Spinning to relieve tension


I decided to give Jamieson’s Soft Shetland one more try without the garter stitch boarder and didn’t measure the swatch until it was completely finished and washed. VoilĂ , the second swatch passes muster. I’ll start casting on the first piece when my work schedule calms down a bit.


I’ve been unwinding after long days at work by spinning the Rainbow Roving that I picked up at the Back Sheep Gathering this summer. Oh, this roving is so pleasant to spin in a relaxed fashion that I haven’t been too concerned about measure twists per inch.

Not enough tension

irish_moss_swatch1 I started swatching for Irish Moss the other day and could not get anywhere near the tension (gauge) mentioned on in the pattern. It calls for 22 stitches and 28 rows in moss stitch (aka double moss stitch) to create a 4-inch square using 4.5mm needles. After three attempts and two needles sizes later, I’m starting to wonder if this Soft Shetland yarn will actually work for me. I can try again with 3.25mm needles but that just doesn’t seem right. I’ll try one more time with 4mm needles and if the swatch doesn’t match the required tension, I’ll rethink my yarn selection. I keep lusting over Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed, so this afternoon I picked up a ball and will give it a try if the Soft Shetland proves to be too difficult.

Irish Moss

You all are so kind, thanks for all the Gilet Lace compliments.

Danny asked which Alice Starmore designs we were considering for the next sweater project.

soft_shetlandAlthough I didn’t ask my husband’s opinion, I limited my search to Aran type patterns since I haven’t yet attempted one. After searching through several books and pattern sources, I presented him with several designs, which included Irish Moss and Na Craga from Aran Knitting. When presented with the options once again this past weekend, he chose Irish Moss.

Yesterday evening I started my yarn search on the web. I knew it could prove to be interesting since Starmore is known not only for her beautiful designs but also for an odd distribution saga and attempts to thwart e-bay sellers. The Irish Moss pattern calls for Alice Starmore’s Scottish Heather, which is no longer available. My initial google search on Scottish Heather produced information which mentioned that Jamieson’s (who I believe was her previous distributor) Soft Shetland is the closest substitute. A second search for Soft Shetland produced a post on Knitter’s Review, which mentioned that Hilltop Yarns has it on sale for 30% off. Bingo! I had just enough time to jet up there. Lucky for me, they still had enough of it in Anthracite to make Irish Moss. Hopefully, I’ve made a good yarn choice.

Although the Irish Moss project is coming together quickly, I still intend to spend more time on spinning merino fiber and finishing the Crossing Cables socks. By the way, the Crossing Cables pattern is very well written. I would recommend it for any intermediate level sock knitting enthusiast. I should have the first sock done this weekend.