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Posts Tagged ‘Yarn’

Right now?  Right now I am sitting at my laptop typing a blog post… ;P

But what I want to tell you about is what I have been doing while you have not been seeing much of me here.  For Christmas, my mother-in-law took me to a lovely local yarn store in Clinton, TN.  It is called The Clinch River Yarn Company.  It was a little tricky to find, as it looks at first glance just like any other house along North Charles G. Seivers Blvd., but upon closer inspection, and  paying more attention while driving buy, you can’t miss the big sign in the front yard.  And there was even a rock with a knitted coat…  😀  My apologies, I didn’t bring my camera, so I don’t have any pictures.  The store itself was full of yarn.  I think there were 4 or 5 rooms, with walls full of yarn.  And yarn was also in the middle of the rooms.  And yet it was wonderfully spacious, and very easy to navigate.  I was walking around with a 2 year old attached to me, and never felt very crowded.  The owner was also wonderful, available to help, but in no way pushy.  And when I thought that I had seen all, there was yet another room I had not been in.  It is deceptively big inside!  I ended up with some gorgeous locally dyed sock yarn.  It was dyed by Atomic City Fibers.  It is a nice, even, well plied sock yarn, with a great dye job.  There was quite some variety in terms of saturation among the different colors, but they all were beautiful.  There were 2 skeins per color on display, but 4 available, and the skeins of the same color (as far as I could tell) matched in dye-job.  I ended up with this green, it is actually called Green Salts:

IMG_6209

The put up is 50 grams, or 1 3/4 oz and 218 yards.  It is 75% fine superwash merino, 25% nylon, and so wonderfully soft!  Have I started using it yet?  Well, yes!  I actually ran out to Walmart, a place I don’t go to very easily, because I just don’t like it, and tried to get some needles.   I had fully intended on leaving the yarn alone until I got home, where I have plenty of needles, but I just could not get my mind off of it.  And at the yarn store, I had seen a gorgeous little top that I was planning to make with this yarn, for my oldest daughter.  I managed to find some US 3 needles, DPN’s, not circs (which is what I was looking for), and got started:

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I am a little further now, I have used 2 skeins so far, and they work beautifully together.

The pattern is called Clara by Amber Bertram.  It starts with a stockinette bodice on top, and continues with a wonderfully lacy lower half.  This is not a very good picture, I promise I will make a better one next time.  The pattern has quite a few different options so you can customize all you want.  Shaped neckline, square neckline, solid or lattice shoulder straps, a fitted or more roomy lower part, 3 different hem options, it is all possible.  And the sizes are from 3 month all the way to 10 years!  There was a tiny mistake in the chart for the lace hem, but the written version for it is correct.  I did write the designer on Ravelry, but have not heard anything from her.  The pattern in general is very well written, and I think I am likely to make it again in a different size some time.  My daughter can’t wait for me to get it finished.

 

 

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I told you I would tell you if there were any more knots, and well, look for your self.

And 2 more in the skein:

There were precisely four more knots after my last post about them, for a total of 9 knots in a 300 yard skein.

I have now finished the skein, and started a new one, which so far seems to be more promising. And I am up to round number 76. Around knot number 7, I realized the one good thing I could create out of this skein was a picture series showing how I attach a new skein without any knots. I think I may have mentioned it before, I think attaching a new yarn by knotting it to the last one is a rather poor choice. Yet a lot of newer knitters seem to be taught exactly this technique.

I think using a knot for attaching is a bad habit for a couple of reasons:
1. It is very difficult to create a knot that will not loosen and/or come completely undone, creating a hole.
2. It is almost equally difficult to put the knot somewhere where it won’t pop to the right side of the work. And if your reasoning is that you can put the knot at the end/beginning of the row, I would refer to my current project, which is knit in the round. No beginning or end to put a knot.
3. It is actually easier to attach a yarn without a knot, rather then with a knot.

