Saturday, October 30, 2010

Celtic Critter Cardigan Retraction

My brilliant discovery the other day might not have been so brilliant after all.

The pajama top measured out to the same dimensions for which I was already aiming.

Well, except the pajama top has a 40 inch bust and I'm after a 35 inch, but close enough.

Of course, the sweatshirt was like 46 inches so the the pajama top was considerably smaller.

I guess the positive aspect would be that I have confirmation of how I want the cardigan to fit. If I can get the ease on the sweater to match the ease I want then I should be happy with the fit.

Hem Test
The lifeline, however, proved fruitful and informative.

Last night I transferred what I've knit over to a spare ball of yarn.

The dang thing measured out to around 50 inches!

I say "around" because it was also curving downward, which made it a little hard to measure.

I'm pretty sure the downward curve is being caused by the flare because of the increases at the bottom of the cable. I had wondered what the expansion in stitches would do to the fabric, but I hadn't figured on that.

So I have to reduce the number of stitches in the pattern repeat to reduce the circumference. But to attempt to control the flare and curve I think I'll figure out how many stitches I'll have after increasing for the cables, cast on that number, then decrease before I have to work the cable increases.

Just to make things more complicated.

To make it easier on myself, I think I'll do the first few rows in garter stitch instead of seed stitch.

Ok, time to go do some math. This pattern won't design itself while I'm playing on the computer.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Done: Tirua Shrug

Tirua shrug back This afternoon I finished the shrug I was making from Tirua.

It was a very quick knit made quicker by me running out of yarn. hmmm.

I was only able to work six rows after binding off the sleeves.

I think I should have used a size 11 needle after all. I think my gauge ended up sliding off at some point.

Boy howdy, I saw people on Ravelry saying this pattern ran small, but this thing is wee!

It's 8 inches long in the back and 12 inches across at the underarm. This all makes it a little on the snug side.Tirua shrug front

I wish it had ended up longer in the back, but it is kind of growing on me.

On the other hand, isn't there a pattern out there that only covers the shoulders and back?

Well, there you have. My experiment in making a one skein garment. Let's see how long it survives.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

KFI: Ester Bitran Tirua

Tirua shrug halfWhen I gave away that skein of Ester Bitran Tirua yarn after Rhinebeck you had to know I had another one squirreled away for myself.

After all, how am I supposed to swatch with it if I don't have any?

Yarn Stats:
Fiber: 70% Peruvian Wool, 30% Microberfiber Yardage: 163 Stitches: 3.5 Needle size: 10 Ball weight: 100g

There are 10 colors. I have #802—Rose, Sky.

This is a variegate yarn, because it has multiple colors blending into each other and trading off, as opposed to an ombre yarn, which shifts from dark to light versions of the same color.

As you can see, the color changes are fairly short causing it to rapidly change from one to the next. Because of this the yarn looks quite different depending on the stitch count.

When I swatched for gauge over 26 sts my fabric ended up blue on one half and green on the other, with the red in concentrated lines. One row would be half blue and half green and the next row would be all red. It was rather interesting and I totally forgot to take a picture.

If you just look at the yarn you might think it is a single strand, but closer inspection reveals that it is actually two strands plied together. They are dark and light versions of the same color, which gives the yarn color more depth and interest.

There is no worry about the yarn splitting because it's a little on the sticky side and it takes an effort to separate the strands.

It's a soft yarn with just the littlest bit of a halo and no squeak at all, despite the microfiber content.

Crochet Potential
Since I just have the one skein now I could only work a wee crochet swatch, which only gives a limited idea of how the colors will work up.

I used a K/10.5/6.5mm hook. It was randomly selected based on the fact that the yarn is chunky.

I started with a base chain of 36. The bottom half is four rows of US single crochet. The top half is three rows of US double crochet. The little bright green stitch marker is to designate the change.

I think it's very interesting the way the colors are coming up in little blocks. I wonder if they would line up in stripes over more or fewer stitches. That effect would be something to consider if working either a scarf or a sweater. Of course, as a hand-painted yarn, this would be a candidate for alternating two balls of yarn to break up the colors, but I didn't have that luxury.

Shrug Not Scarf
Clocking in at 163 yards I thought I might actually be able to make a project with this yarn rather than just a swatch.

My original plan was to make a cowl. I thought it would be more interesting than just knitting a scarf. However, I've had the Shrug This pattern from "One-Skein Wonders: 101 Yarn Shop Favorites" from Storey Publishing in my Ravelry queue on the theory that it will work for one of my KFI sample balls.

