Spring has sprung, the blankets are done, and knitting is still number one. (Despite the image that leads this post.) Yes, I finished those blankets and I have a plan for the next phase of experimentation. I find myself between warps and interested in finishing a bunch of knitting projects. As I look back, I realize a lot has happened since my imagination was fired by rep weave. Here is what took place in the corners and between periods at the loom.

First, I may have mentioned a lovely brown cable sweater made out of wool from a local producer. I bought the yarn from her at the NwRSA (Northwest Regional Spinning Association) spinning retreat at Camp Burton in 2016. This event takes place just a walk through the woods from my house. A 3-day event, it features spinning, a smattering of vendors, and the camaraderie of fellow fiber addicts. And, almost always, cold rain. That cold rain is good for the vendors as we, the customers, are much more likely to purchase sweaters worth of wool either in raw or yarn form. I saw this yarn and I immediately knew it had to become a cable sweater. This February, I felt compelled to make sure it was finished by this year’s retreat mid-March. The pattern (Jess) needed some revision for my purposes – the cables are pretty bulky and the sleeves would have been unmanageable. I converted most of the sleeve to a moss stitch and was pleased with the result.  The shawl collar for this pattern added almost another skein’s worth of knitting and went on forever – I feared I wouldn’t finish. Still, I managed to wear it to the second day of the retreat.

While looking for some specific yarn, I ran across another sweater project planned and in bags. Eight skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepherds Worsted Pullman aching to become something. Because the yarn is variegated, I had to really search for a pattern (shown here – Comfort Zone). I generally do not like the look of variegated yarn in sweaters as it creates pools of color – often with high contrast – which might make one feel like a neon billboard even in muted grey tones. I found a pattern where the body is created using a garter slip stitch that worked beautifully. A few contrasting color pockets and some buttons from my stash and Voila! a sweater is born. The sleeves are a simple stockinette stitch so they give some idea of how things look without the structural stitch in the body. I am a big fan of this one and might make it again.

You might notice a slightly grey theme here. I did manage to dip my toe into some knitting color along the way. I committed to being a test knitter for someone’s pattern and had a pretty aggressive deadline. We could choose our fiber so I picked a satisfyingly deep red – perhaps not perfect for stitch definition but a balm to the late spring here. Knitting as a test knitter was actually fun. It created a little community of folks on Ravelry working on the same project, we compared notes and solved issues with the pattern in support of the designer, and I think we all had a good time along the way. If you get a chance and have the time to devote, it is a very positive experience. Be careful, though. If you are test knitting, you really have to commit to doing what it takes to complete the project in time to meet the designer’s publication date.

I can’t leave this post without two or three additional notes/pictures. First, that adorable grandson is a very fine model and the one-year-old pattern I knit for him last year fits him very well. Second, I had to make another baby sweater (drat!) because our family is expecting another baby! This one will start life in Australia around Christmas so we will be trekking that way in the new year. And last, I could not leave you without showing the the ultimate rep-weave blanket effort. Thanks for following my exploration of rep weave blankets so far – I am on to that weft-faced approach now. Oh, and there is that pile of white yarn I bought at THIS year’s retreat…