Friday, July 29, 2016

Still knitting

But for some reason not blogging, but today - an update. There has been progress on many knitted things, a secret swap shawl (gifted already), a cardigan (done but not photographed on the body), and a sweater remade (again worn but no photo evidence). These things I will endevor to photograph and post sometime soon. But in the spirit of keeping it current - today it is about the 'on the needles' stuff.

This is my Fifty-Me cowl, knit in an indulgent cashmere-camel-silk-and baby alpaca blend. (Road to China silken Jewels). I know merino is soft, and silk is soft but this is S O F T - so soft it takes my breath away every time I squish it. The project feels like a total indulgence, comparatively to other things I've knit the yarn is not cheap, but I turned 50 earlier this month and it is my present to myself. Pattern modifications are few - a tubular cast on and faced hem, turmeric colour way to replace the lime shock in the original. Pattern is the three color cashmere cowl by Joji Locatelli. I've seen a few in real life - and recently one was gifted at the local mid-winter swap, which just tipped the scales and inspired me to do one myself.

The other current project makes use of rainbow or EQ Kauni, some how I acquired two 160gram balls (in separate shopping incidents) of this with no clue of what to use it for. My only thought at the time was ohhh what wonderful colours. Anyway - the balls are too tall to fit into my yarn storage drawers easily and the ball bands were getting ripped and torn. The simple solution was to find a way to use them and prevent further storage issues.

The answer was Mon Petit gilet rayƩ by Isabelle Milleret. Only issue was the Original gauge is 22stiches in 4", my gauge is 23, and I didn't want to go looser or more open, so I've adjusted the stitch count and plunged in. I used a simple adjustment, divided the pattern stitch counts by 22(original gauge) and added the result to the stitch count - effectively adding the right amount of extra stitches to accommodate a 23 stitch gauge. My swatch was generous - and slightly worrying was all Orange stripes on my dark green background. Two colours I wouldn't have picked - but I trusted the yarn and by one third of the way down the yoke the colour run shifted to deep blood red, then into purple, then blue, then lilac. Like most colour work it is slightly addictive seeing the pattern emerge - I've now split the yoke into sleeves and body and had to decide what I was going to do with the colour shifts across the body and sleeves. Some knitters work the body and then knit the sleeves letting the colours fall where they fall - other manipulate the colour shifts so the sleeves match the body. You can see some of the 800 variations posted on here. I took inspiration from Marikorose's variation posted on Ravelry, she had a photo showing the mini-balls she split off to keep the sleeve stripes consistent with the body.

I calculated the that I needed enough yarn to knit 140 stiches for each sleeve stripe - to make the sleeves match I need enough for two sleeve stripes. I marked out 140 stiches, and put a slip knot in my working yarn at a distance of 1m from the needles, and knit, when that meter was used, I marked a second meter, and then a third. I calculated I needed 2.25m of yarn to work one sleeve stripe of two rounds and weave in ends. Double that for both sleeves and I need to set aside 4.5 meters of yarn for each body stripe. I measured of 4.25m of lime green yarn, my measure-stick, and I've cut the working yarn and set aside my first sleeve stripe. This method means many ends to weave in - I plan to weave in as a knit where possible - but will keep the sleeves and body matching. Many of the variations finish the stripes at the waist or elbow - and I am leaning that way. I suspect it will get messy when I get to the sleeves - and there are questions around two at a time or one first then the other - but I have a body to work first.

Kauni is not a soft yarn but the colour shifts are amazing - the dark green solid Kauni I've used as the background felt like a brave choice - but I want to step away from the predictable gray and cream. I have played safe and bought enough off white plain Kauni to knit a second one in - remember I have two balls of 160g of the EQ rainbow. Pattern modifications other than gauge were tubular neck edge to replace ribbing, I just like the polished look.

It's getting dark now, and evening food needs thinking about if not cooking, curtains need drawing and both knitting projects call me.

Na Stella