I am never going to finish that sweater – I see that now. I brought it with me on the Bike Rally Road trip, the thing where we’re in the car for 3 days and stop every 45 minutes, trying to figure out every single logistical detail,  and while we were driving I thought “Oh yes, sweater, you’re a done deal.”   Then I realized that I’d left the ball of yarn  I needed to finish on the chesterfield, and knit socks instead.  Sometimes you have to give up, and I did. On the upside, those socks are almost done.

In the meantime, I’ve turned my attention to the fleece that’s been on my desk for a few weeks.  It’s a tiny little Jacob fleece, a weakness of mine (see previous obsessive phase with this sort of wee thing) and I somehow wheedled it out of Judith MacKenzie at a retreat, and through some sort of magic, somehow convinced her to wash it too. ( I swear I did not even mention that part, though should the stars ever align in a way that a spinning ninja like Judith might wash your fleece for you, I suggest you sit quietly in awe. It’s perfect.)  Tonight I’m going to start messing with it a bit, and break out the hand cards.

I love me a sheepie adventure. What should I make?


73 thoughts on “Uncle

  1. You are so funny. I’ve got a sweater that needs finishing, too. It’s so much easier to reach for the socks. I seem to knit for hours, or not knit at all. That fleece looks inviting. Can’t wait to see what you knit with it.

  2. Not sure what you should make but I’ve spent the past few days washing a little Jacob fleece in an obsession of my own. Mine doesn’t have all the brown that yours does but it has lots of lovely light gray next to dark charcoal gray. Sigh. I love Jacobs.

  3. A pair of striped mitts/fingerless gloves. If you want to go nuts, make the stripes symmetrical. Forget the baby blanket — not enough, and charming though it is, Jacob’s not soft, right?

    • OK, take this as a personal view, and I admit that I don’t have particular sensitivities to wool, but I’d say Jacob, while no merino or cormo, isn’t at all harsh on the skin. It’s stronger, perhaps, than cormo, but I’d wear it next to the skin without any trouble– it’s not cotswold or herdwick, by a long shot.

      But, as I said, your mileage may truly vary.

      Anyone else have more or different experience with Jacob than I have?

      • I’ve spun Jacob fleeces that are on the medium side (neither soft nor scratchy) and Jacob fleeces that are incredibly soft. Love them all!

  4. I am so impressed that you got Judith to part with that fleece. Enjoy and know that whatever you make with it, it is going to be wonderful

  5. I can’t wait to see what you make with it! That Damask shawl was one of the most beautiful knitted things I’ve ever seen. It almost made me buy a Jacobs sheep, even though I don’t spin.

  6. I would accept and dearly love anything at all you made from that beautiful fleece. Oh. Maybe you didn’t mean that kind of idea? Oh well. I like the heirloom baby shawl idea. 🙂

  7. I was lucky enough on a trip last to Oregon last November to stay at an Airbnb that was a Jacob sheep farm! The owner offered me some fleece bc he didn’t do anything with it but I was worried about bringing raw fleece across the border. Can’t wait to see what you make with it.

    • That is going to one popular airbnb now!! I adore Jacobs too…..as for what to make with the fleece, how about a stuffed sheep?

  8. I bow down to your powers of persuasion if you could manage Judith to not only give you a lovely fleece but wash it as well! I propose you play with it a bit and see what it wants to be. I’ve found that my fiber is always happiest when I let it guide me.

  9. with all you’ve had to cope with recently you need to think of yourself for once. You need something cuddly and snuggly that you can wrap around in a great big hug.

    • I was thinking the exact same thing; something snuggly for herself for this winter. I’m not a spinner, so I can’t gauge how much that will make; maybe a cowl or shrug?

  10. oh lord! i saw that picture and thought it was a bundle of baby furry things – kittens, squirrels – i don’t know what!

  11. Wondering what that sound is, Steph?

    It’s the gansey fleece, weeping bitter tears of betrayal in your basement. It hears the wheel being readied, and despite all the years of disappointment can’t help but have its hopes raised again — just a smidge but not really — and when your attention is not forthcoming, the resultant crash into the depths of despair is every bit as painful as it was in days gone by.

    What else can it do but hope?

    But the practically visible waves of guilt are not coming from the basement. They’re emanating from Michigan on behalf of that lovely, forlorn fleece.

  12. If you have enough of the fleece, or more to combine with it, I’d make a nice striping or gradient poncho or swoncho. Or maybe a cowichan inspired design?

      • Oo, Oo barberpole marl with flecks of rust rainbow pls.

        Steph… ^gansey^ (Sorry, have been holding onto that since you mentioned this bag of fleece. Wishing lots of love for you all.)

  13. A child sweater? My s-in-law, years ago, carefully separated the dark and light, spun it and crafted a sweater that looks like a Jacob sheep!

  14. I would suggest a lovely big shawl using Birch, to replace the one you lost. Sorry to remind you of that loss, BUT it would be gorgeous! Iand would be like a warm, cosy and soft hug!

  15. From one Jacob fanatic to another: I scored seven Jacobs this spring and am in love… more that I am with the luxurious but fickle Shetlands also in the stash. Have fun!

