Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Summer knitting

I have recently been surprised to discover something about myself and knitting: I knit more in the summer than the winter. This is the opposite of many knitters I know. Now I will admit that my summer knitting is not heavy wool, and I have had no desire to pick up the unfinished wool sweater over these last two months. But I have done quite a bit of knitting, and have found that it is comfortable for me to do so. I have had many pleasant mornings on my front porch knitting a few rows or our recent very hot afternoons, in my air conditioned living room.

Last Friday I started a new lace project: Mystery Shawl #3. Never mind I never finished #2. I will get to that eventually. I decided to start on this one and try and use the weekly release of the clues to keep me motivated to finish this shawl. I have better luck that way, as is proved by the unfinished second shawl. So from now under the end of Aug I will be counting stitches, probably frogging stitches and then expectantly blocking this lovely lacework. That's when the true mystery of the lace is revealed. There is nothing like stretching that large scrunched up lace into a beautiful lacy wonder.

A few statistics and a picture of the completed first clue:

Yarn: Peruvian Collection Baby Cashmere from Knit Picks 60% alpaca, 30% merino and 10% cashmere in color slate.

Needles: Addi circular in size 3.0 mm

Now on to the completed project: The Sweater Everyone Hates But Me

I decided back on mother's day, when at a local yarn store with my daughter that I wanted to knit something fast and for me. I fell in love with one of their shop displays of a sleeveless top knitted in a deep black chunky yarn. They could not really say 'use this pattern' though for the display, so I had my daughter, who is better at the designing on the needle thing, take a good long look at it. Then I took a wild guess as to the amount of yarn I need, and made the purchase. I had two reasons to want this top, it would be a fast knit, and it would be in a deep black. I have never knit myself something to wear in black yet, because it is such a hard color to knit with, especially pattern work. The yarn was very textural so I knew if I just did a stockinette or garter stitch, I would have achieved lots of texture, with no pattern knitting. Couple that with the fast knit concept and it seemed a very good thing to me.

So I was sold on the idea from the beginning.

After I got the yarn home, I started going through my vast knitting library for a possible pattern. I about gave up hope and figured I would have to design on the fly, until I finally hit a possibility. In Sally Melville's second book The Purl Stitch I found a design for a sleeveless top done in a chunky yarn. Bingo! I did a swatch, found my choice of needles to be too large, and so ripped it out and went down two sizes to a size 8 needle and hit the gauge of the project exactly.

I was ready to knit.

OK there is a fast knit, and there is 'fast knit'. I am not sure how I thought I could knit a tank top in one weekend. It just doesn't happen like that for me like some knitters. In short my fast knit took five weeks to knit. Really, that's fast for me!

Here's some details: Yarn: Ironstone Yarns Island Cotton 69% cotton, 31% rayon.

Needles: plain old metal straight needles from my stash, size 8.

And a picture of the finished top:

Why do I say that everyone hates it but me? Quick, as a knitter, what is your first response to super bulky cotton yarn?
If you said: Isn't it too heavy, isn't it too hot? you answered just as has every other knitter that saw me knitting on this project. The only exception is my non knitting hubby, who only said, hmmm. He was probably thinking it would be too heavy and too hot, but knew if he said so, I'd end up in a bad mood all weekend.
And my answer is yes, it is heavy, but really in a sort of curl up into something soft and nice sort of way. It probably will be much too hot to wear in 90 degree 98% humidity type summer day. But there's tons of other times that it will work great, air conditioned environments, spring and fall type days, and even gasp, winter, under a jacket.
In short, I truly do like the way it feels on me, and it was a blast to knit. The yarn had a very different hand to it than normal cotton. So often when one knits with a cotton yarn it feels hard and square, like crochet cotton. This felt like a bulky spun wool, only with a solidness that wool will not ever achieve.
And it's black. It looks dressy with white slacks but probably will look good with jeans too. I loved the pattern so much, that I will be watching for a non cotton dressy type yarn to make another one.