Tag Archives: merino silk

Giant Honey Bees

12 Dec

We had about a week or so of beautiful, snowy weather (or it could’ve been two weeks, I don’t really have a sense of time worth anything.) So I was planning to take pictures of my finished Apis Dorsata mitts outside. The yarn is pretty but hard to capture in artificial lighting. However, since I finished the mitts, we’ve had a little bit of a blizzard and after that, as a complete meteorological non sequitur, rain. 

So I give up, I’m taking the pictures inside.

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They’re nice and long as requested (they’re a Christmas gift). Personally I like some of the details in the design a lot. At first I didn’t understand the decreases in the arm and how they’re set on the inside like that where the wearer can see them clearly all the time. But then I saw how beautifully the decreases are mirrored in the thumb gusset increases.

I usually prefer all things to be symmetrical, but didn’t even notice at first that the honey comb patterns aren’t. That kept the knitting interesting, and makes sense in the context.

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The Cascade Yarns Heritage Silk Paint is very soft and has nice drape, and  I love the colors. I’m a little worried, though, about how well the yarn will hold up in use. I guess that’s something to think about before using a merino and mulberry silk blend. Still, the only place where I can see some wear on the yarn is in the cast on edge of the first mitt which I ripped back once or twice.

 

All my Christmas knitting is now done. I’ve never finished this well in advance, and the feeling is sort of odd. The cloud to this silver lining is that I finished because I’ve had a cold for a week. I feel like I’ve watched everything on Netflix, and must have knitted a record amount.

I still have to tuck in some ends and block some socks and slippers. Normally I wouldn’t bother with blocking foot wear, but since they are gifts, and blocking does give that nice finished look to practically speaking anything… I can’t get very excited about this bit, but it has to be done. Then there’s the gift tags that I haven’t figured out yet.

Meanwhile I’m getting excited about new, shiny things: touchscreen thread. How cool is that!

Fun with Delightful Techniques

3 Dec

The Apis Dorsata Mitts I’m knitting for Christmas are coming along nicely. I got most of the first mitt done on Sunday. Of course I did nothing but knit the whole day, but it was so worth it.

I even had to rip out the first inch I knitted. I tried doing two at once on circular needles, but since the honey comb pattern is mirrored, it would’ve been too much of a hassle to keep track of things. I also didn’t have 2,25 mm circulars and tried to wing it by doing the smaller size on 2,50 mm needles. The cast on edge seemed too tight… I just got scared, man, way too scared.

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I absolutely adore the yarn (Cascade Yarns Heritage Silk Paints in colorway Forest glen). Hopefully the color I chose is okay. I’ve already knitted a shawl for the recipient of these which is somewhat similar in color – more purplish browns than greenish browns, but in the same general tone. I see that shawl worn all the time. This gives me hope my choice wasn’t completely hopeless.

To get to the title of this entry, what I love most about these mitts (although it’s hard to choose) is that I’ve learned a bunch of new techniques.

I hadn’t actually done a tubular cast on before now, and it is as brilliant as everyone (apparently) says. I used these instructions from Knitty, and simultaneously met and fell in love with the backwards loop cast on. I used backwards loops for the thumb join as well, and I have never managed to cast on those thumb stitches without creating unsightly holes. But now, lookit! Instantly neat!

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And then! Then I tried a tubular cast off á la TECHknitting. It’s the prettiest, most professional looking cast off I can think of, and it’s very simple but looks like magic. What it is, is essentially this: two rounds of slipped stitches establish the purl and knit stitches in 1×1 ribbing as separate layers that can then be grafted together using kitchener stitch.

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Voila!

The result looks almost exactly the same as the tubular cast on. When you think about it, it should look the same because in both cases a fabric grows in two directions from the same spot. If that makes sense? It does in my head.

I can’t wait to finish these and take pictures that actually capture the beautiful colors.

In other Christmas gift thoughts… I’d love to design and print out little cards with washing instructions and holiday greetings for my knitted gifts. I’ve always included handwritten notes… but my normal handwriting is all but illegible, and when I try to write nicely, it looks like a second grader’s attempt.

Whenever I think about this, it occurs to me I could  totally learn calligraphy! …That’s probably one of those things that I will never ever actually do. I’ll put it off “until I retire”, but then I retire, and I still won’t do it. Yeah, printing something out is slightly likelier to happen.

Amassing Giftmas Yarn

28 Nov

Three days ago I ordered some yarn online (at this store: Titityy). The season is the reason for secret yarn purchases, and I figured the postage would be cheaper than taking a bus downtown to buy the yarn, which it is. I was surprised and pleased when an hour later, the status of the purchase had changed from “received” to “mailed”. That is some seriously good customer service!

(It’s another issue entirely that it had only been an hour since I placed the order, and I was already refreshing the tracking page.)

It was only later in the day that something else finally settled into my consciousness: the postal workers are striking. I’ve been paying attention to the news, but since I hardly ever mail anything, I didn’t think the postal strike had anything to do with me. They’re trying to wrangle themselves more job security because of impending layoffs, and I wish them all the best. It still made for some interesting times, as I tried to figure out whether or not my package was likely to get stuck in a sorting facility somewhere as the rolling strikes changed place from day to day.

By figuring out the pattern the strikes were following (by reading about it online, like the Sherlock that I am) and figuring out where the package was sent from, I reached reasonable certainty that I was safe and would get my package in the 2-3 days the online store promised. And sure enough, today I got a little notice slip in the mail saying I could pick it up at the post office.

And I got myself some goodies…

Baby merino silk in colorway Straw

Rowan Baby merino silk in colorway Straw

Cascade yarns Heritage Silk Paints in colorway Forest glen

Cascade yarns Heritage Silk Paints in colorway Forest glen

Clearly merino wool and silk blends have made an impression on me since I accidentally ordered two kinds of it. The baby merino silk dk (I have no idea which bit of that is the yarn’s name) is 34% tussah silk, and is markedly rougher than the other yarn (though still very soft indeed). I hope it will have decent stitch definition for a shawl I’m planning.

I’m slightly nervous about knitting white yarn. There’s a reason I don’t own any white clothing – it doesn’t stay white for long. I’ll just have to be careful, and treat the WIP with a bit more respect than I normally do with my knitting projects.

The really sleek and soft Heritage yarn is for a pair of mostly very simple mitts. The pattern I’ve chosen should let the colors shine through.

The unfortunate thing is that I never get yarns this nice for myself. I have a tendency to give away or knit and then give away all my really nice yarns. Not being made of money I can’t justify buying them for myself. But hey, at least I get to work with them if I’m making a gift for someone else. That’s part of the fun of knitting for Christmas 🙂

I can’t wait to start these projects! (Apart from being excited, I literally cannot wait because time is running out. I will make it, though, make no mistake ;)).

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