Archives for posts with tag: cotlin

First of all, machine washing and drying Rusted Root worked beautifully! The sleeve puff has more or less vanished, and it sprang a big hole under one arm that I had to fix with yarn unraveled from my gauge swatch, but the fabric tightened and evened up wonderfully and the sweater still fits. Judging from the half-inch of red lint stuck on my lint trap, I think it preemptively removed a lot of potential pilliness/shedding from the fabric as well. I’ll have a bit more info later; I’d like to do some post-washing measurements so I can give teh Intarwebs information about how much Cotlin shrinks in the wash.

Other stuff:

Last Monday, Rahul and our friend Charlie went gathering mushrooms in the woods. They got lost for about 6 hours, but finally came back with a pile of huge morels that we sauteed in plenty of butter and ate for dinner. (We are all still alive, so I’m pretty confident we correctly identified them.) They were really delicious, even if they look kind of scary and greasy in this photo.

Over the weekend, Rahul and I decided to go looking for morels again. It was a fruitless search as far as the mushrooms were concerned, but I did see some beautiful tulip tree blossoms lying in the leaves:

and I found a box turtle:

–both enthralling and exotic temperate-climate treasures for a native Californian! Look at that grumpy turtle face! We don’t really see such things in the wild on the West Coast, though we do have lots of salamanders and live oaks in our forests, which I’m sure would be exotic for a Hoosier born and bred. It was great, though, very spring-green and picturesque. Unfortunately, I got awful allergies and later found a tick in my bed. (Ew!)

That was Saturday. On Sunday, we went out and took some photos for my new pattern, the Windflower Scarf.

The green and brown one is Patons SWS in Natural Earth (I love how it worked out with the self-striping yarn!) and the purple one is Manos Silk Blend in Violets. The pattern is reversible, and very simple and relaxing to knit, mostly garter stitch with a few patterned rows thrown in every now and then. Isn’t the stitch pattern pretty? I might also adapt it into a cowl pattern with a bit of leftover Malabrigo so I can see how it works up in a semisolid yarn.

Next up in my knitting queue: some Malabrigo Lace in Cadmium, a very bright golden-YELLOW!, selected by my best friend as the color she’d like for a shawl to wear at her wedding this summer.

The celadon backdrop is one of Rahul’s paintings (not sure if it’s in progress still or if that’s going to be it, Mark Rothko-style). I have a strict deadline for this shawl, mid-July, so wish me luck–if my original design goes to hell, I’ll probably have to make her a last-minute Swallowtail Shawl or something.

Oh! And before I forget, another “OMG Ravelry is soooo great” story. Friday night, after work, Rahul and I went for a bike ride around town so we could enjoy the glorious spring weather. We stopped by the chemistry building to say hi to chemgrrl, but I didn’t know where exactly her office was, so we were unsuccessful. We rode up to the north side of campus, and I finally saw the beaver who lives in the hedgerow alongside the train tracks; along the way, we passed Nicole, who was out jogging. On the way back down, we passed her again and stopped to talk for a while. It seemed like a good evening to sit outside and have a drink, so we split a half bottle of Sauvignon Blanc at the Runcible Spoon, and spotted Saibh and her husband on their way out of the restaurant. It was a nice evening. I went home and found the Ravelry Friday Night Open Mic #1 thread, in which Ravelry users around the world called up and left messages (transcribed by an automatic transcription service). I was thrilled to hear exotic accents and see the mess the voice recognition system had made of some messages… “I’m addicted to Ravelry!”->”I’m addictive to robbery” was one of my favorites. So I left my own message about how cool it was that I’d randomly run into two different Ravelry friends while we were out and about on a Friday night in Bloomington, and in the same thread, saw a shout-out from hapagirl, yet another Ravelry friend from Bloomington (or Bounington, rather, as the transcription would have it.) I felt like I was in a TV commercial about how Ravelry Brings People Together–running into friends, hearing these little “hello!” messages from all over the world, it was great.

