To celebrate the start of the Year of the Sheep, I visited JC Rennie’s in Mintlaw, north Aberdeenshire. The rural site at Mintlaw is a working mill, producing hand and machine knitting yarns. Visiting the mill in person was a fantastic experience, as not only was I able to select a number of 2/11 supersoft lambswool yarns for the project for my machine knitting course, but I was taken on a very interesting tour around the mill by Laura at Rennies. It was fascinating to see how the mill takes different coloured wools, then blends them together to produce a “melange” or “heather” yarn. This method of producing yarns, which is more environmentally friendly than injecting a single dye into a spun yarn, gives an amazing depth of colour. It was a great day out and I came away, not only wiser about the milling process, but also with more than four kilos of machine knitting lambswool!
I have at last finished Kate Davies Designs wonderful Epistrophy cardigan. The pattern can be found in her recent book of patterns, “Yokes”. The pattern suggested using Toft Ulysses DK, a luxurious British wool but I wanted to use a “stickier” i.e. a hairier, coarser wool which would be easier to steek. So, I chose Blacker Yarns gorgeous Gotland DK. It’s a beautiful, soft wool from the Gotland sheep but has enough coarseness to be easy to steek.
After knitting a tension swatch, I decided on 3.75mm needles for the body work, and 3.5mm for the ribs. I’ve selected a few photos showing the steeking process. The first photo shows me crocheting a leg of the middle stitch to its neighbouring leg. After a double chain up each side of the middle stitch, I cut up the centre to form a cardigan from a jumper. Not for the faint hearted! Finally, the two front bands were knitted and buttons attached.
Reviewing the project, I would firstly say that I probably knitted too large a size: overestimated how much I’d eaten over Christmas! Secondly, I should have increased a needle size when knitting the colourwork yoke section. If I knitted the cardi again, I would increase my needles to a size 4mm for just the patterned section. But, otherwise, a very satisfying knit using a great pattern and beautiful Gotland wool.