Finally, after a number of years, I have made a finished garment with yarn spun by Ron Bloom. Once before I tried and made all the wrong decisions. Ripped out the entire thing. Determined to move on, I asked Nancy Ricci at Close Knit if she could help me after we'd moved to Portland.
That was a start: she pointed out that different colors could be brought in not at the end of rows but in the middle, or anywhere along the way. And then Nancy left PDX for NYC--as if we'd taken each other's place. Not exactly, as is clear at her beautiful blog, filled with her own knit patterns.
Undeterred, one day we were in Northwest Wools where Ron learned to spin about six years ago. Judy Schmidke suggested Lynn Vogel's, The Twisted Sisters Knit Sweaters: a knit-to-fit workshop. The "Rectangle Vest" turned out to be perfect for what I hoped to do. Another challenge with the use of directions less specific than my 1950s row-by-row history.
Judy pointed out that this particular pattern--knit side-to-side, using provisional cast-ons for the back two pieces, would be easiest for what I hoped to accomplish. I like the shape of the armholes with their garter stitch panels for my substantial body. Several instructional visits with Judy also helped.
The design in the book has a collar on the front sides but that would not have worked: too many end pieces of all yarns on the wrong side that would not have looked particularly elegant in public view.
A greenish, 1920s roundish metal button was the one I'd hoped to use. Nope, too heavy, instead a plastic one bought years ago at another Portland shop, Yarn Garden. The completed vest owes its life to the "it takes a village concept" and is a mini-tour of Portland yarn shops!
It's important to be clear that a collaboration like this is a very serious interpersonal challenge. Working together as marriage counselors was easier. ( Clocked 44 years on October 29, the ominous Black Friday of yore.) Ron is laid back as a spinner, not particularly concerned with the fine points. And I am accustomed to manufactured yarn--very regular. But with all the good input, I discovered the pleasure of knitting with handspun--experiencing the unexpected in fiber. Maybe I'll try Nancy's free pattern, Nettie Hat, version 2,