One of my latest acquisitions is 2 skeins of the new Spud & Chloe Fine, which is sort of like sock yarn but is an 80/20 blend of wool/silk, so to me seems destined for shawldom. The color palette in all their yarns is quite beautiful, full of bright clear colors that would make great kid's items . . . but for my taste the color palette is a bit boring. I wish there were more "off" colors, and if the people at the LYS are right, more colors are coming in shortly. I can't wait to see them!
The yarn itself is quite nice, I started swatching with it already and it's got a great hand and incredible stitch definition. I think this one's going to be a quick favorite!
I took Thursday & Friday off last week so I could hang with my sister and dad who were in town . . . after they'd both left on Friday I took the opportunity to go back to my old store, String! I pretty much never get to go there because it's in a neighborhood I'm almost never in, so it was nice to be able to make a dedicated trip to the East Side to catch up a bit and check out the new yarns. Of course I couldn't leave empty-handed now, could I??
Pictured here are the new Vogue (with Mckeee, winner of America's Next Top Model on the cover . . . guess her career's not going anywhere even after being crowned!) and a skein of String's Cashnetta, a new 100% cashmere yarn they started carrying way after I'd already left. The yarn's really interesting, as you would expect from the name it has a net-like contruction which is very unusual. What's awesome about the weird construction is that it lets you knit this one huge needles but the yarn barely weighs anything! This 7 oz ball has 186 yards and knits up on a size 11 needle! Can't beat that. (actually they suggest a 10.5 but I thought that was too tight when I swatched)
This skein has actually already been knit up into a cowl for fall . . . I have some ideas for a whole line of cowls to do, possibly for RTW, inspired by the cowls on the Fall 09 runways . . . we'll see where that goes. I bought cashmere/wool fabric to line this one and some alpaca fabric to line a second one (which I haven't knit yet), but I've gotten sidetracked by other projects with deadlines. I'll show you a picture of the cowl once I have the lining sewed in, promise! If there's interest I'll write up the pattern, it's a quick project that only took about 6 hours from start to finish (not counting the sewing obviously!), so maybe people will want to knit them for themselves, I don't know.
I actually bought more than you see here (shocking, I know!). I also got 2 skeins of Koigu Cashmere to knit a new pair of armwarmers to replace the pair I lost, and a few balls of Zara since I'd run out for Babette. I can't wait to see all the fall yarns when they start arriving, it seems like no one has any of the new fall stuff yet except for the Spud & Chloe!
And apparently, my knitting mojo's back in full force . . . I just placed an order at The Loopy Ewe to take advantage of the sale she's doing on Dream in Color right now! I've never knit with that yarn before but seeing so many people vote for it as their favorite in the contest, I just knew I would have to try it out soon. I got one sweater's worth of the worsted and 2 skeins of the sock, so enough for two pairs of socks or 2 shawlettes . . . we'll see what I come up with.
So last week I had a dinner date with Lidia, my ex-coworker from String. I met her at the store, and of course had to take a look around at all the new stuff . . . and I literally squealed when I saw this little crochet flower scarf kit:
(anyone else notice the typo in the title?)
It looks cute enough from the front, but wait until you see the back!
How could I possibly resist all those tiny skeins of cashmere!?!?! There was no way it wasn't coming home with me.
I was so captivated and excited I didn't even read the details on this thing . . . so I was kind of shocked to open it and realize I had just bought a crochet kit using laceweight yarn! I had never really seen the laceweight version of Artyarns' cashmere, so when I saw this I assumed it was the worsted weight . . . I probably would still have bought it if I had known this fact, but I wouldn't have gotten such a shock when I started winding the little skeins! This is the "Pastels" version of this kit (it apparently also comes in a Jewel Tones, although I've never seen it) and the colors are gorgeous. This picture really does them no justice whatsoever. They're all tone-on-tone solids, but some of the colors have more variegation than others. Together they positively sing!
I have done one row of flowers so far:
(this shot is much better for color)
But I have to say, this isn't easy. The yarn is SO thin, and cashmere is SO delicate, and you change color after every round . . . it's a very fiddly project. To put it mildly. And this is gonna take a long time.
And frankly, as is the case with most of Artyarns' patterns I've ever read, this pattern is poorly-written and hard to understand. I am an experienced crocheter so I figured it out, but I probably could have done just as well working from a picture as I did working from their instructions. And their explanation of how to do the color changes and how to order the different motifs leaves much to be desired, too. I find it much more annoying to have badly-explained instructions than to just have it say "change colors randomly as it pleases you" -- even though writting the latter is less instruction, at least it is crystal clear!
In any case, I've decided to do the color changes in order from left to right as they are presented in the chart (if you buy this you'll know what I mean), just so I don't have to think about not repeating colors and hopefully don't run out of any color too soon. Although I have no faith in this system assuring me I won't run out, it at least lets me keep going without second-guessing every color choice . . . and if I'm going to follow someone else's design I would like to worry/think as little as possible, thank-you-very-much.
So if this completely mixed-bag review has made you want one for yourself, here's what I know about the kit: It is brand new and apparently only a few shops have it now, so I appologize if posting this drives you as crazy with desire but you end up unable to get your hands on one . . . I believe String is supposed to get more in soon, but I know I bought the last one they had last week!
The other day I found myself without any mindless knitting close at hand, and after digging around in the projects pulled up my nearly finished Bubble Pullover. I had sewn it together, knit the bottom band, and then mysteriously put it away lacking for only a neckband. Now it looks like this:
Funny how little work it takes to get almost done with a project if you put it away 99% finished anyway!
Unfortunately, this is about the least useful item I could be working on right now . . . after a few days that reached almost 100 degrees, the weather settled down into the seasonable 80's, which is still WAY too hot for a cashmere pullover. It's a good thing sweaters keep until the winter!
I actually already bought buttons which match the color of the sweater almost perfectly, so all that remains to be done now is weave in the ends, block, and sew on the buttons. I plan to wet block the finished sweater both to soften the yarn up even more (it's really amazing what some shampoo and conditioner does for cashmere, you should try it sometime!) and to hopefully block the body a bit wider than it currently is -- the strange shape of the armholes means that they're a little uncomfortable as they sit right now, but adding about 1" of ease should hopefully fix that right up by moving the armholes out from the shoulders a bit. I'm also planning to block the bottom rib a bit looser, because even though this is a "bubble" shaped sweater I don't really like the look of the ribbing being skin-tight around my hips.
Of course in the meantime I had to start yet another mindless project . . . and it's actually another cashmere sweater! Knit in the round in stockinette so it's absolutely perfect mindless knitting, and this one is actually due next month, so it feels much less silly to be working on. Well, it's about as un-silly as knitting cashmere under the air conditioning unit is ever likely to get, anyway.