The Daily Skein

All the craft that’s fit to make.

Project Progress April 14, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects,Musings — Cailyn @ 2:25 pm
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I just looked over at my “Project Progress” widget.  Yikes!  How did I end up with so many projects?!  Let’s see, I’ve got The Cardigan, which has stalled out a bit.  I haven’t really touched it in a while.  I’ve been telling myself that it’s because I have more important things to work on, but I fear that I might be getting bored.  Maybe I’m just not in the mood to knit so much stockinette right now.  The cardigan measures a whole seven inches.  That’s a lot more inches that I need to knit.  But I shall conquer it!… just not yet.

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Next on the list is a pair of socks knit from Cherry Tree Hill’s Sockittome in the Loden colorway.  These socks are destined for a submission to a publication, so I can’t show you more than the yarn.  The yarn is a little stiff but I think it’ll soften up wonderfully after being washed.  It’s got good stitch definition and cables nicely.  I like it a lot and I think I’ll be adding Sockittome as a solid sock yarn to my yarn quiver.   As far as project progress, I just finished the gusset on the second sock, so not far to go on these!

 

102_4379The sock blank socks are the pure stockinette socks that I’ve been knitting since my trip to Virginia.  Top-down, short-row heel, standard toe.  They’re a great project for keeping the hands busy without paying attention.  I’m not exactly happy with the way the colors turned out.  I’m almost finished with the first sock- just have the toe left to do.  These socks are low on the priority list, really more of a back-up project.

 

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Norman’s scarf is a project that my father-in-law requested while we were at Village Wools.  Sadly, this is the best picture of the scarf but not the best picture of the two of us.  But this is proof that even layman can’t go into a yarn store without being inspired!  He picked out three colors of Mirasol Sulka, which is a luxurious blend of silk, alpaca and merino.  Really lovely to work with, especially in garter stitch.  You might recognize the scarf as a non-variegated version of the Multidirectional Scarf.  First I had to learn a little about modular knitting and then I planned out the color changes for the intarsia.  I’ll be putting up a tutorial for working the Mulitdirectional Scarf with intarsia in the next few days.  Now it’s just a matter of knitting the rest of the scarf.  What I’ve got here is about twelve inches on the long side (but only seven on the short 102_4375side, shhh).  I’ve been trying to keep the scarf cat-hair free, which means that it stays in the cat-free guest room.  It works up pretty fast, so I’m hoping that I’ll have it finished soon!

 

The Shibui Knits socks will be the next pattern that I publish on the blog.  Hopefully.  If nothing goes wrong.  I finished sketching (er, imagining, I can’t really sketch) the socks last night but I have to wait until my new needles get here before starting them.  I tried swatching the yarn with size 1s (2.25mm) and 2s (2.75mm) and neither was quite right.  So I ordered some 1.5s (2.5mm) needles which should be here soon.  But for now, the socks are just in my imagination and my widget.

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Oh yeah, I’ve also got a pair of socks planned using the Sanguine Gryphon’s Kypria.   But I think they’re also going to be a submission, so you only get to see the yarn again!  I have high hopes for this yarn, it seems really yummy so far!

 

So yeah, I’d better get back to knitting!

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Soft Yarn, Must Pet November 18, 2008

Filed under: Knitting Projects,Musings — Cailyn @ 5:49 pm
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Ok, I have found the single most luscious yarn in existence.  I was yarn shopping with my friend Kady the other day and as soon as I saw this yarn, I knew I had to have it. It’s one of those yarns that as soon as you pick it up, you’re lost.  You can’t put it down.  The color is perfect and the feel is divine.  This particular yarn is 65% baby alpaca, 15% silk, 10% camel, and 10% cashmere.  Yeah, it’s made out of the softest materials on Earth.  Spun into one beautiful, deadly skein.  Called the Road to China, the yarns are all dyed in jewel tones.  Each fiber in the yarn takes up the dye differently, so the color in incredibly rich and interesting.  The skein that I bought, Lapis, is mostly dusky blue with hints of green and purple.  But not “hints” like a variegated yarn, more like… this is hard to describe and the pictures don’t do it justice!

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Needless to say, this is not a cheap yarn.  It’s about $20 for 80 yards, which is way more per yarn than I’d normally pay.  But this was so special.  I thought I would make a hat out of it at first.  I got partway through the hat, too.  But you know, you don’t really feel a hat since it’s over your hair.  And this yarn needs to be felt. (Not to be confused with felted. I wouldn’t want to felt these!)  “Mittens!” I thought (or rather, exclaimed as Lowell was making us a snack).  This is the perfect yarn for mittens.  (I admit that I wasn’t thinking straight when I somehow got the idea that I could make the pair with one skein.  I blame it on the massive amount of popcorn I ate when we saw the new James Bond movie.)  Anyway, these are just about the perfect winter mittens.  Soft as anything, fairly lightweight because of the alpaca, and extremely warm because of the aforementioned alpaca and cashmere, and gorgeous to boot.