Plus, I had a lovely breakfast this morning at the Uptown Cafe with some of my knitting group (Leigh, Nicole, Kalani, blogless Norma: hi guys!) with only a little bit of knitting involved, but a lot of delicious cottage cheese pancakes. These days, since I work from home and I’m naturally a night owl, there is very little that will induce me to get up at 7 AM. A meeting for work, a plane to catch, or, apparently, pancakes with friends at the Uptown.

I have two new finished objects to show you, both made from Knit Picks Cotlin yarn in Moroccan Red, an inexpensive DK weight cotton-linen blend. I blogged about it before here, when I made a Bainbridge Scarf with it for my friend Jeanne.

Now that I’ve used it a bit more, some further thoughts: the color of this yarn is lovely and bright, and the yarn is pretty soft and drapey as far as I can tell. The two things I disliked about it were the occasional long, pokey fibers I would have to pull out of the yarn, presumably bits of flax, and its tendency to shed red fuzz as I was knitting with it (mentioned in my last post). It made me feel sneezy, and if I washed my hands after knitting with it for a while, little red fuzz pills would rub off my palms. These skeins seemed less fuzzy than the one I knit before–maybe it’s the effect of aging the yarn a bit.

I was undecided before, but I’ve decided I like it after all and I would use it again, especially since they’ve added a bunch of new colors that are right up my alley. Of the old ones, only this red and the natural linen color really appealed to me. Maybe Nightfall. But I wasn’t crazy about the sherbet colors like coral and turquoise. I love all the new ones, though–Coffee, Glacier, and Kohlrabi are all beautiful.

The Cotlin yarn for these two new FOs and the Bainbridge scarf is all from the same batch. I got it from chemgrrl, who bought too much for her super-adorable Cherry sweater. I was curious about it, so she gave me the skein I made into the Bainbridge scarf, and then she swapped me the sweater quantity, plus some mohair, for some Elann Den-m-nit
I had so she could make a jacket or something for her small niece.

I had it lined up for a lobster for a friend’s baby, but I’ll have to find a different red yarn for that, because the Cotlin is now all used up!

First up, Rusted Root! (Wow, it’s been ages since I’ve done a proper FO post)

Pattern: Rusted Root, from Zephyr Style, given to me as a Random Act of Kindness by knottygnome
Size made: Small (for 32-35″ bust), although my gauge wound up being off and the sweater measured about 34″ before blocking when it should have been 32″. Not that the pattern tells you this, of course.
Yarn used: Knit Picks Cotlin, Moroccan Red, approximately 4.5 skeins
Needles used: US size 7/4.5 mm Denises for most of the sweater; US size 3/3.25 mm for the ribbing on the sleeves
Date started: May 5, 2008
Date finished: May 11, 2008
Mods: More tedious details about size and yarn usage can be found on the Ravelry page. I started with the neckline ribbing (since you pick up the same number of stitches as you cast on, in the same ratio, without short rows or any such things going on, I see no particular reason to pick up the neckline later) and worked 5 rows instead of 3, using the larger needles instead of going down a size. I did paired M1 increases around the raglan seam lines (lift from back and knit through front loop, k2, lift from front and knit through back loop).

I totally reworked the waist shaping, and then my gauge was off and I was unable to finish my reworked shaping scheme anyway–after I’d worked only 3 sets of hip increases out of my desired 5, the sweater was long enough and I decided to stop.

I also put in Elizabeth Zimmermann’s phoney seams on the sides before starting the ribbing.

I knit the neck and hip ribbing (about 9 rows) on size 7 needles, since I didn’t want them to draw in particularly, then knit the sleeve ribbing for 5 rows on size 3’s (I used k1fb to increase one on each sleeve to make the k2, p1 ribbing pattern work properly).

I used a sewn bindoff for the sleeves to make them stretchy, and a suspended bindoff in rib for the hip (since I hate sewing with that long, long tail over long distances… I really should have used the sewn bindoff at the hip, too; it could definitely be stretchier, but it’s not terrible as is, either.)

I hope to have more photos later. It’s unblocked and hot off the needles in this photo (so it’s all uneven and lumpy, and it’s being worn over a clearly unsuitable tunic top instead of a camisole).

