Archives for posts with tag: elann

I was interested to see today that Knit Picks is continuing their expansion into the cult classic yarns market with a knockoff of Rowan Kidsilk Haze called Aloft. $6.99 for a 25 g skein–about half the price of Kidsilk Crack. I wonder how it compares with Elann’s longtime contender, Silken Kydd? Or Artfibers Tsuki? Or Shibui Silk Cloud? (oops–edited table to add Lion Brand Silk Mohair, which I’d forgotten)

All pre-packaged yarns weigh 25g Rowan Kidsilk Haze Elann Silken Kydd Knit Picks Aloft Artfibers Tsuki Shibui Silk Cloud LB Silk Mohair
Mohair/silk ratio 70/30 70/30 75/25 60/40 60/40 70/30
Yardage 229 yds 232 yds 246 yds n/a, sold by the yard 330 yds 231 yds
Super kid mohair specified in fiber content? Y Y N Y Y Y
Suggested gauge 18-24 sts/4” 18-24 sts/4” Not specified 22 sts/4” 20 sts/4” 17 sts/4”
Suggested needles US 3-8 US 2-6 Not specified US 6 US 7 US 8
Colors 31 currently listed 7 currently in stock 15 currently listed 19 currently listed 13 currently listed 6 currently listed
Price $14.95 $6.50 $6.99 n/a, sold by the yard $17.00 $8.00
Price per yard 6.5 cents 2.8 cents 2.8 cents 4 cents undyed, 5 cents dyed 5.2 cents 3.5 cents

Thoughts:

  • KSH has the best color selection but is also crazy expensive (in case you hadn’t noticed).
  • Tsuki has a more limited color range, but is also the only one that offers hand-dyed multicolors
  • Tsuki and Silk Cloud have the highest silk content, Aloft has the lowest
  • Silk Cloud is sold in the highest-yardage putup
  • I don’t think the suggested gauge or needles are significant–I’m sure these are all interchangeable
  • I’m not sure if the lack of “super kid” designation on Aloft was intentional. Maybe it’s scratchier than the others?
  • Silken Kydd is the cheapest per skein
  • However, Silken Kydd and Aloft are the same price per yard
  • Knit Picks offers free shipping for orders over $50, and shipping is pretty darn cheap even when you have to pay for it, so once you factor that in, it’s probably the cheapest choice by far… on the other hand, Shibui and KSH are sold through retailers instead of direct to consumer, so you have a better chance of finding random sales or discount codes than with the other yarns
  • Silk Cloud seems the most expensive but is actually quite a bit cheaper than KSH once you look at the yardage

EDIT: Feb 22, KP confirmed that Aloft also uses super kid mohair!

Here are some projects I’ve made with

Honestly, though, I couldn’t tell you the difference between any of them unless I had them side by side.

I haven’t yet had the pleasure of a whole project with Silk Cloud, Lion Brand Silk Mohair, or, obviously, Aloft.

Next I hope Knit Picks comes out with a knockoff of Rowan Calmer!

Edited for full, FCC-compliant disclosure: after I wrote this post, the folks at Knit Picks kindly sent me 3 skeins of green Aloft yarn for free! (I didn’t know they were going to do that when I wrote it.)

Pattern: Shalom Cardigan (rav link/pdf link)

Size made: don’t harsh my mellow, man, that’s not the way I roll

Yarn used: Elann Peru Soft in color 801 (pale gray), 5.5 skeins (539 yards). This was a limited edition yarn, so it’s long gone from the Elann website, but it was really nice–45% Acrylic, 20% Baby Alpaca, 20% Wool, 15% Kid Mohair, a singles with a nice natural feel despite the high acrylic content, next-to-skin soft, and I think I actually got this whole bag of 10 skeins/980 yds on sale for $18 + shipping. So the yarn cost for this was about $10 for a long-sleeved cardigan. Not bad!

