Friday, May 13, 2011

Just shoot me.... (or the Ullared sweater part 1)

I think I have just started the biggest project of my life.

I've always been interested in history, and especially historic knitting and quilting.  I can wonder about a antique quilt or sweater, who made it, who used it, how did their lives turn out.  There are plenty of antique dress clothes, but unfortunately working sweaters have, literally, been worn to threads.  This is a lumberman's sweater from late 1800's. 

It's tightly knitted in a two color stranded knitting, almost water proof and wind proof because of the small guage. 

I got the yarn in the mail yesterday, a Scottish combed wool 3-ply.  Surprisingly soft.  In natural wool colors unlike the original.

I don't have a pattern, but let's not let that stop us, eh?  I think I can figure it out along the way, with some guidance from a couple books on antique fisherman's sweaters.

I started with a swatch, to get a guage, get a feel for the stranded pattern and figure out what size needles I am going to work with.  The original is probably knitted with 1 to 1 1/2 mm needles, but there ARE limits!

The swatch is made with 2 mm needles, which made a thick, tight, supple fabric.  Knitting an entire sweater with 2 mm needles feels.... scary!  So, I'm going to make a swatch with 3 mm needles too. 

The 2 mm needles gave me a guage of 44 stitches and 42 rows in 4 inches (10 cm).  Let's not do the math to find out how many stitches are in a whole sweater, at least not yet..

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