The Lichen Sweater

That’s what I’m calling it, because a number of the yarns that I used to assemble and knit this sweater are dyed with lichens.  The background pale green that ties the sweater together was dyed with lichens collected in Averill, VT and the striking gold yarn at the top of the sweater was dyed with lichens collected around Dan Hole Pond in the Ossipee Mountains of NH.  That that makes the sweater extra special.  It was also a wonderful way to use up small amounts of handspun yarn, too special to throw away, and not enough by themselves for a project.  I wasn’t sure as I knitted along whether the colored stripes were going to be coordinated enough to achieve a sweater that looked right, but I’m happy with the result.

Striped sweater joining

Circular sweater ready for joining at the underarms.

Striped Sweater finished

Completed sweater


Using up Odds and Ends

My idea for a striped sweater is taking shape.  And the biggest plus is that I’m using up small amounts of left over handspun yarn that is just too nice to throw away (but not enough for a big project).  Of course, small amounts get used up when I knit hats, but this project is a way to feature some lovely leftovers!

Several of the yarns in the sweater are lichen dyed, so I wanted to do something special with them.  I’m almost  to the join point for the yoke on this circular sweater.  I will knit the arms in the light green (lichen dyed) background color with just a couple of colored bands at the wrist.  Then for the yoke I will continue the various colored bands.  It’s fun seeing how these colors play off of each other in the sweater.

Striped Sweater

                                                             Body of the circular sweater


Behind the Barn at Bourne Farm

Bourne Farm painting completed this week. I feature it here because of all the lichens covering the rocks. Most of these are good dye lichens.

Another Sweater Project

I’m continuing to use the wools I finished spinning last fall.  This project is knitted with a grey merino/silk mix.  I had about 1.5 pounds of top; This was just enough for the sweater with perhaps a little left over for a matching cap.

I’ve been wanting to try Elizabeth Zimmermann’s raglan sweater pattern; it seemed as if I could use this pattern as a base for a plain sweater with Aran patterns up a panel on the front and on the sleeves. This has worked well; the patterns go all the way up the sweater to the neck band.  So, I was successful in designing an Aran style sweater using this raglan as a basic pattern. It’s all done except for weaving the underarm stitches with kitchener stitch.  This is going to be a nice dressy type sweater. The silk gives the sweater a shiny gloss.

For my next project, I have some green yarns (mix and match, none of them are enough for a whole sweater); my plan is to start at the bottom with wide (5″ or so) stripes, gradually decreasing the size of the stripes as I go up the sweater.  I’m thinking of again using the raglan pattern as a base pattern; no stitch patterns, just the stripes as the design focus.  I’m thinking, too, of darker greens at the bottom of the sweater and lighter greens at the top.

Grey Sweater at yoke

Arms and body joined for knitting the raglan yoke


Grey Sweater ready for neck band

Sweater ready for knitting the neck band.

Aran Sweater progress + some painting

Aran Sweater progress + some painting

My progress on the Aran lace sweater is creeping along.  I have found that the non repeating lace pattern in the front panel is hard to keep track of.  The back panel is a much easier repeat and I soon found that I didn’t need to use the chart.  But the front panel required the chart the whole way up the front, although I did begin to have a sense of what was going to happen in the alternate rows.  I’ve finished the front including the shaping for the neck and shoulders, and now am working on the back. The pattern calls for identical shaping for the neck and shoulder on the back, something I’m not sure I want to do (I usually have a higher neck at the back of the sweater).  Right now I’m thinking of ways I can alter the pattern to avoid that dip in the back.

After I knit the shoulders together (three needle bindoff), I will pick up stitches around the arm edges for the arms.  There’s some complicated short row shaping for the arm at that point (which I feel confident that I can do), but I may eliminate some of the decreases down the arm, as I want a little more ease in the arm.  It’s interesting that the pattern designer elected to use plain stockinette stitch in the arms, rather than the moss stitch of the body.  Fine with me, as the moss stitch is more complicated knitting; there is a band of aran lace that travels down the top of the arm.

Aran Sweater front

Sweater Front

Aran Sweater back

Sweater back, working on shoulder decreases

Monday Studio Painters group has more people coming each week.  Lots of the group are from the Monday Plein Air group that paints in the summer.  We were talking yesterday about the value of continuing to paint, even though it’s still too cold for plein air. I’ve also joined the Palette Knife group at the Art Center, so I have two paintings to share from the past week:

Tower Hill Pond

Sweater Front

Winter on the Marsh Racing Beach

“Winter on the Marsh” Oil on Board 16×20

Monday Studio Painters

The Monday members painting group is still getting together to paint indoors in the new studio (“Sally’s Studio”) at the Art Center.  I really enjoy the company and the feedback when painting with this friendly group of artists.  Here are my most recent paintings (We missed one week due to a big snowstorm.):

Shivericks Pond 12:16 oil on board

Shivericks Pond 12×16 oil on board

Ice House Pond 12x16 oil on board

Ice House Pond, 12c16 oil on board

An Aran Lace Sweater

Interweave Knits this fall published an issue filled with nice patterns.  I’m trying one using some of my natural colored hand spun wool: an Aran Lace pattern.  The panels have the look of aran patterns, but they are typical lace patterns. The sides are knit in moss stitch.  Something new for me and so far so good.

Aran lace front

View of the front panel

Aran lace back

View of the back panel

The reason I wanted to try this pattern is that the sweater is knit in the round up to the underarms; then the front and back are knit back and forth to the shoulders, which are then knit together and the neck band is knit in the round. At this point,  stitches are picked up around the arm holes and the arms are knitted from the top down (with some short rows to shape the shoulder cap).  Most Aran patterns are knit in pieces and then sewn together.  Lots of sewing and lots of ends to darn in.  I’ve never tried this particular method of sweater knitting, and if it works, it will apply to doing a traditional Aran as well.   A couple of the other patterns in the fall issue show sweaters knit from the top down.  That’s also something I want to try.  I love circular knitting and have done a lot of Elizabeth Zimmermann patterns, both plain and with color patterns. So for many reasons, I really loved this particular issue of Interweave Knits magazine.