Mmm, new yarn…

BSA Dyed Cotton

The cotton that changed my world.

This, my friends, is Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton (Rav Link) in color #632 – Mediterranean. And my goodness, is it ever YUMMY.  Here’s the thing.  I started to knit, found Malabrigo, fell in love, touched a small amount of cotton in a big box store, said “Ew.  Rough, no stretch, ugly colors.  Cotton is GROSS,” and went on my merry little way knitting with every animal fiber I could get my hands on, and acrylic or silk when I was not using animal fibers.

Then I decided that I needed an Abalone (rav link).  It calls for worsted, so I COULD have gone out and bought a couple of skeins of my lovely Mal for it, but decided to check out a LYS nearby to see if there was a more summer-appropriate alternative (since I’m living in Van for the summer, I want to see what they are all about in a big city :D).  Quick plug for the store – it was Urban Yarns on Edgemont, and it was great!  Lovely, lovely yarns.  The lady working there was quite content to let me browse and have my BF chill out on her couch looking bored out of his mind and then was helpful at the end making sure I was sure that 4 skeins would be enough yarn and that they were all the same dyelot (well, they aren’t, but they didn’t have 4 of the same and I’m comfortable with 2-row striping).   They have a knit night on Tuesdays, and I may need to check it out :D

Abalone WIP

Anywho, going there led me to paw at this yarn a bunch and then wander off to go paw at animal fibers and then come back to this, back and forth and back and forth, before finally deciding to give it a shot.  And I’m glad I did!  It doesn’t have the same bounce as merino, obviously, but it is sooooo soft.  Bonus is it’s cool enough to knit with in summer heat!  I’ve made it about 11 inches into the body of the Abalone, but it doesn’t look like much yet.  Just a lovely, oceany-blue lump of stockinette.  I may add in longer sleeves, and use a contrast color for the edgings.  I think an espresso brown would be lovely!

It’s a bit of a change to knit with and I think my tension is a teensy bit wonky because of the lack of elasticity, but from what I hear about cotton, it’ll even out and get even softer with washing and blocking.  Some people have warned me of pilling, but I’m not worried.  That’s the price you pay for softness!


Oh, so soft...

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City Hat


A cozy hat inspired by the beautiful city skyline. The hat is long enough to keep your ears warm, but just short enough to not snag on earrings, if you choose to wear a pair. The hat is knit inside out, with twisted stitches to help make the skyscraper columns stand out. It is a super-quick knit, great for chilly evenings in the city.

Posted in Designer Profile, Knit, Patterns | 4 Comments

Sooo tired.

Working full time takes a lot out of ya! and by the time I get home, I’m feeling too lazy to go out and get pics of the … oh, 5 or so FOs that I need to show off to you, oh and like 5 swatches for my swatch book.  And I want to get that  Column Hat pattern out sooner or later, seeing as the pattern and the knitting are done, I just need to put the photos INTO the pattern.  But, first, I must get photos…

Besides those, I’ve got the Prada Mitts pattern in testing, a crochet(!) pattern in the makings, plans for Prada Socks (there is a pattern out there already, but they are sock-weight.  I want fat worsted weight Prada Socks!)

All of this to come… Oh, I dunno.  I want to have the Columns hat from ages ago done this weekend at the very least.  See you then!

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The thumb gusset of dreams

Prada Socks

Prada Socks

I’m pretty stoked for this new project of mine. It’s basically me taking those AWESOME cabled socks from the Prada Fall RTW Collection and turning them into mitts.  I think they are going fabulously so far.  I’m using Cascade 220 and Patons Classic Wool Merino in similar greys and blacks.  I’d initially planned to to intarsia in-the-round for this project, but I found that with the size of the cable, it was easier to just tug the yarn behind – and that helped to make the cable pop out even more, like it does on the socks. They are ribbed all the way down to make a great fit, and I’ve been switching to smaller needles and a tighter gauge to make the fit even nicer.  And I’ve gotta say, the switch from the black ribbing to the grey worked PERFECTLY.  I’ve got nice purl lines that run all the way down the mitts, without doing k1, p1 for the entire length of it :D

But what am I REALLY in love with on these mitts? That’s gotta be the thumb gusset.  I had started knitting it with a plan, but it was just too far over so the cable was off-center and then as I worked, I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to make the gusset actually fit a person if I kept going the way I was.  In order to keep the pattern looking nice, it would either be too tiny even by my standards or waaayyyyy too big.  I put it down and went to bed.

My Prada Mitt

I then had a very realistic dream where I ripped them out and reknit them slightly differently, and it was perfect.  The cable was centered, they flowed beautifully in with the ribbing and they fit. It was kinda sad to wake up and find out that it hadn’t actually happened yet, but I did them just like in the dream and it turns out my subconscious was right.  It’s going to be a bit irritating to write up, as I used 3 different types of increases, and mirrored them all for each side of the gusset, but it is SO worth it.