Let me show you. What I do to attach a new skein or ball, or to repair a place where the yarn in the ball was knotted, as was the case here, is to double the yarn for a number of stitches. I have never seen this come apart. I would do about 4-5 stitches on something done in garter or stockinette, but when I do something like lace, I will double as many as 7-10 stitches. This is because lace will be stretched after you are done, and the yarn will shift some. I leave little tails of about an inch, at least until after I block the item, but at that point I either just cut them off, or weave them in with a sewing needle, depending on my patience. 😀

Alright, here we go:
First, I line up the 2 yarn ends (the one coming from my needle, and the new one coming from the ball/skein) as follows:

I leave about an inch on each side, but then just start knitting with a double thread:

Here you can see the double stitches on my needles:

The next round/row you need to be a little careful and make sure you knit the 2 strands at the same time, but once you have done that, you really don’t see where you attached the new yarn.

The place where the yarn is attached is between the arrows.

As I said, I have never had this come undone, and I have been doing it for 29 years. You won’t have knots popping through to the visible side of your knitting, and it is no harder then just continuing to knit, just with 2 threads for a few stitches. If you don’t attach a new skein or ball this way, why don’t you give it a try, the next time you need to attach one. It works for any yarn, but the smoother or more slippery the yarn, the more stitches I would double up. The only time this is not a good method is when you change colors. Then it would be better to use something like the Russian join.

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Enough is enough

I consider myself a pretty reasonable person. I don’t mind a knot in a skein of yarn once in a while. After all, the mill making the skein/ball of yarn winds the yarn from a much bigger quantity, and will occasionally run out, usually not at the same time as the time that the ball is finished. I would rather have them tie a new one on, if that is the only method they can come up with for re-attachment, then have only half a skein. But then I started a new ball of Universal Yarn “Star Light” earlier last week.

Now, I know that my rounds are not short, as this is the yarn that I use for my Oregon Shawl. This means that there is just shy of 900 or so stitches on my needle. But I have had to re-attach this ball of yarn now for the 5th time. Just so we are clear, this is because I have run into 5 knots, within 3 rounds… It is like they emptied the bin of cone ends into this one ball. To be completely fair, this is the 3rd ball of this yarn I am knitting, and I don’t recall any knots, or maybe just one, in the previous 2 balls. And no, I am not taking this ball back, because I am finishing Oregon for a dear friend, and she gave me the yarn she was using. I just really hope that this is going to be the last time I have had to attach this yarn. If you would like to know the rest of my opinion on this yarn, I invite you to look at my post about it in early May. I just read it over again, and was actually surprised to realize my opinion of it has not changed significantly, provided I won’t find a lot more knots… 😉 If I do, you can be sure I will let you know.

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Last week was my birthday, and my husband and children surprised me with a wonderful gift:

I had mentioned at some point that one of the reasons I was not designing as much was that I could not play with yarns, see how they behaved with lace or cable patterns, feel what they feel like on which needles, etc. They decided to remedy that quite successfully. 😀
And a little progress was made on Oregon, I almost finished the second repeat of the side, and this was the end of the first skein I have used. As you might remember, I started this after the center was finished, but aside from picking up the stitches, I think the skein had just been recently started. I was quite surprised at how much could be knitted with just one skein. We are talking 700 or so stitches a round!

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It’s only a swatch…

I apologize for not blogging for so long. I have a good reason that I hinted at earlier, and he’s beautiful (in my oh so biased opinion!): IMG_0437_55 He was born in the last part of March, and is almost 2 months old already! Time just flies! This picture was within hours of being born though.

