See what you’ve done to me? I like cables now.

When I started knitting, I hated cables. And philosphically, I still do. I would never buy a cabled sweater, for instance.

But they’re just so fun to knit.

I was an acting major in college before I came to my senses (sort of). We had to do rotations of all the production departments–lighting, set construction, costuming. And the best costumers were almost always the worst dressers. Something about surrendering good sense/taste to the materials/construction, I think. At some point you lose your ability to see past what can be done and remember what should be done. Clearly many knitters forget this distinction, too. (And I’m really one to talk, considering the contents of my book–but that’s funny, not earnest.)

I’m far from being such a good knitter that I start dressing like some of the dumber Rowan books, but still. (I think dressing Rowan also requires a starvation diet, so that’s not so risky, but you feel me.)

P.S. By the way, here’s your pants.

(The current issue of knit.1 does have several things I’d actually make, too.)

KAL

So I’m thinking of maybe trying to be more of a joiner. I’m thinking of joining a knitalong. Or the stashalong, much more appropriate for me: http://stashalong.blogspot.com/

Except that there’s a few things I still want to buy before the Webs anniversary sale is over. Like some of that Baby Alpaca Grande. And I should swatch the stuff I already bought in case I can’t live without it. Hm. I am clearly not ready for the spirit of the stashalong.

The first step is admitting I have a problem.

What’s the second step?

Minor backslide–elann.com order

Okay, I don’t think I actually made some big pronouncement last time I fell of the yarn wagon (mmmmm, yarn wagon….), but I should be laying off. Sort of like I’m not officially on a diet, but I shouldn’t have finished off that jar of Kisses last night. Anyhoo, the stuff I bought is for an actual pattern that I’m actually going to make (next month–too much unfinished stuff right now), a very cute top. And the pattern came free with the yarn and the yarn was cheap, so what do you want from me?

The top is here and the yarn ($1.98/ball Schoeller Stahl  Micro Cable, which unaccountably has an accent over the final e?)it uses is smooth and shiny and nice to knit.

Then to round up to $25 because I feel compelled to use one of my $2.50 off $25 credits (which I realize is their ploy, but I buy it anyway), I bought 2 balls of Cleckheaton Merino Supreme at $3.50/ea. It’s buttery yum and has an almost cottony touch that looks prone to pill (like the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino), I’m thinking mittens? I love the acidy pea color, but it looks crap on me. But down on my mitts, who will notice?

The last ball is $2.98/ball Peruvian Collection Uros Aran, 50/50 wool/llama, just because I was curious about llama. It’s nothing standout, maybe a little softer than the Highland Wool but the color (congac) is very pretty, autumnal, and a little darker/richer in person than on the site (like most of the elann colors–I always like them better in real life, which is a nice change from most sites). I wouldn’t use it next to my skin, but I’m a titty baby about wool. (The Cleckheaton could go against my skin. Hm. Maybe I should make that hello yarn neck warmer instead. Maybe if I edge it in black, no one will notice how fugly I look in acid pea green…)

Swarves. Or scatches? Scwatches? Sqatches? Sasquatches? Wait, what?

So I’ve been swatching yarn trying to pick the very bestest so I can start crocheting my big project for Vickie Howell’s book, but I decided to just go ahead and use the whole ball so I can get a better sense of drape and yardage. I still haven’t found a yarn/color combination I’m happy with. The Berroco Ultra Alpaca (50/50 alpaca wool, in very rich multihued heathery color blend) had nice yardage & the alpaca gives it great drape, but the color’s just too green (at least unfelted). 1 hank made a 40 x 7″ scarf in sc.

The Tahki Donegal Tweed (100% wool) is closer to the color I’m looking for (dark khaki green/brown), but maybe too tweedy? And it doesn’t have the drape of the alpaca blend, but there’s good yardage here, too. One hank made a 45 x 6.5″ scarf in sc.

The perfect color (it’s a little khakier than it looks here) was the Peruvian Collection Baby Silk (80% baby alpaca/20% silk), but the yardage is awful (although, everything’s relative–for the price, it’s pretty comparable) because it’s a “luxury yarn” & comes in tiny 25g balls, and it’s just too fine for my purposes, so I had to double it, which resulted in a tiny 7 x 9″ swatch from a whole ball.

I seamed the side & I’ll be using it for a beer cozy, unless it’s so dreamy felted that I’m beside myself and decide to use it after all. But it’s already seamed, so it will still be a beer cozy.

The next step is to felt them, but I was curious about their washed properties for future reference, so I gave them a little bath before their felting. I don’t know whether the donegal got shorter or the ultra alpaca got longer because I’m waiting until they’re dry to measure, but they’re the same length now. The baby silk definitely is larger row-wise. I didn’t try to block them back to their original dimensions, just patted them out to see what they do naturally (below: donegal, ultra, baby).

