Back in the fall, I did some test knitting for Juniper Moon Farm -- they have three new yarn lines coming out for spring/summer, and solicited test knitters on their Ravelry group. I was excited to be chosen to knit one of the new patterns!
I'd never done any test knitting before, and it was a fun process -- I got to try out a not-yet-on-the-market yarn, knit a brand-new pattern, and make comments on the pattern. It was like copyediting in knitting form: how could I NOT enjoy that?! It's also not very often that I get to participate in something so top-secret...I felt like a knitting 007 for a while there. (Well, maybe not quite.)
The yarn and the accompanying booklets have hit the shelves (I went to Webs last weekend and saw them with my very own eyes!) so I am finally free to share my test project!
All photos in this post copyright Joel Eagle, and used with permission of the photographer and Juniper Moon Farm.
Pattern: Sleepyhead, designed by Pam Wynne, from the Juniper Moon Farm Yearling booklet
Yarn: Juniper Moon Farm Yearling, about 3 skeins
Time: November 16-21, 2011
Ravelry project page
This is such a cute little pattern; it's a good thing Ian has long outgrown baby bags, otherwise I might have had a hard time sending this back to the farm for its photoshoot and its future life as a trunk show model! It's knitted in the round from the bottom up; you separate front and back once you get to the bodice and the top is knitted like a pair of overalls. The bodice is knitted in a stretchy ribbing and there are three sets of buttonholes on the straps, so it will grow with baby.
I have to be honest: I didn't expect to like working with this yarn. I don't use bulky yarns often (and when I do, it's only for small projects), and I also don't particularly like cottons or cotton blends as a general rule (Yearling is 60% merino/40% cotton). Cotton tends to hurt my wrists, and the combination of cotton + bulky seemed like it would be particularly unpleasant. BUT. I LOVED it! It "read" much more like a wool than a cotton to me, and it has gorgeous drape -- it's not at all stiff like I was expecting.
The next time I have cause to use a bulky yarn, I will definitely turn to Yearling...I wish I could have kept the leftovers from this project!
One caveat: if you wet-block with Yearling, make sure you leave PLENTY of time for it to dry. A LOT of time. This took nearly three days to dry completely -- now, granted, it was November and we keep our house quite cool, but still. I knitted it in plenty of time, but the drying took so long I was afraid I wouldn't make the deadline for mailing the garment back to the farm! In the end, Jim and I wound up rigging a contraption with a drying rack and a fan. Who knows how long it would have taken to dry without that...!