I’m a meanie.  With this post title and all my love for the gusset, I’m not even sharing pics of it.  Sorry – I just can’t seem to get a good pic of that angle on my hand. I promise when the mitt is done, there’ll be pics :D

Posted in Dianna Designs, Knit | 11 Comments

Yarn Review – Malabrigo Merino Worsted

Ok, so as if you all don’t know, I LOVE Malabrigo Merino Worsted. LOVE. It feels like cotton candy should (I love cotton candy, but am always disappointed with the texture. I haven’t felt the unspun fiber of Malabrigo, but I know that it is what cotton candy should feel like :P), is sooooo soft and warm, knits up super-quickly and works well with a variety of techniques.  If you want to check out all the projects I’ve worked in Mal, click here.

Malabrigo WIPs

Malabrigo WIPs

Right now, I’ve 3 projects on the needles (well, 2 on needles, 1 is being hooked :D) using Malabrigo Merino Worsted.  I’m crocheting Rheatheylia‘s Lattice Hat (her site), knitting my Column Hat prototype and knitting the second Love You Mom sock (no current WIP pic other than the piled up one from my last post). I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like crocheting with Mal since I’m not a very good crocheter and I’ve read that some people don’t like crocheted malabrigo as a fabric.  I think I prefer knitted fabric by a bit, but crocheted Mal is also nice.  It’s VERY thick, at least pattern is!  It’s basically a crochet fabric WITH another lattice layer over it.  I think it might be too chunky for a hat for me, at least with the shape it is making.  Maybe I’ll make it a bit bigger, then block some slouch into it.  And add a pompom.

Malabrigo Colorwork
I LOVE Malabrigo for colorwork. The fluffiness of the yarn makes really good at hiding the second color float behind the main fabric. And the colors are very complimentary to each other! As you can tell, I REALLY like mixing Malabrigo yellows with other Malabrigo colors.  If you are a bit worried about your color matching skills, head over to the Malabrigo Junkies to ask for help.  They have very good taste.

Malabrigo Colorwork

Other Malabrigo Thoughts

Malabrigo Collages


So, what else is Malabrigo good for? Some people say to avoid cables. I disagree. My By Starlight Mitts have very fat cables done in Malabrigo, and I find the yarn gives them a lot of “poof”. As well, the Love You Mom socks have cables done over just a couple of stitches and those are popping just fine. I think Malabrigo makes The Best Hats Ever. Super soft, super warm, super cozy. The yardage is great – I can get a hat and a pair of matching fingerless mitts out of a skein. If the mitts aren’t very long, sometimes there are enough scraps left to make a coffee cup cozy. Malabrigo felts amazingly and makes a very soft, but still substantial fabric. I’ll be showing off my felted Mal projects soon.

I haven’t made a full garment with Malabrigo yet, but I’ve drooled over those that I’ve seen in Ravelry. There is some concern about pilling, obviously, since it’s a single-ply, but most people seem to deal with it okay. I know that my By Starlight Mitts (my oldest Mal project) had a bit of pilling, but nothing very bad. I shaved them and they are still in very good condition.

Posted in Designer Profile, Knit, Yarn Review | 7 Comments

Monthly WIPing, Part 2

So, I MEANT to do a Monthly WIPing in the first week of each month.  I think technically I’m a day late, but ah well.  So, here’s this month’s WIP pile.

May WIPing

So, in that pile, we’ve got from the top to the bottom, left to right:
I Love You Mom Socks, Deluvian Socks, Columned Hat (upcoming design of mine), Felted Camera Case, Felted Camera Lens Cap Holder, Bamboo Socks, Kelpie Mitts, Sweetgrass Mitts.  You might notice there are a few missing from last month – I frogged those Jasmine Fingerless Mitts.  The pattern was great and the yarn was great, but after a year, I figured I should give up on them.  I also frogged my Newfoundland Mitts – I just wasn’t in love with them.  If I’m using Mal, I need to love the FO.  My Ballet School Dropout Sockettes are also MIA, but they are still a WIP, I was just too lazy to find them. I didn’t throw in my Swatch Book swatches, but I’m counting those all as one big ongoing WIP as well.

So, out of this pile, I think the FO I’m looking MOST forward to is the Kelpie Mitts.  If you are an observant person, you might have noticed that when I posted about them before, I had the RIGHT mitt done, but in this pic, it’s the LEFT mitt that is done and the right one that is a WIP.  I knit the right mitt, then knit the left with a longer cuff and ripped the right one and restarted it to match.

I’m pretty proud of myself.  Most of the 2-part projects there at least have had the second part cast on, and the stuff that needed to be felted from last month have.  I did a lazy felt and just threw them in with laundry and I think I’ll do that again to shrink them a bit more and see if ironing can get the creasing out.  If not, oh well, I’m not super picky about creased cases for camera stuff :P

Posted in Dianna Designs, Knit, Monthly WIPing, Test Knitting | 4 Comments

CO Swatch 7: Simplified Cast On

The Simplified Cast On is found on page 67 of RD KH.

7 - Simplified Cast on (1)

Simplified Cast On

The Simplified Cast On uses two strands of yarn and one needle. The little twists on the very edge run the opposite way the basic long tail cast on – going the same way as the stitches go if you knit them through the back loop, making this a good cast on if you are going to be using twisted stitches. It is reasonably stretchy – the stretchiest of the two strand cast ons that I’ve tried so far. However, the stitches on the first row (the ones that are made while you are doing the cast on) are a little bit warped. I don’t know if that is a cast on thing or a me thing.

7 - Simplified Cast on (2)

Simplified Cast On Detail

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