Archives for posts with tag: valley yarns

The Earth and Sky Brioche scarf has been done for a while now, since my trip to San Diego, but it went straight from the needles to my neck and is only now being Eucalan’d and wet-blocked. I thought I’d share pictures of it. It’s already one of my most-loved and most-worn handknits.

Pattern: Two-color brioche scarf pattern found at Run and Not Grow Weary

Yarn used: 1 skein Plymouth Boku in colorway 7 (mixed blues), approximately 1/4 skein Valley Yarns Northampton in “Chestnut Heather,” and approximately 1/2 skein Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in “Chocolate”

Needles used: US size 10/6.00 mm

Started: November 13, 2007

Finished: November 18, 2007

Size: 4″ x 59″, pre-blocking

Mods: Cast on 20 stitches instead of 15

Notes: I am so pleased with this scarf. I think it’s a strong contender as the most beautiful thing I’ve ever made, entirely due to the amazing colors in the Boku combined with the rich, dark chocolate browns of the contrasting yarns. Because of the way the pattern looks–it has an appearance of vertical brown stripes on one side with a receding blue background between them, and vertical blue stripes with receding brown on the other–it looks best when messy, folded, and crumpled, so you can see both sides of the scarf, and so that the contrasting color glows through where the brioche ribs are stretched or folded apart. Every time I see this scarf thrown off and lying in a heap on a chair or the bed, I feel like I’ve caught a glimpse of some rare rainforest butterfly, like Morpho Eugenia, resting for a minute.

In motion…

At rest.

However, I don’t know if everyone really agrees with me. I didn’t get any compliments on this scarf while out and about in New York, even when I wore it into knitting shops, where normally people are zealously eager to locate and compliment any knitted items on your body, whether you made them or not. (Maybe people in New York are too cool for that?) I feel like that’s a sign that this scarf is not really as great as all that, but I love it anyway. I don’t feel like the pictures have entirely captured its beauty, but perhaps I am always going to feel that way about it, like the mother of a mule-faced child.

I described it as chocqua when I first cast on, but that’s not really accurate. The blue ranges from aqua to cobalt, cornflower, violet, lapis lazuli, and turquoise, but unfortunately, that range of colors doesn’t easily lend itself to a snappy portmanteau.

I used the leftover Northampton from my two recent hats (Northampton is on sale at WEBS right now, by the way, $3.69 a skein for 247 yards!) until I ran out, then striped in a slightly lighter shade of brown, Wool of the Andes in “Chocolate.” You can see the stripes in the middle of this picture:

When I was arranging the scarf around my neck for the photos, I realized that the brioche stitch had resulted in some severe biasing. I am very curious about why this might be, since the stitch structure doesn’t seem like it should inherently lean in one direction or the other–you’re doing the same thing on both sides, just with different colors, so it seems like it should self-correct any bias–but it’s really pronounced, as you can see in the picture below. Those pointy scarf ends started out rectangular! I asked about it on Ravelry, and hopefully someone will have some insight.

Anyway, I finished You Bastard and cast on for a new project.

Installment the Third of my stash enhancement begins with these two skeins of bright red Nashua Cilantro, a smooth, matte, stretchy aran-weight cotton/poly blend picked up from the sale bin at Uncommon Threads ($5 a skein):

I’m making Elizabeth Zimmermann’s February Baby Sweater from Knitter’s Almanac for my cousin’s baby. They’re adopting her from China and bringing her home this Christmas. She’s a little less than a year old and is apparently very tiny. I am planning to knit the body first and adjust for short sleeves if I start to run out of yarn. Also, since she’s a toddler, I’m going to put some pearl snaps on to close the sweater, instead of buttons. This is probably overkill, but I worry.

