By now, I had hoped to have my Jacob vest ready to share with you. But if you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed that the vest had to get ripped back earlier this week. It seems that if your fiber prep wasn't that great, and the colors weren't well separated, and you knit mostly at night, icky things can happen. What was supposed to be a gradient color shift ended up a mess, ribbed back about fifty rows, re-sorted and reknitted. It's almost there, but still no vest.
Instead, I have a breed-specific swatch. You might have heard about the breed-specific swatch project. It's aimed at increasing our knowledge about how specific types of wool are to work with, and to wear.
I'm about the worst there is at swatching - maybe you know the feeling. I'm trying to get better at it, and the idea of keeping a record - a useful record - is appealing. So here it is - a swatch of American Jacob wool. The wool is sourced from the neighbor of a woman I work with, who keeps a small flock of Jacob sheep. All inconsistencies in spinning are my own.
Breed: American Jacob
Wool Category: Medium
Source: Coworker's neighbor
Form: Came to me as roving, which I spun
Preparation: Woolen spun, two-ply
Weight: Light worsted. This yarn has a definite "handspun" look to it - it is very thick and thin in places.
Initial thoughts on use: Outerwear, rugs. Because the yarn is a bit overspun, it will probably be too scratchy for next-to skin wear.
Swatch details: 25 stitches, worked in stockinette stitch with a garter stitch border. Worked on size 7US/4.5 mm needles.
Notes on Knitting: Easy to knit with, though the yarn is quite "sticky" in some places - mostly where there's a big change in yarn weight from too thick to too thin.
Notes on washing, blocking, and wearing: Washed by soaking in cool water with Eucalan, then rinsed. Blocked by squeezing out water gently, laid flat on towel to dry. Once dry, rubbed swatch vigorously against itself 50 times - very little evidence of pilling or wear.
Dimensions of washed, blocked swatch: 6 inches wide by 5.25 inches high.
Notes on feel of washed, blocked, worn swatch: Fabric is soft to the touch on the hand, but a bit prickly when held to the neck.
Notes on perceived longevity of this wool: This should be a hard-wearing wool that can stand up to a lot of abuse.
Thoughts on use and applications: Outerwear, blankets, rugs. Better spinning could lend itself to next-to-skin wear.
Overall impression: It was great to get a chance to work with this rare wool. I wish my spinning skills had been better, but I'm chalking it up to experience, and it will still yield a usable product.
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