I’m the Nicki Henrickson of yarn

My Webs order came yesterday. I immediately photographed it & put it all away before Ron got home. I’m officially an ashamed addict who has to hide her habit. It’s horrible. And seriously, I can’t stop thinking about Webs grab bags and how much I want some, even though I’m totally too busy to knit just now, and even though I have a lifetime of yarn in my stash. BUT I CAN NOT RESIST A BARGAIN. This is my downfall.

Okay, here’s what was inside the big 23-pound box:

 

 1) 4 bags K1C2 Angora Soft, 2 to knit into plush, light sweaters (black & pink), 2 to dye (white). I got a bag of this in pale green in my last Webs order grab bag & wasn’t overly impressed until I swatched it. It was very nice to knit. It’s a soft chain yarn with nylon, viscose & angora, soft & drapey. $22.49/bag of 10 after discount.

(I’ve started knitting my unwashed stitch & row count into my swatches. The bottom’s the needles size, from Lily Chin & then I put the counts in the top. It’s handy, because I’m seldom together enough to remember to record the values before I wash.)

 

2) a big cone of black cotton, for a rug, probably, or something housey. $3/pound. This was 6#.

 

3) Donegal Tweed, $12/# (about 2#). I’m really eager to swatch & wash this. It looks like it will be very very pretty. (Later…and it is! But still too scratchy by the skin. Here are two tiny microswatches I made, one just washed and one lightly felted:)

4) Worsted mill end yarn $5/# (about 2.6#). Who knows? It’s soft enough.

5) Acidy green rug wool, $4.50/pound (~2#). For an acidy green throw rug!

 

6) 2 bags of Ultralight ($30/bag of 10). 53% alpaca, 22% wool, 25% nylon. Lofty and fuzzy! One bag in a hot pink for a tight ribbed sweater, one in white for dying. The color’s a little more retina-burning.

7) a bunch of singles, which I don’t normally like to do, but most of these are on supersale for the Webs anniversary sale & I wanted to swatch them & see what I thought. The sale goes until May 26, so even with Prom, I should have time. There’s Debbie Bliss Merino Superchunky, which I bought to see if I preferred the blue to the green I made into a yummy 1-ball doubeknit scarf;

 

Reynolds Andean Alpaca Regal (90% alpaca, 10% wool) on sale for $6.75/100g, which I was hoping would be a good substitute for the Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande, also on sale, but a bit more expensive–the Alpaca Regal seems less bulky, but it might just be that the skein is more tightly wound.

Plymouth Suri Merino. I don’t remember choosing this–I guess I just wanted to sample it?

 

Valley Yarns Shelburn in a soft & hot pink, a wool/acrylic/alpaca soft twist bulky that’s pretty, but doesn’t approach the value of the Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky (wool/apaca softwist), but it is loftier, so we’ll see how it knits. I’m going to use the two in a sideways knit garter skinny scarf. (Later: instead made the Double Bubble Double Knit scarf.)

Jo Sharp Silk Road Tweed in licorice, on sale for $6/ball–the solid got props from Knitter’s Review, and it feels super dreamy. And that last one is Valley Yarns Sugarloaf, a merino/microfiber blend that reminds me of Lion Kool Wool, only lighter, but that didn’t bowl me over. Of course, it does look nice and lofty, and should have dreamy stitch definition. I’m fond of Kool Wool, but it’s been discontinued & so it’s easy to find for cheap right now (Smiley’s has it for $2/ball–I bought a ton of it when they had it on special for $1.25). I haven’t knit it yet, so we’ll see. I also ordered a cone of alpaca/lambswool blend on closeout, but they sold out, fuckers. It looked yummy & I was psyched about making a sweater from a cone, a sweater that might not need a shirt under it. Cone yarns, at least the ones on closeout, are usually so scratchy.

FREE PATTERN: Simple Doubleknit Cashmerino Scarf

Time: 2 hrs

Cost: $8

Skills: Knitting, kitchener’s stitch

Level: beginner

It’s a short scarf, but it’s double-knit, so it’s double thick and double toasty. Just the right length to wrap once and tuck into your collar. It’s knit of Debbie Bliss cashmerino superchunky, which is normally pricey. But Webs has 3 yummy closeout colors that are just $8 each. It’s a 100g ball, so it’s a very good value. The yarn is delectable, butterysoft and lofty and yummilicious. I’ve heard it’s prone to pilling, so I was reluctant to buy a sweater’s worth, despite its skin appeal.

All 3 closeout colors are unisexy, so you could buy a bunch and finishe off your holiday knitting in a weekend. Anyone would be thrilled to get this little goodie the moment they touched it. (My color’s not great–the green’s close & the blue is somewhere between what you see & what the Webs site shows. But they’re all pretty.)

