Thursday, January 28, 2016

Dog fur spinning to beginning knitting ...

During the past 2 weeks I've been starting on knitting the fine dog fur but to date had not detailed what had happened so far. Over a number of years, I'd saved our longhaired GSD fur brushings & had a box of over 1kg of it!! After contacting a spinner in Devon last Autumn, I sent her 3 'collections' of the fur (light & dark see below) & collected it as spun hanks ready for knitting with.

Light fur
Dark fur

I proceeded to wind each of the hanks into skeins - appx 320 yards per skein.

Winding the light 'fur' - dark & medium skeins in background
I then began a tension square - the spinner had recommended quite large so that the yarn could retain a mohair/angora look to it.
Wound yarn in the 3 colours
On a visit to Knitting & Stitching Show last year, I came across a triangular lacy shawl pattern - ideal as a basis to start from. After an initial inspection of the pattern, I decided to knit a test sample in a 4ply yarn - mainly to look at the charted pattern plus ascertain a possible needle size. On first inspection of the pattern, there appeared to be an error & my test sample confirmed this. A decision to rewrite the instructions in long-hand would now have to occur!! & decided this should be done as I knitted using my GSD yarn. (By the way, at this stage I knitted on 2 needles.)

The pattern appeared to begin at the lower back edge - in the middle of the pointed edge. The lace pattern appeared to radiate from this point upwards - gradually increasing in size. I therefore decided to begin knitting with the darkest yarn using a 4mm needle. After working appx 20 rows, 2 noticeable facts became apparent: firstly the knitting began at the upper & longer edge & secondly the knitting was too firm.

Somewhat apprehensive of unpicking the yarn (in the event it broke or would not easily unpick), I slipped the stitches off the needle & proceed to unpick ... all went well. I started again on 5.5 mm needles & this time used the light yarn. This would mean the long inner neckline edge (from where the pattern began) would be the lightest colour & darkest would be at the hemline.

This is where the actual knitting now starts!!