The Alleged Sweater

I am so happy that my friend, Paula Weiss, agreed to share the story of her ‘Alleged Sweater’ for my fledgling blog. Here is the story in Paula’s words:

I bought a second hand spinning wheel at a rug hooking event, several years ago, because it was cheap (Ashford Traditional for $75). A friend was selling it & the money was going to a charity.  I got caught up in the moment, forgetting that I had no interest in learning how to spin my own yarn.

We are fortunate to have a wonderful fibre shop in our community, GOOD FIBRATIONS, whose owner, Elizabeth Miller, is a self taught, spinner, dyer, weaver, knitter… get the picture.  I was able to take a beginners class in spinning on a wheel, from Liz & here I am, a few years later, at the bottom of the spinning rabbit hole, now owning a second wheel.  I would never have expected that spinning would be as relaxing & meditative as it is.  The treadling & hum of the wheel as it spins, is zen like.

The “Alleged Sweater” was an idea to spin yarn with a project in mind instead of just spinning random 100gm braids which were accumulating in a rainbow of colours.

Lovely to look at & fondle, but what do you do with them all?  

I started by buying 2 lbs of undyed Bluefaced Leicester (BFL) that sat in a bag in my studio for months, hence the name “Alleged”.

When Covid locked us inside, I needed a variety of projects to maintain my sanity, so it was time to dig out the dye pots.

I’m a “fly by the seat of your pants” dyer, so each 4oz braid was a different mixture of reds.  Some were burgundy, some more pink, so I split them all & spun them randomly.

My spinning is not consistent, at all.  It’s thick & thin.  Not what most spinners look to achieve.

I decided against plying it, to make a two ply yarn & decided to treat it as a Lopi weight yarn.

Once it was all skeined up, it didn’t look like enough, so I bought another 2lbs & repeated the dye, spin, skein process.  I have enough left over for another large project.

I found a bottom up, tunic pattern in a magazine & dove in, hoping for the best.

It was constructed like the Lopi Sweaters that I knit in the 1970’s, bottom up, knit in the round, add the sleeves onto the body & knit the yoke.

I still have all those old knitting books, so I found a couple of patterns that I liked & knit the yoke with a couple of my one off spun singles.

I was pleasantly surprised that it actually fit & that I really like it.

The entire process took months, but it was during Covid lockdown & it kept me focused on something other than the isolation & constant media bombardment.

I’m back to spinning random rainbows of wool.  I guess you can never knit too many striped ponchos or shawls.