Monday, January 4, 2010

Romney Mitts

I was at a bookstore in Cambridge the other day, and found a great book In Sheep's Clothing, a Handspinner's Guide to Wool, by Nola and Jane Fournier. I got home and started reading...So many sheep... I thought wouldn't it be fun to spin yarn and knit projects from as many kinds of sheep as possible?

So here we are with candidate number 1: the Romney Sheep.

I wont bore you with a dry technical description, I will just say, that like so many great things, The Romney Sheep came from England, and a British colony, New Zealand improved the breed to produce a lustrous fiber with a tight crimp with a medium staple length of 5 to 7 inches, making it an ideal spinning fiber for the beginner. Best of all, the Romney comes in beautiful natural colors.

I purchased 16 ounces of silver Romney roving.

I hugged and smelled the soft, fuzzy roving. I set out to spin it over the fold using a short forward draw for a semi-worsted. (But between you, and me, the fiber just told me what it wanted me to do!)

I plied 2 singles together to get a light worsted yarn. I love how the lustre of the fiber expresses itself gently in the spun yarn and still has a soft halo.

I never spin with a project in mind. I prefer to let the fiber, and its yarn tell me what they want to be. I had barely spun 4 oz, that I heard the yarn calling for mitts.

But which Romney mitts? When in doubt, I always turn to one of my favorite EZ books, the Knitter's Almanac. In the Mittens for Next Winter chapter, I went right to the mitered mittens. I did a quick gauge, 5 stitches/inch, not a problem. If EZ has taught us one thing it is to work with the yarn. I changed the total number of stithes to fit my plans, grabbed my mini chop stitcks in US 5 and started knitting this delightfully mindless pattern thnumbless, as my plan is to do EZ's thumb trick (snip a stitch, unravel a few stitches, pick up, and knit a thumb.)

Before I knew it, mitten 1 was done.

I can hear the word embroidery, there, can't you?

Here is what is waiting for me tonight, fun with my other mitt!


Rose said...

Wow, that is gorgeous. Lovely, lovely stuff!

Ms Avery said...

That looks so yummy!

Sharon V said...

Wow! How pretty and what a quick knit. I should give my Knitters Almanac another look.

Monika said...

I like the natural color, but Romney is a little too scratchy for me. But then again, it would do for mittens.