Archive for the 'Yarn Reviews' Category

Giant list o yarns…

I was tagged in a Meme… by Huan Hua, from my knitting group… so I have to do it …  😉

Out of the top 50 yarns on Ravelry (by number of projects):
Bold the ones you’ve used and would use again,
Cross out the ones you’ve used and would not use again,
and italicize the ones you’ve never tried, but would like to.
Add comments as desired, and then pass the meme along to 5 knitters/crocheters.
Link back to this post and to the person who tagged you.

Ready? Here’s my list:

1, Cascade 220 Wool, 11967 projects – a staple, available in so, so many colors (especially at my new LYS).
2, Patons Classic Wool Merino, 10445 projects – a staple, available at Michaels on Sundays.
3, Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted, 8421 projects – mmmm soft.
4, Noro Kureyon, 7947 projects
5, Caron Simply Soft, 7914 projects I quickly learned that acrylic of all forms sucks.
6, Lily Sugar’n Cream Solid, 6864 projects I love me some dishcloths…
7, Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted, 6619 projects only in my recent scarf (but not before, oddly)
8, Red Heart Ltd. Super Saver Solids, 6176 projects
9, Lion Brand Wool-Ease Solid, 5554 projects
10, Noro Silk Garden, 5410 projects
11, Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino (KPPPM), 5094 projects
12, Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, 5071 projects
13, Lion Brand Homespun, 4296 projects the only widely available acrylic that I don’t mind (but I still don’t love it).
14, Lion Brand Cotton-Ease, 4157 projects
15, Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Multi, 4086 projects
16, Manos del Uruguay 100% Wool, 3989 projects
17, Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky , 3927 projects
18, Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, 3751 projects
19, Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock – Lightweight, 3723 projects
20, Plymouth Encore Worsted, 3573 projects
21, Cascade 220 Heathers, 3422 projects
22, Lily Sugar’n Cream Ombres & Prints, 3384 projects
23, Zitron Trekking (XXL), 3348 projects
24, Patons SWS (Soy Wool Stripes), 3243 projects
25, Rowan Kidsilk Haze, 3203 projects
26, Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, 2917 projects
27, Pisgah Yarn & Dyeing Co., Inc Peaches & Creme Ombres, 2658 projects
28, Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, 2512 projects
29, Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock – Mediumweight, 2503 projects
30, Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, 2489 projects
31, Pisgah Yarn & Dyeing Co., Inc Peaches & Creme Solids, 2476 projects
32, Cascade 220 Superwash, 2323 projects
33, Berroco Ultra Alpaca, 2286 projects
34, Knit Picks Swish Superwash, 2226 projects
35, Knit Picks Essential, 2149 projects
36, Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice Solid, 2142 projects
37, Colinette Jitterbug, 2090 projects
38, Lion Brand Lion Wool Solid, 2030 projects
39, Knit Picks Shine Sport, 1976 projects
40, Dale of Norway/Dalegarn Baby Ull, 1885 projects
41, Lion Brand Microspun, 1871 projects
42, Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino, 1863 projects
43, Knit Picks Palette, 1765 projects
44, South West Trading Company TOFUtsies, 1762 projects
45, Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, 1756 projects
46, Mission Falls 1824 Wool, 1725 projects I want to know what all the fuss is about…
47, Rowan RYC Cashsoft DK, 1718 projects
48, Red Heart Ltd. Super Saver Multis/Ombres, 1664 projects
49, Rowan Felted Tweed, 1646 projects
50, Rowan Calmer, 1571 projects

Oh wait.  I suppose I’m supposed to tag people now?  Hmm.  OK.

1.  Monica
2.  Elli
3.  Those sisters
4. Emilee
5.  Ruth

I must stop myself…

Sea Silk
Isn’t this skein of yarn so luvrly? I’ve been working on turning it into one of my quick-and-dirty free patterns, something I’m calling the strangling vine scarf. It’s so lovely to knit and the yarn, the yarn feels so incredible through my fingers. It’s some of the softest stuff I’ve ever knit (really, the highest percentage of silk I’ve ever knit).

