The first college blanket of the season is done. Only a few ends remain to be woven in, then a gentle blocking, and a photo session. Which can only mean one thing:
Yes, blanket #2 has commenced. C loves blues, turquoise, teals, greens, and I found a pretty good selection of just those colors in Plymouth Encore, which is a yarn C likes to wear and to cuddle in, lovely, low-maintenance young woman that she is. I started on Friday evening and so far, I am able to progress at a good clip: two to three logs a day. The blanket needs to be done by mid-September, a goal that can surely be accomplished without too much stress, and only the boredom of constant, uninterrupted garter stitch.
I do plan a few detours, just because it is almost summer and I haven't knit a sweater for myself (one that wasn't destined to the frog pond, at any rate) in a ridiculously long time. I took a long, hard look at my stash, which contains a rather scattered and random selection of summer yarns.
Rowan Summer Tweed is an old favorite. It comes in beautiful colorways, and the cotton/silk blend is ideal for the Bay Area weather a good half of the year. Some knitters find the blend a bit too rough to handle, but I like it, now that I have discovered it wants to be knitted firmly (I use a #6 needle instead of the recommended #8).
I applied my newfound Fibonacci striping skills to this swatch, rotating three colors through a sequence of 2 numbers (2 and 3-row stripes). This taught me that the eye doesn't register much of a difference between a 2 row-stripe and a 3 row-stripes. Using stripes of 1 and 2 rows each would carry much more visual impact.
I am also not crazy about the mint green in this swatch. It just isn't my kind of green. I own just one skein of it and I am reluctant to buy more of a color that I don't find that easy to combine with others. I might just use it as a small accent and add navy blue to the mix, if I can figure out a way to do this and still keep the effect summer-y.
Diving again into the stash, I unearthed a few skeins of Goddess Yarns Carmen, a mercerized cotton in a light worsted weight that comes in some lovely, saturated colors. A couple of years ago, I bought them impulsively, without a preconceived notion (something I have finally stopped doing, well, most of the time). This is why I find myself with 6 skeins of an eggplant colorway, 2 skeins of olive green and 2 skeins of a tan colorway. I spent a couple of afternoons swatching, adding a deep red (darker than on the photo) to warm things up and create more contrast. But I am still not happy with the results so far. I don't think I would wear something this busy.
Since I have so much more of the eggplant color, I am thinking of a mostly solid, short-sleeve top, with stripes only on the top, or... something. I have combed Ravelry, using tags like "stripes", "striped", "raglan", "top", "tee", and so far I haven't found the perfect inspiration. But it is a good thing to ponder as I knit row after row of mindless garter stitch.
This last swatch is the happy product of two failures. Failure #1: two years ago, at Stitches West, I could not resist the lure of bargain yarns at the Webs booth, and I came home with a pack of Jaeger Trinity, a blend of silk, cotton and rayon that feels very light, almost papery.
When I swatched with it, I had to go down to a #2 needle to get a somewhat homogeneous fabric. This didn't make for a happy knitting experience, not because of the small needle size, but because the yarn felt stringy, unpleasant to handle. And that's saying a lot coming from someone who enjoys the roughness of linen.
I also checked Ravelry boards for feedback on the yarn. Apparently, I wasn't the only one who had been lured by the siren song of discontinued Trinity offered at bargain prices, only to be frustrated by the tendency to stretch and the lack of body of the yarn.
That's when I remembered failure #2: a too-big tunic knitted a few years ago in Tahki Cotton Classic. Not long ago, I managed to shorten it, but I still didn't like the big sleeves, the allover big style. I swatched some of the frogged mercerized cotton along with Trinity, and presto! The blend is an absolute pleasure to knit. Besides, it has a nice firm hold and looks good in a number of stitch patterns. For this combo, I plan a short-sleeved, polo type of garment, with seed stitch details at the sleeves and collar, a la Kim Hargreaves. After so many flops lately in the non-blanket department, I badly need a hit. This one seems like a pretty good bet from where I stand.