This is a ball of Classic Elite Embrace, in one of the new colorways, sitting on my new Nifty Swift. I have owned a plastic and metal swift for several years, but it's now so worn out that it collapses mid-spinning so I knew it was time for a new one. This swift is all wood and doesn't require being clamped to the edge of a table, so it's easier to set up and break down. It also wins out over the metal one when winding small skeins or huge ones. The only down side is that you have to clear off table space to allow the swift to spin, whereas with the metal one you can angle it off the side of the table and let it spin without having to clear off your table.
But anyway, I was talking about this amazing yarn! This is 100% cashmere and it shades from blues to navy to grey to brown, and I just fell in love with it when it came in. The yarn is what I personally consider to be the best of all the 100% cashmeres we carry, it's the same fiber as CE Lavish but it has the long color repeats, so it comes in a giant 250 gram skein. Last year I was comissioned to make a baby blanket out of this yarn and fell in love with it. It's a pleasure to knit, it washes amazingly well, and it feels the way cashmere should, lofty but not limp, fluffy but not fuzzy. I've been dying to make myself something with it ever since, and when this color came in I just new it was the right one.
See how pretty it is all wound up?
After it's wound you can see the color progressions in the order they will appear, which is important to note if you're going to use more than one skein for a project. You want to make sure that the second skein joins in at the right point to continue the color progressions, otherwise you could wind up with a big blob of one color on one side of the project, and none of that color elsewhere.
This yarn is beautiful and unusual, but it does present a design challenge. If you knit a sweater in pieces, you run the risk of having fronts that don't match up, sleeves that are completely different, and who knows what else. Besides, what makes this yarn so stunning is that the colors shade in
and out of eachother, you want to keep that going as much as possible. Hence, we've been making mostly shawls and scarves with it, and all the projects have been gorgeous.
In the back of my mind the idea has been growing to knit a cuff-to-cuff sweater from this yarn, so that the color changes create vertical lines and the colors can flow without breaking throughout the entire piece. Lately I've also been obsessed with straight sleeves, and really simple silhouettes that can be worn many different ways, I have been picturing a sort of streamlined kimono sort of a cardigan.
So, when I got a gift certificate for my birthday (thanks Linda!), I decided that it was high time I stopped just daydreaming about it and just DID IT. And here's about half the dream project, all of which got knit since Wednesday. This yarn is that good, you just can't put it down.
I'm knitting it on size 7 needles, starting at the right cuff and working across. I did straight kimono style elbow-length sleeves (because I want to make sure I don't run out of yarn) and then cast on for the body. The fronts have a very slight v-neck shape, very raw edges with just a little garter stitch around. I don't usually like to knit this much stockinette, but with yarn this soft and gorgeous, stockinette just shows it to its best advantage. And since there are color changes to watch, it goes a lot faster because you think, "I'm just going to go 'till the next color". . . and then it's 2am and you're still knitting. Not that I'm complaining!
I'm planning to wear this belted shut at the waist with a leather belt. I'm not sure whether that first front is deep enough yet, so I've reserved some yarn from that part of the color repeat in case I have to rip out the bind off edge and add another inch there. I figured it's better for the colors to break on the back than on the front, so I'm joining the 2nd skein now to knit across the back neck, then will join the 1st skein back in to cast on for the other front, so that visually, from the front, the colors shade without interruption. (at least theoretically, this should work, we'll see if I'm right!) I've shaped the front using short rows, with the garter stitch border worked across all the stitches.
This project is by far the most beautiful thing I've ever knit, and the yarn lives up to everything I expected of it. I'm so excited! This is definitely going with me onto the plane, along with a few other select projects.
I'll be posting again from England next time, maybe even with a completed dream sweater!