I bought this yarn at KnittyCity (probably my favorite shop in the city -so far).  It was my summer splurge.  It’s the seasilk that everyone has been talking about.  I let myself buy it with the stipulation that I’d finish whatever I’d make out of it soon (so that it doesn’t ferment in my stash forever).

IMG_0740.JPG

I’m not making anything too special, just a simple airy summer scarf.  I’m calling it my Strangling Vine Scarf.  I’ll post a quick-and-dirty free pattern write up when I’m finished with it.  For now, it’s been put on the back burner (I’ll finish it for sure, I promised myself) while I finish knitting this pair of socks that I’m designing!

An apology

Today, my post is an apology – to you, my readers, but first to my Redwood Forest socks.

I’m sorry I doubted you, oh socks of pooling.

Let me explain. As you may remember, I hated the way that these socks pooled. HATED it. But since they were so quick and easy to knit (I knit the second one in 3 days flat), I just kept going. I said that I was going to abuse them as a punishment for being so ugly in their poolingness, and abuse them I have.

You see, I’ve worn them probably 80% of the time I’ve worn socks for the last 2 weeks. I’ve been so busy wearing them (and doing other stuff) that I haven’t washed them as often as I should have (they’re getting a good soaking right now – but no, I won’t tell you how many times I’ve washed them in a 2 week period. It wouldn’t be enough and you would think less of me). And they’ve felted. I love it.

The stitches have completely melted into each other on the heels. Look at this – they hold their shape when my foot isn’t even in them! And they are so comfortable! And warm (this cold and wet streak of weather we’re getting here in Bloomington – I’m not at all likeing it) and I keep reaching for them everytime I have to brave the weather – or just want my toesies to feel comfortable and snuggly. Plus, I have this idea that if I keep wearing them, they’ll continue to felt (a reasonable assumption, no?) and then they will be like a glove to my feet and will be even more comfortable. It’s starting to happen to the toes/pads of the socks….

Everytime I’m done wearing them, I look at the latest abuse I’ve inflicted – and oh, how I’ve abused them – but so far, they’re wearing very well. I’m enjoying them far more than I ever thought I would! It’s enough to make me forgive these socks and this sock like and continue to push forward on the fly fishing colorway. It’s enough to make me give an above average grade to Knitpicks Memories sock yarn. It’s enough for me to be seriously tempted to buying a new colorway…(and 32$ worth of more knitting stuff in order to get free shipping).

My other apology is about all the boring posts lately. I hate memes and things subtly camoflaged to look like something other than a meme – I think they’re boring a cop-out to real, interesting blogging. But I had to, secret pal and all (I love you secret pal!) – but, the point is, interesting posts ahead–including a very special sexy single sock and a new series (poking fun at moi and my idiotic knitting mistakes).

Oh, oh, it’s magic, you know….

I can knit socks with one needle, I betcha didn’t know it!

So, first I taught myself how to knit socks on two circulars (they don’t soar too much faster than the double-points – I think maybe it’s because the rythym of the DPNS are just etched into my brain).

And now, I’m knitting with one circular. Check it out… It’s magic loop!

I didn’t do it with any instructions either! I’ve known it was possible – and I’d seen photos before. So, I just thought about it logically and figured it out! It was pretty easy peasy.

So, what is the pattern above? Well, the red scarf, you should know. The sock is a future Pomatomus. I say future because it’s only 2 charted lines in – and so it’s not really a Pomatomus yet. It’s not even hinted at it’s potential greatness.

The yarn is Knitpicks Gloss (still loving it) and the needles are a Knitpicks Options Classic Circular 32″ long US2. When these needles first came out, a number of people wanted them longer so that magic looped socks could be knit on them – but I don’t see any problem with this length. Granted it would probably be a little difficult to knit two socks at once on one needle, but still.

Anyway, I still love these needles (see my review of the DPNS here). Great point and I love the flexibility in the cord. And of course, the slick finish is pretty nice. A part of me hopes they come out with a bamboo line though. I love the natural feel of bamboo sometimes.

Anyway, I find myself itching for some difficult socks (probably because I’m on my 3rd k2, p2 ribbed sock and I want to poke my eyes out). Obviously, Pomatomus will fit that bill what with it’s twisted stitches and complicated laciness.