The thing is, I committed a Cardinal Sin of knitting with this sweater. I didn’t knit or wash my swatch the way I would wash my finished garment–I knit a flat swatch instead of one in the round (hence the aforementioned gauge issues), then hand-washed and laid it flat instead of machine-washing and drying. Then I finished the sweater and threw it in the washer and dryer. We’ll see what happens! Hopefully I can still wear the sweater afterwards. It seems silly to have to hand-wash and flat dry what is essentially a t-shirt, so if it’s not easy care, I guess I might as well find out now instead of after it’s a cherished essential piece in my wardrobe and I accidentally toss it in the hamper. Anyway, I did read up on it beforehand and people have said it tightens up a bit and takes very well to machine washing. Not sure about drying. If it’s a disaster, I surely will have notes on it in the near future–it’s in the dryer as I type this. Wish me luck!

While I think the finished top is really cute, I did find the pattern kind of weird and annoying to work with at certain points, for a few minor reasons. Believe me, I totally understand the headaches of trying to sort these things out when drafting a pattern, and I don’t think I could do any better (people who live in glass houses shouldn’t point fingers at other people’s pattern-writing abilities!) but nonetheless, should you be in the market for Zephyr Style patterns and wondering about how they’re written, let me tell you what my gripes with this were:

  • No schematics in the pattern. This is the biggest annoyance. I couldn’t decide if I should make the XS or the S (since both cover a 32” bust)–seems like the S gives a 32” actual bust size, meaning negative ease if you’re on the larger end of the range. I wasn’t sure if the sleeves would actually fit over my biceps (thankfully, they did)–I had an issue with the sleeves being too tight on my Green Gable and had to redo my bind-offs on that top before I could actually wear it. There is also no information about the intended or modeled ease.
  • No stitches put on hold/cast on at the underarm. Just a note, not a gripe (yet). I’ve just seen the put 8%-of-underarm-stitches-on-hold thing in numerous patterns, though I’m not sure what type of functional difference it makes in the fit. I’ll see how it fits when it’s done and washed.
  • Asymmetrical waist shaping decreases. OK, actually, there’s nothing wrong with this, but I kind of like symmetrical ssk/k2tog shaping on either side of a seam instead of using just k2tog on one side of the seam.
  • Very sparse with the stitch counts. I’m pretty sure I got it right, but it would have been very helpful to see a detailed breakdown of stitch counts in the puff sleeve increase/decrease sections in particular so I could easily double-check my work and see if everything was OK. I’m not personally bothered by the lack of information about the increase rounds, as I’m capable of figuring out the number of increases per increase round from looking at the directions, but a beginner might have issues.
  • The lace is not charted out, and sl1-k1-psso is written as 3 separate steps (separated by commas) which confuses me since the 3 steps consume 2 stitches and result in 1 stitch. I prefer seeing it written using hyphens/dashes. In any case, I rewrote it using ssk.
  • The lace also calls for you to read your knitting on every other round, knitting into the knit stitches and YOs and purling into the purls. I don’t mind this, but again, if you’re a beginner, it might be easier to have it specified as “Row 10: K7, p2, k6” etc.
  • As someone’s notes somewhere on the internet point out (I can’t find them now, of course), the poof in the sleeves tends to vanish for many people, probably because of the tiered increases–i.e. XS and S have the same number of increases for the puffed sleeves, meaning the XS sleeves will be puffier than the S in proportion to the rest of the sweater, and the same deal for M/L, XL/XXL. We’ll see how mine come out. I don’t have my heart set on it either way.
  • Not a lot of information about the techniques they use. M1 is specified as Make One, but there are at least 4 different actual increases that could mean. The instructions for knitting the sleeves on two circulars are very sparse (they tell you to divide the stitches onto two circulars and knit in the round, but I can see this potentially causing issues for a beginner who wasn’t familiar with the technique). No cast-on is specified, even though they specify that you should use the backwards loop cast-on in their FAQ because apparently a lot of people were having issues with their necklines or underarm seams binding because the cast-on wasn’t stretchy enough.

