Now that I have the bag to carry it in, it is time to seriously work on planning my winter knitting project. Summer and its heat are for knitting socks. Winter and its cold are for knitting sweaters.
My project this year will be my Rare Breed Sweater. I’ve been working on this idea for a long time. It first came to me in August 2002, when the Online Guild did its first rare breed challenge.
The breed for that first challenge was Hebridean. As I worked with my 300 grams of fleece samples I wondered (as always), “But what can I do with it???” Then I had one of those “light bulb” moments. I could use this sample, plus any rare breed samples I could get my hands on, in a motif featuring rare breed wools.
I later worked up a swatch idea with some of my handspun from the Online Guild‘s Ryeland Rare Breed Challenge:
Then I began collecting. Over the past four years I’ve obtained and spun samples of:
Left to right: Cotswold, Lincoln Longwool, Tunis, Soay, North Ronaldsay, Shetland, Wensleydale, Navajo Churro, Jacob, Teeswater, Hebridean, White Faced Woodland, and Hog Island.
The Hog Island was roving which had been dyed blue before it was given to me. Of the North Ronaldsay and Navajo Churro, I have several colors to choose from.
I still have a few left to go:
From the left, Manx Loghtan, Leicester Longwool, and Karakul are yet to be spun. This is good because it is still too hot to have a large wool project in one’s lap.
After I finish the last of the spinning, I will have to do some serious swatching to explore design ideas I have been contemplating. The body of the sweater will be Ryeland, as I purchased a whole kilo of raw fleece and so have the most yarn in that breed. Each knitted sheep will be a different rare breed.
I won’t pretend that this WKP (winter knitting project) will take only one winter. I knit for relaxation and pleasure (read I knit s-l-o-w-l-y) though I do usually manage to knit one sweater or vest each year. Even so, I am excited about finally getting to start the knitting part of this project. It’s been a long time coming.
Rare Breed Sweater Swatches
TA-DAH! Rare Breed Sweater Done!