Needles used: US 10.5/6.5 mm

Date started: June 28, 2010

Date completed: July 29, 2010

Mods/Notes: The Shalom Cardigan comes in only one size, and it’s not quite my size. My gauge was also not quite right (I didn’t swatch, either, just cast on and started knitting). I ignored all this and kept knitting. Sometimes you just really do not want to do math. I am ashamed to say that I also only tried this on after completing the yoke–the rest of the body of the cardigan was fudged, which is why it doesn’t really fit around any part of my torso except the yoke. I kept trying on half the cardigan and saying “hey, it fits” but never did the Right Thing, which would have been to put it on a piece of waste yarn and try it on around my WHOLE BODY instead of just the left half. (Or to actually take gauge measurements and compare the stitch counts and gauge to my own actual body.)

My gauge was about 13 sts/4” (the suggested stitch gauge” but 16 rows/4” (way off from the suggested 20 rows/4”). I ended up doing 6 rows in each tier of ribbing, then 5 or 6 garter rows (3 ridges) at the end of the yoke before putting the stitches on waste yarn for the sleeves.

I cast on 10 sts under each arm for gussets, but quickly realized that was probably way too much. I worked k2tog on all the gusset stitches on the next RS row, then worked ssk/k1/k2tog at the underarm seamline for the next few RS rows until I had decreased out all the extra underarm gusset stitches. I also altered the ratio of stitches to more or less reflect the ratios of my body: 25 sts each front, 34 sts each arm, 51 sts back.

Buttonholes went in once about every 6 garter ridges at first, then every 8 ridges.

I decided to do another pair of decreases at the side seams every inch, three times, to shape the waist. (I shouldn’t have, and would have realized that if I had tried the sweater on in progress!) Increased every other RS row after passing the waistline, to get it back up to hip measurements.

After casting off the body, I found that it didn’t quite fit me except in the yoke, even after a severe wet-blocking and stretching. So while I sewed on buttons to match the buttonholes all the way down, only the top three buttons can be closed without crazy gaping and stretching. Here is the embarrassing photo for proof–see how the nice straight | at the buttonband in the yoke area quickly changes to ZSZSZS in the rest of the body?

I added long sleeves to the cardigan to make it more useful–picked up the held stitches for the sleeves and picked up/decreased the underarm gusset stitches as well, knit to elbow length and then decreased in pairs every inch or so to shape the sleeves, ending in garter stitch. The sleeves are skintight–I should have left a bit more ease.

It came out cute despite the sizing issues… I really like the combination of the vintage blue glass buttons and the pale gray yarn. The buttons are from General Bead in San Francisco, and I’ve been holding onto them for a while, waiting for the right project. (I think the only buttons I’m still hoarding for the right sweater now are a set of small, adorable sushi buttons that call for a fine-gauge plain cardi.)

Though it might appear from this photo like I’ve been wired to spy on the mob, the lump on my back is actually from the waist ties on the sundress I’m wearing.


I think it will be a nice cardigan for the fall, especially if I can manage to stretch it out a bit more with wear. Or if I happen to suddenly lose about 30 pounds in the next couple of months. I’m a little nervous about the pilling potential for this yarn because it’s so softly spun, but we’ll see how it goes. (If this one ends up being unusable, I would even consider making another cardigan from this pattern, but I’d do it properly next time.)

If I decide to continue the quick-knit cardigans trend, I’m thinking of doing a short-sleeved, wide-necked Liesl with two skeins of fingering weight yarn held together. (From what I hear, it should take me only a few days to complete…) I was also eyeing a couple of Drops patterns, like this cable-yoke one or this one with a lacy yoke. Or Loppem, which has been in my queue forever.

The Bird in Hand mittens, as I mentioned in my last post, have been hurting my hands. I bent one or two of my steel DPNs into gentle arcs trying to force the decreases. Still, soldiering on with them in search of the perfect mittens–the Selbuvotter mittens, as it turns out, are about an inch too long for my hands, and rather loose, so they’re not as warm or comfortable as they should be. I’m considering making liners, but the thumbs are already pretty stiff and snug, so that might not work well.

Here’s the palm of the mitten in progress, no flash…

And here’s the back of the hand in progress, with flash.

Because my fingers were hurting from wrestling with the DPNs, I just had to take a break when my package from WEBS arrived.

On the left, one of the size 0 DPNs I’m using for the mittens; on the right, one of the size 19 Denise needles I used for this latest FO.

The sweater in question? The Shopping Tunic, from Twinkle’s Big City Knits–and I knit the entire sweater in two evenings. At this rate, I could knit 182 sweaters a year!

