Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rehabilitating a Bad Yarn back into Society

To say I used to have a love/hate relationship with the yarn that is in the 4th position of my Bottom 5- Top 5 strategy is an understatement. I loved the softness, the texture, it was not complete melting soft mush like some yarns, but not itchy scratchy wooliness either. It was a beautiful bulky nubby mix of something in between. And I even loved the colors, the brownish gray-mud part, contrasting so well and playing so nicely with the lighter beige mixed in, and that jewel-y pretty purple part. Well... Most of the colors...

Yikes! It's that acid green stripe of heck that just appears out of nowhere! What is that? I so don't love the acid green stripe. It burns my eyes and makes it sad. I swear it literally hid in the middle of the ball until I got it home and tried knitting the horrible cowl that is shown above. (Actually it's not a horrible cowl, it just wasn't different enough to mix up that green!) That acid green totally tricked me! But-don't despair-Bottom 5 Top 5 can fix a lot of problems. It can make the best of a bad situation. Maybe it could even tame that crazy acid green into something perfectly acceptable, perhaps complimentary at times, that I do now adore and welcome very readily near my face and around my neck.

Yarn: Katia Nepal
Pattern: Simple Yet Effective Shawl by Laura Chau-modified

I changed the pattern slightly so that I increased 4 stitches every right side row as written, but still increased 2 more stitches- one at the beginning and one at the end of every wrong side row. Similar to the increases from Ishbel. The result is a shallower, wider, less pointy triangle, more suited to wrapping and gathering around my neck all cuddly-like. This is not a shawly-drapey situation people. I don't really think bulky yarn ever is really. This is a "scrunch it down in that gap between my chest and my coat and block out all the chill and conserve warmth situation." Yep. That works.

Now there's just one more final yarn to go in Bottom 5 Top 5 except.. (cue record scratching sound)

Oh. It's lace in fingering weight. It's still a one skein project, and it's more of a scarf than a shawl but still... it's just not going along as quickly as the scrunchy bulky Katia shawl I just made that took 3 days. This one might be a little while. I'm much further along than in the photo above now, but still, I'll have to report back later on this one.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Three Projects Down, Two to Go

My Bottom 5-Top 5 stashbusting strategy is proving a success. Not only am I ticking these bottom 5 yarns off the list right and left, I'm finding out that some of them aren't so bad after all. I found such great patterns to match with them, I feel kind of bad I neglected these yarns for so long. First up-a hank of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport. The pattern I picked for this yarn is Grumperina's Periwinkle Beret.

I adore this beret. I find myself walking around with it on, forgetting to take it off, not wanting to take it off. First of all-the yarn is really ok. The colors are right up my alley and it's soft and pretty. But this pattern-oh this pattern. Totally awesome. Love the tubular cast on, it was really, really easy and just makes wearing the hat feel great, like I've never had a homemade hat feel. And lots and lots of stockinette in the round. I love that. So much that if I had to knit just one thing for the rest of my life, it probably would be hats in the round. Which brings me to the next project.

The Pi Topper Chemo Cap by Corey Laflamme is a free pattern on But I think if I had to pay for it I would have. More stockinette in the round-this time inspired by EZ's Pi Are Square pattern. Mine is knit in Louet Gems Sport in a purple color I had originally intended to use as socks for my mom, but she's kind of through her phase of loving this color now, so I was free to make whatever I wanted. And I'm going to donate this one to a charity. It's not a color I love, and it is a little snug, and in this yarn not really warm enough to be a warm winter hat. However-for someone battling cancer who has lost their hair it might fit them great, and they might like it that's it's a little lightweight. I have another random skein of something else that would work with this pattern though, I think I'll knit a partner for this one before I ship them out.

The third project on the list, has not thrilled me as much as those first two I'm afraid. Maybe because it's something I was knitting for the second time, maybe it's just that this yarn definitely was at the bottom of the basket for a reason...

I first made the Cloverleaf Lace Mitts from Knitspot back in April 2007 for my mom out of the same yarn I used here, Misti Alpaca Sport. The yarn is a challenge, supremely soft, but very hairy and sheddy-not something that shows stitch definition at all as you can see. But I've had it FOR-EV-ER and it was haunting me. I worked Ravelry backwards and forwards trying to find a good project for one ball of this yarn. It just never happened. Sport weight just is not popular like fingering and worsted weights are. It can be a challenge. So I decided just to go ahead and make exactly what I had made before. The results are ok-soft, warm, I will wear them when the temperature drops definitely. I made one obvious mistake in that one is actually an entire pattern repeat shorter than the other, however, they're pretty stretchy and I just don't feel like ripping this hairy splitty yarn, so, yep it's staying, I can live with it. Next time though, and oh yes there will be a next time, I'll be making this great pattern with a tighter spun yarn that shows better stitch definition like it deserves.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Playtime and the NY Times

A non-knitting post today but still worth noting nonetheless. My nephew is growing like crazy, and last week I went down to Florida to see him turn 1.

In addition to eating birthday cake with our hands we spent a lot of time laughing, playing, swimming and reading stories. Ok, most of the time he kind of just sits and hugs you and smiles and walks around but his sister-let me tell you!

She is becoming such a little card! What a character! She's a big girl now and well she is just totally smart and logical and bust-a-gut hilarious. All. the. time. Every little thing gets a reaction or a statement or a funny face or pose out of her. More entertaining than tv. Seriously. The time just flew, but I'm so glad I could be there with them again. I never get to spend enough time with them especially now since they are just growing up so, so fast.

While I was gone I kind of fell behind on my internet surfing, including reading blogs. Which was a mistake because for a few days I missed out on a blog post that mentioned me. A Big One.

If you look here there's a post called Lessons from Gardeners. Yep, that's my photo. And my name as the first 2 words of the post. My husband is running around telling people I made the New York Times, and I'm right behind him saying "The New York Times Website hon! It's the website, not the paper!" But still... Michael Tortorello has been writing this blog since the spring on what it's like to have a first garden, the victories, the successes. It's really good and all too familiar to me. Reminds me of all the stuff I went through last year-the joy of an abundance of basil, the defeat of the squash vine borers attacking all of the squash. Anyway, a few weeks ago he asked people for stories about their gardens. I emailed, sent the picture, and heck-whaddaya know I guess he liked it, even my cheezy joke about the wide margin of error! Ha! Anyway, so it's not the paper, but it is the website and I do keep going back and looking at it and it's cute how my mom printed it out to show all her friends. Oh and another thing-just so you know, if you go to the link, and then click for the Home Page at the top, and then scroll down and click for the Dining & Wine Section, and then click "Bitten" for Mark Bittman's blog. Well yes, I am a mere 3 clicks away from the ever amazing and fabulous Mr. Bittman. 3 clicks. Swoon/sigh... Now that-that has you jealous now doesn't it?