congratulations Jen, it looks beautiful. What a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction to have done this. All but the growing of the wool. I know what we(women) are capable of when the challenge is before us, best not to bet against the women. Good job, what's your next knitting project?

  11. Thanks Maria and well spotted on the clematis. I thought it would make a nice backdrop for my florally-minded readers!

    Terry - The next batch of wool I will have officially grown myself, then the cycle will be complete. Mike says he agrees that it's safest not to be against women. He said something else about us being stubborn but I'm ignoring him.

    Not sure about the next knitting project, but I will be spinning some more fleece for starters.