Monday, March 29, 2010

International model

Personally, I feel that Sirdar Baby Bamboo is the perfect weight for Queensland knitting. However, I should not be Australiacentric about this yarn, Sharon has been knitting delightful jumpers and cardigans for her gorgeous grandson Tiaga, who lives in Japan, and fortunately for me, Tiaga's mum says he is allowed to model these on the blog.


Here is Tiaga in a nice manly cable cardigan from a now out of print pattern book that Sharon happened to have in her stash, in the colourway Tom Thumb. Apparently it keeps him beautifully warm, even in wintery Japan.
Maybe we will have some spring in Japan photos later (Sharon has been eyeing off all the new colours). Doesn't Tiaga do a great modeling job? I think he needs a spring jacket, not that I am enabling you or anything Sharon. :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A-line cardigan, Jo Sharp Knit 4

After my long post about working with Lumina, I thought I should leave the actual garment for another post.
I am very pleased with the finished garment.It is a beautiful colour, and a perfect weight for this time of year in Queensland.
SAM_0267This is the shorter version,# 1 from Knit 4, with the closure from version 2, albeit with 5 loops on each side instead of 3.
I did change the construction slightly. I made the main body of the cardigan in the round, to reduce seaming, and when I did seam, I used only the cotton strands, splitting these out from the yarn.
The pattern called for separate, short crochet chain loops. It seemed to me, that these short loops would increase the sewing required, and also increase the risk of the rayon strand in the yarn unravelling.
SAM_0303 Instead I made one long chain for each side of the front, and couched the chain to the inner edge in between the loops.

Unfortunately, although I made this cardigan for myself, the A-line shape is not really flattering on me. I should have altered the shaping to be more fitted at the waist.
My daughter is quite pleased with my mistake, I don't think I am getting this cardigan back.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Working with Lumina

I like to work with a variety of yarns. I am always interested to try different blends and fabulous new colours. I notice from reading knitting blogs and Ravelry that this is not a universal affection. Some people are very disparaging about any yarn that does not behave like wool. I don't think this is a reasonable requirement unless you are prepared to only work with wool.
Off my soap box now, but this common disparagement is why I am writing this post about Jo Sharp Lumina.
Lumina is an eyecatching, beautiful yarn, and it does not behave like wool. It requires some care to knit, but is truly lovely and unique. It has a strand of a tube knit structure, that appears to be mostly viscose twisted with two strands that appear to be cotton. The yarn is liberally threaded with gold coloured sequins. This beats threading hundreds or thousands of beads onto the yarn for a beaded effect IMO! The composition of the yarn is 62%viscose, 36%cotton and 2%polyester.

The twist of Lumina is quite loose. This means that a sharp, hard needle is likely to encourage the yarn to split. I would not choose metal needles for this yarn. I used bamboo needles with a slightly rounded tip, but casien or wooden needles would also work nicely.
The sequins in the yarn are not hindering to the knitting, as they are small and soft. I do not find them at all scratchy to wear when they end up on the inside of the garment.
The only extra care I needed to take with the knitting of my first garment from Lumina was to deal carefully with the viscose strand when joining a new ball. I found that the knit tube tended to unravel. I tied off the rayon strand with a reef knot whenever finishing or starting a new section of yarn, and the unravelling was tamed.
I did not stitch up the garment with the full yarn. Initially, I simply removed the sequins from the yarn by snipping open each sequin, as sewing with sequins would be just asking for catching and pulling. Despite this preparation, I had to remove some stitching, as knotting the rayon strand for sewing proved insufficient to stop the unravelling. Instead I fully untwisted the yarn, and sewed up the garment with the cotton strands, which was quick and effective.
The garment I knit was the A-line short sleeved cardigan from Knit 4. Photographs of the finished garment will be displayed soon.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Fatal Attraction of Sock Yarn, and some sock blockers

I tried (albeit in a half-hearted sort of way) to wait a little while before starting some socks from the Sante Fe , but when the sock blockers from a local craftsman arrived as well, I was gone. I felt it was my duty to try out the new things :). Its a hard job, but someone has to do it.
See how nicely the Monkey sock by Cookie A (free pattern from Knitty magazine) looks in the deliciously vibrant Tango Reds. I altered the rib band (operator error, um individual design feature) and used my usual reinforced heel, because I think I will wear these a lot.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sante Fe Sock Yarn

I have just recieved a delicious yarn parcel. My favorite sort of yarn - sock yarn!
This one is lusciously soft and you can see the beautiful kettle dyed colours. I only have 3 projects on the go, surely I could squeeze in a pair of socks?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Noro Kureyon stripey scarf

Before Sharon went to Japan last year I had been admiring Noro items on Ravelry for a while, but also reading the love/hate posts about these yarns. Sharon kindly found me some Kureyon whilst she was in Japan, so I had some of my own to try out. I mixed it up with my using up remnant phase to make a scarf.
I love/hate Noro too.
noro scarf
I love the colours in this scarf. This is made from 2 balls of Kureyon, 48 stitches in double rib, alternating 2 rows with the left over Heirloom Heatherwood (green) and Jo Sharp Classic DK Wool(aubergine)from 2 sets of French Press Slippers.
Unfortunately I really dislike the texture of the Kureyon. It is very harsh. I think it would be unwearable with out the softening effect of the lovely soft Heatherwood and Jo Sharp DK. There were 2 knots in 2 x 50g balls of the Kureyon, and a lot of foreign matter - leafy bits, twiggy bits in the yarn.
However, I still really like the scarf. I am not sure whether or not I want to stock this yarn. I am putting the scarf on display in the shop, and will see what people have to say about it. I will block the end first to get rid of that casting off ripple.
I have 2 balls of Kureyon in a different colourway left. I think another scarf might be in the pipeline, but now I need some more remnants!

Monday, March 8, 2010

What do you do with your remnants?

I don't like to throw out yarn. This means that, like most knitters, I have lots of small amounts piling up in my knitting stash. Every so often, I have the urge to use them up.
Some of my favourite things to make from remnants are children's clothes. These child's socks are made from Jigsaw Heirloom 66 and Patonyle sock yarn 1003 remnants from larger socks. The pattern is my own.
These socks fit youth size 1-3 (Australian) and will be worn out sliding down the hall. This is a much better use of the yarn than sitting in my knitting chest.
What are your favourite remnant projects?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Alpaca Kid Lustre Scarf

I wanted a simple project that I could knit whilst a passenger in the car, and vaguely remembered seeing a ripply scarf that looked like a wide vertical rib pattern.
I started with 30 stitches cable cast on, using 4mm needles for this 8ply yarn, then alternated strips of stocking stitch and reverse stocking stitch (5 rows each) for a corrugated effect. Essentially you knit a row, purl a row, then for every 6th row, repeat the previous row.
This scarf took 3 and 1/2 x 50g balls of Alpaca Kid Lustre in Province, 853.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Crochet Blanket

Last year, a lovely family from South Australia visited the shop. Leesa was buying her birthday present, supplies to work on her new crochet hobby whilst on holiday.
She picked out a gorgeous combination of yarns - Artesenal, baby bamboo, and glaciar del cielo.
Leesa has kindly sent me a photograph of her gorgeous crochet blanket. I am always thrilled to see how projects turn out, particularly when I am able to work with someone to find alternative yarns for a pattern (also known as playing with yarn, which is just about my favourite thing). I love how the colours and different patterned squares work together in Leesa's blanket.

I am sure this will be wonderful to snuggle under as the weather gets colder.