But I also want to try my hand at some fair-isle socks. I have this pattern but my first attemt didn’t work out so well. The fair-isle was WAY too tight and after I knit 3 inches I tried on the sock and could barely squeeze the thing over my heel. (No, I didn’t knit a guage swatch – with socks, the first few inches are the gauge swatch in my book) – I’m thinking that I’m going to have to move up a needle size on the next try.

But I’m also toying with a sock pattern that’s in my head. It’s toe-up, and knit with my hand-dyed yarn – but I really think that the pattern (as it exists in my head anyway) will be really, really cool. But creating a new pattern, especially a sock pattern is going to be a little bit difficult. Not the sock that I want to be working on as I have a 1,200 word article due tomorrow. That’s why I’ve been reaching for my k2, p2 socks, as freaking ugly as they are.

Luckily, after tomorrow night, my stress level should go down drastically – and then, you better believe I’m pulling out at least one of those harder socks….

… or maybe I’ll finally plan out my mom’s sweater.

NOOOOOOOOoooooooooooo!

This is the kind of luck that I have.

I spend all day knitting a beautiful and delicate headband that I’m am super excited to wear with my new hair. The pattern is a bit of a trial – but having finished it, I’m satisfied (but not loving the pattern so much that I would want to knit it again). Perfectly content if you will.

I show the boyfriend the headband and his feelings are lukewarm. Sigh.*

A few days later, with slept-in curls, my boyfriend decides the headband it actually pretty cute. YAY!

A day later (yesterday), said boyfriend comes up from the basement with a basket full of laundry fresh from the drier.*

You know that “classic” (overused) scene in the movies where the character screams “NOOOOOoooo!” while the camera zooms away really fast ( probably to indicate the lack of control the character has for their situation) to reveal a really deep abyss, or the character falling from the sky or something similarly horrible?

That’s what I felt here. My headband was at the top of the pile of laundry.

“Did my headband go through the wash?” I say.

“Yea, I thought ‘Did she mean for that to go through the laundry?'” my boyfriend replies. *

I grab it off the top of the pile. It’s felted. Much of the stitch definition (the whole point of lace) is lost. Some of it remains – it’s not even a consistent felting job.

So, I thought I’d take this opportunity to describe how Knitpicks Gloss survives a trip through the washing mashine (to contribute to the greater knitting knowledge in the world).

Softness: Maybe a bit softer than before it went in the wash. I think the silk (25%) really helped to keep the scratchiness at bay – as did the merino content I’m sure.
Shrinkage: Not too much – I can still wear this as a headband – but MUCH of the stitch definition has been lost.
Felting: Inconsistent. I think that this is probably due to the fact that the laundry machine was FULL (probably more full than the manufacturer would recommend). Also, it only made one trip through the machine – and usually when I felt stuff, it takes at least 2 or 3 trips.
Other thoughts: I’d definetly try felting with this yarn again (on purpose this time). I think that for an ipod cozy or something else small, cute, and in need of some durability it would be a great way to keep some shine and softness involved.

*As much as I would love to place the blame on someone other than myself, I cannot. The headband got tangled in my shirt as I removed it (my shirt) – and I didn’t retrieve the headband then. Also, I started the laundry load when I put the stuff in the washing machine – and obviously I didn’t check the laundry well enough. Thus, I am only to blame here, not my boyfriend.

A new hairstyle needs….

A new hairpiece. Or in this case, a lacy knitted headband.
The specifics:

Pattern: Lacy Hair Tamers (Interweave Knits webknits – this may have been a subscriber exclusive that I printed off when last December was free)
Yarn: Knitpicks Gloss (70% merino wool, 30% silk) in Woodland Sage
Needles: US 2 (bamboo)
Size: Fits me. (It hadn’t yet been blocked for these photos)
Time: Knit in one day
Mods: Yarn sub. Also, I grafted the two pieces together instead of doing the version of the 3 needle bind-off described in the pattern.
Pattern notes: Line 9 in the chart has an awkward double YO. I found that it stopped being akward when in the next row I purled the second yo through the back loop.

