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July 17, 2007

Thanks to Melanie’s beautiful posting last week, I have a nice backlog of stuff to catch up on here.
I finished the ‘Ylva’ shell from Elsebeth Lavold’s Second Viking Knits collection.

I am really happy with how it looks and fits. Her designs are always so simple and elegant. I shortened it about 2 inches, as I find she likes a longer length than I like, and I am very happy I did that. I also knitted this yarn at a tighter gauge than she recommends. I actually knitted it on size 3 needles at something like 6 spi, because I got a fabric that felt substantial enough to wear decently. As a result, it’s probably not as light and airy as intended, but it doesn’t sag or gap.

The label says this yarn is machine washable, so I turned it inside out and washed it in a mesh bag to block it. My conclusion is that I DON’T recommend machine washing this yarn. It shed. Not terribly, but enough that I had to brush off little fuzzy poofs when I laid it out. I am not sure what component of the yarn was shedding off, but I will handle it gently from now on.

I didn’t find any errors in the pattern for the size I knitted (because I was going down significantly on the gauge I knitted the 38 inch size).

Casting about for what my next project will be, since I only have the afghan on the needles now, I swatched a bit. These are two swatches for the scalloped jacket on the cover of Lace Style.

The yarn on the left is Elann Sierra Aran (wool and alpaca), and the yarn on the right is something obscure and discontinued called ‘Handsome Harry’s Hanks’ which I won in a contest on Wendy’s blog a few years ago. The two swatches couldn’t have been more different. The Elann yarn was soft and drapey with a little shine. The Harry’s Hanks yarn is very lightweight, totally matte-finish, and no drape whatsoever. It’s also a two-ply with a very bold twist. I decided it just didn’t lend itself to this pattern although it would probably make a really great cardigan if I found the right pattern. The Sierra Aran would probably work very well in the pattern. I was about to start that when I fell down the Bee Shawl rabbithole. I will be starting that later this week, like approximately a million other knitters…

I also had thoughts, before the Bee shawl mugged me, of doing something with the tussah silk I spun last June. I swatched a little on size 4 needles.

I was getting about 6.5 stitches and 8 rows per inch, and the fabric was nice, it could also go to 7 spi I think without becoming stiff. I have about 1300 yards of it (14 ounces) and no idea what to do with it, although I have a couple of ideas. It wants to be a sweater with some drape. What do you think?

On the spinning front, I spun and plyed a pretty carded batt that I bought from Winderwood Farm on eBay. It is bluefaced leicester, merino, silk, and angora, I could not resist that combination.
I am not an expert in drumcarded batts, so I was surprised when I unrolled it to see the underside.

The outside was sort of magenta and wine, and I am sure it was the angora. The underneath side was purple and yellow, and I’m sure that was the merino and BFL. The silk was a smattering of strands of white throughout.

Spun up, it wasn’t as soft as I expected, and I really really don’t think I managed the colors well, although I am not sure what else I could have done. I stripped the batt lengthwise and spun it so that I would end up with about a DK weight 2 ply that was a bit lofty. It was easy and fun to spin, but I feel like the yarn I got is rather, well, ugly.

It is about 165 yards and 2.5 ounces, and I have no idea what to do with it. I tried to soften it and fuzz it a little by whacking it on the side of my house while it was wet, I am not sure that made any difference other than to leave some tufts of angora stuck to the bricks. Maybe it will end up a Dulaan hat next year or something. Sigh.

The most fun thing that happened is that – well, let me back up. Remember this? Six grams of fine-spun cashmere that became a hopeless tangle when I tried to ply them? Well, our own Jan saw a challenge in that photo. Both she and Sam love to untangle messes like that (I have no idea why) and she asked me to send her my lump of cashmere for a rescue attempt. I figured this was the kind of insanity that didn’t harm others, so I indulged her. She sent me a little photo essay of her work.

What I got in the mail from her was:


My cashmere (which turned out to be 94 yards – imagine that, 6 grams and 94 yards!), and some lovely silk/wool to ply with it. Wow! Thank you Jan!

Now to figure out how to ply off of a toilet paper roll!

15 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2007 11:57 am

    I don’t think your magenta yarn is ugly! I think it’s BEAUTIFUL! I love the colour combination of the soft reddish purple with the flecks of yellow. And I love the look of the ply too! I think it’s great.
    Also, that cashmere and silk combination is going to be delicious!

  2. July 17, 2007 12:10 pm

    Wow! I can’t beleive anyone has the patience to untangle yarn like that. What a nice friend.

  3. July 17, 2007 1:39 pm

    More beauty!!
    That shell fits you…well, like it was made/designed for you!
    I am ALWAYS amazed at your ability to do such beautiful work….and you can wear it TOO!
    Happy Days

  4. July 17, 2007 5:40 pm

    Ylva is lovely – must add her to my to-knit list.
    Jan is a sweetheart to unwind your tangles and provide a plying yarn!
    (I like your burgundy/yellow yarn)

  5. July 17, 2007 7:35 pm

    Wowza, I wish I had your gift for knitting things that fit to a T. Ylva is lovely! Everything about it is so perfect.
    I have also been sucked into the Bee Shawl vortex but I won’t start until MS3 is done.
    The yarn from the bat should knit up with a nice tweed effect – you might be surprised and really like it.
    Jan, I admire your patience and perseverance, and your gift wrapping too.

  6. July 17, 2007 11:55 pm

    That Jan.
    As always, beautiful things to show us! I agree with Mel – I think you’ll like that yarn much better once it’s knit up. How about a loose-fitting basic rib neck gaitor?
    Congrats on the FO!

  7. July 18, 2007 1:39 am

    I love that shell! It is very flattering.

  8. Jan permalink
    July 18, 2007 1:38 pm

    Ylva is beautiful. It looks smashing on you! I love what you saw in the pattern and then made happen. The tussah swatch has so much going for it–texture, hand, and sheen. With all that yardage, you should get something very nice to wear. Your berry-heather yarn will make something cozy, warm, and pretty.
    Thanks for the compliments on the untangling. Truth is, it was pretty easy. Our Prudence has a saintly endowment in anger management and gentle fiber handling skills. There was not a single loop yanked into a knot! I ply off tp rolls by dropping them into mixing bowls on the floor, and letting them bounce around inside the bowl as they feed. I set the bowls wide apart to deter any volunteer efforts from the singles to ply behind my feeding hand. I ply the little stuff verr-r-r-ry slow (dreamy music helps). Whatever you do will end up beautiful!

  9. July 19, 2007 8:17 pm

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

  10. July 19, 2007 10:31 pm

    Ylva looks lovely! Looks like a good fit.

  11. July 20, 2007 12:45 am

    The shell is gorgeous and you look amazing in it!
    What a sweetie Jan is. šŸ™‚

  12. Diane permalink
    July 20, 2007 10:18 pm

    Put that handspun yarn you said was ugly away for a awhile–archive it. And then look at it a year from now. It won’t look ugly, it will look beautiful, because it IS!

  13. July 21, 2007 2:07 am

    Ylva is very pretty! And I like your new cat.

  14. June permalink
    July 21, 2007 8:03 pm

    What wonderful knitting and spinning you do!! Love it all, Caroline!! šŸ™‚

  15. July 22, 2007 11:02 am

    the shell is gorgeous.
    i love the colors of your handspun.
    jan’s gift is priceless šŸ™‚

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