 

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I also love mittens because they’re so quick to make.  This Road to China yarn is a thick worsted weight and I used size 6 needles.  I knit the first one in a few hours.  I had to go back to the yarn store to buy another skein, which I wound today and I’m going to finish up the mittens tonight.  Lowell loves the pattern too and asked me to make him a pair.  Knitting with this yarn is such a joy, I think I can make these mittens forever and still be happy. (I won’t, but I could.)  Lowell’s mittens will be in Jade.  I ordered that and some Sandstone from Now and Zen Yarns.  They had a few skeins on sale (half off!!) so I had to buy a few extra.  This yarn isn’t too easy to track down online, but it can be done.  Head over to Now and Zen and see if they have any skeins left on sale!

 

I’ll have the pattern for the mittens up, in three sizes, when I finish the second mitten here.  Can’t think of a name for them except World’s Softest Mittens.

 

Bamboo Blue Pretty! August 28, 2008

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 8:39 pm
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I’ve been neck deep in a secret project for the last few days.  I mentioned a while ago that I was trying to design something manly for Knitty’s winter issue?  Well, that project fell over, hit its head, and suffered a major stroke.  But then Lowell and I (mostly Lowell) came up with another idea and since then, it’s been a whirl of yarn shopping, knitting, frogging, knitting, fitting, and weaving in ends.  Hopefully the sun will come out long enough in the next two days that I’ll actually be able to take pictures of the project before the deadline hits.  Man, wouldn’t that be annoying; I get the whole project done and written up… and then can’t photograph them.  Well, here’s hoping for some sun tomorrow.

 

On my quest to find the perfect yarn, though, I’ve run across a wonderful yarn seller!  Argosy Luxury Fibers. I ordered 2 skeins of secret yarn (Hanna Sport, Blue Mills) and 2 skeins of Solace, Starry Night.  *drool*  This yarn is so soft that I just want to cuddle with it all the time.  I had this horrible vision of a delicately cabled blanket made out of this stuff- you know, the kind of project that would be so stunning (and so stunningly expensive) that the very act of making it would make the rest of life meaningless.  I quickly shoved that vision into a back closet in my brain and stacked several mental crates in front of it in hopes that it won’t come back out to haunt my dreams.

 

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Hanna Sport, Blue Mills

Solace, Starry Night

 

Her pictures are much better than mine (click on her thumbnails for a gorgeous close up of the yarns.)  I waited all day to take these pictures in the sun, but as previously stated, the sun did not appear.  The colors are pretty accurate, but you miss the beautiful shine.

 

So, anyway, I ordered these yarns.  And as soon as the box arrived, I tore it open to discover my 4 beautiful skeins… and 2 extra skeins. My first thought was, “Wait, did I order yarn and totally forget about it?” Then I saw the note from the owner.  Melissa included the yarn for free!  I literally squealed aloud with delight.  (Gave the cats a good fright, it did.)

 

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I was so excited that I even called Lowell at work and babbled something like, “Oh my god, free, bamboo, blue, pretty!” and then hung up.  The yarn she sent is Bonsai Bamboo in Teal. I am already head over heels in love with Hanna Sport, which I used for the secret project.  I’ve got about a skein and a third left, too, which I’m crazy excited about.  It’s so soft and silky and lightweight, you just have to feel it to believe it.  I think the Solace is next on the project block, but I think a pair of gloves made out of the Bonsai is soon in my future.  Let me tell you, the combination of great yarn with such a nice gift… Let’s just say, I’m putting in another order in a few days for some Christmas knitting supplies.  I’m not sure if the stars have aligned to shine a bright and inspiring light into my life in the form of silk blend yarns… or if this is some sort of conspiracy by my credit card company to get me to run up mountains of debt.

 

Honestly, I’m not sure I care which one it is.

 

Socks? July 10, 2008

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 3:32 pm
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My in-laws took off yesterday, so life is back to “normal” for the time being.  We had a lot of fun and I did get a lot of knitting done.  I worked on two different socks- one that is technically tricky and one that was very simple (for walking around or knitting in the car.)  While my in-laws don’t quite understand my obsession with the craft, they’re very tolerant of it.  I got the leg of the challenging sock completed and finished the heel and gusset of the simpler one. Of course, with all this wonderful knitting time and productivity, something had to go wrong.

I’ve been struck down by the Gauge Demon.  You know the one, big pointy horns, red eyes, and covered in discarded swatches.  I gauged each stitch pattern carefully, measured, multiplied, and then cast on a number of stitches that should work (and has worked in the past.)  But then the Demon saw that I had not tried on the socks after the ribbing section or even halfway down the leg.  And he decided that the sock, that should by all reasonable logic fit perfectly, would suddenly be too small.  Not quite too small to put on… just circulation-stopping small.