When I swatched for the cowl and got 3.5 sts on a US 10 needle I figured it would be a simple matter to get to the 3 sts required in the pattern on a US 10.5 needle.

It is working up very quickly. I started on Wednesday and feel like I'm already almost done. Actually, I think I have only 14 rows left to work.

The pattern is simple enough that I don't have any tips to offer aside from keeping a sharp eye on your stitch markers. One of mine slipped after three or four increases and my increase line shifted to the side. I realized about 6 repeats later. Instead of tearing everything out, I just dropped the 5 stitches on either side down to the last correct row and then reworked that section back up.

Yeah, it sounds ugly, but it's simple if you just ignore the surrounding stitches and fabric. It also seemed too involved to document in pictures. I'm sure the friendly staff at your local yarn store, or your knitting group friends, can demonstrate for you. It's a pretty hard core mistake fixing method, but in the end it's still just knitting!

I hope the shrug fits. I'm almost ready to cast off the sleeves, but they look itty bitty. And I hope the length ends up adequate. It's so hard to tell when it's on the needles. I'm not just being paranoid, I think my gauge is off. I think I should have gone up to an 11 needle, but I was too eager to start to keep swatching.

Overall, the pattern has been fun and easy. Now I totally want to organize my other samples by weight and color and see if I can maybe make an entire top down sweater.

But first I should finish this one.

Celtic Critter Cardigan Breakthrough

When last we spoke about the Celtic Critter Cardigan I had come to a screeching halt.

After knitting about 15 rows I had become convinced it was going to be waaaay to big. There would be no way to know for sure until it was done since I'm knitting it bottom-up in pieces.

I couldn't face the possibility of doing all that work for it to come out wrong.

I also couldn't face the prospect of re-working the math.

This paralysis was an issue on many levels. First, I want the sweater. It's going to be really cool and I have to use the yarn for something. Second, people are asking about it. ugh.

When I saw Pam and her sister over Columbus Day weekend they were like, "Simple. Put it on a lifeline and you'll get a better idea of how big it is."

Um, why hadn't I thought of that? But I haven't acted on it yet because I've been busy.

Proper Comparison Top
Then this morning I had an epiphany.

All my sweatshirts (all three of them) are in circulation now that I actually have to walk the dogs in the morning rather than just releasing them into a fenced yard.

Today I had on a sweatshirt and was walking around thinking, "This thing is frakin' huge!" Granted, it's a size large so I would expect it to be huge. But seriously I was swimming in it.

Which made me wonder how much ease it had and how that would compare to the ease I was calculating for the Celtic Critter Cardigan.

When I started the design process I used a leather coat I like as my guide garment. Of course the fit and drape of a leather coat is extremely different from the fit and drape of a knit coat.

I should imagine there is a difference between a sweatshirt and a knit coat, but they are probably more similar than leather and fabric.

Anyway, I get home and measure the sweatshirt and it's around 40 inches at the bottom with the elastic pulling it in. The CCC is planned for 44 inches for the bottom hem!

Now the body of the sweatshirt is around 46 inches and I'm planning the cardigan for 35, so that doesn't help much.

The sleeves, which is where I was really noticing the extra fabric, go from about 12 inches at the cuff to 20 inches at the upper arm. I'm planning for 11 at the cuff and 14.5 at the upper arm.

I'm going to be swimming in this cardigan!

Mission Statement Revisited
Now the goal of this sweater is to make an outer garment I can wear over shirts and such when it starts to get chilly out. But these dimensions are ridiculous.

I had put my pajamas back on in order to crawl around on the floor measuring the sweatshirt. I thought to myself, "Hey, these pajamas are loose without being overly big."

So I tried on the pajamas and the sweatshirt over first a polo top and then a turtle neck. I really think the pajama dimensions are going to work. Not that I've measured it yet.

However, I'm going to keep the length of the sweatshirt.Pewter buttons

Yes, I do realize this means I have to rework all the math. sigh.

On the bright side, I got these really cool pewter buttons for the cardigan at Rhinebeck from The Rams Horn.

Can you make them out?

The Welsh Dragon and some Celtic Crosses! The knots on the far right are the ones I had orginally bought. They will have to find a life on another top.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Unintentional Kneesocks

ABSPF 1The Angora Bedsocks of Power and Fortune! are out of control.

