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Amber's Handspun Wensleydale Sweater

We are currently right in the midst of the 2016 Spinzilla competition, a handspinning competition that we take pretty seriously 'round here! Team Fancy Tiger is spinning as fast as we can, making as much yarn as possible this week. I find Spinzilla is the perfect time to focus on my handspinning and spin enough yarn for a large project like a sweater. I just finished my sweater with my handspun from last year!

For 2015 Spinzilla, I chose a beautiful, undyed natural black Wensleydale from local farm Aniroonz to spin for a sweater. I wasn't sure what sweater I would make. Spinzilla is all about speed for me, so when I spin, I just make whatever weight yarn comes easiest and quickest from my chosen wool. I like to wait until I've made my yarn to get a feel for it before I choose a project. 

Pattern: Lila Light by Carrie Bostick Hoge 
Size Made: 37
Fiber: 12 ounces Natural Black Wensleydale from Aniroonz

I ended up getting over 3000 yards of fingering weight handspun from a little over 2 lbs of wool. The longwool yarn has a very crisp and shiny, almost linen-like texture. I knit up a swatch, and then tried fulling the swatch to see how it would affect the fabric. The yarn bloomed and softened up immensely. I loved it! Then to choose a sweater. 

I wanted something with a very simple construction, so the beauty of the handspun could be the main attraction. I love the modern simplicity of Carrie Hoge's patterns, and found the Lila Light sweater would be a perfect match. Did you know Carrie designed this sweater for 3 different yarn weights: light fingering, worsted and bulky?

I made the shorter length version of Lila Light, with the 3/4 length, shorter sleeve option. I ended up using about 12 ounces of wool for this sweater.

Once I cast off, I fulled it by hand. In a sink of hot water with a bit of wool soap, I soaked the sweater for 30 minutes, and then agitated it by rubbing the fabric together between my hands. The longwool can take a pretty vigorous washing without shrinking, but by fulling it the fibers bloom and create a warmer and softer fabric.

I love my new handspun sweater! Now I must get back to the wheel and spin my heart out! For more spin-to-knit inspiration, here is the sweater from my 2014 yarn.

- Amber Corcoran

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