Variegated Yarn

Variegated yarn is oh so pretty, but in my opinion oh so difficult to work with. It’s hard to work with because it is difficult to find a pattern that it would work for. Like I referenced earlier in the blog that highly variegated yarn is a hard medium to find the perfect canvas for. The reason it is so difficult is because you need a blank canvas so the yarn doesn’t distract from the pattern/project. Another thing that you need to think about is the fact that variegated yarn has a tendency to pool. I for one am not a fan of pooling.

The socks are a great example of pulling, but it works because it makes a spiral. The only thing I'm kind of concerned about is that I am afraid that the pattern is getting over shadowed by the pooling.

The socks are a great example of pooling, but it works because it makes a spiral. The only thing I’m kind of concerned about is that I am afraid that the pattern is getting over shadowed by the pooling, but I am moving forward with it because it is a sock so it won’t be seen as much as other projects.

For those reason I haven’t purchased a variegated yarn in about two or three years now. Now you may be wondering if I haven’t done it in that long and I have such strong reservations how is it I have finished to projects recently with variegated yarn and that is because when I purchased it I didn’t know that it was going to be variegated and so when it came to me I had to be creative and find projects that would do the yarn and the pattern justice. As you probably have seen if you read the blog posts about my Trillian and Deviate I have found a few perfect patterns for that work great with variegated yarns. Martina Behm (designer of the Trillian) has many other projects that would work for variegated yarn.

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Trillian

 

My deviate

My deviate

With all of this being said I have changed my stance on variegated yarn. No it won’t be my go to purchase, and no I won’t be going out and buying it all the time. But when I find a great variegated yarn I will probably get it, it will probably be an impulsive buy, but that is okay.

Deviate

Well I finished another shawl. Which is no surprise really because well I love shawls and I try to keep  at least one on the needles at all times. I don’t know what it is but they are just so much fun and their are so many great patterns out their.

This shawl is Deviate from Lisa Mutch/Northbound Knitting and well just as I expected it was so much fun to knit. I just adored the fact that there was a purely stockinette side and then a garter side. It was like getting the best of both worlds. On top of it all Deviate is another great shawl for a highly variegated yarn. I rarely work with variegated yarn, not because I don’t like it, but because it is, in my opinion a difficult medium to find the right canvas for (I will go into further detail in a later post).

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The yarn for this was actually dyed by Lisa/Northbound Knitting, it was a part of her cocktails KAL/SAL. The Trillian was too. This yarn just like the yarn for Trillian was amazing to work with. It is an Alpaca, Silk, Cashmere blend and it was heavenly to work with and well the colors together are to die for. Lisa has such a way with color, I am starting to get more and more of her yarn in different bases and each base is lovely in it’s own right (she also dyes fiber and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of that). So besides being a great designer she is a wonderful yarn dyer.

Okay so enough gushing, here are some more pictures.

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Pattern: Deviate

Project Page: here

Yarn: Northbound Knitting Alpaca/Silk/Cashmere

Colorway: More Gin Please

Mods: To use up more as much of this lovely yarn as possible after I completed the last section I repeated the other section until I used almost all of the yarn and then bound off.

My first Handspun

Well I have done it, I have spun up my first large quantity of handspun yarn and surprisingly I didn’t lose interest with it. I mean it is 100% undyed wool, it had nothing interesting or pretty to keep me going. What kept me going was my desire to learn, to get better, and to produce a finished item that I would be proud of.

For my first handspun I decided to leave them singles so I could get the most yardage for the amount of time put in.

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Here’s a picture of it before it’s bath. As you can see it is very kinky and in places over spun. So from reading different things I decided that I was going to shock the wool by washing it in hot, then cold, then hot and then cold water, thwacking it against the porch railings outside, and then hung them weighed them down with hangers. The end result looks a lot more like yarn.

The yarn hanging from the porch.

The yarn hanging from the porch.

