Sunday, September 14, 2008

And we are back... our regular knitting content.

First a bit of blatant self-promotion. Interweave's Color Style should be coming out soon and I noticed that they have my mitts on a sidebar in the preview. Therefore I can now show you one of my FOs from last year. I will tantalize you with close-ups so you can see the finished object in the official pictures.
The mitts are made with 4 colorways of hand-painted yarn (3 multis and a solid) and the effect is that of color that is splashed on. They blend quite seamlessly and you can't see where one colorway begins and another one ends. They are knitted in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn.This is a photo of the top of the mittens and shows the pattern a bit more clearly. That is the end of the self-promotion.

My daughter just returned from a winter in Argentina. She brought back some lovely alpaca knits (sweaters and chullos) for others but I got natural alpaca yarn. She even had it wound for me. The colors are all natural shades of the alpaca. I think this will become a nice warm shawl to remember her winter visit there. The yarn is very lustrous and soft, which I think is a characteristic of the undyed alpaca. I noticed that with the black alpaca yarn I used to make the shawl/wrap for my SIL. It feels very different from the dyed alpaca I have used.
I have been knitting, and knitting, and knitting away on my Wild Apple. One sleeve is almost done. I am at the cuff. I need to do the little colorwork I am adding to the cuff and then the hem. I took the colored yarn with me on a trip last week but I forgot the chart. So I broke off the yarn, put the sts on a small circ and started the other sleeve. I'll finish the second sleeve and then do the colorwork on the first cuff. I can see the end now though it may take a couple of weeks. The pictures don't look any different so I'm not posting them.

Instead, I am going to talk about thoughts going through my head regardin another design. As you remember, I won yarn at Camp this year. I want to make an Elizabeth Zimmerman design to honor the fact that I won the yarn at Camp. The Hand-to-Hand Aran came to mind as knitting a hand-painted multi sideways makes vertical stripes. I was also inspired by one of the coats in the Japanese book that I talked about a few months ago. That coat is done in a variegated yarn with tiny cables that disappear into the fabric but affect the colors in a subtle way and add a hint of texture.
Of course, I am not doing an Aran. I don't have enough yarn and the patterning would be lost in a multi-colored yarn like this. I am just using the concept and the construction to create my own version. The yoke will be textured and the body in lace, which will enable me to eke out the yarn a bit more. Also, that way I can go up a needle size or two in the lace and make it flowing and drapey without compromising the structure of the sweater. The weight of a sweater hangs from the shoulders so making the shoulder area too loose causes the sweater to droop.
I swatched and came up with a combination of cables and background that I liked. Here's the swatch.
When I was on one of my trips this summer, I had some problem with the Wild Apple and couldn't continue. So I started on this as a stopgap. Since the Hand-to-Hand begins with a sleeve, I started a sleeve in the pattern above. But after knitting for a few inches above the ribbing, I realized that I really liked the plain purled fabric between the cables. Since I only have 1000 yds, I decided to eliminate the cables. I re-started the sleeve.
This makes a nice fabric. I like the way the colors play on the surface. However, I am getting 6.8 sts to the inch and I'm wondering what would happen if I went up a needle size and got closer to 6 spi, which is what the ball band recommends.

I am really in two minds about this. A tighter gauge, like the one I have above, will keep the sweater from stretching too much. I tend to prefer the tighter, denser gauge for wearability, especially in sweaters. But I've been told that my gauges are bullet-proof and maybe I should loosen up a bit. Maybe I'll start another sleeve in the new gauge and compare the two and then frog the one I don't like. Decisions, decisions...

For now, this is on hold. I'm working on the Wild Apple till it is done and then I'll start on this again. I love the colors in this yarn and I can't wait to work with it.


vanessa said...

huge whoohoo!!!!! on your mitt design!!!

god luck with your sleeves, the colors are lovely.

joyknits said...

Congrats on the mitt design! I love the colors for the Hand-to-Hand.