Not many butterflies in the garden just yet, though the bees are doing well. May was very cold for the entire month and it's really knocked everything back by a few weeks. We still don't have any roses out in the garden which is most unusual.
I've made my own butterfly to compensate
It's made from some hand dyed alpaca tops from John Arbon
I dyed them in one of my random rainbow colourways. The sort that look like an explosion happened on the dyeing table. I wanted to make a sample that showed a way to use that sort of fibre in a way that didn't make the yarn look like sludge, and didn't fight with the pattern.
I don't have a picture of the original braid, but it wasn't a million miles away from this one.
Why yes, an aran weight jumper, it's perfect for the British summer!
Sad truth is that most of the time I spend summer well wrapped up in my wooly jumpers. When Britain is hot it's lovely, but we're in a windy spot, and at times it can be no warmer in our valley than it is during mild winters.
This is my second version of Stilwell by Jared Flood, this one uses handspun for the main body and a small amount of commercial yarn as the colour work. The last one I made was the other way round and has been worn nearly constantly ever since.
It's not a complicated pattern to follow, but does seem to produce very good results, from looking through the Ravelry project pages it seems that nearly everyone who's made it is happy with the result. There's a small amount of waist shaping to keep the fit a bit smarter, and you also work some short rows to lengthen the back. I also love the collar as it really keeps the drafts off the back of your neck. I always make longer sleeves as I hate having my wrists poking out, but that was the only part I changed.
The handspun I used was nothing special. I picked up a grey mule fleece for the princely sum of £5 at a fibre show a couple of years ago. It went through a friends picker to open the fleece then got put through my electric drum carder with 50g of Angora fibre. I spun the yarn just as a plain 2-ply and didn't get too precious about it.
As you can see it's not a spectacularly even yarn, but I was ok with that, it reminds me of the original fleece, and has it's own rustic charm.
The unwashed jumper doesn't look too promising, the colourwork is pulling slightly and the stitches look a bit uneven.
Once it had a trip through the washing machine on the cold handwash cycle, and had been dried flat with a bit of gentle shaping to get everything lying flat it's amazing how it all evens out.
In total I spun 988g of yarn, and I only used 623g to knit this. The finished jumper is a 38inch chest measurement... and I don't think you'll be able to peel it from my back for the rest of the summer.