February 2013 Archives

Treats for Inspiration

Last year was such a low impact knitting year that it was hard for me to look at my existing stash and justify more yarn.  It was also becoming more and more clear to me that some yarns, even though I love them, don't play nice with my skin.  At the same time, I missed creating and crafting and knew I needed some inspiration.  So I decided that I would allow myself to have some treat yarn, under the condition that it was skin compatible (merinos, silk and good cashmere), truly special and inspirational, and also a small project where the yarn would actually be consumed and not just sit and linger in my stash.

Just about the time I made this decision, Sundara offered her luxury yarn subscription.  Smallish amounts of yarn and a pattern to go with it.   I'd used her fingering silky merino in another pattern and found that I could wear it against my skin without irritation, and since that yarn, it's aran cousin and a sport silky cashmere were the core offerings, I figured I couldn't go wrong.  Small projects, wonderful yarn bases and a dyer that makes some of the most beautiful and sophisticated colorways I've ever seen.   It's hard not to want this yarn in your hands!

Of course, I haven't been as fast on the draw as I would like to be.  There were three projects in the subscription and I'm just about mid-way through the first (Saltwater, which I am working in that beautiful blue yarn you see in the picture).   The other two yarns that came in the subscription are that beautiful deep "autumn leaves" red aran silky merino and the lovely "driftwood" sport silky cashmere that captures my memories of driftwood washed up on Lake Michigan in the summertime perfectly.    

The green yarn is her "Compassion" (also in aran silky merino) -- she released it at a time a few weeks ago when that message really resonated (and still resonates) with me.  The cowl project it goes with may be next since it is February in Chicago and that color will be the perfect complement to me and my hair and February is just one of those months where we all need a little more compassion, I think. At least in the places where it is cold and we have to spend more of our time indoors.

Last, but not least, that beautiful purple lace weight is "Aurora" in "Petunia" from Jill Draper. It's a wool silk blend and it's so soft that I'm optimistic that I'll be able to wear it in the lacy cowl its destined for.  

Even though I haven't knit with all of it yet, this yarn is keeping me company at my desk, sharing it's color and it's beautiful textures with me.  It's been therapeutic in many ways.  And it definitely helped convince me to keep my needles moving.

What yarn or tools inspire you to keep knitting?

Saltwater Heart

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While this project is not particularly photogenic (yet!) when laid out on the table, it almost can't avoid taking on the shape of a heart, given the way it is constructed.    Happy Belated Valentine's Day to all!  

This project is Saltwater by Heidi Kirrmaier and was the pattern provided along with the Fingering Silky Merino in colorway "The Great Pacific", both of which were a part of the Sundara Yarn Luxury Yarn club that I participated in last year.  The yarn is beautiful.  Although it looks solid, it has the subtle variation of a dark indigo.  When you knit it, it has depth without screaming "Hello!  I am a variegated yarn!" It is truly a treat to knit with.  I'm using my 3.25 mm nickel plated Addi Turbos (I didn't want pointy tipped needles for this yarn) and it slides along quickly and has nice stitch definition. Someday, I'd love to make a sweater out of this stuff!

The project itself is nice as well (and you can buy the pattern on Ravelry if it interests you).  It's super easy, but has alternating sections of stockinette and reverse stockinette so it is easy to knit while doing something else, but doesn't get crazy boring.  The construction is interesting, too, as you initially knit each half of the scarf separately and then bring them together -- though not with grafting.  The piece is also completely reversible - always a plus for me when it comes to a scarf.

It's hard to tell from the picture, but I am starting into the home stretch for this scarf.  I must say, I like projects where the stitch numbers decrease as you get towards the finish instead of increase.  It feels like running downhill!

Catkin Progress

I have a number of unfinished projects lurking on the corners of my desks and hidden in baskets around the house.  I thought I would share a few of them as part of the process of convincing myself to bring them to completion.  All of them are worthy and will be lovely, but I seem to have a habit of setting things down when the chart gets too hard to memorize easily.  

So here we have the lovely Catkin by Carina Spencer knit in Madeline Tosh Merino Light in the colors Fathom (blue) and Glazed Pecan.  I've always like yellows and blue together (perhaps this was influenced by growing up close to the University of Michigan), but I like it when the yellows and blues have a little more sophistication.  I spent some time selecting these two colorways.  The yellow is much gold and little brown.  The blue is reminiscent of royal blue or purple with a shot of the electric.

I tried to get a shot of this project that would highlight the lovely needle work in the pecan colored area, but it's just too big for that now.  That area surprised me.  I thought it would be unpleasant to knit because the pattern was big and hard to remember.  But it turned out to be simpler than I thought.  And this yarn is really lovely to knit with, too.  I love the subtle variations in the color that give the knitting extra depth.  What is it about me and single ply yarn?  I love the stuff.  So many of my projects lately are made of single ply.

I imagine Catkin as a Spring and Fall garment.  Light enough for when it's just a little chilly out, so I think I'll make sure I've finished up my winter only warmers before I get back to her.  She sits in one of my dad's hand turned bowls beside my desk, where I can see her clearly and won't forget her, keeping company with a couple of other lost fibery souls.


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