Category Archives: yarn review

Yummy Socks

It’s a hand-painted sock-knitter’s world out there, and I’m just living in it. Or so it seems, a lot of the time. And while I have my own little stash of hand-painted and hand-dyed sock yarns, it makes it that much more of a relief to be reminded that a person can actually knit quite a decent pair of socks for less than $20.

This new finished pair speaks the truth – a lovely comfy and sturdy pair from Fibra natura Yummy in what I believe is the Raspberry Mocha colourway (in a basic 3×1 ribbing which has become my fall-back sock pattern lately). This is a pot-dyed yarn with the swooshy-mottled colour consistency reminiscent of hand-painted yarns, but with a tight twist and sturdy texture more like Patons Kroy Socks. For me, this is a good thing. I’m telling you, once you feel the twist on this stuff…I’ll just say I’ll be surprised if this doesn’t wear extremely well.

Photobucket

I have another skein of this in the Sangria (both courtesy of the Purple Purl…someone should really go back there and buy all the Grapesicle purple skeins before I succumb even more), and I’m happy to knit another. As long as they keep on expanding the colour line I don’t see why this yarn shouldn’t be a popular seller. Lisa is using hers in a pair of gloves and is already planning a second pair, which tells me the attraction can’t just be a figment of my imagination.

And now…I need a new pair of socks to cast on. Decisions, decisions!

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Filed under finished object: socks, yarn review

Almost After Dark

AfterDark-blocking

The nightie is blocking. Once it’s dry I’ll be able to weave in a few ends and go on the hunt for some bra straps, and still be able to wear this baby while the summer’s still on. it’s close enough for me to call it done. I would very much like to knit the robe as well, although I don’t think i will do it exactly as it appears in the book – seed stitch is not my first choice for trim. I’ll ponder that for a wee bit.

Pattern: After Dark Nightie by Allison Will Green, in Mason-Dixon Knitting.
Size: 37″ (third size)
Yarn: Elann Camila, 6 skeins
Cast on: July 2, 2007
Cast off: July 26, 2007
Note: I strongly recommend reading Julia’s pattern notes from her experience over at Mind of Winter. They are comprehensive and very helpful.

First, let me talk about the yarn – Elann Camila. I was very pleased with it, and would not hesitate to knit with it again. Obviously I haven’t worn the whole finished garment yet, so I can’t say for certain how it will hold up over time, but based on my experience knitting with it I was quite happy. In fact, I think it would make a great yarn substitute for the Cables and Os cardigan from No Sheep For You, and it is only through sheer force of willpower that I haven’t rushed over and bought more for exactly that purpose. The Queensland Cotolino that the pattern calls for is very, very close to the Elann Camila, and in fact at knit night a few weeks ago Elizabeth was knitting the Cables and Os with the Queensland, and I had my nightie, and we compared the yarns and they were so close it was nearly perfect. The only thing I wish is that the Elann Camila came in more colours – the ones on offer are a pretty pale palette.

Camila feels exactly how you would expect a 50-50 cotton/linen yarn to feel. A little bit soft, and a little bit crisp, and smooth to the touch. There was a faint “grassy” smell to it as i worked with it, and the occasional bit of flotsam, but not to the same extent as, say, Noro Silk Garden. I wasn’t bothered by that.

Next, the pattern. It is a beautiful pattern. I love me some stockinette panels, and the lace trip at bottom and top is enough to take the level of challenge up a notch and give me practice at lace patterns. It is meant to be worked flat in two pieces, however I modified this for in-the-round knitting because I didn’t want to be sleeping on long side seams, and stockinette on circulars is My Favourite Kind Of Knitting.

There is, however, some room for improvement, most notably for the fact that there is no pattern schematic accompanying the pattern. This is not a small detail to miss, particularly since I think the pattern is sized for a fairly petite woman. I’m 5’9″, so I’m used to adding an inch or two in length. However, the added challenge with this pattern is that there is no guideline for where the, ahm, ::ahem:: nipple line is supposed to fall. Is the lace trim at the top supposed to keep you fully covered or sit directly across the bust line? These are details I would have appreciated, because it would have helped me to know how much length to add in the stockinette section of the torso, to accommodate my own size and preferences.

Adding length in the skirt section is easily enough done – but sadly I didn’t add length there and now I wish I had done, because it would cover me just a little bit more. I think I may go back and seam up the edges of the lace panels on the skirt, it would give the whole thing a bit more sturdy feel.

So there you have it, folks, an almost-finished-object. I will be happy to move on to other things and look forward to wearing this to bed. Will you get a shot of me wearing it? Ahm, no. ;) That will remain between me and my duvet cover. (Literally! Yuk yuk yuk. I kill me.)

On with the day…

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Filed under finished object, mason-dixon, summer knitting, yarn review

Thesis before Knitting

I’m on to the 2nd of my kilt hose stockings, but I’m going to try to hold myself off from taking a photo until I’m finished both of them – I guess this is my way of trying to stave off Second Sock Syndrome ;)

But, I realized I never showed a Finished Object photo of something else I finished a little while ago:

EndpaperMittsFO

I think I’ll wear these for the Yarn Harlot event on Friday, since most of my knits are just too warm for the weather we’ll get this week!

