Wednesday, January 04, 2006

How To Grow a Stash

I just started knitting a few months ago (I blame Krista). Unfortunately, this was just in time for the holiday rush. As I love to make people happy, I spent far too many hours that would have been better spent on my thesis on making this or that snuggly gift. (At least my two 100% hand-dyed silk scarves were appreciated.) After the holidays, it occured to me that I hadn't ever made anything for myself. I set out to rectify this. First step? Yarn shopping!

Mission: socks. It's cold in Pittsburgh. I have tiny feet. This means that I'm either trying to stuff a women's size sock into my overflowing shoes, or searching for XL children's socks that look good with trousers. Socks are good projects for seminars, anyway, when I can knit away on a project that doesn't require thought (or looking down). I have a Lorna's Laces sock done that's a perfect fit. Unfortunately, it's so perfect I can't get it over my heel. I'll try again soon with this Regia (imported from Toronto!) and the Artmerino DK for toasty warm socks.

This Mermaid kit was a very thoughtful gift from my fiance. Yes, there was hinting involved. I'm using colourway 1, which should look great with jeans. I've put this sweater on hold, though, because it's cold in Pittsburgh. I need sweaters that are supposed to fit under a coat, not be the coat.

Enter my bastardization of the Noro Knits Carraway pattern. Frankly, I haven't been impressed with the feel of Noro yarns in the store, so I'm trying to take the look of a deep-ribbing-to-waist sweater with this cuddly varigated blue yarn. Instead of going from a solid to a varigated yarn in the ribbing and stockinette, I'm using two coordinating yarns in different textures. Many thanks to Hollis from Full Thread Ahead for help on this one, including some promised help coming up with a pattern. I'm not sure how this will turn out, but I'm sure it'll be much more comfortable than doing it with Noro*.

I have several friends who tell me repeatedly that I need to wear more colour. Apparently they don't think that black counts. Apparently, I'll do just about anything if people annoy me about it enough. In any case, I'm knitting something brighter. Just like the bastardized Noro above, I'm using a Noro Knits pattern (York) with a non-Noro yarn. This time, though, I'm using a drop-in replacement -- Karaoke soy-silk/wool blend. The manufacturer must be a canny sort: (1) identical yardage/gauge; (2) dyed in cool colours like the Noro, though not quite as nice (more on this later); (3) soft; (4) $2/skein cheaper than Silk Garden. After groping some lovely Silk Garden #8, I just couldn't bring myself to wear it in any configuration that touched my neck. Seriously, I think I'd grow a nice red neck after a few minutes of that stuff. I went back and stroked the Karaoke at Full Thread Ahead, and noticed that they had a bunch of colours which aren't on any web store I've seen. The one I've got is called "New Blue", and seems to be moving closer to the Noro-type irregular stripes, but I can't tell until I've swatched. Regarding the pattern, Knit One, my PA local yarn store, was incredibly nice. I called them up, they put aside a copy of the book for me to buy when I'm in next, and even told me the number of stiches to cast on so that I could start in my Copious Free Time. Scarily, but conveniently, they also recognized my voice over the phone. I think I may have made slightly too many holiday presents in the last few months.

This addition to my new stash was a surprise. My future mother-in-law (FMIL) saw this lovely hand-dyed boucle silk/kid mohair laceweight at a farmer's market she goes to. Apparently there are a lot of local craftspeople on Prince Edward Island, where she lives. Given that tourists are their most abundant natural resource, as far as I can tell, this probably isn't surprising. In any case, this yarn is both beautiful and soft; this was an incredibly thoughtful present! I already have an idea as to what I'm going to do with it, but suggestions are more than welcome.

* If Noro yarns get suddenly less scratchy once one washes them, I'd appreciate it if someone would let me know. Right now I can't see wearing them, because I don't really want to touch them!


  1. Leslie10:38 PM

    You should make krista knit me cool socks with the neat pink yarn.

  2. leslie: you could have a go at it, but it would make terrible socks. I can't really see using something with that high of a silk content in socks, because it just isn't stretchy at all. Anyway, it would wear out in approximately 20 seconds. I bet Artmerino or Regia or Lorna's Laces or Koigu has a cool varigated pink colourway that you'd like. Bug her for that. ;)

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