Believe it or not, I have a backlog of FO's to blog about; I think the reason I have been so quiet is that I feel compelled to write about them in chronological order. That means I need to say something about my attempt at a cowl/infinity loop.
It is just the right blue: a greyish, dark-ish, denim-ish semi-solid from Koigu, bought during my trip to New York last April. My hotel happened to be located across the street from a lovely yarn store and treasure-trove of Koigu yarns, and I walked in with the specific mission of finding the right blue to wear with jeans, having discovered that my blue scarves were just too blue and not really attractive when paired with jeans. What, me, obsessive?
Anyway, the yarn was found, three skeins were procured and I cast on during the summer. Having already knitted an infinity scarf for Celeste, I figured that it would be a versatile accessory and a change from traditional scarves for myself. I cast on over 300 stitches and knitted in the round, in a half-linen stitch pattern that I knew works really nicely with variegated yarns. Two problems soon emerged:
Problem #1 was an instable dye which turned my hands an ugly blue tint during every knitting session. I had to be careful not to knit while wearing light colors or sitting on a light-colored sofa. I had knitted with cotton denim yarn before and had seen it turn my bamboo needles blue but this was my first encounter with a problem dye in a Koigu yarn. Soap and water were no match for the excess dye; I went through a whole tube of Neutrogena face scrub during the days it took to knit the scarf. On the plus side, my hands had rarely felt this soft...
Surprisingly, once I gave the finished loop a good, long soak, there was hardly any color-bleeding. I still added vinegar for good measure, then lay the soggy piece on my blocking board, where problem #2 became apparent:
Rolling edges. Yes, in spite of the several rounds of garter stitch at each end, the loop wanted to roll, and roll, and roll. No wonder my model was confused when she tried it on. No wonder I didn't attempt to model it myself.
Another problem, now that I have let the scarf sit in a corner for a long while, is that I may not be an infinity loop person. I would never wear the scarf as Lola does; all tat length feels like unnecessary weight hanging from my neck. I might wear it tripled, as a cowl, but it is a bit too narrow and skimpy to make a good-looking cowl. I do love the colorway so the plan to make some kind of neck-throat covering that would work well with jeans remains on the agenda. Which must mean I need to stock up on facial scrub.
A couple of weeks ago, I resumed knitting on my Mitered-Squares-for-Japan blanket. In no time at all, I had three blocks to add to the pile of 12 completed last Winter. It is looking pretty big already, but I don't feel like stopping now, and besides, I like my afghans and blankets on the wide side, so I am aiming for a total of 20 blocks. Each block on its own has its garish qualities, but taken altogether, the garishness, if that is a word, turns into something different. Magical, addictive Noro colors.
I didn't want to post too many details about the Pink Waves stole until it was on its way to my friend E. who needs a bit more comfort and sweetness in her life right now. Back in June, as soon as I started to think of a project that could lift her spirits a bit, this is precisely what came to mind. Ever since the early days of Ravelry, I had admired this creation by Larisa. I had even made a scarf version of it a while ago. It is funny how the good old traditional feather-and-fan stitch has the potential to become something like pop-art once you stripe it. Two rows in color A, two rows in color B, and voila, crazy wavy variations on stripes.
E. is a lovely woman whom I know mostly as an online friend. We only met "in real life" for a few days, several years ago, and when I think of her, I remember her vividly wearing a pink blouse. Maybe I have dreamed it. I also remember spending time with her in a dark pink room upholstered with pink sofas -- of this I am certain. This must have been one more reason why Larisa's pink wavy stole spoke to me so loudly; it looked absolutely right for E. And I happened to have the yarn right here -- two perfect pink shades of Rowan Kidsilk Haze, "bebe" and "blushes" -- so off I went.
Larisa was kind enough to give me the dimensions of her stole; I ended up adding one repeat of the feather-and-fan pattern, for a total of five repeats. In other words, I cast on for 96 stitches: 5 times 18 sts for the stitch pattern, and a 3-stitch garter st. selvage on each end.
I used markers throughout and the knitting was a piece of pink-icing-glazed cake.
I started and ended with two rows in the darker pink and used about one and a half skeins of each shade of Rowan Kidsilk Haze, knitted on a size 6 circular. The blocked stole is about 68" long.
This was my main vacation project. It went pretty fast and blocked like a dream. I like to block the feather-and-fan texture fairly aggressively, with lots of pins and lots of steam, for a sheer and drapey feel, but that is a personal preference, and I could see the charm of a more rustic wavy stole with a bit more relief to it. Knitter's choice.