Monday, September 28, 2015

Introducing Dobbs Ferry.  Last year at Rhinebeck, I walked into Jill Draper's booth and began mixing and matching the Rockwell - because this stuff is just too cool, and one color wasn't going to do it.  I'm such a fan of Jill's work and her gorgeous yarn and her entire business model, which is based on using New England animals and supporting local mills and traditions with a minimal environmental footprint.  Her blog is full of photos of her out there in the fields with the sheep, and she's rolling her sleeves up at Green Mountain Spinnery with Maureen and Laurie while milling the yarn, and she cares so deeply about all of what she produces, and about the steps she takes to do so.  I'm just so very happy to have the chance to be a part of what she's doing. And Dobbs Ferry is my latest little part, knit in her Rockwell yarn.

Rockwell is made with plies of different colors to give a marled effect to the finished fiber.  Jill uses naturally colored fleeces, sorted from lightest to darkest, and spins 3 shades - a light, medium and dark.  Each shade is really made up of dozen of colors from the many shades of fleeces, and even undyed, it's stunning.

But when Jill starts adding her dyes to this, it gets simply addictive.   And I really couldn't decide, standing there in the booth, so I picked three - Rose Petal, Lavender, and Cloud.  Then I came up with a plan to knit a simple, modern version of a bold, Icelandic-style yoked pullover.  The combination of clean lines in the colorwork and lots of stockinette really allow the texture and shades of the Rockwell stand out.  I also liked the idea of starting somewhere steeped in tradition for this project, and then taking it somewhere fun.  It's kind of what Jill does every day.
I added some detail to the ribbing at the bottom, and created a staggered motif that kind of echoes the colorwork itself.  It's a subtle thing, but I like it.
Three quarter sleeves and a wide, dipped crew neckline are modern touches that create a feminine silhouette, and this classic shape can easily be worn either a little slouchy (like mine) or more fitted if desired (see the test knits).  As always, there are notes in the pattern regarding modifications for length or width.  

I suggest using two complimentary shades for the hem/yoke and body colors, and picking a bright contrast for the accent on both sleeves and yoke.  It's cozy and traditional, but the yarn makes it just so fun, and I can't wait to wear this to Rhinebeck this year.

The PDF pattern for Dobbs Ferry is available on Ravelry or on the blog here for $7, and Jill's shop will be chock full of Rockwell at noon today. We have some color suggestions, and I will have a Dobbs Ferry thread in my Ravelry group where you can see the test knits or throw around your color ideas.  Feel free to ask any questions or just chat about your sweater plans...
You can purchase Rockwell in Jill's Etsy shop, or if you want to see all of Jill's yarn in person, she's having an Open House at her studio in Kingston on the Saturday night of Rhinebeck weekend, from 6-9pm.  I'll be sure to post the details when the date gets closer, and I hope to see some of you there!
And I know I'm covering a lot of topics in this post...  BUT, there's one more thing.  
I really couldn't let my Rockwell leftovers from the colorwork bits go to waste once I was done knitting Dobbs, so I designed another small pattern - the Dobbs Ferry Hat.  If you aren't planning an entire sweater, you can consider it a gateway drug for Rockwell, but if you are knitting the sweater, it's a great way to make sure nothing goes to waste. 
It's a simple, easily modified colorwork hat, using a variation on the motif from the sweater.  It uses about 75 yards each of two colors.   You can wear it slouchy or folded back and fitted, and there are lots of ways to alter this for depth, width or the amount of each color you have on hand.  I've tried to create a flexible recipe with options, so you can play around with what remains in your bag -  or give this stuff a try! 
The Dobbs Ferry Hat is available for $5 on Ravelry or on the blog here, and you can see the test knits on Ravelry for this one as well.
Since this was made originally for the leftovers, if you download your sweater pattern, there's a code in there that will get you 50% off the hat. It will work on Ravelry as long as there's a previous purchase of the PDF in your library, so you can decide after you're done knitting.  :)
I think I've said quite enough already, so I'll save the Dobbs Ferry Cocktail for a post later this week - I  hope you guys like these, and if you are planning to be at Rhinebeck, spotting me will be easy now.