Saturday, April 30, 2011

About to Change

I who so love scarlet
Wear a gown of black.
Quaintly fitted tunic
Buttoned up the back.

Unknown. (At least by me.  I could have sworn this was by Emily Dickinson. Then thought it might be Christina Rossetti.  Fell back to Edna St. Vincent Millay. Nope, nope and nope. I can't find the reference anywhere.)

Happy last day of National Poetry Month.

Friday, April 29, 2011

WIDTY [the day before] Y: The Yarn, Part 2

I first came across Carol Sunday of  Sunday Knits at Stitches Midwest 2010.  The Princess and I spent a fair bit of time in lust-inspired awe of the patterns and the yarn, but ultimately couldn't decide and sadly came away Sunday-Knits-less.  What really stuck in my memory, though, was one of the sweaters.  You can see it here, but I have to tell you,  that washed out blue doesn't do it justice.  At Stitches she had a sample knit in a deep brown - so much better suited to a pattern called Acorns.

 Anyway.  Fast-forward six months. I bought the pattern from Twist Collective's Fall 2010 issue and gave myself the yarn kit for The Princess' birthday (in brown - Angelic 5-ply  in Clove to be precise) to knit for her (someday).  It will be a long-term project, one that will probably take years until completion because I am actually still a little intimidated by the memory of the beauty of the sample.

Meanwhile, back at Embellished Squares.

The more I looked at the pattern photos, the more I realized I wanted to mimic the stripes the designer had incorporated. Since I had chosen a variegated yarn for the main color, it made sense (to me at least and it's my blanket) to use a solid or semi-solid for the contrast. I really did mean to knit from stash, but the blues made the yarn too green, greens made the yarn too monochromatic, the browns made the yarn too gray, the reds were too harsh or too purple.

Then I remembered the email from Knitche announcing the addition of Sunday Knits yarn to their inventory.  I decided that if I wasn't going to knit from stash, I could at least knit local (Sunday Knits is an Illinois concern).  The Pirate had a day off, which meant I didn't have to watch the clock for his bus, and off we went.

That's Eden (merino and cashmere) in Wren (the lighter) and Twig and Nirvana (merino) in Raisin.  Knitche only had the colors in the 3-ply, and only one of each color at that.   The original plan was to take them home, compare them with the main color, choose one and then order that color directly from Sunday Knits.

Two problems.  I really liked all three colors and the 3-ply is pretty much sock yarn - way too thin. Okay, three problems. Carol Sunday doesn't carry nearly as many colors in the 5-ply versions. 

I decided to use all three colors, ordered one more of each in the 3-ply and am double stranding.  These are only 50g skeins.  I'm a little concerned I may run out. Then again, maybe that will be my signal to start the massive garter stitch border.  There's clearly plenty of the Wistful.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What I Didn't Tell You Yesterday: The Yarn, Part 1

I really needed to get back on the blog-wagon.  I never would have left all this out in the Olden Days.

Back when I decided to knit Knitty's Totally Autumn I didn't tell the full story of my yarn indulgence.  Not only had I ordered the requisite amount of Abundance yarn, I ordered a comparable amount of Wistful, an alpaca, merino, silk blend that comes in 500 yard skeins. Buying the entire dye lot?  Of both yarns? Well, that was greed, pure and simple.

This was rather over the top yarn-buying, even for me, but I had been bitten hard by the afghan bug.  At the same time as, and as a feeble excuse for, the Yarn Binge of the Decade, I also purchased the pattern for the Rosebud Blanket. At the time it seemed ample reason for the whole descent into the woolly maelstrom thing.  That, and the fact the Briar Rose Fibers produces any given colorway in limited lots.  If I wanted a particular combination, I had to buy it then or risk it being gone forever.  Never mind that the clever and creative people at BRF were guaranteed to come up with many, many other combinations to which I would lose my heart. (The ability of the human mind to come up with rationalizations and justifications is truly a wonder to behold, isn't it?)

With all this on my conscience, the decision to knit from stash yarn was not simply understandable, it was almost a mandate.

Having ditched (for the time being) the Rosebud Afghan, or indeed any lace pattern involving charts, while and at the same time having found Embellished Squares, I should have been ready to knit my merry way along for weeks and weeks. Except (are you ready for a further foray into rationalization and justification?), Embellished Squares, as designed, is knit with two yarns, one solid and one self-striping. I tried, I really did try, to persuade myself that knitting with variegated hand-dyed yarn obviated the need for a contrast color.

I failed.

Three times.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Let's See What Happens

This will never do.  April is almost over.  Not a single post to show for it. I can cheat and call in one of my National Poetry Month poems -- and may yet before the week is out -- but the Woolgathering that goes on here is supposed to include the knitted variety.

Good thing I have a new project. Here's the bare bones.

I considered finally knitting this.  That determination didn't last long. I had so enjoyed knitting an afghan in the round, that I decided to start another one.  This decision had nothing to do with my wish to delay knitting up however many inches of seed stitch at over 160 stitches per side.

Meet Embellished Squares or The Last Gasp of Winter. The pattern is here.

I swore I would knit from stash. That resolve didn't survive the second repeat.

Because no knitting project I choose can ever run smoothly, I picked one where the designer says,"I am a very loose knitter." We all know that I am a very tight knitter.  She knit on US 7's. I'm knitting on US 9's

And yet, the proportions still seem off. I contacted the designer via Ravelry. According to Spud Says Hi,  she made the first color change about 2 inches from center, which means I'm pretty close. And frankly, I just don't want to think that hard and relocating the color changes is more work than I want from a project right now. Maybe the thing to do is stick to the pattern. It could be interesting.