After kicking the Skew socks to the curb last week I took a look at the other WIPs hanging over my head.

On a regular basis, I decide that I function better with only one, maybe two, projects on the go. Multiple projects overwhelm me and I get annoyed by the lack of progress on anything.

Of course just becuase I know this doesn't stop me from casting on new projects even as old ones languish.

But I'm embracing the "clear the plate" phase and decided to return to the ABSPF! because the first sock was fairly close to being done.

These keep ending up on the back burner because I keep thinking they are "too complicated" for TV knitting because of the cables. Turns out the cables are only in two little spots and I flashed right through them.

Another issue was that I saw them getting taller and taller and realized I had to increase a few stitches in order to have them continue fitting, which was just adding to the complication factor.

Since they are just bedsocks, after all, I decided to stop over thinking the matter and just started throwing in some increases every couple rows with the goal of being able to work k2, p2 ribbing.

ABSPF back Then all of a sudden, boom! the sock was done.

And there was much rejoicing.

Particularly becuase I was pretty sure I was going to run out of yarn during the cast off and didn't want to have to unpick the cast off and last row. In fact, I just squeeked by with a little bitty tail left, which I did my best to knot.

I'm fairly certain that situation is going to come back to bite me.

And the second sock is where?
I don't generally suffer from second sock syndrome.

I often find the second sock is easier than the first because all the numbers are there and it's autopilot knitting. Especially in a situation like this where I'm making a pattern up.

The wild card is going to be how closely I follow the "pattern." This first sock fits, but it's a bit snug in places near the top where I didn't start the shaping soon enough.

I'm torn between tweaking the second sock to reflect what I've learned for an improved fit, or working it the same as the first. I'm really leaning toward just working it the same. If I have one nice fitting sock and one poorly fitting sock the poorly fitting first sock will just annoy me and I know I'm way too lazy to rip it out and reknit it.

In the mean time, I've cast on for a new project.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Permission to stop.

That is what I gave myself last night.

As you can see, I didn't get all the way through the heel, but I got awfully close.

I worked the first set of heel shaping and then the numbers started to go off. I was supposed to have 15 sts to graft together and was already down to 14.

When I saw that I transfered the sock to a piece of scrap yarn and did my best to try it on.

I still wasn't happy about the look of the stitches along the side of the foot. The stitches were still stretching open like Swiss Cheese.

The fit along the instep and ankle area was a little harder to determine, but still seemed snug. Even though I was around seven rows short of what the area should be since I had stopped the heel shaping short, I decided it wasn't going to work out.

At that time I decided to frog it and move on. After all, it's just a sock! It shouldn't be so difficult.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming the pattern. I know these issues are mostly my own fault.

It's a very clever pattern, it just not for me.

I know for a fact, from experience based on trying on my friend's sock, that if I follow the pattern as-is the resulting sock will be baggy for my little foot. I don't like baggy socks. Shoot, I don't knit socks for them to end up baggy!

On the other foot, I don't seem to have the math and spacial reasoning skills to downsize the pattern to fit me in a satisfactory manner.

All of this means it's time to move on.

Happily, the yarn does not seem any worse for wear for the abuse it's suffered. It's a nice, soft, yummy yarn, so I'm enjoying knitting with it. And it's self patterning, so it will make fun socks even though I'm going to knit plain ones.

However, I have a lot of WIPs on my plate at the moment and I need to let the yarn relax. Which means I'm returning the yarn to the hoard for the time being until I'm prepared to enjoy our time together.

This frogging business is rather freeing.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Totally Sk(r)ewed

Skew foot After the last time I blogged about my Skew socks I once again abandoned them.

In my last blog post I had Kitchenered the heel shut and was ready to start working up the leg.

It was very exciting. The sock was starting to come together.

I knit forth with confidence only to have it all come crashing down.

I worked through "decrease the mini-gusset" and was ready to start the leg set up when I stopped, put it all on waste yarn, and tried the darn thing on.

The fit was terrible. I had made a little sock straight jacket.

Oh, sure it looked good from one side. It looked like a normal-ish sock.

skew heel on But on the other side it was a holey, stretched out mess.

There was a gap at the top of the heel, which the pattern said to expect, but I knew there was no way I was going to be able to pull the fabric together to shut it.

And the decrease line along the outside edge of the foot at the beginning of the round, was so gappy it made fishnet stockings look dense.

