Cool Vest or Hot Mess?

Back on track. Have been very busy for a while and unable to really write this blog correctly. I’m back now for a few months (my work cycle is very cyclic . . .) and have lots of time to knit.

As I’ve said before, I’m really not a collector of anything, so not a stash person. I like knitting a project from beginning to end. For me it’s about the interplay of the colors and textures on the needles; uncommitted balls of yarn look kind of lifeless IMO. But, despite my spartan outlook, yes, I have amassed bits and pieces from previous projects. These were bothering me as they were on the verge of  assuming “stash” status, thus ruining my stash-free reputation. Over the new year’s holiday, I got a great idea. I dumped all the bits out onto a shelf, and culled out anything not at least 80% wool, anything too bulky or lace weight, and any very bright colors or black. Then I sorted the yarn into color groupings: blue/grey, green/blue-green, brown/rust/tan, cream (no bright white), and Noro ends with red and black removed. I lined them up and first cut them into 4 metre lengths and then tied these together with square knots, moving in order from group to group and then repeating. I plan to let those ends show in a regular pattern on the front of the work. The resulting yarn is one that I like very much. Reminds me of the sophisticated striping motifs used by Missoni. but also has a bit of the raggity look of used sari yarn. 

The un-stash

 

Enjoined Yarn

Ends Swatch

 Swatch Close-up

Interesting side note: Livejournal diva/sage sleepsong noticed fron this pic that I had been purling the wrong way, causing a twist in each stitch. I am so grateful. I might have gone on forever screwing up project after project in ignorant bliss! I spent all yesterday doing purl swatches to get the right way into my fingers. It is amazing how much better my knitting looks now! (Duh!)

Thinking of making a sweater vest for me out of this glorious ragtag yarn. Can see it really popping with a brown turtle-neck! Here’s the thing: the last few sweater vests I’ve made,  I’ve thought that the Noro or other striped yarns I like have not offered a flattering horizontal stripe across my body. Anyone relate to that? So, I’d like to do a sweater knit from side-to-side to make my new yarn stripe vertically. Subequent to writing  this I have decide on the Bold Zebra pattern from Guy Knits , done in the vest design from Knitting with Balls. It really allows a striping effect of alternating yarns that I really like while still emphasizing the vertical up and down lines without being knit side-to side. I think this will be a cool vest.

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New Inspirations

This summer was a big lift for me, knitting-wise. I really speeded up my knitting, making it much more fun. I discovered that while cotton and I will not be soulmates, we can at least be friends. I learned alot more about new techniques and EZ’s various projects. Worked diligently through three (count em!) three different  wool and sizes of baby Surprise Jackets. Currently, making the EZ Snail Hat to match one of them.

Lil Skunk Toddler Surprise Jacket

Lil Skunk Toddler Surprise Jacket

I’ve begun a vest in Silk Garden yarn to rev up my attempt to do the Knee-length Coat in Silk Garden. I’m concerned about the seaming . . . but, happily, I have a lot of support from Alana and the gang at the NeverNotKnitting fan forum on Ravelry. Just between you and me, I don’t know if i would go for it if they weren’t there to support me. It’s been a very helpful group so far, knowledgable and friendly. But then, that seems to be the rule with knitters, not sure why . . . 

Mango Lace

Mango Lace

The Sunset Picnic lace yarn Series

The Sunset Picnic lace yarn Series

Got two great samplers of lace yarns from Knit Picks, one in blues and greens, one in reds and salmons. Both rich and sophisticated palates. First thing I had to de-skein all of them and came up with a good system for these really fine-easily tangled yarns. After balling them on my yarn-baller, I get a fine plastic mesh food strainer bag (we use them in the drains of Japanese sinks), pull the bottom through the center of the yarnball and wrap the rest around the ball. Keeps the yarn from tangling/falling apart but allows it to feed to the work. Good system for me! I’ve started Miriam Felton’s Seraphim Shawl in the red series and am planning to use a bit of all the red/salmon yarns in the shawl. The series goes like this: Shadow (100% merino) Sunset Heather, shading into Gloss Lace (70% merino, 30% silk) Chipotle, shading into Shadow Hot Rod, shading into Alpaca Cloud (100% baby alpaca) Papaya, shading into Shimmer (70% baby alpaca, 30% silk) Sunkissed, shading into Gloss Lace Mango. Have also started the same shawl in Filatura di Crosa mohair fingering weight #3001, an opalescent blue-grey shading into lavenders and pale pinks. Why two? Well, this lace knitting is some fine and tedious shit. Even with sharp Addi Turbos, each stitch is hard to see and pick up, easy to split and will take beyond my life expectancy to complete. When I cast on the same thing in my favorite yarn, even though it is mohair and I know lots of people have issues with that, I had doubled what I did with the other within twenty minutes. Encouraging! So, I will continue with this lace spiderwebby stuff as practice but will actually get a shawl in reasonable time out of my workhorse fingering yarn. That works for me.

Yarn Score!

Grades finished and turned in! Summer here with a vengeance! Nothing to do for two months but suck popsicles and knit! Heaven!

Now, like many a knitter before me has immoderately professed, I love nice yarn. However, I am not a yarn snob at all. In deed, I am a big fan of acrylic blends and even fun fur (in moderation, of course). Soooo, not wanting to spend much money on undesignated or vaguely-conceived projects, and not much wanting to build up much of a stash, I regularly cruise the recycle shops for hand-knitted sweaters that deserve a new lease on life via recyled yarn. Last week, bingo! Creamy clean white wool (60%) with acrylic (40%) —just enough to give it a bit of shine, bulky, nubby. Huge! (No one in my house is anything like huge . . . if anything, we’re all kind of skinny . . .) Lots of yarn for charity blanket knitting. Also, seams were not serged, so froggable. Snap! Perfect.

I should say that it is now 36 degrees C (97 F) here in Yokohama so this unloved treasure was in the “Free” bin.  Can’t beat that. I should say that this sweater was really knit quite beautifully with very intricate cabling, but as mentioned, huge, and also with a super-ugly immense cowl neck that screamed “I knit this in 1984!”  The effect is “Kilroy was here”—eyes and nose peeking over a large wool wall. Flattering to whom? No one could have worn this without invoking severe fashion police penalties. Do the world a favor and get thee to The Frogpond!

So, I did. Ummm . . should have photographed the sweater before ripping. But, alas, forgot. Remembered after snipping all seams. At least you can see the nicely knitted pieces pre-froggery: 

PreFrogged unseamed

PreFrogged unseamed

Hauled out the ball winder and vacuum cleaner (lots of little snips and threads!) and spent a pleasant thirty minutes making like Kermit. The result:

Loot of the Yarn Varlot

Loot of the Yarn Varlot

Were thirty minutes ever more well-spent? Thousands of yen worth of yarn for free. Not to mention the hours of knitting pleasure.