Labor of Love

It all started here.

Rambouillet Wool Roving - Hand Painted Spinning or Felting Fiber, Birds in the Holly
                                                  Photo courtesy of Three Waters Farm.

A braid of ramboulliet fiber landed on my doorstep in late December, my January installment of the Top of the Month Club from Three Waters Farm. I had no idea exactly what to do with it, but I ordered an extra braid and then two of the coordinating braids as well. I just had a feeling about it. A couple months passed and somewhere in there I gifted the coordinating braids — a deliciously deep tonal green — to a friend who just got a wheel because I knew she’d love them. I stared at my 8oz of “Birds in the Holly” and wondered what I should do with it.

It was in late March or early April when I was corresponding with a friend who had woven an incredible scarf with the colorway, that I admitted that I kind of didn’t know where to start. I loved the colors, but I had no clear vision for it. She essentially said, “You just have to go for it.”

img_2776So I did. I prepped it into about a zillion little 1-3gram nests…

img_2787And I just started spinning.

img_2927It was gorgeous, really, every step of the way and the ramboulliet spun like a dream.

img_2968Within a couple of weeks I’d finished my singles, all 8oz of them.

And then they sat for about a month until I finally got to plying them.

img_3265And you know, like the steps of the process before, I just knew this was special.

img_3297The plying took more than a week (which is a long time for me).

And when I finally wound it into a skein, I realized why…

outside skeinIt was over 1100yards!

With so much yardage — I don’t think I’d ever done something quite on this scale with my spinning, I knew it just had to be a sweater. BUT, I was just a smidge shy on the yardage I wanted, so I asked around in the Three Waters Farm Ravelry group to see if anyone in the club would be interested in destashing a braid to me.

img_3723And someone very graciously did!

img_3993I spun up the third 4oz braid during the Tour de Fleece.

And then finally in October, I added it to my 1+1+1 list and found a window to cast-on and it happened.

img_4813My first ever handspun sweater was really & truly happening!

img_4827Maybe it was the thrill of seeing my handspun knit up so beautifully, or just the excitement of making this project happen, but I took this fingering weight sweater and I knit it in just over a month.

img_4885And every stitch, it was just pure love.

img_4919I knit the sleeves 2aat — still using the 1100yard original skein, unsure if it would hold out, but just going for it.

img_5128And you know what? It held out. Despite the fact that I extended the body to hit at my hip and made long sleeves instead of 3/4 length. When I made it to the cuffs, it was the first time I felt truly confident that I finish this project with enough yarn (even though I bought an extra 2braids of Birds in the Holly along the way just in case).

img_5161I used the extra skein for the neckband which I made the full & generous 3.5″ called for in the pattern.

Are you ready to see the final result?



I suppose I can also add that I made the neckband in garter instead of stockinette stitch so it would lay flat instead of curl.

detail-sleeveAnd for all my bound-off edges I used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off. I’m mildly concerned it’ll stretch too much, but I’d honestly have it too stretchy than not stretchy enough. I love the way the edges turned out.

fullWho am I kidding? I love the way the entire sweater turned out.

backI honestly cannot believe that this started as fiber in my hands. It seems a little impossible.

back-onAnd yet here it is…

front-onWith a proper fit and everything.

It was a labor of love from the first spin of my wheel to the last bound off stitch. And honestly, friends, I have no more words for this one.

31 thoughts on “Labor of Love”

  1. WOW, WOW, WOW! I feel like I’ve just been with you, giving birth! This has been such a fun project to watch and so very gratifying to see it go from fiber to sweater. It turned out beautifully and I’m so happy and proud for you. You rock!

  2. It’s gorgeous! Making a sweater out of your own handspun is such an accomplishment – you’ll treasure it above all the others, at least until you make the next one because it’s a little addictive, too.

  3. it is so pretty, Sarah! I lvoeit more every time I see it. An amazing feat. And now that I have knit a bit of my own ramboulliet, I can only imagine how nice and soft that garment is. A treasure. now, DO NOT let your daughter claim this one! 🙂

    1. She will definitely NOT get this one. At least not until it fits her… I think if we wind up the same size when she’s fully grown I will never be short of knitting projects.

      1. You are probably right – of course, as I recall, she will be farming and raising fiber animals for you, and I am sure she will be spinning and weaving, so maybe you will be off the hook a bot?

  4. Beautiful, really gorgeous. I am just spinning for my first jumper. I hope it turns out as nice as yours!

  5. I can’t believe you got that yardage in the first place… and how beautiful it turned out!!!!❤️❤️❤️😍😍

  6. Bravo! It is gorgeous. I have loved most all of the fiber you spun and posted about over the last few months and this is no exception. Congratulations!

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed! I really do like telling the whole story of a project. I think there is something very interesting in seeing how things take shape from their starting point onward.

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