A few days ago, I showed the vintage yarn my mom helped me choose when I was five. I have since found my sister’s equivalent yarn with some of the tags attached! The yarn is made by Briggs and Little Woolen Mills and is a 2 ply, no 2/8. I’m not entirely sure what the last bit means but each skein is 113 grams and I have the bits and pieces of 4 of them.
At least, there were once 4 skeins and I think I have all the pieces. My mom actually started the sweater when I was eight (3 years after we got the yarn and pattern) but she forgot a buttonhole partway up the 2nd front, couldn’t face ripping it, and put it away. It was very away since I suddenly grew. I tried to make a generic pullover in high school, worked on it for a few months, and gave it up. It’s just as well since I was making a pattern with serious positive ease and never would have had enough yarn for a vest let alone a sweater with sleeves.
I’ve been looking for the right project for this yarn since I started knitting again. First I thought a hat since I make a lot of hats but it’s very thick and very scratchy yarn so I nixed that idea and kept thinking. Then I thought I could make a felted bag but I’ve never felted nor fulled anything and this yarn was always meant for a garment. Finally, I was inspired by all the shrugs and boleros I saw online including the beautiful Briar Rose by Ysolda and I figured it would be enough yarn for a shrug.
I didn’t use any of the available patterns because my gauge was slightly looser (I really hated this yarn when I tried to use smaller needles) on size 10 (6 mm) needles and I wanted something that met in the middle like a cardigan. I used Barbara G. Walker’s Knitting from the Top to learn about raglan construction – the best part was finding out there is a ratio of sleeve stitches to back stitches. It makes perfect sense that when knitting from the neck down, each arm/shoulder section will have 1/3 the number of stitches as the back or front but I’m not sure I would have figured that out on my own. Let’s just say it helped immensely to have a good reference book when I wanted to pull my hair out doing math. I have an engineering degree but between making measurements of my body and never having quite all the numbers I needed and not knowing exactly how I could shape the garment for the fit I wanted, it was enough to make me wish for some easy integrals. Maybe I should have taken more geometry! I don’t believe I ever learned about 3-D geometry, just flat things which might be why I had a hard time converting measurements of my body into garment measurements. I’ve finished the sleeves including the edging in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted which I picked up thinking I was certainly going to run out of yarn (now I might make it…especially since I already bought extra).
I did a really simple cable pattern on the cuffs to spice it up a bit and because cables show up really well in the Lamb’s Pride. It was a K4, P2 ribbing, then in the K4 section, I crossed 2 stitches in the front every 4th round. I love how it looks and I even managed to calculate the correct number of stitches for the Lamb’s Pride since it knits up to a slightly looser gauge.
I wanted to finish it by this weekend but I’m going away and it’s way too hot in Blacksburg VA to bring it with me so I might have to start some socks or a lace scarf to work on there.