January 15, 2013


i'm such a brooklyn tweed whore. you know that much if you've read any of my stuff anywhere, ever.

give me any pattern curated by the magical jared flood, and i'll be salivating all over it like them more girly knitters are doing to pictures of ryan gosling right now.

(personally, i don't find him that hot. but that's because my girly bits have recently dried up and withered away because of an involuntary and tragic lack of use.)

reine by alexis winslow
size 33.75
bc garn semilla dk (350g / 4mm)

reine was the ultimate piece of comfort knitting back in october. just a smooth relaxing sailing from skein to skein, from piece to piece. the pattern was extremely knitter-friendly and the top down, short-row set-in sleeves produced a sweet fit at the shoulders. it was such a perfect pairing between yarn and needles that i just wiggled my fingers every now and then and somehow from that a cardigan emerged. the sleeves took maybe 3 hours each, that's the level of simple comfort we're talking about.

but because i'm not very smart, it never occurred to me to consider some of the essential differences of semilla and the intended yarn. you may or may not know (and if not, why the hell not?) that BT loft and its delightful woolen texture allow it to be knitted up with a gauge of anything between light fingering to DK without losing any fabric integrity, drape or general awesomeness.

at 250 meters per skein, one could squeeze out this cardigan with just 200 grams of loft. semilla, as wonderfully soft and ever-so-slightly rustic as it is, is just 160 meters, so for me it took 350 grams--which is just enough for gravity to do its dastardly deed. and so the cardigan turned out droopy.

oddly, back in my LYS days, i was definitely smart enough to publicly ridicule anyone not familiar with the pitfalls of substituting yarn, i.e. those considering only one factor of the holy trinity of needle size, gauge and yardage. material obviously plays into it as well, but i don't know what you call a holy foursome in a fancy biblical way. quadrility? anyway. i know i'm a horrible person.

horrible, AND with a stupid face

but i can live with the droopyness, because the cardigan is just so freakin' comfy. and the pockets are perfect for those moments when you're feeling awkward among half-strangers and know that if you resort to your usual i'm-uncomfortable-so-i-need-to-do-something-with-my-hands routine and keep on twirling your fingers and tearing off pieces of fingernail in a visible manner, it will only contribute to making you seem even more out there than you actually are, therefore rendering the moment unbearably awkward and possibly fatal. but with this cardigan--voila! pockets.

my hand could be doing anything in here, and you would never know

not a word about the quality of seaming, though. i'm a knitter, not a fuckin' seamstress, okay? seaming makes me aggressive, which doesn't go well with my otherwise gentle manners. fuckin' seams.

again thanks to miss R for the photos!

January 11, 2013

northern non-summer

i'm back. sort of.

inspired by fellow bloggers, and encouraged by my employer-turned-mentor, i've decided that when it comes to presenting finished knits, even super duper late is better than not at all. you may direct any objections to that brick wall over there.

so in the following days, or weeks, realistically speaking--which we always are--you will see some very very random posts about stuff i've made. mostly from last year, because since moving to canada i seem to have caught a really sturdy case of i'm-just-gonna-wind-this-yarn-and-knit-a-few-rows-then-move-one-to-something-else-hence-the-pile-of-eleven-simultaneous-WIPs, and haven't been able to finish much stuff.

to start things off, this here is a shawl i made.. last... spring.

wollmeise pure in olio vergine (170g / 3.5mm)

i know it was spring because i was watching the ice hockey world champs on TV (we lost) while working on the lace edging. you know, the type of edging where you're effectively binding off exactly one edge stitch for every two rows of lace? sheesh, omg, lol. i thought it would never end.

i also remember going completely berserk when someone interrupted me on one of the last chart repeats, causing me to lose track and having to frog back at least 15 rows. with all due respect to my family, friends and the entire humankind: which part of this concentrated, constipated look on my face when i'm knitting lace does not scream "DO NOT FUCKING SPEAK TO ME RIGHT NOW PLEASE THANK YOU" to you?

i just don't like to be interrupted, is all.

i also also remember that i ran out of yarn with just two chart repeats left. i'm not gonna go over the details of that gruesome episode because it hurts too much. but i somehow managed to find a lovely generous person willing to part with her leftover yarn from the same wollmeise update (!), so i was able to finish the edging a couple of days later.

the pattern had some pretty significant errors here and there, but i trudged through anyway and i think the finished shawl looks fine. there's enough weight there to make it drape nicely and prevent the edges from curling, which is the sole reason most of my scarves and shawls are plain garter stitch. so in this case the yarn works--so much so, in fact, that this was one of only three hand-knit scarves that got to accompany me to canada.

(notice the decidedly un-springy scenery in the photos above. they were taken in mid-november, because for the actual northern summer i was locked up in the cave of fluorescent lights and windows facing a concrete wall that was my previous workplace. many thanks to miss R for helping out anyway.)

but the more i've worked with wollmeise the less i'm liking the base yarn--OMG SHE DIDN'T JUST SAY THAT--because the plying really really puts me off. an 8-ply fingering-weight yarn? are you fucking serious? yeah and we'll make the plies really loose too, so that we're effectively taking out all the luxurious squishyness of merino and replacing it with these lifeless little straws of fibre that split and fray like a mofo and completely disintegrate when drawing from a center-pull ball. why, in short we've taken a luxurious merino and turned it into something that resembles cheap cotton.

i really really want to like the yarn, because the colors are so amazingly vibrant. but i think my wollmeise hoarding days are over. surely it can only mean that my taste in yarns is becoming more and more refined? and surely that's only a good thing?