Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dye lots - a cautionary tale

So, you remember that I had those three skeins of ruinously expensive silk/wool Claudia Hand Painted yarn that eventually got made into a Möbius wrap, which I then frogged? I was left again with the dilemma of possessing yarn I wanted to use that was too nice to make something non-splendid with, but had too little of to make anything big.

Stroke of luck - the lovely WEBS had the same yarn on sale at half price and there was a pattern I wanted to do, so I purchased another three skeins. When they arrived I swore the order was wrong. Actually, I just swore. A lot. Here's why:

That's right, well spotted. The one on the right is the original dye lot, the one on the left is the new one. They look very, very different. Every part that was black on the original skeins is a blueish grey on the new ones. The colour number and name were the same, but I ask you, does the lighter one look as if it should be called Midnight? No? Well that's the name of the shade.

A little variation between dye lots is normal. I bought some yarn in the UK from two shops that each had about half of what I wanted, so I accepted the slight variation in colour. It's so slight that the photo below barely shows it.

To get over the difference if I was making a sweater I could use one batch for the body and another for the ribbing. Or I could alternate between skeins of the two versions (knit two rows in one, then two in another, and on.) Will try that with so-called Midnight and see how it works out for this cardigan.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My poor, neglected blog

My only excuse is that I've been too busy knitting and, you know, having a life, to post much to you. I still feel bad about it though. I never even posted my MIL's Christmas present, a green sleeveless V-neck made per her request. It worked out quite well and I look forward to forcing her to wear it modelling it when I am back in the UK in September.

Of course, I have made another hat. This time it's my third Shedir, hopefully for me and just as a hat, not a chemo cap. And no, my head isn't that shape or colour, but the medicine ball shows up a hat's pattern beautifully.

As a crazy European, I also made a string bag. Now I just need a real market, preferably in France, where I can browse stalls of gorgeous, locally-produced fruit and vegetables, sample cheeses of character, break crusty bread and even find a bottle or three of young red wines. Then I can stuff all those goodies into this bag.

Too small, you say? Won't accommodate all that, you say? Well you, my friend, are so wrong. This baby can take five dozen full-sized bagels. Baker's dozens at that. See?

Whether I could still lift it with all that swag in it is another matter.

Monday, March 29, 2010

While I was away ...

... I managed to complete loads of stuff.

Such as, the beautiful but damned near unwearable Naga socks. Those babies have almost no ease at all. Once on they fit really well, but getting them on and off is a menace.

Made Cookie A's wonderful Monkey. They fitted me pretty well, but a friend was about to go to a university whose team colours I'd made the socks in, so I gave them to her.

Also continued my love affair with all things Noro, making the Noro Silk Garden Striped Scarf that was so much in evidence on ravelry and the knitting blogosphere last winter. The yarn was a delight to work with and the resulting colour changes were mesmerising. I am looking longingly at Noro Silk Garden sock yarn but those will be such spectacular socks I don't know who to make them for, or if I'd ever get enough wear out of them myself.

Perhaps my happiest bit of knitting was turning a truly awful crocheted scarf on which I'd squandered some terrific wool I'd bought in Reykjavik during one of the two visits I've made (so far, intend to go back) to Iceland. It was too big, itchy and never got used. Big scarves look good on Tom Baker-era Dr Who, not me.

I frogged it and made it into a very useful felted bag, which I lined with and made handles out of some left over silk grosgrain that I'd bought for a client during my dress-making days. I may shave the wool slightly as it's a bit too fuzzy and starting to pill due to much use.

The Scot in me thoroughly approves of not giving up on good yarn just because it was in a bad project. I'm now looking at a few other vile dreadful useless ill-conceived projects that can be considered a waste of good yarn.

The Möbius wrap that sucked up three skeins of wool/silk has already been frogged. Such lovely (and expensive) yarn - I can't waste it on something that won't get used and I don't love. Thinking of making a cowl in the Monkey stitch from Cookie A's sock.

Yarn Crawl

The wonderful Dom, who is a born organiser as well as being a talented knitter and funny guy, got a load of us together to take a trip into Manhattan. We boarded a very comfortable bus at Fairfield RR Station and made our merry way into the city (our way being made all the merrier by the Mimosas that Mireli kindly brought with her).

Once in the city we hit various fibre porn yarn stores, broke for lunch, hit more stores, than back on the bus to Connecticut, with wine, cheese, crudités, cream puffs and Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Does Dom know how to throw a party for yarnheads, or what?

School Products
Purl SoHo
Knitty City (think this site is currently undergoing some construction work)
The Yarn Company

Sharon, Jackie and I had a delicious meal at Bistro Les Amis round the corner from Purlsoho. Entirely civilised. (The three of us also sneaked a few minutes at Zabar's, where the cheese counter took a direct hit and I was able to get the weekend breakfast I used to get my husband and me during the years we lived at 53rd and Eighth - Zabar's own orange juice, croissants and pain au chocolat. Yum.)

I may post photos of the crazily wonderful silk thread I got at School Products. If only I'd taken my camera for the trip, but I was too laden with water, money and a knitting project.