The fix, I thought, would be simple. I just needed more fabric to go around my foot, which meant I just needed more stitches.

Determined to figure the pattern out I ripped back all the way to the mid-toe section and increased until I had 64 stitches instead of the paltry 60 I'd tried the first time around. Seriously, I ripped back so far I might as well have started over.

The foot knit back up much quicker than it had the first time around, possible because I knew what to expect this time.

It appears I had once again begun increasing for my mini-gusset when I once again put it aside.

Of course the big issue isn't that I put it aside, again, as much as that I didn't write down what I planned to do. Nope. My old, failed notes, are still on the pattern. I have a vague idea I planned to get the 12 stitches on either side of the center of round marker the pattern calls for, but I didn't make a note of it.

Still, that sounds pretty resonable because I wanted all 15 sts for the heel this time and this entire area is were I needed more slack.

It's a good thing I was able to figure it out where I left off so quickly otherwise these socks would have died a horrible death.

I was laying there at 4 o'clock in the morning, unable to fall back to sleep, and had half decided to toss the pattern aside and just knit plain old socks with the Indulgence yarn. It really is nice yarn and it's terrible for it to be so neglected. Poor, poor yarn.

You know you have too many projects on the go when they start giving you insomnia.

On the other hand it wasn't just not knowing where I was in the pattern that was causing me to feel that way. So far I haven't been having fun with this pattern. I've been "working" on this one sock for around four months(!) and have very little to show for it.

I mean, it's a pair of socks. They should only take two weeks!

Part of the delay is because I keep thinking I can only work on them in a quite time when I can focus on the pattern. The other part is because I don't know if I'll actually get a comfortable pair of socks out of the deal.

Socks are my relaxing project, they shouldn't be such an emotional investment.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go beat them into submission.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Done: Kureyon Hat

Kureyon hat finished Did you notice how close my hat was to being done in my post yesterday?

Well, I finished it!

It only took seven days. Well, it took 15 days if you count my, ahem, swatch. giggle But in general it was a quick knit.

The pattern is the Ribbed Cap from Vogue Knitting.
It takes one skein of Noro Kureyon.
US 8 needles.
My color #264 - Hot Pink, Lilac, Brown, Purple.

Of course, it's not like I actually followed the pattern. As I said yesterday, when I followed the pattern it was too big, so I cast on 80 sts and worked it in the round. I also worked the I-Cord only until it was long enough for one knot, not two.

Kureyon finished 2 I'm rather pleased with it. I think it's cute and fits well. And who can argue with such a quick project?

The only sad thing is that when I made it smaller it used less yarn and so the fun hot pink part didn't make it in.

Oh well, now I have a fun scrap to add to my scrap collection.

Kureyon First
I should mention this is the first time I've used Kureyon.

Oh, sure, I always admired the Noro yarns when I worked at Knitting Central and then Westport Yarns. The colors were so interesting and some of the yarns had such interesting textures. Despite that I tended to shy away from them.

I'm a bit sensative to wool. Some wool yarns make my hands tingle like they've fallen asleep, it's the weirdest thing. I've noticed the less processed yarns seem to give me more trouble. I don't know if it's the lanolin, the dyes, the setting agents or what. Some of the Noro yarns feel a bit crunchy in the skein. I've heard they soften up with use, but didn't want to risk it if my hands would go numb.

I'm happy to report I didn't have any problems at all with the Kureyon!

I'm very excited about this for many reasons. Mainly because I have several sample balls of Noro yarns to work with and it would really suck if I had to pretend they don't exist or somehow power through an allergic reaction.

Since receiving the sample yarn I've been educating myself about the different brands.

In checking out the Noro website I learned the yarn is minimally machine processed. They do as much as possilbe by hand. They also use the minimum amount of chemicals they can. So it's an eco-friendly wool. I think you can really see the human touch in the rustic texture of the yarn.

Now that I'm over my fear I think my next project using Noro yarn will be the Shrug This from the first One-Skein Wonders book out of Kochoran.

But first, I should probably finish my Skew (Indulgent) Socks, or one of the other seven works in progress I have on the go!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hat and Again

Big noro hat I suppose what I should be blogging about is mom and my adventures at Rhinebeck over the weekend, but I'm not in the mood.

I did, however, upload pictures of my new yarn to my "Yarn Hoard" set on Flicker, so you can bounce over there for a sneak peek if you want.

Actually what I should be doing is working on the article I'm supposed to be writing that is due this week, but I'm deep into denial and procrastination. Of course making some progress on it might improve my mood.


