Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Shetland Fair Isle Guzzintas

Fair Isle swatch from my Shetland yarns.By Leigh

Well, ok. "Guzzintas" isn't a real word. It's something my DH says whenever he's doing calculations for a project. He does his "goes intos," as in, 4 "goes into" 12, 3 times. Anyway, it describes what I'm working on now, as I try to make calculations about all my Shetland yarns.

So far I have measured the yardage of the Shetland yarns I've spun, and have knitted a gauge swatch.

With my swatch, I basically just doodled with my Shetland colors. At first I was concerned about trying to group like colors together, for example grays, fawns, warms, or cools. The more I knit however, the more random I became in choosing the next color. After awhile, I decided that color order really doesn't matter; I like what I see no matter which color comes next! The various natural colors work together very well. I think that overall, I will simply need to focus a consistent ratio of alternating light and dark yarns.

Another thing I noticed, was how the colors from the same color category worked throughout the swatch. For example, the two silvers.......

My 2 silver Shetland yarns.From a yearling fleece on left, and Sass on right.

...... or the three whites .......

My 3 Shetland white yarns.From left: an unknown sheep, Angie, and Aurora.

........ are subtly different when compared with one another. But when knitted randomly in the swatch, one can't be distinguished from the other. The subtle distinctions are lost in the whole.

Next I wondered what kind of yardage I would need in order to knit a cardigan. I found a very handy yarn estimation chart for sweaters at Elann.com (where you can also find lots of great free knitting patterns.) From my Fair Isle swatch, I measured my somewhat inconsistent gauge (after blocking) to average about 6 stitches per inch. (Ordinarily, I tend to knit tightly, but when stranding yarn I consciously loosen the tension to prevent puckering. Often I end up too loose, but hopefully someday I'll be more confident and consistent with stranded knitting.)

Anyway, according to that chart, I would need around 1800 meters (which is about 1980 yards) to knit a pullover or cardigan in my size.

Of the yarns from my Shetland fleece samples, I measured approximately 1809 yards. I also have an additional 4 ounces of Nikki's lovely gray fleece that I can spin if I need more. On top of that, I have the yarns from the three Shetland rovings, of which I've only spun enough to do some swatching. There is still quite a bit more roving left to spin. So overall, I should have plenty of yarn for this project.

My bigger question is, how many yards will I need for cuffs and cardigan bands? Does anyone have a ballpark guesstimate? I have to admit that I am more than a little paranoid after running out of green yarn for my Rare Breed Sweater with only inches to go. I tend favor the black for the cuffs and bands, which don't have to be wide. I may be able to manage enough yardage after I spin the rest of the roving. I'm also considering a traditional corrugated ribbing, but again, how yardage would be required? And wouldn't a corrugated ribbing use more total yardage than a plain one color ribbing? Questions! Questions!

Next, I need to start looking at Fair Isle cardigan patterns. I'm hoping to find something I like using the gauge I'm knitting at, without any further calculations on my part. I made my own design for my Rare Breed Sweater, and I have to admit that every decision was painstaking. I'd like to be able to simply follow the directions for this one. Even so, I usually end up changing something. I'll just have to wait and see.

Comments, suggestions, opinions, and answers to my questions welcome!

Posted 22 Jan. 2008 at http://leighsfiberjournal.blogspot.com

Related Posts:
Gallery page of my handspun Shetland yarns
Dissecting My Shetland Swatch
What I Learned From My Swatch
Technically Not Fair Isle
Shetland Sampler Cardigan Complete!


Jacqui said...

wow! your swatch gauge looks like an almost perfect fingerless mitt. :) i can't wait to see the way the colors play in the sweater.

don't have a good sense on yardage for the various edging, but i suspect Cathy might.

what say you, Cathy?

Sue said...

I have no idea on the yardage either, but that is going to be a stunning sweater!

Tina T-P said...

That is just going to be gorgeous - please keep me posted on Rascal. T.

Cathy said...

Good news about Rascal. Unfortunately that fat cat thing confirms a couple of my cats's feelings about the fatter the better philosophy.

I have no clue how much yardage for the edging. I tend to knit without paying a lot of attention to yardage.

I can see the Guzzintas as a headband - lovely! And interesting about the whites. I'll keep that in mind.

OTOH, I do love watching your progress - very inspirational.

Valerie said...

Mmmm....very nice shetland swatch! Did you notice that your warm shades pool in the middle of the band and the cooler tones are at the top and bottom?
Beautiful work, Leigh!

Wool Enough said...

Your swatch is lovely. What a fun project!

Could you perhaps use the infamous Rule of Three to figure the yardage for cuffs and bands? For instance, my wrist is 6 inches around, times 3 is 18 inches (half yard); so if my gauge suggests 20 rows for the cuff I would need 10 yards. Sounds like a dorky method, I know, but it has worked well for me in the past.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Looks like you are in for a good time! Have fun! I look forward to following this story as it progresses.

bspinner said...

Wonderful samples!!! No matter how you knit your samples the colors seem to melt into each other.

Sharon said...

The swatch is spendiferous - what great colors and shades of colors. I hate calculating the math for a sweater and so rely on Sweater Wizard for the basic directions, and I fill in the blank with what appeals to me, as long as it's still the same gauge. When I'm knitting hats from natural colored wools, I've found that I prefer the band to be dark too. It seems more finished, maybe anchored??

Tina T-P said...

Hi Leigh - there is a little "Get Well" message for Mr. Rascal on my blog. Thinking of you. T.

Jackie said...

Your sample is beautiful! Sorry I can't help with any knitting questions, but I like the suggestion that "wool enough" had with the rule of three.

Sheepish Annie said...

I just love the way you approach a project. So methodical...and yet it seems like fun, too!

BTW: I'm glad to hear that Rascal did well in surgery. I know only too well the stress that comes with a sick pet. I'm so very glad to hear that your story had a a happy ending. I'll think good thoughts for the pathology report.

Annie said...

What I would do is:
1. Work to a paper pattern (made after a favorite sweater) and use the lovely design of your swatch.
2. Forget about the edgings and leave them till the end. Keep the colour you want to use for them as long as possible, but use a little of it in the sweater. Knit the edgings last, top down, after deviding your yarn in four parts (for sleeves and bottom edge) Knit edgings till yarn runs out. If there isn't enough of one colour: knit the last few rows in a different colour. HTH

Laritza said...

Go over to my blog there is something waiting for you there

Anonymous said...

Hoping for good news on the pathology report....

Cathy said...

What a beautiful swatch! The variety of colors you've managed to accumulate over the course of this project is amazing. I can't wait to see your sweater begin to take shape!

Tracy said...

Really pretty. The pallette is huge...I'd have a hell of a time deciding what to do with it. Good luck...I think anything you make from it will be nice.