Following are the very simple steps to successfully knit your man a sweater in four years, because that’s what you do when you really love him.

Step One: Find a fleece at local fiber fair, the one in Maine is The Maine Fiber Frolic: Maine’s Premier Sheep and Wool Festival.

Look at fleece, marvel at its softness, think maybe you should buy it, the color is amazing chocolatey brown that you are sure would make a lovely sweater for your husband. Go back to same fleece several times. However, do not buy fleece, go home with a different fleece.

So soooft!
So soooft!

Step Two: Spend at least a week or two thinking about the fleece that you did not buy, it was costly, better to save money. BUT, It was sooo soft and lovely.

Step Three: Get number of shepherd from fleece tent coordinator, contact shepherd and find out fleece is still available, drive over two hours with whining children to sheep farm to purchase fleece, and two other fleeces, just to be safe.

Step Four: At least a month later, realize you don’t have a top loading washer any more in the rental you are living in and decide you will use the much praised tub method, forgetting how much a tub of water weighs, especially when you are eight months pregnant, really.

Step Five: After waiting a week for wool to dry realize the wool is sticky, lanolin did not all wash out. It is difficult to spin. Put fleece away, because that baby is coming!

Step Six: Next Spring ask your local wool processor to please wash the fleece for you. Yay, clean wool!

Step Seven: As you begin to spin the wool realize much of the fleece has brittle tips and will have to be flicked by hand as you don’t have your own wool combs.

Step Eight: Move entire family to another part of the state, store wool for two years, occasionally pull wool out and spin one skein, grumbling while you flick enough wool to spin a skein, realizing you only need nine more skeins, so maybe it will be before you both retire that this sweater will be done. Somewhere in that time also convince husband to buy wool combs for birthday present.

Step Nine: Four years later, figure you have some skeins, just start knitting a pattern your husband picked out from a list of possibles. No swatch, we’re living dangerously.image

Step Ten: Realize you really still don’t have enough and get the bag of fleece out again and force yourself to spin another skein.

Do you really care if there are still numbers, I mean if you are still reading.

Another Step: Start knitting then realize as you are finished with the body (a month or so later) and are on the cuff of one sleeve that the skein you just tied on was a much different weight than the others!! ARgh.

Get fleece out again and spin two more skeins. Hope that maybe you will be able to force yourself to knit the other sleeve and nothing else happens.

He better love this sweater.

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Handspun up close
So close . . .
So close . . .

2 thoughts on “Sheep to Sweater Project: How to take four years to make a sweater

  1. OH GREAT–and here I thought I was so clever accepting three bags of fleece from my sister so I could learn how to process it…really –4 years?? I may not have that much energy. I’m 66!!!

    1. Ha! Well maybe you have a much better process. I think if he would have picked a less finicky fleece it may have streamlined the process. I have spun lots of other yarn in between, just getting that sweater done has been a saga.

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