As I’ve been knitting the kilt hose with the Apple Laine sock yarn, I’ve developed some concerns about the yarn. Like Kelly, I encountered a skein with a significant # of joins in it – i.e. more than 3, which is enough to make me sit up and notice. However, my other concern is the consistency of colouration in the dye:

AppleLaine-stripes

I don’t know if you can see it well enough in this photo, but the effect is as though someone has come along with a dark magic marker and drawn short lines across the sock. This has happened in both of the 2 skeins I have worked with so far. And because it’s the sort of thing that is more noticeable in the knitted fabric than in the yarn itself, I didn’t notice it fully until after I’d reached the foot and was on the home stretch of the stockinette.

When I did contact the Apple Laine people about my concerns, they said I could send them my original invoice and the offending skeins for a refund – and I would expect this kind of response and certainly appreciate it. But since that would involve ripping up an entire kilt hose stocking, I’m not sure that would ease my heartbreak at all. I’m debating whether or not to do this, but I’m leaning towards not – ripping up an entire stocking at this point would only lead to more anguish. And then I would either a) have no yarn at all, or b) have more yarn that might still be suspect.

[EDIT]: There’s an update on this; They have offered to send me some replacement skeins once new ones have been dyed. I think this is very generous and I will be happy to see how they knit up.

Moral of the story – I cannot fully recommend this yarn (at least in the solids – I don’t imagine these dyeing issues would happen in the multicoloured variants), and I don’t think I will be buying any more, which is a shame because the colours are nice and the yarn itself feels lovely and soft. It behaves more like a light sport weight which is why I chose to use it here in the stockings. I’ll knit up the stuff I’ve got and leave it at that. If you’ve got some of this yarn at home, I really recommend giving it a careful look while it’s in the unwound hank, before using it. Check for joins, check for discolouration BEFORE you knit it up, and get a refund if you think it is warranted.

That’s all for today…Must work on Thesis before knitting, must work on Thesis before knitting…

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Filed under finished object: accessories, yarn review

Other People’s Stuff

Yesterday, I finally gifted my supervisor with her Ribbi Cardi – she loved it and was totally flattered. But hey, I figure a PhD supervisor who signs on for 4+ years deserves something a little more than a wee scarf or hat, right? She did warn me though, that when the rest of my committee sees it, they will start wanting sweaters, too. Hm.

Ribby Cardi


(Finished Ribby Cardi, KnitPicks Swish Superwash in Bordeaux (arms) and Wisteria (body), 4.5mm needles)

As you can see, I made a buttonband instead of using the zipper – given the Swish shrinkage issues, I didn’t want to risk Horrible Bad Shrinkage combined with Zipper Installation Which Could Potentially Go Screwy. And it worked. Buttons matched perfectly. My supervisor kept saying how soft the yarn felt and asked if it was cotton, and I said, “Nope, it’s wool! And you can even put it in the washing machine!” and she said, “NO! Really?” So, metal note. Superwash wool = positive knitted gift experience. I’ll definitely be knitting one of these for myself eventually, since the Fired Brick I originally ordered for the body turned out not so suitable and I still have it sitting around – it didn’t contrast enough with the Bordeaux. I’m thinkin’ red-and-pink Ribbi for me, just to be bright and girly. (My supervisor declined a photo while wearing hers, insisting wrongly that she is not photogenic. I wonder, does anyone actually think themselves photogenic?)

The Swish Superwash does shrink up as predicted – and really, KnitPicks is NOT doing themselves any favours by not advertising this. When I finished knitting and assembling, the length was 23.5″, and after washing and drying, the length was 21″. The sleeves, somehow, did not shrink up as much – I think this might be a property of the ribbed fabric vs. the stockinette fabric. Stockinette seems to dry and shrink up faster, as I noted on the, oh, four times or so I removed it from the dryer to check progress. For this pattern, if I do make it again with Swish, I’ll not only add length to the body, but add more rows in the raglan sleeve cap/armhole shaping to guard against shrinkage there. I think most of the shrinkage did happen in the body, but hey, just to be on the safe side. (I have the feeling that the Swish is also going to pill like a mo’fo’, but hey, so does every other yarn KnitPicks makes, so no real surprises there.)

[Edited to Add]: A pic from knit night last night of Aven and her wee guy. He had no toys and I had sympathy, so I offered my scarf with the waggly tassly ends, and that seemed to suffice for at least two seconds. After last night I started wondering if well-meaning fellow knitters should include a soft baby toy in their knitting bag, for just such emergencies.

(Et voila le cute.)

So yes, I plucked up my courage again and went to Lettuce Knit for knit night for the third time ever – the first chair available that I found was right by the door, so I sat there the whole time as if ready for a clean getaway in case of terminal shyness. But no, it was all fine, and the ladies I chatted with were lovely, and there was one woman next to me who was there for the first time and so that was reassuring to me. And Elizabeth, who I’d met before, started showing me this hand-dyed limited-edition laceweight and sock yarn and almost had me convinced to plunk down $50 on yarn before I left – but I persevered and did not purchase. I’ll see how the perseverance lasts if I go next week!

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Filed under finished object: sweater, ribbi cardi, yarn review