  16. I had some Jacobs and made my sister a Swallowtail shawl by Evelyn Clarke. She adores it and uses it often.
    Julie in San Diego, where it is warm and lovely, lots of birdsong and a breeze

  17. I bought some gray Jacob roving from a friend, spun it into a fairly heavy singles and plied it with a similar-weight gray alpaca. I named the very warm rustic Henley I made myself from the yarn the Jake and Al Sweater. The pattern was “unvented,” so I can’t share a link.
    I’m sure you will do something marvelous with your sheepy bonanza.

    • (Am I right in assuming that’s a big part of the fun in playing with a Jacob? I mean, you could make a mean range of marled or heathered colours, too, I guess…)

  18. oooh I love jacob fleece. I used to have several jacob sheep but they got old and passed to heavenly pastures. You’ve made a shawl. How about a baby blanket? Or, another shawl, of course. How much does it weigh, washed?

  19. Well, the Damask shawl was stunningly beautiful … another one?
    My first ever spinning (with drop spindle) was with Jacobs — I made quite a bit of somewhat variable yarn and knitted a basic hat — still worn by my daughter and known as ‘the Bronze Age hat’ for obvious reasons.It’s inelegant but warm.
    Good luck with whatever you decide to make – -I’ll be watching with bated breath!

  20. Something for yourself, warm and snuggly. A cowl maybe, or matching hat and mittens? Spin it the way it wants to be spun, and I’m sure it’ll tell you what it wants to be.

  21. I would love to know how you prep and spin this wool. I won a Jacob fleece last year and am at a loss with what to do with it. I’m a beginner spinner, which doesn’t help. Thanks goodness it’s already washed! I saw it and immediately knew it had to come home with me…

  22. I am in awe of your spinning, one day I will try. The dark fleece on the right looks like a cow trying to escape. Go ahead take a look.

  23. I’m not ready to give up…but I will confess I have 2″-plus-a-cuff of the second sleeve to knit on a knit-in-one-piece NORO sweater that’s over a decade old.

    I dug it out in late winter when there was almost the *entire* sleeve to knit, figured out where I was (this involved some reverse knitting), and got within spitting distance of finishing…and it’s been haunting me from a hassock in my living room ever since.

    I hear you. Spin on!

      • No…it is a documented breed and is actually known more for the fact they have four horns. There are many breeds that are “piebald” but a spotted fleece does not a Jacob make

        • Forgive me for being unclear: I am aware that it’s a sheep breed of its own, and that others (such as CVM, which I love) have colour variation. I also know of the four horns.

          What I was referring to was that the sheep breed’s name, Jacob, is sometimes said to come from the story in Genesis cited here. (I believe that both Deborah Robson and Beth Smith refer to this story in their wonderful books on fleece.)

          I hope that clarifies what I was saying!

          The main story here is that it looks like Stephanie has found an exceptionally nice Jacob fleece and I hope she has a wonderful time turning it into something beautiful.

  24. I’ve been looking at several shawl patterns from this designer, but I particularly like this one:
    You’ll have to see what you can get for yardage out of the white and black, and gray if there’s any of that, or if you decide to blend some. I like the idea of the lighter shawl body with the darker edging. And you can put in beads! Think how pretty silver-lined crystal would look against both light and dark. It says yardage varies from 450 to over 1000 yards, so you might end up with a small shawl, but small shawls have a great role to play in our walking-around lives.

  25. If you’re up for another exercise in color gradation (so lovely, that Damask), I used a fairly simple Anne Hanson scarf pattern for my own color-change yarn that I spun (I brought it to Port Ludlow not too long ago for show and tell): Gale, https://knitspot.com/?p=565.

  26. I suggest making something out of the Jacob fleece that you would keep for yourself and wear.
    That’s one of the reasons I was excited for the hemp Seasonal Droplets sweater: it was intended for your wardrobe. And it was your taste in terms of the product.
    I think it’s more common on your blog to see you knit something that is your taste in terms of the process, and that suits your predilection to give.
    Something for your own closet is more rare. And I think it’s a good type of project just as much as the others.
    Thanks for throwing out the question.

  27. How big is the fleece? I expect you don’t want to risk having too little wool (a blanket?) but also don’t want to make something too tiny if you have a lot (baby sweater?).

    Maybe a top down shawl so you can customize size as you go? Or, if you have enough, matching Jacob sweaters for the cousins? Whatever you do, I can’t wait to see! And have fun spinning and knitting: that’s the main thing!

  28. Shawl. No question. I’m involved in an Icelandic Long Shawl right now, and it’s driving me mad because I keep screwing up Row 3 on every single pattern repeat so far. My fault, not the pattern nor the shawl, but still – grrrrr. But I keep on knitting the shawls because they are lovely things, in all their myriad iterations.

  29. My mum made a beautiul jumper icelandic-style yoked colourwork jumper out of her first Jacob fleece and it always attracts compliments. No idea if you’ll have enough for one of those in that little pile, but perhaps a shrug?
    I agree with everybody in the comments saying you deserve a treat!

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