Unfortunately, you kind of get out of it what you put into it. All my photos came out hideous and I have a sinking feeling this is because the sweater itself is hideous.

Here’s the least hideous of the snapshots. Gah! I mean, I love it in theory, but the gauge looks so loose and sloppy. I blocked it and everything. And it’s certainly not very flattering. Perhaps if I wore sleeker clothes underneath, in similar and darker colors, it would work better. I don’t like that big lump where you can see the waistband of my jeans.

Rahul was not a big fan of this. I tried it on to show him, and he looked dubious.

“Um. Are you giving this to someone else?”

“No.”

“Is it meant for wearing around the house?”

“No, you’re supposed to wear it out.”

He considered this for a moment and said, diplomatically, “I think the stitch size is too big.”

“But that’s the designer’s signature style!”

“Sorry. I guess I’m just a plebeian.”

“Well… it’s stylish! It was in Anthropologie!”

“No WAY!!” he exclaimed, unable to restrain his disbelief–then added, “Actually, I don’t know what Anthropologie is, but whoever they are, they did not have this sweater.”

I had to try and find the Butter Hill funnelneck online to show him. Then, because it was striped and this is not, he wouldn’t believe it was the same sweater.

“It looks like chain mail!”

“Nooo!”

“It looks like you’re about to ride into battle! You look like Barbarossa!”

Anyway–I’ll have to see if I can do anything with the styling to make it more wearable. Till then, the jury is still out on this one.

Thankfully, I do like this Flared Lace Smoke Ring I finished last week. (Isn’t that a great sweater I’m wearing? Sadly, I didn’t make it–I bought it at an Old Navy after-Christmas sale)

And this is how we wear the cowl in the old country:

Pattern: Heartstrings Flared Lace Smoke Ring

Size: As specified by the pattern: 28″ around at the base, 22″ around at the top, 18″ long.

Yarn used: Elann Silken Kydd in Baked Apple, 1 skein

Needles used: US size 6/4.0 mm Denises

Started: 12/26/07

Finished: 1/3/08

Mods: Used less than the specified yardage of yarn. Bound off with a *k1, k2tog, slip st back to left needle* BO to create a stretchy, ruffled BO edge. Other than that, nothing.

Notes: Fluffy, soft, easy, and pretty–a nice use for one skein of laceweight. Notes on the yarn are here. The stitch pattern looks complicated, but is repetitive enough that this became my TV knitting once I got through the decrease charts. (You knit from the bottom up, decreasing for a few lace repeats, and then work the last chart, keeping the stitch count constant, until the cowl is the length you want it.)

I might send this to my grandma. I’m not sure if she would wear it or if she would prefer the traditionally shaped scarves/shawls she already has.

I’m buying Barbara Abbey’s Knitting Lace with my latest Amazon gift certificate. Has anyone seen/used this book? I love the edgings section in Barbara Walker vol. 2, and I’m hoping this book will be a worthwhile supplement. Plus, it sounds like the patterns are charted–bonus!

Cold days call for warm colors.

I took a break from knitting for a couple of days to turn out some sewing FOs in cheery colors.

First up, a shirt in very ORANGE!! cotton. I’m kind of torn about this one. At first I felt like it was a cheery, citrussy, summery piece, but then I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and had thoughts of those orange vests people wear to pick up litter on the freeway. (Orange is not really in my comfort zone as far as clothes go, but I’m trying to expand my horizons.) Furthermore, Rahul was very critical of the A-line shape and said it was “smocky” and made me look “tubby.” I didn’t like this, and he said, in a very logical way, “But you aren’t tubby! My point is that it makes you look tubby but you’re not. I just thought you’d want to know if it looks bad.”

“But I like it!”

“Well, then don’t listen to me! If you like it, you should wear it!”

This exchange was completely infuriating because it was making me really mad, but at the same time, I knew I was being illogical and unreasonable. I showed him about five tops from Lucky with a similar shape and he said he believed me, but that still didn’t mean the top was flattering. I realized that my desired outcome was basically for him to change his mind about the top, which wasn’t going to happen. It doesn’t feel good to realize you’re being a pitch-perfect negative female stereotype in the “Do these jeans make my butt look big?” genre.

