Beth Smith

Spinning the Columbia for Hiro

There’s a sweater I have wanted to spin for and knit since it was first released in August of 2012. Lots of times I see a cardigan and want to make it. So I buy the pattern and then it goes to the back of my mind. this one, however, has stuck with me. Maybe because it came out at ab out the same time that I got a whole bunch of Columbia Roving from Imperial Ranch and I thought the two would be a perfect match. The sweater is Hiro by Julia Farwell-Clay. Maybe you recognize her because of this genius pattern that just came out.

So Julia came to the Sarah Swett class a couple of weeks ago and she happened to have Hiro with her. I got to see it in person and try it on. It is even more beautiful up close. That set me off. I needed a new project and I hadn’t been feeling inspired to spin for anything but holding that cardigan and seeing the way the colors work together I knew it was time to get to work – even though I have been neglecting a few deadlines…

So I got to work on the spinning.


First I made a swatch. Stop laughing. I just wanted to know if I was on the right track. I knit it with needle size that was one size smaller than what was called for since I’m a pretty loose knitter. It measured very close to gauge and so I knew I was on the right track before I decided to spin almost 2 pounds of yarn. There will be proper swatch knitting before I get down to business.

Columbia finnotfin

I’m spinning this with a supported long draw on my Matchless with the Super High speed whorl in double drive. It’s a 3 ply. The skeins on the left are just off the niddy noddy. The one on the right has been finished in a violent way…hot/cold with a plunger.


Here is a close up of the finished skein and an unfinished skein. On the left is the finished one if you can’t tell. See how much smoother the yarn is on the finished skein? See how the singles nestle together to make a beautiful round yarn? this is the reason you should never judge your yarn until you take it through the finishing in water. Such a giant difference. I wish you could see it in person.

So far I have spun all of the white yarn. That will be the main color for the sweater. Here are the stats on the spinning so far.

20.75 ounces white

22 hours

total     1276 yards of 3 ply – 12 bobbins

3828 yards of singles spun and plied

about 190 yards of singles/hour

about 319 yards per bobbin

The pattern says I need 1290 yards of white so I think I’ll stop because I am so close.

I need about 215 yards of each of the other 3 colors so that’s about 3 bobbins of each color.


Here are the colors for the yoke and cuffs. I think it’s going to be gorgeous. I want to spin the colors before I start knitting. I also have to figure out a provisional cast on. I’ve never done one successfully. I will have my fingers crossed.

I’m also even more in love with Columbia wool and it just so happens I got a few raw fleeces in the mail this week! Should I share?


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