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Monday, August 22, 2011

Time for a Time Out ( A knitting post)

That green lace scarf? It's in time out. Baaaad Scarf. Baaaad. In fact - it was so bad when I finally took a photo of it (in the time out chair) it swelled itself up to something hideous like ... oh. 12 MPs. Too big to even post here. Granted. Mercury has been retrograde for a few weeks but this is ridiculous. I have knitted and tinked that scarf so many times that had I been able to move straight forward on it, it would now be done! That a 6 stitch, 8 row pattern repeat can be this impossible for me to fathom is embarrassing - and so - true to my human nature, I'm looking around to find someplace to lay the blame. I shall blame the stars - and perhaps a bratty ball of yarn.. It is not playing nicely so I have sent it home to think about things. We shall knit again ... later.

But to be perfectly honest - I knew the moment I saw the photo of that stitch pattern it would be hard for me to 'read' so I really ought to have chosen something else to make at a time when I needed relaxing mindless knitting. Mea culpa.

So. It is time for something more soothing - something a little less thought provoking - something soft and easy and fast. Not socks. I want to knit for me, though yes. I see that Christmas is a scant 4 months and 3 days away and it shan't be long before I have to make my #2 needles smoke. But first I want to make something pleasant and lovely and easy, just for TheQueen.

In my stash is this beloved alpaca, purchased at the last Baltimore Stitches, what? Three years ago? Four? Anyway - I remember spotting it by a huge bin full of discounted bags of yarn. There were several very watercolor-ey colorways but this one drew me from across that crowded Stitches market floor. A lady was carrying it around, undecided between it and a different yarn. I snuck up behind her and kept her in my range while I frantically pawed through the bin for a bag of my own. There were several other extraordinarily beautiful colorways - a green one I would have liked well enough, had I not already seen my heart's desire. Of that one I could find none so there was nothing else for it but to chant mind control messages at the lady with my yarn. "Drop it. Drop it. Drop it." I muttered under my breath as she slowly moved towards the cash register. And at the last minute she dropped it back into the bin. Quick as a cricket I was there, snatching it up and holding it to my breast. And once it was in my arms, I found the second bag of this colorway (and a third and fourth...) giving me enough of this lush alpaca yarn, yarn that looks to me like agates in a riverbed, to knit myself a sweater.

It's a thick yarn - I'm swatching it on 9's but I knit loosely. The ball band calls for 10's. As thick as it is, I don't think I want a pullover style sweater. I am thinking a Chanel style jacket sort of thing. I do live in the south and I am afraid a pullover style in thick yarn would be both too hot and too casual to wear to work - where I spend most of my week anyway. When I get home (in sweater weather) I put on pajamas. I'm the world's sloppiest cook so I never wear good things in the kitchen. That just leaves Saturday afternoons and Sundays when I might ... and here I only say might ... wear a beautiful stones-in-stream-bed colored hand knit alpaca sweater. No. At this point in my life, work day clothes are more important and a jacket style cardigan? Yes. I still think I'll go in that direction.

This first photo shows the colors better and also gives a  hint of the sheen this particular alpaca yarn has.

I've been playing with stitch patterns (and unsuccessfully playing with alignment. sorry this is sideways) and I believe the slipped stitch honeycomb you sometimes see on heel flaps will be the nicest stitch to display the colors. that's the band of stitches in the middle of this photo. The stockinette might pool the colors and I think they're prettier when they are more evenly sprinkled over the fabric. The honeycomb stitch uses more yarn, though - and I have only 860 yards - 20 skeins but I'm getting 4 stitches to the inch. I may rip this swatch out and knit an entire one to figure out how many square inches I'd get from a single skein.

Or I could do something with cables - which are quite pretty in this yarn. I tried a longer slipped honeycomb stitch which creates a delicious fabric but I am positive there wouldn't be enough yarn to make something in that and besides - the fabric it creates is almost 1/2 an inch thick! Way way too hot and bulky for this Virginia gal. But cables. In fact - another swatch thing I want to try is garter stitch cables. Yes. I am getting excited even as I type!.

Of course - this may not turn out to be mindless knitting either - but I am positive it isn't going to be as tricky as that lace scarf. As long as I can 'read' my knitting, I don't mind having to think about it too.

Yikes! Almost 8! Best be off. Ta.

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