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Monday, September 29, 2014

My problem with self-striping yarn

Self-striping and/or multi-colored yarn - I have one issue with it.  I love the way changing colors can add interest to a piece knit it straight stitch, don't get me wrong.  But there's always one color in the mix that I hate. And it's generally the color that the yarn company used the most. Go figure. 

Take, for example, the sale yarn I bought at Kid Ewe Knot in PA. It's from HiKoo, a division of Skacel, and not a yarn I'd knit with before.  It's a blend of merino, acrylic and nylon, and while I normally avoid acrylic I decided to give it a shot.  The price was right, it had a nice feel, and maybe the acyrilic would give it more wearability.

I have a few inches on the project now, so you can see how the colors are pooling. Love the turquoise and the green, hate the puke yellow. Hate it.  And guess which color they used the most? I guess my problem with self-striping yarn is that I don't get to pick all the colors? Seriously, why doesn't a yarn company either have a contest where everyone can vote on the colors they'd like, or custom make it?

I still think I'm going to be happy with the project when it's done - though if I have enough yarn I may start cutting/re-arranging the colors near the face. That yellow isn't great on me. The yarn is knitting up nicely, though, and I like its feel while I knit. I can't wait to get to the braid detail at the neckline, looking forward to trying the technique.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Does this ever happen to anyone else...?

You bring a project along for travel knitting and then end up not liking it? So, of course, you now have an excuse to visit a LYS.

I'd brought along a project on our Easter trip to the in-laws*. I was knitting with two skeins of handspun that an old friend had given me ages ago when she first started spinning. So, uh, how do I put this? Lots of bumps and not very even? But I loved the colors so I decided to give it a whirl. Halfway through my weekend I realize that it really, really wasn't going to work. Also, there wasn't enough yarn. So I hied myself over to the local yarn shop,

The lovely owners were quite sympathetic at my plight, and helped me find a Malabrigo lace yarn for another pattern in Knitscene 2013. When I told them that my MIL doesn't knit, they commiserated and kindly put the yarn on a swift and ball-winder and wound it for me. Crisis averted! I had yarn, and a project. I also might have succumbed to some of their sale yarn, but you'll never get me to confess...

The pattern I picked was the Sundial Tee. Once again (GRR!!!) I'm between their bust sizes, plus the pattern calls for negative ease. So I fiddled with it and cast on for the larger size but decreased up to the smaller size. Basically, I hate shirts that are tight through my middle, so I wanted more room around the waist. The yarn is gorgeous, and has some lovely subtle color variations which add interest to the straight stitch.

I tried it one several times while knitting and almost ended up ripping it out and making it larger. I'm glad I didn't because when I blocked it the piece grew at least an inch all around.

Because it was knitting in the round, there was minimal sewing in of ends or seaming needed (hallelujah!). The ruffled sleeves ended up a bit more 'ruffle-y' than I'd like, but I might try blocking them again and see if they settle down.

And a straight shot of the finished piece.

Side view

I think I would have liked it a little longer for more tummy coverage but I love the variations in the yarn.  It's super soft and feels lovely to wear. Need to block the bottom better, however. What do you guys think?


 *Yes, this was the disastrous trip during which my MIL yelled at me for picking my battles because I let C change out of his Easter clothes (which were too big, anyway) and told me I needed to fight every one. She also picked up my son and carried him out of the room and *shut the door in my face* when he asked me to carry him, and my FIL yelled at my husband (complete with wagging finger) "You need to respect me, I'm your father!" blah, blah, blah because my husband dared to suggest - after three days of nonstop criticism of our parenting skills - that we'd got the point and there was no need to beat a dead horse. Oh, that was on Easter. Right before the rest of the family showed up. Good times.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Review: Knitscene Summer 2013

I figured it was about time I posted a positive review! And, since I'm about to cast on my third project from this issue (the Venice Beach Tank), I think it's safe to say that I loved the patterns in this magazine.

This was actually the first Knitscene I've ever bought - I saw the cover on the newsstand and it grabbed me. The great earrings, the beautiful pinkish-red shade of the tank top, and the ruffles. This girl loves me some ruffles.

What I appreciate about the Knitscene patterns is that they're simpler than Interweave's patterns, which makes them good for busy summer days when you only have a few quick minutes to knit a few rows before jumping up to stop your toddler from climbing over the deck railing...


But, despite their simplicity, each pattern has enough details to keep me interested. Both the Ryann Tunic and the Sundial Tee have waist shaping and increases/decreases through the bust that meant I couldn't completely check out. They were also knit in the round - as were 9 of the patterns in the issue - which is fabulous if you, like me, HATE weaving in ends and finishing pieces.

The Sundial tee;

I've been on a coral kick lately, and the bright colors featured in the Lida Top, Mackinac Tank, and Sundial Tee just jumped out at me. Because it's a summer issue, there are lots of projects like seven tank tops that are quicker knits, and two smaller projects (a hat and a scarf) that look really cute. I adore the braided detail on the back of the Love Braid cardigan. Though I'm not a huge fan of knitting cardigans - too many pieces to seam together - I may still have to try it.

The Love Braid Cardigan;

I do wish that the editors would feature a wider range of body types to model the patterns *cough, no pun intended* It's very hard to tell how some of these patterns will look on a curvier gal. Particularly the Venice Beach Tank, the Lindell Tee and the Melrose Tank, all of which are body conscious pieces.

The Venice Beach Tank;

There were only three patterns in the issue that don't inspire me. Even though the Beverly Tee is cute, it doesn't look very practical. And I thought the Eclipse Top and Longboard Pullover were just 'meh.' But three out of twenty-one is a very good ratio, making this issue a definite buy.

The Beverly Tee;
The Longboard Pullover;

The issue is on sale at the moment, and I'd highly recommend picking it up. If you do buy it, be sure and let me know which patterns you knit!

Pattern break-down

Tank tops - 6

Short Sleeve tops - 6

Long sleeve tops - 1

Open-front cardigans - 4 (three with long sleeves)

Hats - 1

Scarves - 1

Shawls - 1

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Giveaways! A Hat! A shirt!

My knitwear company is doing not one, but two, giveaways starting this week!

First, you can enter to win a beautiful cotton hat here;

You get to pick the size, 3-6 mos up to 4T, and the color.

Second, you can enter to win a fall leaves short sleeve shirt, again your choice of size, here;

Go forth and enter! And good luck!

- D