Here’s the shirt.

Pattern: The Titus Summer Blouse pattern from Renegade Sewing, from Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley. I think the pattern was made up by one of the store employees–I haven’t seen any references to it online aside from other people who bought it in the store. When I was back at home for Thanksgiving, my bestest childhood friend Sarah showed me two or three of these blouses she had made from this pattern and I loved it so much I ran out and bought it right away.

Fabric used: Some kind of orange Indian cotton with a red warp and yellow weft, or vice versa–is this considered a chambray? The pattern calls for 1 7/8 yards and I was a little bit short of this–1 3/4 yards or 1 1/2 yards. If you’re short of the main color, you could easily use a small amount of a contrasting color for the yoke, either the lining or both sides.

Started: 12/29/07 (cutting out the pattern and fabric)

Finished: 12/30/07 (sewing everything together)

Size: Small (I might want to add a tiny bit of width in the yoke next time–the shoulders seem slightly too narrow on me.)

Mods: Changed the cutting layout to allow for the amount of fabric I had–slightly less than what was called for in the pattern. The pieces seemed to be laid out in a very simplistic way–the U-shaped yoke pieces are facing the same direction on the layout, so you waste big squares of fabric in the middle of each U. I rotated one of them 180 degrees and moved it up and closer to the other yoke piece so that the “U” shapes interlocked. I guess if the fabric had a nap, that might cause a problem? Two of the four yoke pieces just serve as lining for the other two, though, so as long as the two pieces on the outside were pointing the right way, I don’t think you would have any problems even if they were cut upside down.

Notes: This is a very simple and easy pattern, a great confidence-builder for a sewing klutz like me. It only has three pattern pieces–yoke, sleeve, and body–and basically everything is gathered, so it’s easy to ease pieces into other pieces when you’re putting it all together. Despite its simplicity, I managed to sew quite a few pieces together inside out or backwards and spent a lot of quality time with my seam ripper. Maybe I should have used pins.

I used some of the leftovers from the ORANGE!! blouse to make some adorable coasters. I love them!

Pattern: Pulled Thread Coasters from Simple Gifts to Stitch, by Jocelyn Worrall

Fabric used: ORANGE!! cotton, 10 x 15″ piece; blue botanical Anna Griffin Blythe cotton from Purl Patchwork, 30″ x 5″ piece

Started: 12/30/07

Finished: 12/30/07

Notes: I love the book this pattern came from! It has so many utterly simple but really cute ideas–a sophisticated pleated vinyl purse, a clamshell change purse that you squeeze at the sides so it opens like a snapdragon, a wide-wale corduroy leaf pillow cut on the bias so the corduroy wales mimic leaf veins. And of course this simple but lovely coaster pattern. I got it from the library but I might have to buy it for myself at some point.

These coasters are made by pulling threads out of the warp and weft of the fabric with a seam ripper at marked intervals, revealing stripes of the contrasting warp and weft colors, then cutting the resulting fabric into squares and backing them with a contrasting fabric. It’s a very fast and easy pattern; it probably took me less than an hour to make these six coasters, including time spent carefully picking out threads.

The complementary-color combination of blue and orange cheers me up every time I look at it.

Here’s a glimpse of a little knitting WIP. It’s sort of kind of orange. Close enough, anyway. It’s the Heartstrings Flared Lace Smoke Ring (I first saw this pattern on Eunny’s blog) and I’m knitting it in Elann’s new Kidsilk Haze clone, Silken Kydd, same silk/mohair fiber content at half the price, on size 6 needles.

This colorway, Baked Apple, is already sold out. I bought it to see if it would make a good substitute for KSH in Liqueur, but it’s not that close. Baked Apple is more of a russet red, on the orange side of the spectrum, rather than a burgundy or wine color.

I’ve never knit with Kidsilk Haze, but I think the mohair in this yarn is probably not as high quality. It feels perceptibly rougher in the skein than KSH or Artfibers Tsuki (comparison of KSH and Tsuki here), although I don’t find it itchy. I think the hairs are probably longer, thicker, and crimpier than KSH. The silk is very lustrous and strong, and the color of the yarn is nicely saturated.

