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Jan 21, 2018

Close Call

As a fiber fanatic of the first order, I had a close call this week.

A friend contacted me with a nearly irresistible opportunity. A friend of hers had discovered 30 or more skeins of yarn that had belonged to her mother. The friend knew I was a knitter, so if I was interested, I could have it all, no strings attached.

This was a truly generous offer, and as an added bonus, the yarn appeared to be wool and featured some of my favorite colors.



Frankly, the timing couldn't have been better. I'd just reorganized my stash cupboards (more on that another day) and wouldn't you know it? The reorg was so effective, I had plenty of empty containers and clear shelf space ready for an infusion of new yarn. 




Need I say it? The temptation was strong, because much like nature, stash cupboards abhor a vacuum.


Luckily, a glimmer of common sense began to break through the heady prospect of fresh yarn. Some rather intensive sleuthing revealed several important facts. Produced in Sweden, the yarn was indeed 100% wool with a tight twist and sturdy but prickly hand. It was spun as rug yarn and designed for weaving or tapestry work, not hand knitting.

In the end, it was indeed a close call - as makers, fiber in all its forms can be so very tantalizing - but this yarn will soon find a good home with someone who will relish its rugged qualities and help it find its proper destiny.


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Jan 14, 2018

Is This the One?

It's difficult to believe, but over the course of the past year, I've worked more than 25 swatches in an effort to find The Right Stitch for an afghan design that's been rattling around in my head and portfolio for several years. 


We all know I'm not a flashy knitter, but I can be a bit finicky. For this design, I wanted a stitch that created a fabric that was attractive on both sides (of course!). Something that offered a bit of texture and handled color well, but was still easy to work (naturally). Something that looked good in a wide range of yarn weights from sport to bulky. (Not all stitches handle such variances well.) 

Several times, I thought I'd found The One, but on further experimentation realized it wasn't quite right. I've shared a few of these with you in the past.



For a time, I was particularly enamored with the syncopated effect produced by this stitch combo.

In the end, it wasn't the best match for this project, but it will eventually find its way into another.

To date, I've knit way more than 200 yards in pursuit of that elusive creature, The Right Stitch, and it's possible I've finally landed on one that could work. The right side is attractive ...



and the back is, too.




Is this the one? Let me know what you think.



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Jan 7, 2018

FO | Nearly Neutral Kintra Cowl-Scarf

Clearly, it's impossible to have too many handknits this winter. There's snow on the ground, more is on the way, and it's so cold here, we've been breaking temperature records (some of which date back to the 1800s) almost daily.
Between the frigid temps and my vow to make better use of the many shrine-of-precious yarns that reside in my stash, I've been diligently transforming sumptuous skeins into cowls, scarves or a mix of both (cowl-scarf).


At the same time, I've been striving to create pieces that coordinate with my favorite fingerless mitts in order to build coordinating sets.


Last week, therefore, I focused on finishing this cowl. It features a five-stage gradient, so colorwise, it mimics the mitts on a grander scale:
  • Section 1: Black
  • Section 2: Black and grey
  • Section 3: Grey
  • Section 4: Grey and cream
  • Section 5: Cream
I know all-enveloping scarves and cowls are the trend, but I prefer a narrow profile, which for me is less overwhelming and more versatile. Much like the Colsie cowl, I chose to work this flat with small buttonholes so it can be worn closed like a cowl, open like a scarf, or twisted and draped in different configurations. 


Kintra Reversible Cowl / Scarf
Pattern: In development
Yarn: Tajmahal (Filatura Cervinia & GGH), Charlemont (Valley Yarns)
Needles: US 8 (5 mm)
Yardage: ~400 yards
Dimensions: 4 x 45 ins

This blend of superfine merino, silk and cashmere is delightfully soft, knits up beautifully, and looks good even in its unblocked state, as it is here. The reversible rounded rib is plush and stretchy, and the finished fabric offers the perfect balance of warmth without excessive weight. Plus, the neutral shades blend seamlessly with my equally neutral wardrobe, while the small band of red adds a welcome spark of color.
In other words, I'm so enamored with this cowl right now, I'm ready to make another. All I need to do is spend some quality time with my stash, choose the right yarn and cast on.


Looking for the Kintra Cowl pattern? It's in development and will soon be ready to send to the tech editor.


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