I hate that guy.

This is my easier sock.  Louet Gems Pearl in Caribou (I’m trying to use up some Gems from another project that used 8 skeins of various colors… and didn’t really work out) and the lovely Pagewood Farm Denali in Navajo.  This sock went with me everywhere.  See how much work I got done before the Gauge Demon struck? ? *sigh* I messed up the heel all by myself, though. I might reknit this one, I really liked how fast it worked up, but it might be bumped for another project.

My technical sock.  I love this sock. I’ve always wanted to knit one of those beautiful Austrian twisted stitch socks, especially as my grandmother is from Vienna.  I’ve tried a few times before, but I don’t think I ever had the right yarn.  Or I was too impatient.    The sock above is knitted with my other skein from Pagewood Farm.  I love the yarn and the color, but the lighter bits are a little distracting in the pattern.  So the Gauge Demon has actually given me a good excuse to switch yarns.  I’m reknitting the sock (correctly sized this time, take that demon!) in some Knit Picks Essential Mermaid.  The revised sock is knitting up pretty fast!

Speaking of Knit Picks, I bought a nice big box of yarn from them to try out some of their new stuff/colors.  I love Knit Picks.  Essential feels so great on my feet, soft and springy but easy to knit with.  Wool of the Andes is great for felting and comes in so many colors! Especially with the high gas and food prices, the idea of getting two skeins of sock yarn for under $7 is really attractive.  Plus, free shipping is always a nice perk.  I enjoy going to my LYS and splurging on special or beautiful yarns (like the Denali), but a large chunk of my stash is from Knit Picks.  Really, this isn’t an ad for Knit Picks.  I just love their yarn and felt like I needed to justify my Knit Picks stash, lol.

Check out that new superwash/alpaca/nylon sock yarn there in the upper left.  I’m excited to knit that up! (Can you tell I like blues?)

 

Accidental Yarnage June 2, 2008

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 4:29 pm
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I was doing some shopping on Friday. I have been “commissioned” (um, I think it’s only a commission if you get paid) to make some reusable shopping bags for my grandmother’s birthday by my mother. I’m also going to be making some for my mother since she liked mine so much and I’m going to make some more for someone else (but I can’t say who, because they read this. I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise.) Clearly, I need a lot of fabric. There’s a store here called Pacific Fabric and Crafts that is always my budget’s downfall. They sell fabric and yarn. It’s deadly. Their fabrics are beautiful (if a little expensive) and their yarn is wonderful too.

Well, I was being so good. I got just enough fabric for my bags, didn’t get anything for me. (Oh, be honest. You bought more fabric than you strictly needed.) The line was particularly long, so I thought I’d just drift through the yarn section instead of waiting in a boring line. I was sure that there wasn’t anything I needed. Although that cotton was pretty interesting…

Wait! What’s this??

So pretty! So soft! So socky! (Socky??) Let the battle begin!

In this corner, we have a hand-dyed, merino/nylon blend, hailing from northern California. This yarn is nice and squishy, dyed light blues with hints of purple, with an adorable logo. But don’t be fooled, it shows no mercy!

And in this corner, we have an indecisive knitter who loves shades of blue, squishy yarn, and socks.

I don’t think there was really much of a fight. Pretty much a KO in ten seconds. So, into the basket went this yarn. Now, carefully back away before you see somethi–

Too late. This colorway knows all my weak spots. It’s turquoise with some terra cotta and cream. Mmmm, my favorite. I think these skeins were on a tag team. I normally try very hard not to buy too much from a company until I’ve knit up at least one project with their yarn. Once upon a time, I bought an obscene amount of yarn for a crochet project, certain that I would love the yarn… Well, I bet you can figure out how that ended up. It split, it shed, I hated it. I learned that lesson the hard way.

But I just couldn’t decide between these two skeins. Turquoise… baby blue… purple… cream… I love them all! And really, it’s not that expensive; I mean, it’s 450 yards in a skein, that’s only a few cents a yard! (If only that’s what showed up on the bill, 3 cents a yard.) I could get 4 projects out of these two skeins if I’m careful… (You do like short socks. Or maybe gloves!)

Obviously, you know the end of this story, because there are pictures of the yarns. Yup, I broke down, swore I wouldn’t buy any more yarn for at least a month (ha!), and tried to convince DH that if I didn’t have this yarn I would have wasted away in unrequited love. I don’t think he bought it. But I have the yarn! Now I just have to think of a project that’s worthy of such beautiful colors. I’ll keep you posted.

I really hope it doesn’t split or shed.