jump to navigation

Stripy Hemp! December 16, 2007

Posted by merp in FOs, Knitting, Pisco!.

Remember the hemp?


Well, it finally became this, my nephew’s birthday sweater!

Pattern: Basic top-down raglan formula, modified for a child whose head circumference almost equals his chest circumference.

Size: Fits 4-year-old boy exactly–unfortunately, as it ought to have been bigger!

Yarn: Hemp for Knitting’s #102 Allhemp6 in pumpkin, sprout, brick, dijon, and sapphire (one skein of each, plenty leftover), 100% hemp

Needles: #4 circs, I think.

Buttons: Shiny star buttons bought at Joann

Time to finish: 5 or 6 weeks of dedicated knitting (i.e., I did not let other projects distract me. Much.)


In order to make it big enough for T’s cartoon head to fit through, I left one of the raglan increase lines open for 3 or 4″, and then at the end, added a button band for the button holes, sewing the buttons directly onto the sweater underneath the button band. It turned out a little cattywampus, so the buttonband is actually hiding some lumpiness.

This was because it took me a while to get used to carrying the yarn from stripe to stripe – I certainly wasn’t going to cut the yarn every 4 rows, so there’s a rope of all 5 colors carried down the inside on one side. And for those first few inches, I pulled it too tight and it bunched a little.


I didn’t post any progress photos, of course, since it was kind of a surprise – so here’s one now. Dealing with all the colors was a bit of a hassle (I kept them in a shoebox rather than a bag, which helped keep them from rolling around and tangling more).

Here’s what I learned about hemp. Hemp is a bit rough to knit with – neither smooth nor soft, and unpromisingly stiff. Having worn a lot of woven hemp fabric, however, I was not worried about this; I knew it would soften up very well. Indeed, it’s not only machine washable and dryable, but putting it through both actually transforms it into a soft and lovable fabric. In other words, don’t not put it through the dryer!

I also know from experience that it’s extremely durable – hopefully my knitting will hold up as well as I expect the yarn to!


Winding hemp – and keeping it wound – is a challenge. It wants nothing more than to break free, fling its arms wide, and embrace the world. At least it’s not prone to knots. Taking Amy Singer’s advice (No Sheep for You), I gave up on the center-pull concept after the blue fiasco. I wound each with the ball winder, scrunching a toilet paper tube over the winder-thing first, and being careful not to go to fast and to keep the tension even. Putting that fold in the cardboard tube was important, because once it was off the winder, it wanted to spring back into shape, providing some tension to hold the yarn in place. If that makes sense. Anyhow, all that worked fine in the end.

It all took longer than I’d hoped, though, and it was late for the birthday. He just received it yesterday and called me to say thank you and that he’d wiped snot on it. Already. So, yay machine-washable fiber!

And like I said above, it only just fits. So, yay top-down construction! I’ll just frog the ribbing and add some more stripes when I’m home for Christmas. And hope he doesn’t get any wider in the next year.



1. amanda - December 17, 2007


2. Mickey - December 19, 2007

That’s so sweet!

3. v - December 19, 2007

It really is a gorgeous sweater. LOVE the colors. I didn’t think about how complicated it would be with all those stripes until I saw the picture. Teyo looks adorable in it; haven’t taken pictures yet, but will soon. Or more likely, you will take pics when you’re here. He was delighted by the pic of Pisco “modeling” it.

4. Leah - December 31, 2007

Great sweater, Tanya. I love the stripes.

I’m visiting my blog world friends to wish everyone:

Happy new year!

5. Northwest Passage « merp - January 6, 2008

[…] Whom I got to see in his new stripy hemp sweater! […]

6. It’s eating your bra-a-ain! « merp - January 12, 2008

[…] took a break from the hat to concentrate on stripy hemp, but the hat knitted up so fast, and I had time before Xmas to make a couple of footmonsters, […]

7. Can’t have too many warm hands « merp - March 1, 2008

[…] most of the month of February to make them, though (very busy month; plus, I was adding length to the hemp sweater), and by now, it’s warm and balmy in Seattle. I can only hope for another cold snap. And wish […]

8. Christine - November 5, 2008

Thanks for mentioning that it will soften up in the wash. I was starting to worry about what to do with 10 balls of hemp. I wanted to make a sweater, but it is probably the stiffest thing I’ve ever knitted with.

9. merp - November 8, 2008

Glad it was helpful!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: