Irish Moss

Irish_moss_finishedPattern: Irish Moss from Aran Knitting by Alice Starmore
Size: medium
Yarn: 17 skeins of Jamieson’s Soft Shetland
Anthracite (1050)


– Pattern calls for 16 skeins while I used 17. Extra skein was from a different dye lot which was used for shoulder panels and ribbing around the neck. Difference is not noticeable.

– Able to achieve tension mentioned in the pattern using size 4.5 mm needles.

–  Easier to obtain correct tension sample when sample did not have borders.

– Perfect yarn and pattern for splicing yarn ends so there are no yarn ends to weave into the sides.

I found this interesting Aran website called

Splicing ends

Cat_basket  Last night I was busy finishing the other sleeve and looked down to find the other pieces being used for a new cat bed. I guess that’s a sure sign that the sweater is almost done.

While working the first half of Irish Moss I joined new balls of yarn at the sides leaving ends that will need to be woven in when I sew up the sweater. However, a couple of weeks ago, while thinking about my dwindling yarn supply, it suddenly dawned on me that splicing yarn ends would work well with this 2-ply Soft Shetland yarn. It’s really easy to do.


When I have about six inches left on the current working yarn, I pull out a new ball and unravel the plies on this new ball for several inches and do the same with the current working yarn. Once the yarn ends are unraveled, I break several inches off of one of the unravel led strands from each yarn end. I now over lap these strands and fuse them together by quickly rub them between my palms after adding some spit. The friction and spit cause the strands to felt together. It’s an old trick that works quite well.

Passing inspection

The cat takes his job so seriously that I couldn’t get him to move out of the picture.

The red arrow shows  how much progress I’ve made on the back .  For comparison, the front  piece is under  it.  Irish moss back
In only a week I’ve been able to complete most of the back piece by working the pattern from memory. Look mom, no chart! At this rate I hope to have it done by Valentine’s day.

I’m ready to move on and look forward to getting back to my spinning projects. Besides, the Winter retreat is only a few weeks away!

Strategic knitting

Irish_moss_sleeve1It took about 2.5 balls to complete the main part of one sleeve.

So now the question is, will I have enough to finish the whole sweater with 16 balls of the same dye lot or will I need to use yarn from another dye lot?

Considering that the front took 5.5 balls, It will be very tough to get by with one dye lot.

This weekend I’ll take some more body measurements and see if I can shorten the the torso pieces a bit to get enough yarn  for the collar and maybe the shoulder band. If this is not possible or doesn’t produce enough yarn, then I’ll plan on knitting the shoulder band and collar with yarn of another dye lot and hope it won’t be so noticeable.

When I started the front piece several months ago I had some suspicions  that I might not have enough yarn so I did pick up two extra balls which are from yet another dye lot. Perhaps these will not be as dark as the one that created the stripe on the back piece but I won’t know until I start adding one to the project.  I tried put the skeins on one of the pieces to see if I could tell the difference but they look the same to me.

Are dye lot numbers important ?

Irish_moss_backYes they are.

Can you see the stripe?

I swear I checked all the lot numbers when I purchased the yarn so, I didn’t double check as I was winding up the balls.

Oh well, another lesson learned.

At this point I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do except that I’ll delay the frogging (rip out)  decision until after I finish one sleeve.  At that point  I’ll have a better idea of how many balls it will take to finish the sweater. The pattern calls for 16 and I purchased 17. Perhaps the  yarn godess will bless me and I’ll really only need 16.
The front took 5.25 balls  so if the back uses the same and each sleeve takes 2.5 balls  I should be ok.


Irish Moss Front

Here’s the completed front piece of the Irish Moss sweater.  Progress is slow but I guess that’s to be expected when knitting an Alice Starmore design.

My knitting tension has turned out to be spot on despite my initial swatching problems.

I think I’ll wait a few days before starting the back piece. I really need to finish up a holiday project that I started last year but didn’t finish.

Knitting surgery

It happened again. I found another mistake.  Oh, this is getting so tedious.

At least this time I was able to fix it by only ripping out a small part that was one column of 5 stitches wide and  16 rows deep.  Using a spare circular needle  I reworked all the stitches.

Irish_mossfix1_2 Irish_mossfix3

Hopefully (knock on wood), I’ll finally finish the front piece this week.

This week I’ve been spending more time spinning than knitting.  I’m working on finishing up the samples from spinning class which ended this week.  I’ll post some photos when the skeins dry.