Hat Take 1
Having failed at all of my pre-Rhinebeck knitting goals--finishing the Celtic Critter Cardigan in time to wear it, finishing any project with any Rhinebeck 2009 yarn in time to wear it, finishing a project with gift yarn from my CT friends--I decided that maybe I can have a new hat to wear.

Hats are small, right?

To that end I busted out the sample skein of Noro Kureyon I have in color #264, which is one of the new colors this year.

My orginal plan for this skein was to work a square from the Lizard Ridge blanket from Knitty Fall 06 for my Swatchy Blanket. I saw Pam's square and was enchanted.

Then I forgot that idea and instead remembered Vogue Knitting had a free one-skein hat pattern, which sounded like a fabulous idea since the Lizard Ridge blanket was a distant, pre-move idea.

The Evil of Gauge
Maybe my issues aren't gauge's fault. Maybe they are my own fault for not swatching. But that admission would be taking responsability, and heaven forbid I do that.

After all, it's a hat! By the time I swatched I'd be half way done.

So instead I just plunged in and started knitting.

Here's a tip that I might have shared in the past. If you are casting on a large number of stitches using the long-tail method, say over 100, instead of trying to guess how long of a tail to leave, tie two balls (or the two ends of one ball) together and use that knot as an anchor in place of a slip knot.

One strand acts as your tail. The other is your working yarn. You can cast on blissfully without worrying about running out. Then when you have enough stitches snip the "tail" strand and off you go.

In a case like the Kureyon yarn where each end of the ball is a different color designating a "tail" strand is more important. I decided to make the pink the tail (so it hung in front as I cast on) as I thought the contrasting rim would be cute. Also, the purple was coming from the inside of the ball and I prefer to pull my yarn from the inside.

If I had let the pink hang in back and still designated the purple as my "working" yarn my rim would have been purple, my first row would have been pink, and my second row and on would have been purple. That seemed like an interesting option as well, but I decided to be boring.

As you can see, careful consideration must be given when casting on with two different colors.


After a week of industrious knitting the hat was almost finished and I was rather excited that I'd meet a Rhinebeck knitting goal.

Disaster Strikes
At which point things started to go wrong.

First I ran out of yarn.

I found this hysterical since it's a one skein hat and the yardage hasn't changed. This made me decide to finally check my gauge and it was indeed off.

Since I was going to have to rework the hat anyway I decided to try it on for fit.

As you can see in the picture above it's a little too big.

First I whipped stitched it shut properly (edge to edge) and found it was baggy.

Then I choked it down by 16 stitches. I was going to just fold it over and whip stitch it, but I realized the extra fabric would skew the fit so I attached the edge to the interior so the extra flap would be on the outside. (That's the picture.)

Although the fit was greatly improved, it was still a little too big. I probably could have worn it, but I realized that if I washed it, or it otherwise stretched, it would be unpleasantly baggy.

So I choked it down to 80 sts and it seemed just right.

Since I was starting from scratch anyway, I decided to work the dang thing in the round this time. A hat worked flat might be good for a beginner knitter, but for an experienced one like myself who doesn't mind working on double points, it just requires unnecessary finishing.

Of course this meant that another Rhinebeck knitting goal had fallen by the wayside. On the other hand, I had a small project to take with me.

(Look! I'm covered in Noro!)

Hat Take 2
I'm chugging along on this new version.

Since I'm a slow learner I once again didn't do a gauge swatch. I figure the first hat counts as my swatch.

I don't expect my gauge to have changed because I'm still working in ribbing, so I don't have that no-purl-because-I'm-working-in-the-round issue to worry about. Also, I've gone from my plastic Denise Interchangable Needles to my bamboo dpns and expect them to have the same amount of drag.

I should be safe. As you can see in the picture the fit seems to be much better.

Soon. Soon I will have a new hat!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

KFI: Rhinebeck Walk With Me Contest

Tirua purple I've been bragging quite a bit about the yarn windfall I received in the form of all the KFI sample yarns.

Speaking of Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy!

It recently occurred to me it might be a good idea to appease the Yarn Fates and maintain my good yarn karma by sharing my good fortune.

And if I can score some more fans for the KFI Facebook page in the process so much the better.

Clever Idea
As you know, I'm going to Rhinebeck this weekend. Just me and mom.

