Sheep to Sweater: Part 2

It’s the last day of 2012 and I have just finished my wool vest. Once I got going with the knitting, the process went much faster than expected. Penny most excellently drew up my instructions on the fly, at each stage measuring me, looking over my progress, and then providing me with easy to follow instructions on sheets of graph paper. I will publish these here shortly, so that any other intrepid soul can use them to make their own vest.


I was surprised at how much wool was needed for this project. In the end, almost all of the sheep fleece I started with was used. On Penny’s advice, I abandoned the idea of making a sweater with sleeves as there was probably not quite enough yarn.

I experimented a bit with trying to dye the wool once it had been spun and plied, but in the end I dyed most of it before I spun it, allowing more possibilities for mixing colours.

Dyed rolags awaiting spinning

Dyed rolags awaiting spinning

About 80% of the wool was dyed with walnut casings but as I ran out, I used tea, and (I confess) a little bit of commercial green dye (so the final result would match my eyes…)

Penny's step by step plans

Penny’s step by step plans

I used large (#14) needles which made the work go fast. I learned from numerous mistakes I made along the way and now feel much more confident with the whole process, especially after all of the generous guidance I have received. I’ve already begun another project, recycling wool from existing garments culled from thrift stores. Watch for “Urban Yard Harvest” in upcoming posts.

Nearing the end

Nearing the end

Sewing the two halves together

Sewing the two halves together



Happy New Year.


2 responses to “Sheep to Sweater: Part 2

  1. It looks great! what an acomplishment. So nice to find a beginner spinner/knitter who wants to aim high, and even better when they achieve their aim so quickly. Now you have the basics of garment making, I can’t wait to steal your ideas as you push the boundaries onto more and different clothing.

  2. Catherine Dumaine

    Hi Martin
    So nice to meet you at the snake sculpture workshop last Thursday afternoon! Will be taking a trip down to the Dr. Sun Yat Sen garden soon to see the finished piece. I was really interested in seeing your wool vest we had been chatting about. It is all about the process!! The final product is beautiful and I am sure very cozy too! As well, we had chatted about the linen project and Sharon Kallis mentioned it that evening at the Vancouver Weavers guild. I think I have my husband talked into cultivating our front yard. Thanks for the information and inspiration!!
    Hope to see you again along the way.
    Catherine Dumaine

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