Wool in Italy – What’s new?

I’ve realized that I was blogging alot about knitting and wool, so I’ve moved that over to my new blog:
come take a look and find out about:
So, if you’re interested in receiving my latest knitting, spinning and wool-working news and inspirations, please stop by at Wool in Italy and click the ‘follow’ box to your right on the home page.
Meanwhile, the rest of life in Italy will keep posting here so stay tuned for recipes, art, random thoughts, gardening and other things going on at the house.
Thanks for reading and happy wool-working to you woolies out there.

Slip-stitch Rib and the Graft: Still Spinning out of Control

Slip-stitch ribbing knit in the round with hand spun yarn.

So, I have begun the sweater I was thinking about when I wrote Norwegian Wool and the Magic Sweater  10 days ago, and my spinning has stabilized since I wrote Spinning Out (of Control) a week ago. My output of spun yarn has doubled to two-hundred yards this week and I have a good 7″ knitted. I’m in luck with this sweater both because my husband (who requested it) is slender – so I only have 36″ of ‘tube’ to knit for the body – and because I decided to knit it on U.S. #10 (6mm) needles! After working on my standard U.S. #2 (2.75mm) needles to make socks this sweater seems to be knitting up so quickly that I could finish it before the long Lombard winter actually ends.

I have learned two new techniques on this sweater. The first is the slip-stitch rib knit. I’ve found that it’s the perfect stitch to forgive the uneven quality of my different skeins of ‘beginner’s’ hand-spun yarn, the slipped stitches add density where the yarn is thin and at the same time allow enough openness to keep the thick spots from looking bulky…nice. If you don’t know this stitch, it’s easy and both the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ sides look cool:

Row 1: K1, P1 rib until you reach the marker at the beginning of your round
Row 2: *S1 (purl-wise with yarn in back), P1* repeat these two stitches until you reach the marker
Repeat rows 1 and 2 for as long as you’d like.

The second technique is grafting. My wonderful (and insanely talented) mother, Sara, sent me this link for yarn grafting that I have adapted for my wool. Considering that both my spindle and the Andean plying that I’m doing, limits me to a maximum skein length of 50 yards, without grafting I’d have a whole lot of little ends to be worked back into the fabric. Grafting two or more skeins together has allowed me to make up much larger balls and just keep knitting. Once again, the very forgiving stitch hides the grafts well. Thanks Mom!