Mixing it up! Italian wools and handspun together at last

Mixing it up again…

IMG_0476I was looking for a way to include some of my handspun yarn in a sweater without having to spin a whole sweaters-worth of yarn (is sweaters-worth a word? if not I’m up for adding it to my knitting lexicon). I also love red but especially in combination with neutrals that really make it pop! Grazing the pattern section of Ravelry – a way for me to loose hours at a time – I came across ‘ravello’ by Isabell Kraemer. Now that I had found the perfect pattern for my red stripes, what was I going to sandwich them in between?

Italian wools: natural neutrals!

The Wool Box "Marisa" and my Amaranth.

The Wool Box “Marisa” and my Amaranth.

One of the neutrals I already had in mind, the lovely Morron Bouton that I’ve used for several other projects. A rich blend of Suffolk wool together with Italian wools from Biella and Abruzzo, I knew that it would knit up stiff but wash out shiny and much softer. I’m also in love with the color-flecked silvery-tan that manages to be both sophisticated and masculine. (The Wool Box is out of stock on the DK weight at the moment so I’m hoarding my last few skeins for the next sweater and hoping that they will make more!). I knew that I wanted something darker for the bottom of the sweater but not black. What to do? Dig through my sample bag! There she was – a very wooly, bouncy and luminous natural brown blend of Biella and Abruzzo wools – Marisa.

So happy together…

Two Italian naturals and an English Red mixing it up with happy results.

Two Italian naturals and an English Red mixing it up with happy results.

As these were three different yarns, all with different qualities, it was time not only to swatch but to wash and block the swatch to see how these newly introduced wools would work together. Success! The stitches all came out even and pretty in the wash; Italian wools and handspun together at last. It wasn’t even necessary to change needles to maintain the gauge. The sweater was a fairly quick knit for a slow knitter like me and the only down side is that in the end, it looks way better on my husband than on me! That’s alright, he’s happy and I’ll still wear it on chilly days under my denim jacket and stay warm as toast! I like this pairing well enough that I’m contemplating a round-yoked, fitted sweater for me :). Meanwhile, “cin-cin” and Happy Knitting!

This pattern is "ravello" by Isabell Kraemer made in two authentic Italian wools: The Wool Box Marisa 4 ply (the luminous natural brown) and Morron Bouton (the tweedy tan) along with my own handspun in bright red English wool.

This pattern is “ravello” by Isabell Kraemer made in two authentic Italian wools: The Wool Box Marisa 4 ply (the luminous natural brown) and Morron Bouton (the tweedy tan) along with my own handspun in bright red English wool.

Loaves and Knitting

Loafing around in the morning…

Ahh, I just popped this loaf of bread in the oven and I can already smell it baking. Breakfast will be served (with butter and cherry jam) in a half hour!

Cherry-peach preserves are ready to eat as soon as this loaf comes out of the oven!

Cherry-peach preserves are ready to eat as soon as this loaf comes out of the oven!

…and then ready, set, KNIT (my first commission!)

I received my first knitting commission last week for three (!) pairs of my workman’s gloves. I’m so excited! I’ve always knit for my family but this is an adventure in long-distance fitting as well – all three pairs of hands are in Texas at the moment.

ready, set, KNIT! Everything is set up for my first commissioned knitting project.

ready, set, KNIT! Everything is set up for my first commissioned knitting project.

 

This yarn is made from a mix of Suffolk wool from Umbria together with wools from Biella and Abruzzo. Made with natural, undyed fleece accented with flecks of marigold, grass green, fuchsia and pewter. Shearing year 2011. It’s the perfect weight for accessories such as gloves, hats, cardigans or scarves. Very durable and one of my favorites.

This yarn is made from a mix of Suffolk wool from Umbria together with wools from Biella and Abruzzo. Made with natural, undyed fleece accented with flecks of marigold, grass green, fuchsia and pewter, it’s the perfect weight for accessories such as gloves, hats, cardigans or scarves. Interestingly it’s both durable and luxurious, truly one of my favorites.

I have the first set of measurements, the pair I made to use as a model and 3 skeins of The Wool Box’s Morron Bouton, which is really what makes these gloves work.

I’m going to try and write my first pattern as well. I think I’ll need it if I’m going to knit three different sizes… We’ll see. Anyway, time to stop blogging and start knitting.

Happy wool-working!

 

 

Wrapping up Winter’s last WIP and The Incredible Gloves

Hybrid Finnish/Scottish Kilt Hose - Finished at last!

Hybrid Finnish/Scottish Kilt Hose – Finished at last!

Wool socks in June?

Back in May I blogged about how I was determined to finish these socks over the weekend. I missed my deadline by a day but then realized that, since these were part of my husband’s birthday gift, perhaps I was better off keeping them on the bottom of my knitting basket and off my blog until the big day. So here they are, making their debut after months in the knitting (due to giving other projects precedence as they weren’t hard or time consuming to make). And yes, it is June and these are made of really densely knitted, durable wool…where is he going to wear them? Hiking up Monte Rosa of course! There’s still plenty of snow up on the glacier and this way at least I know his feet will be warm. Although I was initially worried by the weird look of the reinforced ‘Dutch’ heel and the stiffness of the fabric when these were fresh off the needles, they washed and blocked out beautifully.

The Wool Box’s Morron Bouton :  the superhero of Italian wool

Workman's fingerless gloves in Morron Bouton from The Wool Box - amazingly durable.

Workman’s fingerless gloves in Morron Bouton from The Wool Box – after 6 months of hard wear.

Detail of repairs made to the palm of the workman's glove after a screw went awry.

Detail of repairs made to the palm of the workman’s glove – while working on an interior restoration in Venice, a screw went awry and left a few holes that I repaired with some hand-spun.

This yarn, which comes in two weights (a light and a chunky), is an excellent choice for anything that needs to last. At Christmas I gave my husband a pair of fancy, fingerless gloves knit up in Berroco Alpaca Ultra Fine on U.S. #1’s. He was so pleased with them that he didn’t want to take them off; but, my husband is an artist and a custom furniture designer in addition to doing restoration work on historic interiors here in Italy. He needed a pair of gloves he could wear every day that would stand up to steel and wood, loading and unloading materials in rain and snow while still keeping his hands warm and the tips of his fingers free for texting and making phone calls (something he’s always doing). Morron Bouton proved itself to be the superhero of Italian wool, these workman’s gloves that I knitted up in January have survived hard use up through the end of May and they’re ready to go back to work in October. And, despite being such a tough wool, it never once irritated the tender skin on the inside of his wrists.

Do you see the luster in this yarn…6 months of abrasion, 8 hand washings in soap and warm water and not a single ‘pill’ and no sign of felting! At less than 9 euro per 200 yard skein (I ordered two and made one sock and one glove with each skein) I’d say that’s an incredible bargain. Do you have a ‘superhero’ wool?