Saturday, October 23, 2010

Egyptian Preview....

This is what I plan to wear in Egypt. I finished it today and love it! I've knit the pattern once before, but didn't measure properly and it ended up too short, so I frogged it and returned the yarn to my stash. I decided to knit it out of silk this time. I thought the stretch of silk (yarn is Alchemy Silk Purse) would be perfect for this top and I was right.

Pattern is the Krista Tee from a book called Knitting Lingerie Style (you can also buy a kit or just the pattern from the website). I made several minor modifications. I converted it to a seamless top, but had to figure out the lace so that it would work. I ended up casting on 72 stitches (I knit the smallest size) and then placed the lace so that it blended into the rest of the top properly. I compensated for the additional stitches during armhole shaping by reducing a stitch on each row, rather than every RS row until I had the correct number of stitches. I also chose to do my waist shaping by reducing/increasing stitches rather than changing needle sizes AND I did my sleeves as short rows, attached right to the garment. I had no seaming at all... just a few ends to weave in. Oh, and I added 2 inches to the body, shortened the armholes by one inch (to compensate for the stretch of silk, overall gain was one inch) and probably gained another 1-2 inches of length when the silk was washed.

I'm sure there will be better pictures to come, but you'll have to look for them in the pictures I post from Egypt... Only 5 more days...

Here are a few pictures of Eli helping me make an Apple Crisp this week.... My cousin gave me two big boxes of apples from her orchard and we've been trying to use them up.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm Persuaded

In my last post I was uncertain of my latest project (a top-down striped sweater with a combination of hand-spun and commercial yarn), but now that it's done, I love it. It will be another sweater that I wear often. I'm really happy with the combination of hand-spun and commercial yarn and I love the visual and textural differences of the two different yarns.

I love the first picture (not me) where Chey is peeking in....

Next project.... a silk lace tee for our upcoming trip to Egypt.... Yes, I said Egypt! We're off in 10 Days so stay tuned!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Uncertain, but pushing forward anyway.

I had a thought.

You see, I absolutely love roving (top, sliver, batt.... I love them all, but I'm using the term *roving* to encompass them all) ..... most particularly, hand-dyed, multi-coloured roving dyed with care by various indie-dyers. I love watching the progress of turning roving into yarn. The colours shift and change and become something completely different from what you'd expected (well, for me they do, I'm not experienced enough to make the roving do exactly what I want.... I sort of coax it in the approximate direction I'm aiming for, cross my fingers and hope for the best). I also love the resulting yarn, it's always a surprise... the end result..... Handspun yarn is special. It is utterly unique. I doubt two spinners spinning the same roving would make the same yarn.... or even could make the same yarn. The downside of this luscious yarn? For me, a sweater made from a multi-coloured roving is.... uhhhhh... for the most part.... not my style. I prefer solid to semi solid colours for my sweaters and..... I knit a lot of sweaters. On the other hand, solid to semi-solid roving (although very satisfying and enjoyable to spin) doesn't hold quite the same spinning appeal as the brighter multi-colour rovings that I enjoy.... I could knit more hats, mittens, scarves etc.. or even give the yarn away.... but I like to knit sweaters and, in case you hadn't noticed, I'm a rather selfish knitter.

And now on to my thought...... How about a wide striped sweater? (I saw something that inspired me on TV... OK, OK, it was a Twilight movie, I'll admit it!)  Combining a handspun yarn with a solid commercial yarn should tone down the wild/weirdness of the handspun.... Could be cool??? Right???

I started with this roving from Julie Spins (I blogged a bit about it last time).

And made this yarn.

Nice eh?? Of course, this yarn doesn't really prove the point I was making about the wild yarn.... it IS rather subtle, but I started with the roving and I'll finish with the yarn.... 

I wanted to combine it with some Mirasol Nuna in my stash in a charcoal grey. I thought my handspun would work. It had the same wraps per inch. But when I swatched the two together, it didn't work out. The Nuna's gauge was too loose and the handspun perfect. This caused the Nuna to stretch and the Handspun to pucker. You can see this in the swatch on the right in the picture below. I then searched through my stash for a replacement and came up with some Manos Del Uruguay silk blend in a steel grey. Neither the colour, nor the yarn really were what I had envisioned. Nuna would have been perfect. It was a plied yarn with a silk, bamboo, wool combo that looked similar to the handspun. The Manos, on the other hand, is a singles yarn without the shine and lustre of the Nuna, totally different than the handspun. Perhaps the textural difference would make for a design element??? I decided to swatch it and find out .. and it was perfect... gauge wise... I still haven't decided if I like the difference in texture of the two yarns or not.....

I've cast on for the sweater and am almost to the armholes... I'm either going to love it or hate it... and I won't be able to decide until the end..... 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fall Cardigan

I'm not feeling particularly verbose today, but thought I'd show you my latest FO (finished object). Pattern is the Austin Hoodie, yarn is JulieSpins M420S in Green Jasper. Mods are: No hood, no side faux side-seam, buttons (original has no closure) and a garter stitch hem rather than a folded one. I knit the 35.5 size (I usually knit a 32-ish, I like zero ease type sweaters) because I wanted it to button and be comfy. I loved the short row sleeve cap and will probably do all of my set-in sleeves that way from now on. The colour is truest in the picture where you can see my head. I futzed with the colour in the close-up so you could see the stitches better.

I think this may be my most wearable sweater to-date. I love many of the items that I've made, but many are not wearable on a consistent basis. This one is perfect for year round. Light enough to wear under a winter jacket, heavy enough to be a nice cardigan for spring, summer and the warmer days of fall. 

I've been spinning for my next project. I'm over half done, what I hope will be a 2 ply sport weight yarn. The roving is a 50/50 Merino/Tencel blend, also from JulieSpins. The colour is amazing. It almost looks metallic. The colour ranges from a bright lime green  to a silvery charcoal. I am very excited for the finished yarn. I'm planning to combine it with some commercial yarn for a finished sweater.....