I have slowly been getting back to knitting since he was born, and have this past Tuesday even gone shopping at The Sassy Spinster. Came home with my birthday present from my parents, the Knitkit:
KnitKitI LOVE it!
And I was introduced by a dear friend to a yarn called Auracania. Auracania I am not impressed with their website, as I could not even find the yarn I got, so I am including a link to another website where you can actually see the yarn. It is called Ranco and the colors are according to the tag 310, though it looks much more like 313. Just scroll down to see the colors, if you mouse over them, or click on them they will show up on the main picture on top. My 310 does not have much yellow that I can see. It is the most gorgeous combination of purple and blue, as you can see in the picture above. The second is color 312, though again, mine is much darker, almost reddish, just like the picture above. 😀 My friend gave me the blue/purple one. Isn’t she wonderful!
I also found this yarn called Harmony by Jojoland. Harmony I have to admit, I don’t think I had really ever looked at it. It is incredibly thin, I mean 880 yards per 50 grams is basically cobweb!
This yarn however, is the reason for the name of this post. I am going to be knitting the Flit and Float scarf. Me being me, I had to change something, and in this case I am changing the yarn, I think… The pattern calls for a yarn that is basically twice as thick as the Harmony. The designer Birdy suggested I swatch the first 17 rows on Chart B, to see how I like the yarn for the pattern. Doesn’t sound that hard, don’t you think? Well, the problems start immediately. I can’t count, and only cast on 46, not 48 stitches. It is only a swatch, so I will just modify what I am knitting, so I don’t have to restart. Then I had to put it away, and the next day started row 3, which doesn’t seem to line up too well, but it is only a swatch. Then on row 4, I can’t figure out exactly what happened at the end of my row, but my stitches are all wonky, and are all out of wack. Oh well, I will just fudge that, seeing as how this is only a swatch. Then I discover that even though I knit rows 1 and 2 from chart B, I knit rows 3 and 4 from chart C. Don’t ask how I didn’t notice I had the wrong chart, I blame it on sleep deprivation! But that was the last straw. Even though it was only a swatch, and I hate swatches and will fudge just about anything to not have to make more of them then absolutely necessary, and I actually think that the needle choice will be fine, I RIPPED the whole thing out and started over. I had decided that if it was still not going to work, I would just give up on the Harmony for the scarf, and use Zephyr instead. But it seems to be behaving at the moment. I am on row 11, and hope to finish the swatch by tomorrow. Nope, not going to show you a picture yet, you will just have to come back later. 😉

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The Sassy Spinster

My goodness, time goes so fast. I was fully intending on writing just a few days later. But things have been going on, and all of a sudden it is 2 weeks later. Nope, no baby yet, for those of you who actually keep up with this blog… I have no real idea how many of you there are, as not many people leave me comments. I know there are some visits, more then I expected. Please know that I would love to receive comments on what you liked or didn’t like about my blog, projects, etc.

But now in regards to The Sassy Spinster, a yarn shop in Lancaster, TX. The store just opened last year, in a small little hole in the wall off of the Historic Town Square in Lancaster. I met Susan, the owner, at that time, thanks to one of the ladies on one of the e-mail lists I belong to. The store had an amazing amount of stuff in it, yarn of all kinds, but also a lot of roving, spinning tools, weaving tools, knitting accessories, you name it. And despite being new, she kept adding new and wonderful items.

Then around the end of last year, my friend told me that the Sassy Spinster was going to be moving to a new location, a much bigger store. I had been very curious, but was also in the midst of moving, and did not manage to make it up to Lancaster until last month. And WOW. (And I have only one regret about that visit, but more about that later.) Did that store change! And only for the better. The store is, I believe, 3-4 times as big, maybe even more then that, still filled with all the fiber goodies you can think off, but now you can see all of them. It now has a wonderful couch area for people to sit and knit, several spinning wheels and looms set up, a round table where you can sit and knit, and so much more. In the back was also a section of gorgeous dolls, I have to apologize, I don’t remember their name. There are several toys that my 2 year old could play with while I could shop to my hearts contend! None of the yarn seems extremely pricey to me, and oh so yummy!

I was looking for some purple bulky weight to match the Dune I used in the scarf I was working on last time. I found some Baby Alpaca Brush in color 1805, a wonderful dark purple. I think it matches the scarf beautifully, and I will probably try to make at least a matching hat and maybe fingerless mittens with it. But that will have to wait until next winter I think. I first considered making the scarf longer, but I decided I did not like the heavily multi colored Dune right next to the Purple. But my, is this yarn soft!

I was also looking for some cotton to make a nice soft sweater for my new baby, and found Cotton Kisses, which I am working on. I don’t care for the yarn much, but the end product is lovely, and soft. Just what I wanted. I am changing the pattern a little, I am going to try to put in short sleeves, so my baby can wear it a bit longer in the Texas spring.

There was also some wonderful roving, but I had pretty much spend as much as I could, trying to stay on somewhat of a budget with the new baby coming and all. But I hope she will still have that roving the next time I come in, because then it is definitely coming home with me!

My only regret was that I did not bring my camera. I have no pictures to show you! I will try to remedy that the next time I go! For now, I am going to knit on my baby sweater, I am hoping it will get finished before the baby arrives, and that could be any day now. 🙂

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