Since KFI doesn't sell directly to consumers they don't have an official presence at the fair. I'm just attending as a yarn lover, although I will be slinking around looking for garments made with KFI yarn which people will hopefully let me photograph and post on the FB page.

I thought it would be fun to work my trip to the fair into a contest.

What I'm going to do is wear a pedometer to track how far I walk. The person who guesses how many steps I take or gets closest without going over will win that lovely skein of Tirua by Ester Bitran you see at the top of the post.

(Directions on how to enter are at the bottom of this post.)

Yarn Selection
Deciding which yarn to use as a prize was a hard task.

I was able to eliminate a large swath at once because they were low yardage single balls.

I debated over some of the bulky yarns with decent yardage that seemed large enough for a hat or cowl, but ended up eliminating them as well since they might have been pushing the one skein project envelope.

Finally I settled on the Tirua. It's a wool/acrylic blend, 3.5 sts/inch, with a healthy 163 yards. I think that should be enough for a cowl or such. I did a search on the gauge/yardage combination on Ravelry and came up with over 1,000 projects.

Hints To Help Your Guess
The official fairground website says it's a 162 acre facility. I'm pretty sure the vendor area of Rhinebeck doesn't cover all those acres. I'm pretty sure a large majority of them are taken up by the open space surrounding the fairgrounds proper that are used for parking.

Mom and I are planning to be at the fair all day Saturday (9-5) and half the day Sunday (10 to noon or so). [It's going to be a four hour drive and I want to get home at a decent time.]

I plan to put the pedometer on when I get dressed in the morning and take it off when we get back to the hotel at night. This means it will be counting my steps when we go to breakfast, walking through the parking lots, and attending the Ravelry party Saturday evening, as well as the time we're actually at the fair visiting vendors and exhibits.

I have the pedometer set for a 24 inch stride. I reached this number by randomly stopping when walking across my kitchen and then measuring the tiles. Keep in mind I might walk slower at the fair than I do under normal circumstances. I don't know how that will affect the count.

To keep things honest I'll post a picture of the pedometer Saturday night then reset it for Sunday morning. I'll post a second picture Sunday afternoon when I'm back at the car ready to head home. The combination of those two numbers will be the total.

That's why I have 7 p.m. Saturday (based on the FB time stamp) as the cut off time for guesses. If you guess after I post the picture you'll have an unfair advantage.

Oh, it's just like one of those "guess the number of jelly beans in the jar" games!

How To Enter
You must enter your guess as a comment on the KFI Facebook wall by 7 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Oct. 16 (2010). Guesses left on my blog won't count since the goal is to get more fans. :-)

If you're already a fan you are all set to enter. If not, you'll have to "like" us first. See how clever I am? (If you don't have a Facebook account, I'm sorry, you can't play.)

Your guess should be the number of steps you think I'll take (not miles, miles seemed too easy).

The first guess (by the FB time stamp) with the correct number of steps, or the first guess that is closest without going over, will win.

Simple? Walk on!

KFI: Katia Rizos Scarf

DSC07360 The second yarn I received was Katia Rizos.

This is another novelty yarn with a construction that reminds me of a cross between a tape and a ladder yarn.

As you can see, the bottom 3/4 of the yarn, which is on the right in this picture, is wee feathery strands supported by parallel binders. The top 1/4, which you can't see well, is spaces formed by little squares of the feathery strands.

It's all very secure.

For this yarn you knit into the loops at the top of the strand. Once again, it is easier than you would expect from just looking at it. Because I'm very helpful, I've made you another video.

[Edit Nov. 21, 2010: This pattern is available on the KFI website.]
To a degree, Rizos was easier to work with than the Triana because the loops were already open and available. It wasn't necessary to spread the tape or search for the loops like with the Triana. On the other hand, the Rizos isn't as flexible as the Triana, so it was necessary to stay closer to the tips. But don't let that scare you. It wasn't like working with hard cotton. It didn't hurt my hands at all.

The pattern says something about skipping a loop every second stitch or something that made me go "eh?" When I tried to follow that directive I thought it was all a bit too loose and not ruffly enough. So I alternated between working every loop and every other loop. Sometimes I would work two stitches then skip a loop for the third stitch. Sometimes I skipped a loop for every stitch.

It was pretty freeform. I think it did influence how much the tape ruffled and was rather pleased with the results.

Rizos scarf close The finish scarf is remanicent of a feather boa, without all the shedding and fly away bit. At the risk of sounding silly, I think it's a little more sedate than the Triana scarf. So if you're in the market for a quick, fun scarf but don't want to be too flamboyant, Rizos might be the yarn for you.

