Itchy brain

You know when you can’t remember the name of something and it drives you crazy?! I have been trying to think of a yarn that I used for socks for both of my parents ages ago. Unfortunately, this was before I was good about putting almost every project that passed over my knitting needles on Ravelry. It was a sock yarn that was super soft, had a little halo when you knit it, had a bit of bamboo, could be washed and dried like it was no problem, and had a fake fair isle patterning on it. I’ve been wondering about it for a couple of months. When my LYS reopened it wasn’t in the sock yarn area and I didn’t know if it was one that hadn’t made it back into the shop yet, or if it was all gone. Tonight it came to a fever pitch because I just had to know. It was killing me.

Thank goodness for Ravelry!!!

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 8.25.13 PMThere it is. Seems unavailable online, but I’m just happy to have the brain relief. It got slightly fuzzy while I knit it, and it was so incredibly soft. For an inexpensive sock yarn, I was pretty impressed. I still want more, but maybe there is a small chance that my LYS has some somewhere. It seems like the company has other yarns with similar fiber makeups, so if I really must have something like it, I’ll be able to find something like it. I’m just glad to have the mystery solved, and this is a good lesson to keep up my project page so I know what the heck things are!

Oh yeah, I cast on a new sweater.

easeAs soon as I got Paloma off my needles and cast on an Ease for Matt. My gauge is slightly different from the pattern, as mine is 17 sts over 4 inches since I decided to do this on an 8. I made it more masculine by making the neck narrower. To do that without doing much math I started with the numbers for the smallest size and increased until I got the chest size I wanted (about 42 inches).

I was so happy when I got to put the sleeve stitches on waste yarn. Those rows felt like they were taking ages. I’m going to add a few decreases to make the waist a bit narrower than the chest, and I won’t make the ribbing at the hips as long as called for in the pattern. I will also likely omit the rolled sleeve cuffs.

The sweater season continues!

NaKniSweMo 2014 results

I’ve had this Paloma finished for about a week now, but it always takes a little time to get pictures, so my reporting of it is a bit delayed. paloma-3I’m very pleased with the outcome. I did this pattern almost exactly to specifications for the 38.5″ size, I did add an extra 2 inches to the length because I’m somewhat long-waisted and usually add at least that much to sweaters. I wanted to make sure that it was the long and cozy length shown in the pattern, so 22″ on me did just that. palomaThis sweater knit up very quickly for me. Bulky yarn (Cascade Ecological Wool) on a size 10 needle flies by. I did add an extra increase to the top of the sleeves because I was hoping for more ease in the sleeves like my Oshima sweater has. Even with the extra increase, this didn’t really happen as I expected. It’s still totally comfortable, so no loss there. paloma-2For the remainder of the winter knitting season, any sweaters for myself will likely be cardigans or oversized pullovers. Shown above is a baby bump of 17 weeks. Cardigans seem like the best option at this point to stay warm and still be able to knit new things. Of course, in a couple of weeks when I find out the sex of the baby I’ll have a whole cadre of new things to start knitting…

paloma-4As quick as the knitting part was, the finishing took forever, or so it seemed. I spent all last Tuesday parked on the couch seaming, working the pockets, making the button band, and weaving in ends. I started at 8:30 am and kept at it with only bathroom or snack breaks until about 4:30. I had anticipated all of that taking about half that amount of time. Ha! I think it was well worth the work and I hope to enjoy wearing this for years to come.

Surely between this sweater and the two Abate sweaters I made for Z I must have hit 50,000 sweater stitches last month (the goal of NaKniSweMo). I love participating in that event and can’t wait for next year!

Wovember yarn tasting

Earlier this month some lovely folks at Blacker Yarns sent me some yarns to try in celebration of Wovember. I wanted to swatch these and post sooner, but I got caught up in my NaKniSweMo sweater goals and then the holiday. I finally got a chance to swatch the yarns this weekend, so I thought I would share my thoughts. This was a fun yarn tasting because I had never heard of or worked with some of these types of breeds. Most of these are wooly wools. I’m used to lots of merino or many times I just don’t know what type of wool is in the yarn. These were pretty specific and were often pure blends. blacker yarnsThis first tan one was Pure North Ronaldsay. It’s an Aran weight and the color is natural. The label also says it’s woollen spun. As a non-spinner I don’t know the difference between woollen and worsted spun, but it’s nice that the info is provided. This one had great stitch definition and felt like it would make a fabulous winter sweater or outer garment. It’s not super soft, so it might require a layer underneath. I loved the natural heathered look of the yarn and the thick wooly feel while I knit it. blacker yarns-3This turquoise yarn (color=Over-Dyed Turquoise) is a Pure Shetland and is also woollen spun. It’s definitely softer than the Pure North Ronaldsay. I wouldn’t hesitate to wear this next to the skin. It’s about the same level of softness and weight as Rowan Felted Tweed if you’re familiar with that yarn. I loved this color so much. There is a slight heathering to this yarn as well, and this picture doesn’t do that justice. It has a subtle grey mixed in with the gorgeous turquoise. I knit this swatch on a 3 mm needle. I’d call it a DK or sport weight yarn. It seems like it would be fantastic for a fair isle project, and I might mix it with the next yarn and do just that. blacker yarns-6This is Pure Dark Wensleydale, a DK weight yarn in a natural color that is worsted spun. It has a bit more sheen than the previous two yarns. It’s got a bit more of a wild feeling. Something about the feel and texture reminds me of mohair a bit. This yarn seems like it would have wonderful drape for a garment. I could see myself making a Breezy Cardigan out of this because I think the drape would be elegant for those oversized blanket-like sweater fronts.blacker yarns-2This is Pure Bluefaced Leicester. Again, the color is natural, and this one is called a 4 ply, but I’d call it a fingering weight probably. This one was the softest of the bunch and had a lovely bit of a halo in the swatch. This one feels soft enough for baby garments or anything really. I love it and I want much much more of it. This one was worsted spun. I have only worked with BFLs for socks (as far as I know), but I would love to use this for larger garments.

