11.21.2014

Pile of Denial (A Lesson in Yarn)

So, I've had a little yarn schooling this week.... it started with (a bit of) denial, a bunch of knitting, and finally a late night chat with a friend set me straight. Ready for a story?
I decided I wanted to knit a hat and headband to match the Hay Bale Mitts I designed for Craftsy's November Mystery KAL.  So, while I was traveling last weekend I got a skein of Manos Maxima for the hat and a skein of Fibre Company Terra for the headband... which had similar yards/weight and then I knit them. I knew the Terra was a little bit heavier, but the Manos is thick due to it's single ply and they seemed like a good match.
I LOVE the hat, but the headband wasn't quite right, the stitch was getting lost in the textural quality of the Terra so I solved the problem by going to Knitting Etc on Sunday to BUY MORE YARN.

I went with my girl, and she "ordered" a Hay Bale Hat for herself, so we got a skein of Dream in Color Classy. This is the yarn I used for Cruzado Cowl... love it!  It has the same yardage/weight as Maxima, so I assumed I was good to go.

Before I cast that on I knit ANOTHER headband in Swan's Island Merino (admittedly, this was more like 250 yards/100grams). I was in denial.... right? BUT, I'm obviously dense, and also really like to knit so instead of halting and looking at the fabric I kept knitting. Then without stopping to think, I wound up B's yarn, and cast on her hat. I need you to know that I did do a gauge swatch and it was pretty close... but look, it's loosely goosey and NOT at all squishy like the Maxima hat... I'm not happy with it at all!

How can this make sense? Two yarns with the same gauge, yardage and weight and they don't act the same in the design?  NOT FAIR! Last night at knit night Hickory helped me figure the dilemma out and saved me from more mistakes.

Here's the thing, the Manos Maxima is a single ply and that gives it loft that fills in the space between stitches beautifully and helps accentuate the Hay Bale stitch. The Classy and Swan's Island are 4-ply and more tightly spun and the stitch just doesn't show up.... AT.ALL! I don't typically choose single ply yarns as they don't wear as well as plied yarns, but in this case I'm breaking my own rule!

Here's an example of all 4 yarns and how they look in the stitch:
So, there are 3 solutions (all of which involve buying more yarn):
#1. Get another skein of Maxima for the headband!
#2. Get a skein of Knitted Witt Aran for Bella's hat (I want to see if an Aran weight that is smooth and plied, but knit to gauge will work... I haven't tried this combo yet.)
#3. And Hickory's idea (which is obviously brilliant):  Buy 4 more skeins of the Dream in Color Classy in Peacock Shadow and knit a sweater! Cause that yarn is nice and I already have one skein, right?
I took care of #1 and 2 last night...... I just have to knit another headband (cast on above), another hat, and do some photography and the Hay Bale Hat and Headband will be ready for your knitting pleasure! But at least you won't make the same yarn mistake(s) I did!

11.19.2014

Book Review and Giveaway: Curls By Hunter Hammersen

This fall Hunter Hammersen (a knit designer/author and long time friend) and I made a pact.  When Knockout Knits was released she would review it on her blog... and then when her new book, Curls, was announced I would do the same!  Well... it's time for me to make good, and I am SO glad I made this deal as I am adding a STUNNING new book to my collection! (and read below, you could win one for your library too!)
 

First off, there is something about Curls that is irresistible... it dives deep into one particular construction (or rather increase solution) that creates a curl. These curls can be made in any size, any weight yarn and easily translate into intricate lace patterns. The book begins with simpler stitches for the first curls and works up to more advanced stitches as the book progresses.  All in all there are 14 Curl designs to choose from.
I've had a little obsession with boomerang shaping lately, and I spent some time this afternoon discovering the difference between a curl and a boomerang.  In a curl all the increases happen on one edge (sometimes on the right side and sometimes on the right and wrong sides, depending on the design) and the other edge is worked straight.  In a boomerang shaped shawl, increases happen on both the right and wrong sides of one edge, and a decrease happens on only one side of the other edge which causes the shawl to tilt as it is knit but not have a curl to it.
Hunter's Nacarat Curl on the left, my Magmatic Boom on the right
I adore the time Hunter spends helping you understand the anatomy of a Curl and how her stitch patterns fit into them.  Every pattern has a diagram of how the construction works for that particular design and the anatomy section at the beginning of the book helps you translate this for the design you choose to knit!
And guess what?  I've got a printed copy of Curls for one winner, along with a skein of Sweet Georgia CashSilk Lace in Ginger from stash which I think would be perfect for a laceweight Curl!!!!!

Who wants a chance to own this set?  Just leave a comment letting me know which curl you are most drawn to knitting first.  You can see them all listed on Ravelry here. Don't forget to leave a way to get in touch with you.  I'll leave comments open until November 25th at noon EST and then randomly choose a winner!

11.17.2014

Crux Cowl for Me!

Ever since I knit Crux Cowl for Knockout Knits I knew I wanted to knit another for myself... this summer I was in Taos New Mexico and fell in love with a skein of Widdershin Woolworks handspun BFL/silk yarn at Mooncat Fiber. It was a worsted weight and only 130 yards, but I knew it would be perfect to show you how versatile the Crux Cowl pattern is!

Also, I knew that Crux Cowl could be confusing some people as on your needles, it does not look like it does in the photos in the book!  This is because you are working columns of 4 stitches that have a stitch in between them that is dropped creating a long horizontal float.  This dropped stitch does not unravel the stitches next to it as they are either worked through the back loop or as part of a criss-cross stich, that locks them into place. And, that stitch isn't dropped until you have worked the whole cowl... hence the confusion!
It was easy to adjust this pattern for a smaller amount of yarn.  First I weighed my ball of yarn with my handy dandy digital scale (if I was a good blogger I'd have a photo of this step), then I cast on the larger size, and worked the ribbing as written.

I then weighed my ball again and subtracted that weight from the first weight; this is the amount I needed left over to finish the ribbing at the end.  I jumped into working the 4 round pattern, checking the weight on my ball as it got smaller.  When it weighed close to the same amount as for the ribbing, I discontinued the stitch, dropped the stitches (SO FUN!) and worked the ribbing before binding off.  Easy!
And then once it was done... I convinced the girl to take some photos of me attempting to be super super serious.... thanks Miss B you can really catch the essence of your Ma!

11.12.2014

Time for a Nautical Knitting Cruise!

So, whatcha doing Dec 5th- 10th, 2015?
Want to join Melissa Leapman, Patty Lyons and myself on a little Crucero to the Western Caribbean? (that's Spanish for Cruise!)

Nautical Knitting takes place on Royal Caribbean’s beautiful Brilliance of the Seas and departs from Tampa, Florida on Dec 5th, 2015. It is bound for Key West and Cozumel... the class schedule is amazing! I'm teaching some new classes AND designing a shawl just for the event! I'm already searching for the perfect yarn for it! Or maybe I should design that bikini y'all have been asking for?


You can see boat information here and the class schedule, fees, and sign up info here. I'll let you know when there is an official site for the cruise... I'll set up a thread in my Ravelry group so we can get the party started! I have some ideas for evening events that are going to be humorous!

This is going to be SUCH A BLAST!  Who is in?