Friday, February 26, 2010

Araucania Socks

I bought this yarn in October, whilst I was in NSW on a buying, or should I say, trying, trip. I wanted to have some personal experience with lots of yarns that are available, before I bought them for the shop.
This Araucania Ranco Multy yarn (colour 306) caught my eye because of its fabulous varied hues. I am always on the lookout for fun sock yarn. I am very impressed with the dying, the transition of shades, and the evenness of the yarn. However, I will not be buying this yarn for my shop.
I bought one skein to try, and there were 11 breaks, or thin spots leading to a break, in the yarn. I know this is not considered a fault by yarn manufacturers these days, but I find this too many breaks for my personal tolerance level.
In addition, I think I have been spoilt by Patonyle. This wool is quite wearable, but definitely more harsh next to the skin than the merino I am used to.
The pattern I have used is my own plain sock pattern. It is available free at the Stitch Bliss shop with any sock yarn purchase.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Twisted Drop Stitch Vest, Knit 7

This short sleeved cardigan from Jo Sharp Knit 7 is one of the quickest garments I have ever knit, not excepting baby clothes.
It is knit with 2 strands of yarn, one 8ply Alpaca Kid Lustre and one 8ply Soho Summer Cotton, on 10mm needles. I have made the smallest size, for my daughter who wears an Australian size 8-10, and it is quite loose on her. I am thinking of making another one and trying to size down the pattern.
I used shade Province 853 in the Kid Lustre, and Fog 250 in the cotton. I used one ball less of both yarns than called for in the pattern. A few customers have knit this cardigan, and they also used at least one ball less of each yarn for the short sleeved "vest" version, but found they needed all the balls recommended for the long sleeved version.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Knit 6 Garter Stitch Jacket

In my usual out of season knitting, I have just finished this jacket from Jo Sharp Knit 6. I do have some excuse, it is my sister's birthday present, and I have finally finished it only a fortnight after her birthday! It may be a little sandy, as I knit most of it at the beach, taking advantage of some cooling breezes, and the majority of the project was not sitting in my lap whenever I could avoid it. This is a very warm yarn!

The yarn is Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed, in shade 116 Ivy. The jacket is oversized, and boxy in design, which will look very good over a turtleneck and a scarf in a Melbourne winter, but looks a little too much on me, over a summer dress. I hope you can get an idea of how the jacket looks from my photo - try to imagine it at a football game :).
The length is in between version 1 and version 2, to finish at high hip (it is a little longer on me, as I am shorter than my sister.

I have used the neck from version 2, but the two high buttons from version 1, as I my sister likes this better.
I had some trouble with the armsyce, similar to the problem I had with the Knit 5 eyelet cardigan. I found the armhole very large again. In this case, although my tension was correct for garter stitch and stocking stitch as shown in the pattern, my sleeve was considerably smaller than the armscye. I am using this as my excuse for being 2 weeks late with the present. I had to add a gusset in the armscye by picking up stitches at the base to fill it in, and this was sufficiently annoying to make other projects much more attractive to pick up and knit.
I am pleased to have made this for my sister, but am ready for some more lightweight knitting. It is still cotton and silk weather here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

More slippers

An almost successful project can either put you off completely, or fire you up to try again. With the quick knit French Press slippers, and some pretty green Heirloom Heatherwood 8ply, I was ready to try again, even though my yarn was supposedly the wrong weight for the pattern.
Fortunately for me, when I am knitting with multiple strands of yarn, on huge 10mm needles, there does not seem to be very much difference between 8ply and worsted weight yarn, particularly for something that is designed to shrink anyway.
My 8ply slippers in lovely feltable merino were a fabulous fit with no needle changes needed for tension fiddling.
I think my next pair will be in 8ply as well, and I might make the sides a little higher.

Friday, February 12, 2010

French Press Slippers Stage 1

I was infected by the French Press Slipper virus before Christmas. It was very catching just then, with presents to make, and despite having dozens of patterns in the shop I purchased this one from Melynda Bernadi. (I have given the Ravelry link for the pattern)
Unfortunately, I did not have a definitely feltable worsted (10ply/category 4/aran weight) yarn on hand. I had to experiment.
My first experiment was with the fabulously red Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed in colour Spain.
Here they are unfelted. Isn't the colour gorgeous? Using this yarn, and achieving gauge, my slippers unfelted were not as quite long as the pattern indicated, unless I stretched them a bit. I did not worry too much about this, as I was relying on the felting to fix any fitting tweaks.
Alas, silk and cashmere severely limit the feltability (is that a word?) of wool. These poor slippers spent a whole day in my mother in law's top loading washing machine (12 agitation cycles) before sort of half felting.
My daughter likes these slippers, but all that hot washing faded the vibrant red, and the slippers remained a little too big. I was glad I had not added a bit to achieve the pattern length. I really had to pull the strap across hard whilst sewing to make the slippers fit widthways. They are very soft and smooth to wear, but I don't think the Silkroad Aran Tweed was a good yarn choice for this project.
Stranded in Sydney with all the yarn shops closed for Christmas, next I tried the pattern out in 8ply pure wool. I will post about this experiment next.