April 24, 2008

And now we proudly present…

Posted in knitting tagged at 12:37 pm by nephele

…the current month!

You read that right. I’m doing the April catch-up post in –gasp- April. Try to contain you excitement.

I started off the month with an exciting round of cat sitting. My friends got to go the England and Scotland and I got to clean litterboxes. They did bring me back some yarn though and the had to work for it. When they asked about yarn shops they got told “oh, nobody knits anymore!” Luckily for me they persevered and lurking near the Waterloo Tube station they found I Knit London.

Knowing I like bright colors, they took a look around and here’s what they came up with:
catsitting

More details? Sure. First up is two skeins of Wensleydale Longwool
wensleydale

At first glance they look the same but look closer. The one on the left is a little thicker. The right skein is Aran (174yds/100gm) and the one on the left is labeled Aran+ (116yds/100gm). The color numbers are different but the actual colors are identical. My first thought for this is a hat from the heavier yarn and wristwarmers with the lighter. I reserve the right to completely change my mind about that though.

Next up is some lovely lace yarn from Fyperspates.
fyberspates

It’s the 100% silk stuff and runs 400m to the hank. The label didn’t list a color but from a look through the website I’m guessing it’s Blue Lagoon.

Finally we come to this pretty skein:
dazzle

This is Dazzle BFL 4ply/sock yarn from the Natural Dye Studio. I took a look through the colors currently on offer and I couldn’t find a match for this cheerful stuff. The amazing thing about these colors is that they were all created with natural plant dyes.

Hmm, I think that was worth cleaning a few cat pans, don’t you?

Another addition to my stash was a book. When I heard that More Big Girl Knits was coming out I went over to Amazon and pre-ordered it. As soon as it arrived I found three sweaters I want to make. I’ve bought yarn for two already and I’ve started one.

The one I started is the Summer Chevron. The pattern called for Rowan Summer Tweed and that’s what I got but I changed all the colors.
chevron2

The ball of red on the right is the final color. This is a reasonably quick knit item and I think the end result is cute but the gauge called for by the pattern is, in my opinion, unworkable.  The pattern called for 16 rows per 4 inches. Now four stitches per inch sounds good but four rows? In case you’ve never worked with Summer Tweed, it’s a raw silk/cotton blend and is fairly delicate. Once knit up the fabric wears well enough but the yarn itself is easy to break. Also, having worked with this yarn before I know that (unlike a lot of cottons) it doesn’t grow in length with wear. What you knit is what you get length-wise. Given all that, I don’t think that knitting it that loosely is a good idea so I’m not doing it. I’m going with 6 rows per inch. I did have to do a little math because the pattern tells you how many rows to make each stripe instead of how many inches to knit, but that was easy enough.

The other odd thing about the pattern as published is the yarn requirements. The pattern in the largest size called for 3 skeins of colors 1 & 3 (brown & red in my version) and 4 skeins of color 2 (orange). Even though I did more rows I still finished the entire brown stripe with one skein. I’m almost done with the orange stripe and I’m on the second skein. At this rate I’ll have enought yarn left to make another entire top. Admittedly I may not have much red left. I’ll have a higher stitch count that the pattern expects but I still don’t think I’ll run out. Maybe I’ll do a second one reversing the stripe order.

In fairness to the designer, she did originally design this top with a different yarn and that may be where these errors stem from. In any case it’s still a cute top and I’m still knitting it. The problems aren’t enough to change my mind on making it.

The other two patterns I plan to make from this book are the Susie Hoodie and the Twisted pullover. I’ve got some Cascade 220 Superwash that I’ll use for the Twisted (it’s the sweater on the cover of the book). The pattern called for a more luxurious yarn but I’m planning this as an everyday sort of sweater and the Superwash is better for that purpose. I’ve been needing a garment like this and Twisted doesn’t look boring to knit unlike some of the other options I was mulling over.

I haven’t figured out which yarn I’ll use for the Susie Hoodie yet. The pattern calls for Donegal Tweed and I do like the tweedy look but I’d rather opt for something a little more next to the skin soft. Yes, this is more of a sweater-coat but odds are I’ll have short sleeves on underneath it most of the time (yay, Califonia weather). One possibility is the Jo Sharp tweed. I’m sure there are others and I’m not in a rush. It takes a lot of yarn to make a hoodie in my size. I don’t want to race to any decisions and end up disappointed later.

Other than the Summer Chevron I’ve been knitting on the Mystic Light Shawl. I’m a few rows into clue 4. Clue 5 was released yesterday and it’s the last one. Hopefully I’ll be blocking this in a week or two. The pattern is available now through the designer’s blog. It’s a pretty quick knit as lace knitting goes and the end result is beautiful.

I’ve been working on two other projects but one is a design prototype and the other is test knitting an as yet unpublished pattern. I’ll take pictures but it may be a while before I can post them.

And… I think that’s it. I’ve probably forgotten things but if so, they’ll turn up eventually. Now the challenge it keep posting. Wish me luck.

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