Los Altos has two yarn shops right around the corner from one another: Full Thread Ahead and Uncommon Threads. Apparently, they only have one brand in common. The vibe at the two stores is very different; Full Thread Ahead seems like it caters to a younger crowd, with lots of unusual brands and fibers and handpainted yarns (SWTC, Curious Creek Fibers, Interlacements…) I liked the vibe in there, but actually found it sort of hard to find something in my price range that I was crazy about. I eventually found their cache of repackaged Southwest Trading Company Optimum mill ends (it’s called Jewels, and they have both DK and worsted weight) and bought a couple of skeins for a Drifting Pleats scarf:

Uncommon Threads seems much older and stodgier. I felt like I had to whisper in the store, and stand up straight. But their selection of yarns was much more appealing to me–lots of traditional stuff like Rowan, Classic Elite, and various Shetland yarns. And a big wall of Koigu! Along with the aforementioned Cilantro, I got a skein of beautiful semi-solid Classic Elite Waterlily for a new pair of fingerless mitts, or maybe a hat.

classic elite waterlily

So that’s that. Time to try and get a few more rows done on this baby sweater. I’m kind of concerned that the skein I’m knitting from is already looking alarmingly skimpy, and I’m not even done with the garter yoke yet.

P.S. Today it snowed a tiny bit. The first snow of the year, as far as I know! I guess I shouldn’t be too excited. There’s plenty more where that came from…

The bagatelles continue.

Obligatory super-close-up:

Zooming out:

Twisty hat goodness

The cleverly integrated and immensely satisfying crown decreases:

Pattern: Jared Flood‘s Koolhaas, from the Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts issue

Yarn used: Valley Yarns Northampton in Chestnut Heather

Needles used: Size 6 16″ Denises for ribbing, size 8 16″ Denises and bamboo DPNs for main part of hat

Started: 11/8/07

Finished: 11/9/07

Size: approx 17″ x 8″, unstretched (my gauge was slightly off)

Mods: Possible errata? The pattern has you slip the last stitch to the right on rounds where the end of round marker moves to the left. I worked this stitch instead of slipping it, because I thought it might be a typo–it makes sense when the marker moves to the right, so you don’t work the stitch twice, but I didn’t see the logic when the stitch moves to the left, because then you have one stitch at the end of your round that’s worked for one less row than all the other stitches. Other than that change, none.

Notes: I am totally in love with this yarn in this color. Northampton is pretty similar to Cascade 220, but cheaper, at $5 for 247 yards (and that’s discountable!) and already put up in skeins, so you don’t have to wind it. It’s soft, and the Chestnut Heather is pretty much my Platonic ideal for a brown yarn. It reminds me of the bars of very expensive dark chocolate I used to buy at Bittersweet as indulgences. (I think moving away from Bittersweet is about 75% of the reason I lost ~10 pounds when I moved to Indiana.) Rich, dark, complex, delicious. It’s coming across as a bit too red in the photos, because the sun was catching all the tiny red threads in the heather mix. The color on the WEBS page is pretty true, maybe slightly lighter than the yarn in person.

I originally bought the yarn to make a Stewart & Brown peasant cap knockoff (warning, that links to a pattern PDF). I hope I have enough left over (approx. 1.5 skeins) to make it.

The pattern is fairly fast and easy, though the many, many cable crossings got kind of arduous, so I would like to swatch for this hat using left and right twists rather than cables, i.e.

RT: k2tog, leaving both sts on left needle; knit the stitch closest to the left needle tip again, drop both sts from needle.

LT: from the back, knit the second stitch from the left needle tip through the back loop, then knit both the first and second stitch through the back loop, drop both stitches from the needle.

Ariel Barton’s article in Knitty talks about other ways to do the same thing.

I messed up and neglected to do a few knit-over-knit left twists on one round, and ended up duplicate stitching over those crossings with a piece of spare yarn after an excruciating 15 minutes trying to ladder four stitches down about 5 rows and hook the stitches back up with a crochet hook. Not a good idea when there are as many cable crossings as this hat has. Anyway, I don’t think the fix is really noticeable. I am definitely not a perfectionistic knitter.

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