Again, the pattern will be available on the Knitting Fever Inc website later this year and the yarn should be in US stores in November 2010. According to the Katia website Rizos comes in 10 colors, but I haven't heard how many KFI intends to bring over.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

KFI: Katia Triana Scarf

DSC07359Last week I got an e-mail from KFI saying they were sending me a ball each of two new Katia yarns along with patterns for scarves.

They wanted me to knit them up quick as I could and mail them back. The completed scarves are going to be used as samples by one of the sales reps as he or she visits local yarn stores.

I had an exciting week tracking the package online waiting for it to arrive. The suspense ended on Friday after lunch. yeah!

Now I had some idea what to expect because the e-mail had included PDF copies of the patterns. Along with the written instructions there were also photos, which were totally necessary because of the unique construction of the yarn. [Edit Nov 21, 2010: Since you didn't get the e-mail you can find the pattern on the KFI website.]

I decided to go with the Triana first. When in the ball it looks like normal yarn with a chainette construction. That is deceptive because what you are supposed to do is spread the fabric out to open up the mesh and then knit into the holes.

It sounds pretty crazy, I know. The pictures included with the pattern were very helpful and I was able to jump right in. To help you out I have made this little video of myself knitting with it so you can get a better idea of how it looks.

After working a few rows I decided the best course of action might be to open up all the mesh all at once so I didn't have to pause in my knitting.

Since that was going to be a pretty straight forward activity I decided there was no reason I couldn't do it at the Library Knitting group and packed my stuff up and trotted off.

The ladies in the Library Knitting group agreed the Triana was the darndest thing they'd ever seen. But they also asked where they could get some. Hmm, but nobody asked to try it out. Maybe I should have offered?

Several people on the KFI Facebook page are also enchanted.

I hope everyone is patient because I found out the yarn is still in transit and won't be available in US stores until November. The pattern will be available on the Knitting Fever Inc website around the same time. According to the Katia website Triana comes in 11 colors, but I haven't heard how many KFI is going to bring over.

Yarn Wrangling
Anyway, I was sitting in the library spreading mesh and someone commented that if she tried doing that she'd probably end up with a tangled mess. I realized she was probaly correct and went back to knitting.

I found the best course of action was to spread a few yards as needed. They tended to mostly close up again, so attempting to open the entire ball at once would have been futile.

As you can see in this picture the knitting moves along quickly. That was only an hour or two of knitting time and look how long it was already! Size US11 needles just can't be beat sometimes.

After working a few rows I had the hang of working with it and was able to chat away during the knitting group without any issues. Well, my needle did slip out of my hand at one point and fell out of the project, which was pretty heart stopping, but the stitches didn't run and I was able to easily pick them back up.

Like Potato Chips
Now you know me, I don't usually hold with novelty yarn and generally only work with it under duress for my mom. However the Triana was much easier to work with than I expected and was kind of mezmerizing. I found the ruffles that formed very amusing. The yarn is also rather springy, which makes it easy to work with because it doesn't resist you.

The resulting scarf, with its ruffles and its holes, reminds me of something out of the Jetsons or a deep sea creature.

I was done the scarf by Friday night. I would say it took about four hours of knitting time. Which is pretty awesome considering I have no attention span when it comes to making scarves.

After I finished I found it necessary to swan around the apartment in my robe and the scarf and declare, "I'm ready Triana Scarf closefor my close-up now, Mr. Demille."

For you crochet only folks, I'm sad to report I couldn't figure out how to make it work.

First I worked along the long edge slip stitching through the mesh to make a base chain. That started to draw the fabric into a corkscrew, which was kind of interesting.

Then I tried to imitate the knit construction of turning the work and crocheting the mesh to itself by going through the base chain and drawing other parts of the mesh through in a slip stitch and single crochet type fashion, but it just kind of bunched up.

I think the first attempt had more potential, but I only had the one ball so I couldn't follow the experiment through to its conclusion. Maybe a more determined crocheter will come up with something.

Monday, October 4, 2010

KFI: Debbie Bliss interview Part 2

The website Let's Knit2gether has posted the second half of their video interview with Debbie Bliss.

Is it silly to say the knitwear in the video is awesome?

(It's still to wide for my layout. I debated messing with the dimensions but I didn't want them to be distorted. ha!)