Making a sweater from a molehill




I’ve been spinning now for just about two years exactly.  In fact, I think I had just purchased my wheel days before Stitches West 2007.  I guess I didn’t dive head first into it, but I’ve now waded a good way into the spinning world and I’ve got many skeiens of unknit yarn to show for it.  Sure, I’ve knit a few things from handspun, some silk handwarmers (from my first spindle spinning attempts), a few hats (all ravelry links- 1) and scarves (1, 2) and a pair of mittens (which each see lots of wear) but I haven’t worked up to anything big yet.  Part of this is due to my scattered fiber buying.  I have small quantities of a large range of fiber types and colors from which I have been teaching myself about spinning.  This has been great for exploring the variety available but not so great for knitting up anything requiring more than 2oz (or sometimes 4oz) of material.

I have a goal: turn some of my handspun yarn stash into a full sized wearable garment.  I’m hoping to mostly use things already in my stash but I will accept the possibility that I need supplements to make this work.  I also realize this might require a multicolored garment, but I also contend that I have to make something wearable so it can’t be too technicolor.

My first idea is to make a yoked sweater with some colorwork at the top.  I’ve got many lovely bits and pieces in a similar gauge which could contribute to the colorwork. I even purchased some of them together with this in mind. This is one of my favs:



Yak from A Verb for Keeping Warm

but I also have



Thai Iced Tea BFL from A Verb for Keeping Warm.

and



Jade Merino-Silk from A Verb for Keeping Warm.

What I’m really missing is a substantial quantity of something to use for the body and sleeves. I do have a fair amount (just under 9oz) of polwarth from A Verb for Keeping Warm



but would guess that this is not enough for the body of a traditional yoked sweater unless I skip the sleeves. There might be a savior in my fiber stash, a lovely brown polwarth secret (an xmas present from girlontherocks…) that is not even washed yet. Perhaps that can solve my sweater body woes?

Does anyone have a good estimate for what percentage of a sweater the body and sleeves comprise? I have some idea in my head that I need about a pound of yarn to make a sweater, but I’m not sure of the proportional breakdown of each part. Any references or books I should check? I consulted EZ (Knitting Around) and found the percentage system for measuring size of sweater but nothing to help for estimating yarn requirements… If I had to guess I would put the yoke section at about 1/4 of the total sweater. This would make my 9oz of Polwarth too small, requiring more like 12oz.

Another option is to re-think my pattern direction, but I just don’t have any visions. Any ideas out there?

2 Responses to “Making a sweater from a molehill”


  1. 1 Kristine

    Ah! Your yarn is so beautiful – and the palette…so pretty. Let me think about your percentage question. I have a person in mind who might know the answer. Nonetheless, I can’t wait to see what you end up making.

  2. 2 Brooke

    A reference that has come in handy for me when trying to figure out how much yarn a sweater requires is Ann Budd’s “The Knitter’s Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements”. Its a pamphlet that once you know your gauge and chest dimensions, voila, it tells you the yardage.