Tuesday, September 21, 2010

This and that

Once again, we attended the Johnny Appleseed Festival this past weekend. Ordinarily, we go on Sunday morning, before the multitudes awaken. This year we went on Saturday morning, and we were not the only ones to think this was a perfect day for being out and about. As we wandered about in a crowd-induced daze, we watched for yarn. We found it in the last area we visited, which ironically was right next to the entrance. Some wildly colored pottery had distracted me and we walked right past the alpacas. Even though I have yet to use what I purchased last year, I bought a package of fingering weight alpaca (a suri alpaca yarn from Zathura and a suri/huacahya alpaca blend from Raval and Tess, who all live at Turkey Creek Farm), 1500 yards, enough for something.

Revisiting Tencel: The cotton-Tencel blend I used for the Clapotis sheds, but it should be noted that the wool-Tencel blend I purchased from Green Mountain Spinnery does not. I knit some socks with this a while back, and there is no shedding or pilling. This particular yarn, Sock Art Forest, apparently has been discontinued, but GMS now offers a DK weight blend called Sylvan Spirit (reviewed here by Clara Parkes - more colors are now available). I guess what I am trying to say is, if you want to try a Tencel-based yarn, buy a skein and knit it up and see how it behaves for you. Tencel gives yarn a sheen that turns color into eye candy, which makes hunting for a suitable Tencel-based yarn worth the effort.

While looking for the information on my blog about the above yarn and socks, I came across some empty promises I made myself about a year ago. There was a list of UFOs that begged to be finished, and some were, but many were not. There was also a sincere intention to spindle on a regular basis, but that did not happen, either. Unlike some people we know, I am not very good at enforcing self-imposed goals or rules AND I have a full time job. Besides, there is an impending grandbaby to knit for!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

One down, three to go

Pattern:  Ann Norling Adult Socks (designer: Deridre Wallace)
Yarn:  Cascade Yarns Sassy Stripes, in 767
Needles:  US1
Modifications:  None to speak of, except my gauge is much looser than Ms. Wallace's, as she recommends US3 to achieve 7 stitches per inch.

I considered trying to match up the stripes, but the last time I did that, there were so many splices in the second sock that it did not work.  In this case, though, there were no splices and the stripes would have been near perfect.  Oh, well.  They are not that far off as it is.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Blanket blues

The one blanket that needed just a border is still giving me fits because, well, borders roll.  I have tried several solutions, none very satisfactory, and finally settled on two rows of applied i-cord.  Three rows would be better, but I just don't have the yarn.  Hopefully, a little blocking will go a long way.

And then there is this:

I decided to block the pieces of the other blanket, but when I put them into the washer to soak, I noticed a pile of handknit socks nearby.  Thinking I would kill two birds with one stone, I threw the socks in with the blanket pieces.  A little voice in the back of my head said something about the red socks bleeding, but I ignored it.  STUPIDLY ignored it.  There are products out there to remove dye stains, but I'm afraid they will remove the aqua along with the pink.  Any suggestions?

I was not stupid enough to process the Blu jean pieces with the blanket because, well, HOT water in the washer?  And HOT drying in the dryer?  Even I knew better.

The pieces did shrink a bit, as expected.

And the denim fabric faded a bit as well.

At least some things go according to plan.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

More EZ

Here is the post-button sewing onslaught:

Pattern:  Baby sweater on two needles from Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yarn:  Malabrigo Superwash Merino Sock yarn in 'Abril'

Yarn:  Wandering Cat Yarns Stray Cat in 'Kaia'

Yarn:  Schaefer Yarn Company Little Lola in 'Empress Wa-Zhao'

Pattern:  Baby leggings from Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yarn:  Malabrigo Superwash Merino Sock yarn in 'Violeta Africana'

Yarn:  Wandering Cat Yarns Stray Cat in 'Kaia'

The idea was to follow the pattern exactly for all these objects, but vary the yarn and needle size to produce different size garments.  As to how well these will fit the baby, well, we will have to wait until she makes an appearance sometime toward the end of October.

One modification I made to all three sweaters was to decrease the stitch count at the cuff by about 10% to remove the flare.  I also knit the body first, then knit the sleeves in the round, until I reached the cuff.  Knitting garter in the round caused a jog where each round ended, so I knit the cuffs back and forth, then stitched up the gap.

I ran out of yarn on the green leggings, so the legs are a bit short.  I wondered if the body was too large, but last night I compared them to the BumGenius diapers my daughter purchased, and the fit was just right.  However, she will have to be careful with the Velcro closures and the yarn.

I ran out of yarn on the blue sweater as well, so the sleeves are a bit short, but maybe by the time the baby is ready for that size sweater, it will be spring.  I think it will go well with the Blu jeans I am knitting.

NOW, I am hoping to wrap up the baby blankets.  One needs to be seamed and a border added, the other just needs a border, something that is currently driving me crazy.  And THEN I will allow myself to start something new.

Monday, September 06, 2010


I ordered more yarn for more baby things, so I thought maybe, just maybe, I should put the finishing touches on some of the other baby things I started.  And having a three-day weekend with nowhere to go (on purpose) afforded me some time to do that.  Even though most of what remained involved nothing more difficult that sewing on buttons, sewing on buttons takes a surprising amount of time.

A year's worth of BSJs
The only difference between the pix below and the pix of the same projects elsewhere in this blog is that the buttons are for real this time.

Details of the above are here.

Details of the above are here.

Details of the above are here.

Button detail
A Warped Knitter asked about the Cascade Yarns Pima Tencel I used for the Clapotis shawl.  The yarn itself is soft and silky, and the color is very rich.  It is also inelastic, so it lacks the spring of something like merino wool.  The knitted fabric has a lot of drape, which makes it a good candidate for shawls and scarves.  I liked knitting it a bit better than knitting with cotton but less than with wool.  The big disappointment is the shedding - I wore the shawl over a black sleeveless knit tank top, and by the end of the day, the top was covered with red fuzz.  Comments about the yarn on Ravelry reveal that I am not the only one who has noticed the shedding and pilling.  I purchased 15 skeins of this, originally with the intent of making a sweater, and used 7 of them on the shawl.  Not sure what I am going to do with the rest.  Maybe a wall hanging?