A Handspun Tecumseh Triumph

When Caitlin Hunter released Tecumseh last March, it was — like so many of her patterns are — instantly added to my to-knit list. I toyed with the idea of buying yarn for it a number of times, but always stopped short. It was hard to justify a yarn purchase (no really, it was!) when I have sweater quantities here “in stock.” Toward the end of summer I realized that I had two out of three of the colors I was looking for in my fiber stash. Could I do it? Should I make a handspun Tecumseh?

The answer, it turns out, was yes. I had to get a little extra fiber, but it was still less expensive than buying another sweater quantity of yarn (that’s an important note in my irrational rationalization of this whole thing). If you’ll remember I spun up a test skein in September…

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It was a little on the heavy side for the knitting to gauge, so while I still did all the calculations in case all the yarn came out a little too heavy, I aimed lighter for the rest of the yarn which I spun mostly during Spinzilla. It turns out Spinzilla is a great opportunity to spin a sweater quantity of yarn if you’re in the mood to fly through it and not allow yourself time to get bogged down. It only took a week or so beyond the event to finish up all the yarn…

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And shortly after that, I swatched again and found that I’d indeed hit the nail on the head for gauge. I started knitting.

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, this project just flew. If I were a cat, colorwork knitting would be my catnip. It’s normal for me with any colorwork project that I cannot put down, but this sweater just hit the perfect rhythm for me. Colorwork, short stockinette section, more colorwork, repeat. It was the project that just kind of propelled me forward effortlessly.

Even though I was busy during the month of November, each night my few rounds of Tecumseh were something I looked forward to, like a treat for making it through the tougher days. img_4449

And it just flew.

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Before I knew it, I was on to the sleeves. And then I was trying it on, a finished sweater. I was a little concerned on that first try post-finishing that the sleeves were short. I’d followed the pattern’s recommendations, but I believe they are written to be what comes across to me as a little high-watered. I knew from other people’s photos, the sleeves did run a bit on the short side for many and I was torn between leaving them or giving mine a bit more length. Considering the fiber blend I’d used (80/20 Merino/Tussah), I thought there was a good chance that a warm soak would relax them enough to make them perfect without adjusting them. This is where knowing your fiber blends, how you spin, and the resulting yarn helps a lot!

I drew a warm bath for my sweater with a bit of wool wash and a hefty dose of vinegar, too. I had already washed and set the yarn and did not expect any of the colors to bleed, but with colorwork projects I don’t think you can ever be too careful. After letting it soak for a while, I pulled it out squeezed as much of the water out as I could and set it out to dry, with just a very basic reshaping. And then I waited. It’s a fairly heavy sweater with the colorwork, so even in low humidity it took a few days to dry.

And Voilà! A finished sweater!

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I went with the ultra generous fit. I think my positive ease is 13-14″ which is a lot. And I love it.

I was doing some garage and yard work this morning and I’m not exactly presentable, so I had my girl take this headless portrait so you could see the final fit, including the worrisome sleeve length which thankfully turned out just right.

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Perfetto! It’s big and cozy and just the absolute perfect comfy weekend sweater.

I think the blue + yellow + grey turned out just right, too.

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The yellow is definitely bright, but I love the combination and I think these colors play so nicely together.

Can I show you a little secret, too?

You may or may not know that I’m a huge fan of subtle little imperfections. As I was spinning the grey, I happened to have a few little bits of red fiber from a previous spin sitting next to me. I thought… wouldn’t it be kind of cool to spin them into this grey? Just a little something to make it truly unique, a little yarn design element that’s all mine.

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There are two spots in my sweater that have just that little hint of red. It’s kind of like a little secret just for me.

And there you have it! My handspun Tecumseh sweater is officially finished. I’m wearing it as I type. I may not take it off until next spring!

 

A Prairie Skies Reminder

Way back in November you might remember that I spun this yarn…

The skein on the left is 4oz of Three Waters Farm Reflections on Mirror Lake spun as a 2ply. I must confess I’m totally not sure of the fiber. I think it’s BFl, but it feels really soft, so maybe it’s merino + silk – 80/20, but I’m totally not sure. I thought it was BFL, but it feels really, really soft. Suffice to say this is by the far the shoddiest note taking I’ve ever done with a project as I don’t even have decent photos (insert eyeroll here). In any case, the skein on the right is a combination 1ply of Reflections on Mirror Lake and 1ply of Green Surround, 4oz of each. I got the idea of combining these two colorways from a brilliant spinning friend, meaning I totally copied her idea after I saw her combo spin. Many thanks, my dear (you know who you are), for your brilliance!

I spun them with the sole purpose of becoming a Prairie Skies shawl. I loved the pattern from the day it was released and as soon as I saw the color combination I got the materials and then as soon as I could after that, I started spinning. And sometime after that — because my notes are non-existent — I started knitting. I believe I started on it during our vacation to Missouri in January and finished up in early February.

And I blocked it shortly after. And then the move happened and it was stowed safely until today.

Because today is the last day of the Three Waters Farm Customer Appreciation Sale and I wanted to share exactly what you can do with “TWF” fibers and why I am such a die-hard fan and customer.

I mean, this is seriously in the top 3 of my favorite handspun handknits.

It’s nice and big and drapey and the colors are so rich.

You can see the little bit of texture in the main body and the hint of lace at the edge just makes the yarn sing. As I said, the pattern was a great match for handspun. Before I began I actually contacted the designer, Caitlin Hunter, for her take on how adaptable the pattern would be since I expected to run a bit short on yarn and she was very helpful.

Overall, I’m just so very happy with how this project turned out. Plain and simple.

For those interested in taking advantage of the Three Waters Farm Customer Appreciation Sale, you can hop over to the TWF Etsy shop here and just type in TWFAPPREICATE1715 when you check out to receive 15% off your order. it runs through today. Mary Ann stocked the shop wonderfully so there are still loads of stunning colorways and a great selection of bases to choose from. I hope you’ll check it out and treat yourselves! And then be sure to hop over to the TWF Ravelry group and share what you picked and how you spin or felt or knit or weave up your goodies. We always love to see what Mary Ann’s fiber grows up to be!

Well, I’ve done my enabling for the day (you’re very welcome, btw!) and I’ve got a few new spins that I’m getting ready to share, so I best be getting to work. I’m just going to go ahead and wear my beautiful Prairie Skies shawl, sip another cup of coffee, and continue my plying party (and do some yard work later this afternoon, but we don’t need to discuss that now).¬† That sounds like an awfully find start to a spring Sunday, don’t you think?