|Front of vest|
Barb gave us small skeins of bulky yarn from Custom Woolen Mills and I was surprised to learn that the yarn was actually 6 "plies" of roving, which is fiber that has yet to be spun into yarn. Every time you knit or crochet, the action of working with the yarn introduces twist (or takes it away) into the yarn. Since the yarn is not spun yet, whatever style of knitting you perform creates a twist in one direction or the other, and the thicker the unit of fiber the less twist is needed to keep the fibers together.
Barb is also a pattern designer and gave us a pattern for a toddler sized vest that we used to make a teddy bear-sized vest. The thunderbird design came from a basket that was given to her mother (or grandmother?) and she told us that we could use the design however we wanted since she created it. I think she tried to be careful to teach us that what we were doing is making Cowichan-type sweaters since it is important for people to recognize and acknowledge authentic Cowichan work.
|Inside of vest|
It was very important that we knit enough to be able to learn how to do the amazing Cowichan 3-needle bind-off, which is a technique that Barb said she hasn't seen develop anywhere else. Barb's pattern includes written instructions but I could see why learning it in person would be much easier. The bind-off is worked on the shoulder seam from the shoulder in towards the neck and it creates a double braid that is visible from the front side of the sweater.
The shawl collar was not the correct scale for such a small garment and I will have to undo it and put something else on. Students groaned when they realized what the collar would look like, which was a very wide lapel. It was a sour note to end the class on but I think the 3-needle bind-off was worth it and I now want to see how it would work on the toe of a sock.
Vogue Knitting Live had a marketplace and I bought a book that I had been meaning to get called Working with Wool: A Coast Salish Legacy and the Cowichan Sweater written by Sylvia Olsen. She gave a talk about the book at Knit Fit last November and I wasn't able to buy the book from her. This is a wonderful book for lovers of Cowichan sweaters. She gives a good history on Northwest traditional fiber work. I haven't been able to read the whole thing yet and this weekend I gave it to Lila, who also fell in love with the book instantly. Once I find another copy I'm sure that I will read it cover to cover.