General thoughts – I was suprised that this pattern didn’t have a grafted center (you knit two pieces bottom up and join at the top) – it just seemed like it should have one. So I decided to add one. The 3 stitch garter edging was a bit intimidating – but I think that I managed to make it look pretty seamless.

This picture shows the join better – I can see the kitchenering, but then again I’m a knitter – and this hasn’t been blocked yet.

I really liked this pattern. I’d been pondering the idea of a knitted headband for a while and this was great – just the right amount of lace and a great lesson in headband construction. Now I want to get my hands on some more of this great yarn and make some more in other colors with other designs.

Also, my hair is nowhere near this red – or any red at all. Oh, the crazyness of digitalizing colors found naturally.

Also, I do like the Knitpicks Gloss. It’s got a perfect amount of shine. It’s not as soft as 100% merino (obviously), but I think that for classy socks (or accessories) this yarn is absolutely perfect. I’ll be using it again.

Autumn is about change…

The biggest one for me right now? A hair cut! Check it out…

One of the worst parts about moving is finding a new hairstylist. I was robbed of mine when she got married and moved to Chicago 6 or so years ago (how dare she!). Ever since, I’ve looked for someone who can get me, my hair and my vague instructions (like for length, I usually say “I don’t want to be able to put it into a ponytail”). I love how it looks sophisticated, yet young, girly but not silly and I LOVE how it moves! Finally I found someone here in Bloomington who understood my mumbo-jumbo! Of course, I may be leaving when I graduate in June. Figures.

Other Signs of fall:

The leaves changing colors! By the way, this building is part of the Residence Hall where I work everyday. I love how gorgeous it is here! The grounds and buildings are simply stunning. However, I do not live in that building or even close to it. I’m in a fringe building a few blocks away that looks like a big cinder block. Still, I consider myself lucky to live/work here (even if I don’t actually live in a pretty building).

The leaves falling! Already!

I feel so unprepared! I have this list of things that I want to do before I graduate (and potentially leave Bloomington) and high on that list is to take photos of the leaves in Autumn (it’s gorgeous down here, gorgeous) and I’m not ready for the leaves to fall yet! They must stay on the trees, at least for a little bit longer!

There’s nothing like the crunch of the leaves and the brisk coolness of fall. I was so excited today because I got to wear a new, finished pair of socks – one you haven’t seen yet… until now!

I love them, but I hate them. Introducing… The finished pair of of Knitpicks Memories in Redwood Forest (a very fall colorway):

Here’s the specifics:

Pattern: A basic 2×2 rib
Yarn: Knitpicks Memories (Merino wool, Redwood Forest Colorway)
Needles: US 2 Clover Bamboo (My fave for socks)
Began: May or June 2006
Finished: September 23, 2006
Final Measurements: They fit my size 8 feet (as do most socks based on 64 sts)
Final Comments: This was boring (usually this would be too boring), but in the circumstances where I was knitting it, it was perfect. I did the second sock in 3 days flat (a record for me) after knitting the entire leg while watching the the finales and first episode of this season of Grey’s Anatomy (OMG, it was AMAZING).

Also, both skeins of these socks (one skein each with some left over) are the same dye lot. I specifically remember checking. And yet, view the pooling. I hate it! I hate it! Usually, I tolerate a bit of pooling, but when it’s different on each sock – that’s just too much for me. These socks are going to get lots of wear and abuse. I’m not too proud of them and there will be no love lost when these are the first pair of handknitted socks I wear out.

The yarn itself is very soft and it was a pleasure to knit with otherwise. It’s pilling but I think that’s cause it’s merino and soft yarns do that. So my only real complaint is the pooling.

But now I’m hesitant about knitting the Fly Fishing color that I bought because I know it’ll pool just the same way. So, for now, I’m sticking with my hand-dyed.

You can read more about this sock (in it’s sad single state) here.


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Stuff on the needles – to complete, sometime.

Christmas Gifts to Finish
Mom's Sweater (the body is done)

Socks in progress...
Grandma's Socks
Koigu Scruncher
Monkey
Raindrop Lace

Other
Lace Leaves Scarf from Scarf Style
The Behemoth Log Cabin
The Swallowtail Shawl
Stupid Ugly Mitten
Felted Clogs

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