All this time without a post, and I don't even have my own knitting up - what is the world coming to? The link between the object, clean surface, light, camera, battery, cable, laptop, battery, upload, blog is a long and perilous journey. Kim does not have a blog, but is an active member of the knittyboard (pumpkinseed aka pumpkim). I feel it is cruel to not share her gorgeous self-designed aran with the larger community, so finally the stars aligned and she brought her aran and I brought my camera on the same knitting night at Borealis. And then the stars aligned further, and camera / cable / etc. all came together and produced this blog post.
Huh, it actually looks better than life in the photo. Knit in Araucania Nature Wool on size 8 needles. It was very wide, almost 7". And the purled bonds were blending into one large sea of reverse stockinette. The fabric was also stiffer than I wanted. I could have gone up to size 9 needles, but it was already wider than I wanted. At that point, I bailed and went for the Twisted Sister's Jazz. Thought I should document it for my growing DNA yarn substitution infopost.
I get about 20-30 hits a day from searches (the background level when life takes over from blogging). I am always curious to see what people are searching for, and whether they have a hope of actually finding it here. Sometimes I know the answer, but it is not in the blog, and there is no way to communicate the knowledge. I could write a new entry with the information, but there is very little chance of the person finding it. That's just not how things work.
There was a person searching for yarn substitutions for the DNA scarf today. It is too bad that they didn't wait a day, since I've found my favorite yarn yet. My first scarf, the Plymouth Baby Alpaca, didn't have enough stitch definition - it was warm with beautiful drape, but the cables were mushy. The second one in Silky Wool had incredible stitch definition, but was too light to make a good scarf. Jamieson's DKdidn't work at all - the cables didn't pop. My swatch in Araucania Nature Wool was also abandoned - I think it would have worked if I had gone up in needle size (from an 8 to a 9) to give the cable elements enough room, but then the scarf would have been too wide.
But the Twisted Sisters Jazz 100% merino in Argent! Heaven! And knitting on 7s gave the perfect size. Soft, drape, warm, beautiful cables. I did four repeats on both sides and extended the ribbing section a bit to display the panels better. I've finally figured out that the pattern, which calls for five repeats, is too long unless you are 6'4" and wear greatcoats. The scarf took two skeins (167 yds each) and had a couple yards left over.
Further news on the DNA knitting front? I think the Classic Elite Yarns Miracle (50% Alpaca, 50% Tencel, #6 needles) comes very close to the original yarn used in the pattern, from Haneke Exotics (25% alpaca, 25% merino, 50% Tencel). So soft and shiny, I could pet it all night long. I'm thinking a DNA cabled hat.
I just found out that the DNA scarf won first place at the state fair. Wow. I really have to credit the designer, June Oshiro, though. She designed an extremely elegant scarf, which she was generous enough to share freely with the knitting and scientific community.
The lighting on the finished scarf wasn't the best, so I'm re-running the photo with the best lighting - you get the idea.
This has to be the project that was hanging out on the sidebar the longest. Even more painful than weaving in the infinite ends for the St. John's Cross scarf was the change in gauge while knitting this. My knitting got a lot looser on the second side - probably a good thing in the abstract, but horrible for the project. It was about 10% wider and 15% longer, which looked horrible with the cables. It was so bad that I didn't think blocking would help, so I avoided it. But the blocking - it is like magic! I stretched the shorter side out, and made sure not to stretch the larger size at all, and came up with good results.
Now, to deal with the cat hair; love the silky wool, but it is a magnet for cat hair.
The ends need to be woven in, and it needs to join the "to be blocked" queue. I hope that I can get the stockinette to stop curling. I should have done the cables over garter, but at the time I didn't know that was possible.
I'm not really pleased with the way this turned out. I thought the colors would complement the knitting, sort of a celtic look, but instead it just looks very 70s. I've been assured that someone will love it; I will see how it blocks before deciding whether it is worth donating. Also, using the left-over yarn, about 2.5 balls, to make a hat might make this better.
All work and no play and all that... too tired for a proper post, so here is the charity scarf as it stood at 2:30 pm Sunday. No energy to lay it out, photograph, upload, etc. It is now 8 rows of garter stitch away from binding off, where it has been stalled for the past 24 hours.
I've also re-felted the giant humongoid kitty pi bed, and am hoping that the sides don't end up as wrinkly as last time. I might have tried too many decreases on the sides to get them to stand up, or I just might not have a felting form that is large enough. It is over the 12" pot surrounded by two layers of towels, which doesn't stretch it quite as much as I would like.
I bound off two projects at the Tuesday group knitting at Borealis Yarns. First off the needles was the DNA scarf in silky wool. It really needs to be blocked; as I've become a faster knitter, my stitches have loosened up some. This is probably good overall, since I was knitting at about 75% of recommended gauge before. But blocking had better fix this, or I will cry and cry after all the time I've put into this; I probably should have switched down to a #5 on the second panel. I've woven in the ends, so now I just need to acquire a checkered tablecloth to put over the cardboard to have a guide to block to. I have 100 blocking pins, so hopefully that will be enough.
This is what I've been working on today -- a cable pattern from Elsebeth Lavold's Viking book, worked in a different color. This is charity knitting, where the scarves will be photographed end-to-end before donation to highlight the problem of homelessness in America. The St. John's Cross is also a symbol for happiness, which seems like a good thing to incorporate. It was a personal challenge to see if I could 1) follow Lavold's patterns at all and 2) do them in a different color. This was also my first attempt at two-color knitting, so I think it went pretty well. Now that I know the trick, I am tempted to try it on the DNA cables. It has also inspired some ideas for the baby knitting (more on that later).
I miscrossed a side mini-cable over an early morning beverage at the local coffee shop. Of course, once I had started, the obsessive cabling desire took over. I originally wanted to get half-way down the side of the scarf, but continued on to complete the repeat. So 1.75 repeats done today, which means two repeats are left.
The new skill of laddering down and re-knitting is wonderful. I've fixed one main cable cross and three miscrossed minicables. The minicables are reversed in direction going down the scarf, so it is easy to miscross even when paying attention. (I also failed to fix the edge of the seed stitch border, and had to cry uncle for that part). So even though this is like comfort knitting -- I really like the cables and I have the pattern memorized -- I'm still learning from it.