This yarn seems to be neverending. I guess that’s a good thing, but I feel like I’ve been knitting and knitting and my knitting gets larger but my skein never gets any smaller. I cast on for this project while we were staying with Rahul’s parents in Missouri, on the day after Christmas, and the pattern is actually easy enough that it’s my new TV knit–it’s a very repetitive ribbed lace stitch pattern, in the Pomatomus family, so I just need to glance at the chart at the beginning of each row.

Aside from making things in bright colors, I’ve been listening to this song about the “Paul is Dead” urban legend to keep myself cheerful.  It’s the happiest song about a conspiracy theory I’ve ever heard.

Happy New Year!

Today’s installment of “What’s taking over orata’s house now?” is brought to you by the fiber Silk.

Elann’s latest foray into Rowan Kidsilk Haze territory is a new yarn called Silken Kydd. They already had a similar mohair laceweight named Super Kydd, a mohair/nylon blend, but their newest offering is actually 70% super kid mohair, 30% silk, just like Kidsilk Haze–and at $6.50 a skein, it’s half the price.

I love the KSH color “Liqueur,” so I got a couple of skeins of Silken Kydd in “Baked Apple” to see if it might be a suitable substitute:
elann silken kydd baked apple

I’ll post some notes once the yarn is actually in my hands and I’ve had a chance to knit it up.

Artfibers Tsuki is a super kid mohair/silk laceweight similarly priced to Silken Kydd, but the colors are limited. I have some gossamer lavender and pink in my stash (I made a Branching Out with some of the lavender last year, but still have half a skein left over) but sadly, they don’t carry that wonderful deep, bloody burgundy.

My mom got me two skeins of this handpainted Manos Silk Blend from Stash, in the colorway “Wildflowers.” I think I’ll use it for a half-linen-stitch scarf for her–for Christmas, if I can manage it, but I have a backup gift plan for her, so this project will wait till last. This is a 30% silk, 70% merino DK weight singles.

manos silk blend wildflowers

I bought two skeins of Fibre Company Terra at Article Pract. This is really pricey, but it’s some of the most gorgeous yarn I have ever seen–the slubby veil of color over the contrasting core is stunning. The two colors I got were “Redwood” and “Light Indigo.” I’m still not sure I made the right choice. I think I might make a two-color brioche scarf from these. 60% merino, 20% baby alpaca, 20% silk.

light indigo fibre company terra

redwood fibre company terra

redwood and light indigo fibre company terra

And while I’m on the topic of silk, here’s an old FO: the Dream Swatch (caution, link is a PDF) in an unnamed vegetable-dyed wool/silk from Deep Color Studio, a small spinning/felting/dyeing shop around the corner from my old house. This has great sentimental value for me, as I bought it just before we moved away from California, and knit it in the car as we drove along the great, dry, sun-drenched highways of the West on our way out to Indiana, finishing it in some seedy motel room in Colorado as we watched late-night true crime shows. I didn’t get around to taking proper pictures of it till now. The colors are great. It’s too short to be much of a scarf, but I can use it quite effectively as a headband. (The modeled pictures are less than flattering, so I won’t post them here, but you can find them on Ravelry)

dream swatch 1

dream swatch 2

dream swatch 3

Pattern: Knit and Tonic‘s Dream Swatch (link is a PDF)

Yarn used: Chunky vegetable-dyed wool/silk blend from Deep Color Studio, 1 skein (110 yards)

Needles used: Size 10

Started: July 27, 2006

Finished: July 29, 2006

Size: Headbandy (let me know if you’re interested in the exact dimensions, and I can measure it)

Mods: I only used 3 repeats of the pattern across instead of 4, and changed needle size to match the yarn.

Notes: Oh-so-pretty, an easy way to show off a handpainted yarn. I saw a pair of fingerless gloves at Urban Outfitters one day and was intrigued by the way the color striped. Looking more closely, I saw that it used this stitch pattern. The elongated stitches make each little run of color in the skein stretch much farther, and serve to break up pooling, so it’s really a great treatment for a variegated yarn. I would actually recommend using a lighter, drapier yarn, like the recommended bamboo–the chunky wool/silk is stiffer than I’d like. (In any case, drape or no drape, I get a lot of compliments on this when I wear it out.)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 199 other followers