I think one of the biggest challenges with using recycled yarn is having to reexamine potential gauge (that's stitches per square inch). All commercially made sweaters are knit with a machine, and although I would like to say I too am a knitting machine, knitting by hand does have it's limitations. Delta One was a prime example of that. It got downright painful trying to match the gauge of the original sweater. The next time I make Delta One I'll have to go up one needle size, lest I carpal tunnel myself to death. But anyways…
Shear Delta Two uses a triple strand of lamb's wool to achieve the same gauge as Delta One. Prior iterations of Shear have used a double strand which has more breathability and is therefore more suited to the warmer nights of summer when such articles would be worn. Now that Autumn is here, it's time to thicken things up. This is a very subtle upgrade that people won't even notice, but I think it's worth disclosing. Basically: Spring/Summer is double strand Shear, and Fall/Winter is triple strand (and some quadruples).
Multi-strand is of course dependent on the native yarn weight of the sweater from which it was recycled. I've recycled a lot of sweaters, and most of them were machine knit multi-strand. So when I would unravel them, what I'd be getting is a yarn consisting of two or three strands already held together by the machine. Other sweaters I've recycled consisted of just one strand which I'd have to double or triple, as was the case for Delta Two.
Then of course there's the sweaters that have been machine knit as five strand bulky weight, and I have to separate each strand and reassemble them into the weight I want… yes, all this recycling is a lot of work. But I won't bore you with anymore technical babble. Enjoy the bonus pictures.
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I think I managed to sneak this one by everyone. These worsted weight projects go by fast, and I end up forgetting to document more of my process like I promised myself I would.
Anyway, this is the third iteration of Divide Alpha. There have been some structural tweaks here and there. For starters, the stitches per row has been increased. Also, the brim section before the first transitions has been lengthened from 6 rows to 12 rows. In a nutshell these changes have yielded more hat. It's a bit wider, and a bit longer.
The yarn I've used was first seen on Skew Foxtrot way back when (wow last summer). It's a lamb's wool (50%) Nylon (38%) Angora (12%) blend recycled from an H&M sweater. I've held together four strands to achieve a worsted weight.
And it occurred to me during this photo shoot that this is the only red shirt I own. I find that shocking. I need to buy more red shirts. These subdued reds look great with brown.
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This one initially started of as a test knit to see if I could meet the gauge requirements for the Shear Series with a thicker yarn. Up until this point I've been using yarns consisting of two strands of lace weight which is how many of these commercially made sweaters are produced. This particular sweater was constructed with a three strand yarn, and I was curious to see if it would work up significantly larger. It's a 55% Shetland 45% Merino blend that's quite soft and light.
I guess technically it did, but not by much. The design gained about an inch or so in both length and circumference, which I think turned out to be a good thing. Visually, it just makes it slightly more slouchy, and I like that.
The brim stitch reversals I did on Shear Charlie are present here, but the length increase causes the fold over to cover them. It still adds some complexity to the overall stitch sequence though. I like the diversity it adds to the central textures, and I like how it unifies with the brim.
All in all though, I have to say this hat was physically strenuous. The yarn is too thick for the needles I used, so knitting felt very tight. I haven't decided yet if I will do another one of these with this particular yarn, maybe if I go up in needle size. I'll just have to swatch it out and see what works.
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