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Doesn’t it look pretty! The end result is  695 yards single ply lace/fingering weight 100% cheviot yarn.

The comparison between the two is crazy. It's hard to believe that the yarn on the left turned into the yarn on the right.

The comparison between the two is crazy. It’s hard to believe that the yarn on the left turned into the yarn on the right.

Now I am now where close to being done with this yarn because I plan to dye it (I’m still unsure of what color) and then knit it up (still unsure of that too). Besides that I am contemplating getting more fiber so I can have more like 800-1000 yards to play with. 800-1000 yards has a lot more possibilities over 695 yards. So this isn’t the last that you have seen of this yarn.

In the next post I will talk about the latest yarn that I just spun up, it is colorful and pretty and I tried some new things!

DownEast

Well the never ending saga of me and the DownEast sweater finally came to a close today. It finally dried and the rain finally let up so I could take some pictures and blog about it.

As you have read or those of you who are new to the blog are lucky and haven’t had to read my endless complaining about this sweater. The complaining is now over. I think I have finally decided what ultimately is wrong with this sweater and it isn’t the pattern. It’s the yarn, I hate it. It wasn’t right for this project, as you can see in the pictures below the sweater is a little bit see-through and I have decided it is because the yarn wasn’t bulky enough.  Another strike against the yarn is the fact that I just didn’t enjoy working with it, though it is a wool blend it has acrylic in it and well I hate acrylic. I will admit that I am a yarn snob and well acrylic is not my cup of tea. I use it from time to time, but those projects are never for me and the person has generally hired me to make it so to keep it the item at a decent price I compromise and use cheap yarn.

*Disclaimer I am not saying that this yarn is horrible in anyway, I had no problems with the yarn its self. I just didn’t enjoy working with it and it was the right yarn for this project.

I think besides all of my mishaps stupid mistakes with this project ultimately not enjoying the yarn is why this project lingered on the needles so long.

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IMG_5108The pattern on the other hand is really well written and is beautiful. The sample of the pattern page is knit up on Swans Island (Out of my price range when I went to buy yarn, but is totally worth the money if you have it) and I figure that if I would have chose that yarn it would have turned out perfect and it wouldn’t even be see-through.

Pattern: DownEast

Designer: Alicia Plummer

Yarn: Berroco Vintage Chunky

Colorway: Tide Pool

Mods: none

Project page: here

Lets Spin Part 2

Well Part 1 was more about story involving the beginning of the journey. Part 2 is more about what I have learned and where my spinning is at right now.

So far most of what I have learned came from this book:

20140516-215859.jpgYou can get this book on Amazon.  It truly is a wealth of knowledge and talks a lot about the science of spinning and what to do. I feel that after reading parts of the book (NO I haven’t read it all, I have only read the parts that pertained to me in my current state) I had a better grasp of spinning, more so that when I first sat down to try. I have been told by a person who is a spindling instructor in Columbus OH  that the DVD of this book is even better than the book.

Right now I am still doing the park and draft method which is fine with me, I guess it makes me a bit slower, but it is what I am comfortable with and I’m sure I won’t have to park and draft for that much longer.

When I first posted about learning to drop spindle I was asked if there is a certain spindle that is better for beginners and the answer is no. Really drop spindling is a really personal thing, it’s best to use a spindle that feels good to you, there are tons of different spindles out there. Now I would suggest to start out with a cheap spindle. Like the ones at tinasangora’s they are very reasonably priced, but you can always try one from some one else, etsy is fully of different spindle sellers.

My spindle is a top whorl drop spindle and as I said in my last post it weights 1.25 ounces. The weight of your spindle can produce different types of yarn to, the book a posted talked about above goes into some detail about that.

Now so far with my spinning I have filled up my spindle for the first time (currently I am spinning an undyed 100% cheviot wool). I hope to spin enough yarn up from my 3 oz of fiber to make a shawl or small cardigan with and also dye it myself.

Here is my full spindle. The spun yarn on the shaft of the spindle is called the cop.