blacker yarns-4The yarn above is a Pure Gotland, a woollen spun DK in the color Over-Dyed Plum. This one is not one I would wear next to the skin, but it seems like it would be great as an outer layer or cardigan. It has a lovely bit of sheen and excellent stitch definition. Honestly, this one wasn’t my favorite, partly due to the lack of softness and I’m also not a huge fan of the color. The swatch on a 3 mm needle did have a nice solid feel, and later I realized the needle suggestion for this weight was 4 mm, so it might feel very different on a larger needle.

blacker yarns-5The final yarn is a blend of Hebridean wool with Mohair. It’s a 4 ply, woollen spun in Over-Dyed Olive Green. It has a nice sheen in the swatch. Mohairs make me itch a little bit, so I think that was affecting my judgement of the softness, but it is a gorgeous yarn nevertheless. This would be another excellent candidate for fair isle projects.

Thank you to to the folks at Blacker Yarns for letting me try out these lovely breeds of wool. They have a wonderful selection of wools and I was really excited to try yarn from some breeds I’d never learned about before.

 

All clear!

abate again-2I finished Z’s Abate with probably 7 yards to spare. I ended up adding about 3/4″ to the body and made the rest as the pattern specified. It fits perfectly with the cuffs rolled back and will probably fit next year as well. Love it! abate again-3

The pattern is Abate by Alicia Plummer. The yarn is Cascade 220 Superwash (am I ever not knitting Cascade yarns?) in Lilac. This time I made the 2T size. abate again

Yep, she’s playing with scissors in these pictures. She was very interested in helping me cut the extra pieces of yarn when I was weaving in the ends. I think it’s good practice for her next classroom.

I’m so relieved that this sweater fits and that I had enough yarn to make it exactly as I wanted.

Um, speaking of Cascade yarns…I may have slipped and bought a couple more sweater quantities of some discontinued colors from WEBS. The purplish one is Goseille and the green one is Evergreen. The purple is even more vibrant and beautiful than I expected. The green will probably become something for Matt and I’ll definitely keep the Goseille for myself. cascade gosielle

cascade evergreen

Paloma puzzle pieces

Oh, I love blocking sometimes. All of these pieces looked so skinny and out of sorts, but after a soak and some pinning they all behaved exactly as I wanted. I don’t always wet block sweaters. Sometimes if items are knit all in one piece and they don’t seem to need it, I just do a little steam blocking. When I have sweaters in pieces I almost always do. It seems good prep for the next step: seaming. palomaThese are this close to being dry. I can’t wait to put these Paloma pieces together and be able to wear this. After the seaming I just have pocket, the button band, and sewing on buttons. I think I’ll definitely have this finished tomorrow if it’s dry and ready to seam. I can’t wait to wear it! I will definitely have this and Z’s two Abate sweaters done this month. Happy NaKniSweMo 2014!

Do I dare to add an inch?

abate2I’m working on the second Abate for this month, this time in the 2T size like a sane person might make for my 2T child. I described the results of the first Abate in my last post, but suffice it to say I decided to make the 4T size and it was down to her knees and needed the sleeves to be rolled twice. It will fit someday, and could even be worn if really necessary, but since I had a couple of skeins of Cascade 220 Superwash in Iris on hand, I decided to go ahead and make a 2T size that would fit her right now.

As for that one, I wouldn’t mind adding 1/2-1″ to the length on the body. This is my progress with one ball of yarn, and I think I could get away with at least a 1/2 inch. I’m feeling daring. At worst I can add some contrast cuffs or collar or something if I run out.

Want to see how the first Abate turned out? I bribed her with Curious George to get the sweater on her and get a pic. abate1It doesn’t really show off the extensive length here, but you can see the wide and rolled sleeves. Her pink sweater will have to wait a year or so to get some serious wear, but it’s good to be prepared, right? I’m on track to have a finished Paloma and two finished Abates this month for my NaKniSweMo 2014 goals. As soon as those are finished I’ve promised Matt that I’ll cast on an Ease (the adult version of Abate) for him and make it masculine.