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.

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