Here is my full spindle. The spun yarn on the shaft of the spindle is called the cop.

The concept of a full spindle is all relative, the best rule of thumb for spinning is if you aren’t sinning the same consistency or if you are having trouble getting the spindle to spin it is probably too full (mine was the later).

I'm planning on making singles for my first time around spinning. On that niddy noddy their is about 168 yds give or take a few inches.

I’m planning on making singles for my first time around spinning. On that niddy noddy (I made the niddy noddy) their is about 168 yds give or take a few inches.

The yarn weight is between a lace and light fingering weight.

The yarn weight is between a lace and light fingering weight.

I really am enjoying this, and for those of you who are experienced drop spindlers feel free to chime in and tell me I’m wrong or to give advice. Also I am sorry if this seemed really instructional, I had been asked different questions about drop spindles and I wanted to cover those in the blog for those people and others who have no clue about drop spindles.

Trillian

The Trillian shawl is finished, blocked, and properly photographed. This shawl from Martina Behm was and absolute joy to make, but I think what made it so much fun was the yarn from Lisa Mutch of Northbound Knitting. Lisa’s yarn is always amazing, her colors are beautiful and the yarn no matter the base is perfect. I could not recommend her yarn enough (this is all me, I was not asked to talk up her yarn in the least).

The Trillian shawl is the perfect shawl for those variegated skeins of fingering weight yarn that you just had to have, but you have no clue what to do with it. Actually a lot of Martina Behm’s designs are perfect for variegated yarn, because they allow the yarn to really show off its colors without distracting from the design. Also Martina’s designs are wonderfully well written, and for this shawl in particular she gives you a good estimate for you to start working the finishing edging so you can use up every last bit of your yarn. I know I had less than a yard left over of my yarn.

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Pattern: Trillian

Yarn: Northbound Knitting alpaca/silk/cashmere (70%, 20%, 10%)

Colorway: Wine O’Clock

Project page: here

Mods: This shawl isn’t as long as the one on the pattern page. I went until I ran out of yarn.

My will was weak

My will was weak, I started some new knitting projects and not just one, but three new projects. On the plus side I did just finish my Downeast sweater.

Yes! I finished it! It hasn’t been washed or photographed, that will all come this weekend, but I did finish it. I also did get started on working on the follow your arrow shawl again. Granted it is back on the back burner, but I plan to make myself work on it a little bit each day. That hasn’t happened since this past weekend, but I’m trying and that is what matters right?

Now on to the new projects and I will go ahead and apologize in advance for the poor quality of pictures, they are from my phone (that’s how most of my WIP’s are photographed). First up is the Nachfalter:

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I started this yesterday and I have been zooming through the baby cables, I am over halfway finished with that section. I started this for the Top Tanks and Tees KAL (TTTKAL), I am also double dipping this with the stockinette zombies summer tops KAL. If you want to join the TTTKAL you can sign up here and if you want to join the stockinette zombies go here (the stockinette zombies is run through their ravelry group so you will need to join their group to participate). TTTKAL runs until the end of May, but the stockinette zombies runs until the end of June.

Now onto Deviate:

20140508-130902.jpgI cast on this one as a part of the Northbound Knits and Cocktail SKAL. My trillian is also a part of this SKAL (spin and knit along). This is a special SKAL because it is exclusive to those who bought the yarn or fiber dyed up by Lisa Mutch aka Northbound Knitting. The colorways were inspired by cocktails. This one end June 1st.

Now onto my Earlybird socks:

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This is a part of the Socks with Sarah KAL and is also a part of Socks with Sarah May challenge. To join in to this one you need to join Sarah’s ravelry group and then you can join the KAL. This project has been a lot of fun so far. I also just want to say that the yarn was dyed up by my friend Alicia who sometimes reads the blog (this was one of her experiments, she just dyes yarn for fun).

Later this week I will post about how my spinning is going, I know some of you were interested.