Shut-in Knitting

A couple of weeks ago, the DFW area was hit with an ice storm. Being Texas who only experience ice every few years, we were dreadfully unprepared. Roads were terrible and everyone got stranded at home. It took about 3 days for another city to send us trucks to use to clear the roads. My power at my house went out and, when I attempted to go to work in the morning, my car got stuck on the ice one street from my house. My dad and brother-in-law came and rescued me and took me and the dog to my parents house to stay until my power returned. It took about 24 hours to get repaired and, even then, my heater still wasn’t working.

The result was spending 2 days at my parents’ house, along with my two nephews (ages 6 and 10) and my 13 year old niece (who is pretty awesome for her age, I think). I had, of course, packed copious amounts of knitting.

My ice storm cast-on’s were…

The Honey Cowl in Miss Babs Northumbria DK. The color is Jack’s Frost. This was the November Knitcrate yarn and I adore it. The pattern is simple and easy and makes a really nice texture.

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I also did the unthinkable and cast on (gasp) a sock! I’m decidedly not a sock knitter but the handspun yarn I had from Micki inspired me to try. Since I was not at home, and my mom doesn’t have a swift, I had to have my mother hold the hank of yarn while I wound 450 yards (give or take) by hand. The result was that I got to cast on and knit a fair amount of a sock.

photo 3My favorite part of the weekend was that my 6 year old nephew (who is normally a very active and wild little boy) saw me knitting and said “I could do that”. After a brief lesson, we had him knitting away on a his own little project. He did fairly well with it. He doesn’t quite have the dexterity to pull the yarn through and slip the old stitch off like he needs to, but he figured out that he could just lift the old stitch over and off by hand. I was incredibly proud, even if it meant that I had to stop my own knitting to cast on and off for him every so often. He knit “bracelets” for everyone in the room.

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Finished: Canyon Breeze Cowl

I finished my moebius cowl from the first month of the Mountain Colors Yarn Club from Paradise Fibers. The pattern was called Canyon Breeze, but I can’t find it on Ravelry so I don’t have a link for you. The yarn is Mountain Colors Monarch in Harmony Aspen. The cowl had a faux-cable pattern which I’m almost certain I did wrong but the result was fine. I didn’t understand the whole “skip two stitches, knit into the 3rd stitch” part. I was knitting into the front of that stitch instead of knitting normally but that’s ok. I also had to learn the kitchener stitch and provisional cast on for this project.

I will be giving this to my boss, because she loves blue.

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Pleasantly Surprised

So I signed up for yet another yarn club. This one is from Paradise Fibers (a site I have been going to to ogle the spinning wheels) and is a monthly shipment of Mountain Colors yarn. Now, I had never even seen or touched a skein of Mountain Colors when I signed up so I had no idea what to expect. When the first shipment came in yesterday, I was very pleasantly surprised. The yarn, Mountain Colors Monarch in Aspen (I think), is beautiful and so very soft. One thing I like about this yarn club over Yarnbox is that they include a pattern that actually goes with the yarn they sent (makes perfect sense to me). Also, if you finish the project by the next shipment, you get $10 off the next month. If you finish after, you still get $5. The pattern they included is a faux-cable cowl that I actually like. The yarn is worsted weight and the cowl is done on US10 needles, so I could probably get it done in time. They also threw in a digital row counter for your finger, which is neat because I don’t have one of those.

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Back in The Stash!

After multiple attempts to make something legitimate out of this Blue Heron yarn… I have given up and banished it back to the stash.

Here’s what went wrong:

1. The Tag – The yarn is from a small company that uses one generic tag for all their yarns. It lists the possible yarns with yardage. The option selected on my tag said “Silk/Rayon Twist – 350 Yards”. Ravelry told me that this was an Aran weight yarn. I ignored the fact that this seemed lighter than an Aran, but I’ve never been skilled at guessing yarn weight. I also ignored that, when I was rolling it, there seemed to be more than 350 yards.

After much more research, I finally found a photo of this supposed Silk/Rayon Twist. It was definitely not what I had…

2. The First Pattern – During my brief delusion that I was dealing with an Aran weight yarn, I pursued a few patterns for Arans and cast on a scarf on US 7 needles. It looked like fishnet… I sized all the way down to US4 needles and was finally able to get a little stitch definition and a solid fabric. I struggled with the pattern for awhile and finally decided it wasn’t intended for such a silky, shiny yarn. You couldn’t see the details well.

I frogged it. 

3. The Real Yarn – So I finally browsed the manufactures website (which leaves much to be desired), plus Ravelry, and was able to venture a pretty good guess that I actually had Softwist Rayon yarn, which Ravelry touts as a DK. It comes in skeins of 525 yards, which sounded more fitting to my ball winding time. 

4. The Next Search – I began to search for patterns that would work for anything from fingering weight to DK, but specifically those that were intended for rayon, hoping to avoid the issue with the first pattern. I found a pattern for a gorgeous cowl.

5. The Cowl- I cast on the cowl with US 5 needles, as the pattern requested. It still came out very lose with little to no stitch definition. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of lace knitting and all, but that wasn’t my intention for this at all. 

I frogged the meager cowl start.

6.Another pattern- I don’t even remember what this was meant to be. A scarf? I think. All I remember is I specifically bought US5 straight needles to knit it. It was crappy. 

It was frogged.

6. Let’s make s**t up! –Exhausted with all my previous attempts, I pulled out some size US 4 needles (which I had determined to be the best size for this yarn), cast on some random number of stitches until it looked vaguely scarf width, and decided to do a stockinette scarf with a small garter stitch border. After only a row or two, I decided the 4’s were too big still.

A little frogging was don.

I yanked the US3’s out of another project and tried again. After an inch of garter stitch, it still didn’t look like what I wanted at all.

Finally, I ripped the damn needles out, frogged the whole mess, and this stupid, silky, shiny, beautiful, impossible to use, expensive, wonderful, horrible yarn was banished into the back of stash closet. 

I do not want to see it again until it can come back out and behave like upstanding yarn.