If you’ve never double-knit, this is an easy introduction. You’ll knit every other stitch and slip the alternate stitches with the yarn in front. In effect, what happens is that you’re knitting one side of doubled fabric at a time, using every other stitch in your working side (the yif slipped stitches keep the opposite side’s work out of the way untiel you flip it). You end up with a tube that’s seamed at the bottom, so the result is almost like knitting in the round. But it stays flat. I’m sure there’s a reason, but I don’t know it.

Yarn

1 ball Debbile Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky (55% merino, 33% microfiber 12% cashmere, 100g/83yd) Webs Closeout (or you can buy the current colors for about $15 ball)

Needles

US 11 dpns
yarn needle

Instructions:

CO 18.

Every row: *K1, move yarn to front, Sl 1, move yarn back.

Continue until you’ve got about 18″ of yarn left, then split the stitches between 2 dpns, alternating every other stitch between the 2 needles. Seam the open end with kitchener stitch. (If you’re afraid of kitchener stitch, you can K2tog, *K2tog, BO across the whole row, but it’s a stiffer end.

Yarn!

About a week ago, when I finally got paid, I went on a little bit of a yarn bender. It was kind of ugly, really. I could’ve bought another full mattress set with what I spent on yarn (which sounds like a stupid point of reference, except that we bought 14 beds this weekend). Anyway, I’ve already run through guilt, remorse, shame, self-recrimination & acceptance. And then I got my yarn, hurrah! Well, I got some of it. The Webs stuff is still in transit.

From KnitPicks. This shows the best color accuracy.

That includes 2 skeins of the clearance ($2.99/skein) Sock Garden 100% merino sock yarn in Hydrangea, for my imaginary socks (try as I might, I couldn’t get the color right. It’s more saturated & purplier):

2 hanks of the clearance  ($2.99/skein) Sock Memories 100% merino sock yarn in Carnival (in real life, darker, bluer), for my other pair of imaginary socks:

It stripes thusly, sockwise:

6 skeins the clearance (also $2.99/skein) Sock Garden 100% merino in Zinnia (not as retina-burning as here), for either imaginary knee socks or maybe an imaginary pullover vest or something? Maybe a cute striped too-short punk vest to wear over a white button shirt with tails and kinderwhore skirt? For when I lose 20 pounds and am not ashamed to show my tremendous grapefruit skin thighs? (By the way, no one ever lost weight eating doughnuts and 90% off Easter chocolate from Target, especially when that chocolate is a giant chocolate egg with a marshmallow peep inside. I know this, and yet…)

It stripes like this in sock form:

And then 3 skeins of various weights of the dye-it-yourself stuff:

The hanks were pleasingly fat, and the yarn’s soft, classic yarn. Nothing mindblowing, but perfectly nice & suitable for next-to-the-skin use. I might get a bunch of this for the workshop, for practice yarn. It’s $3.99/100g.

So that’s knitpicks. But that’s not all!

I got some teeny (really teeny, like 14-31yds each) little skeins of handspun pure angora on ebay. There should be enough to make someting tiny and striped. I don’t know what yet, maybe some little cuffs or a little fuzzy choker or headband. It’s nice because it’s pretty chunky (3 worsted, 1 sport) for angora, and there are a few lovely, alarming, irregular tufts of fur in the mix.

The last was also an ebay package.

I originally went in for the Briggs & Little, this total grandma wool yarn that I really like. It’s kind of greasy/scratchy, but warms to your touch & becomes very pleasing to knit, then washes up all lofty & nice. It’s very no-nonsense & unfancy, which makes me unaccountably happy. They’re also cheap and come in big, fat 4oz hanks.

They were cheap ($1.99ea), & I bid one one before I realized she was in Canada & shipping would counteract the cheapness factor (which was stupid not to realize, because B&L is Canadian). So I thought it in my best interest to maximize my order. So I got 3 skeins each of the pink, brown & navy, then added 2 skeins of supersaturated colored silk ($6.75/100g), in true red (below) & brick. I am well pleased with the colors. Assuming it knits up like I hope, I’m expecting to make a summer tank of it, maybe red in front & brick in back, or red on top & brick on bottom?

and then a hank of undyed silk, with a mind to dying it. The undyed had a looser texture, sort of a silk version of Henry’s Attic Inca Cotton? Ron said it looked like rag mop, which it does, but I still like it. It was $4.99/100g.

Last is a silk/viscose blend strung with little tiny fake pearls.

This is the only one I don’t know whether I like yet. It’s not as shiny as it looks here, and the little pearls are kind of cheesy. But it might knit up nice. Or if I could dye it and get it blacker, I think I’d be happy about it.