It’s been ages since I made Green Gable, but I remember having some of the same issues with that top as well.

Anyway–I’m excited about wearing it, so thank you again for the pattern, knottygnome! I desperately hope it fits when it comes out of the dryer.

I had a bit of the yarn left over, about half a skein, so I cast on for a dishcloth.

Pattern: Yvonne’s Double Flower Cloth
Yarn used: Knit Picks Cotlin, Moroccan Red, approximately 1 skein
Needles used: A set of 5 US size 8/5 mm bamboo DPNs (sort of annoying–they kept falling out of the stitches. Two circs or magic loop would be easier to deal with)
Date started: May 12, 2008
Date finished: May 13, 2008

Mods: I was trying to use up the half-skein of yarn left over from my Rusted Root–I ran out of yarn at row 31 and had to rummage around to find the other half-skein of yarn left over from the Bainbridge Scarf so I could finish the cloth. I had some left over, so I knit a little garter stitch loop to use for hanging the cloth up to dry (just cast on 3 sts, knit every row for maybe 2 inches, folded it over, picked up stitches from the base of the loop and knit them together with the live stitches) and used the rest of the yarn to single-crochet around the outer border of the washcloth. Also, I used a lighter weight yarn and larger needles than recommended.
Notes: I don’t know the last time I spent so little time on a project and wound up with something so pretty and functional! Again, this photo is before washing and drying the cloth, so the knitting isn’t terribly even-looking. I think this is a great pattern, though–very easy to follow and fast to knit, with beautiful results.

It sank in on Thursday that three friends of mine were having a joint birthday party on Saturday evening and we had nothing to give them. Instead of running out and purchasing some novelty talking hamsters or somesuch, I had this bright idea that I was going to knit three presents in three days.

So without further ado, here’s how I spent my knitting time in the 72 hours from Thursday night to Saturday night:

Thursday night: Cast on for Giftblitz ’07 Gift #1: Steve’s Lopi Hat. Knit stockinette in the round all through knit night, then went home and knit for a few more hours while reading in bed. Finished around midnight and went to sleep.

Pattern: the Garter-Brim variation of Kim’s Hat from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Size: Women’s; 3.5 sts/inch/5 rows/inch, approx 23″ around, 9.5″ deep.
Yarn used: Reynolds Lopi in Earth Red, approximately 1 skein
Needles used: Size 9 Denises, 16″
Started: 10/11/07
Finished: 10/11/07, for a total of about 5-6 hrs knitting
Mods: My gauge was off, so the women’s size made a large, roomy hat. I knit garter stitch for about 2″, then knit to about 7″ before starting crown decreases. I left out two of the plain knit rounds between decrease rounds, and k2tog’d all around the last round so I had 10 sts left when I drew the top closed.
Notes: I think the Kim’s Hat pattern as written might make an excessively deep hat for most people. If/when I make it again, I’ll be careful about how long I make it before beginning crown decreases.
Verdict: Despite Steve’s man-sized cabeza, I think the hat was still a bit too big for him, but he seemed to like it. This yarn is rather itchy, but I am very fond of the colors–the way they go from deeply saturated, almost shining deep red to a pale, almost silvery pink.

Friday: At lunchtime, I cast on for a Bainbridge Scarf for Jeanne, using the partial red Knitpicks Cotlin skein Leigh gave me to try out, and white kitchen cotton for edgings. I knit for a while, then picked it up again after work while watching seasons 2 and 3 of Firefly and finished around 10 PM Friday night–total knitting time probably 5 hours.

Pattern: Bainbridge Scarf
Size: Finished dimensions ended up being about 5″ by 26″, with 7″ ties.
Yarn used: Knitpicks Cotlin in Moroccan Red, perhaps 3/4 of a skein, Lily Sugar ‘n’ Cream in white, much less than 1 skein
Needles used: Size 6 Denises, 16″
Started: 10/12/07
Finished: 10/12/07
Mods: I cast on only 130 sts to compensate for the differing gauge with the slightly larger needles, and knit about 4-5 rows of white yarn at the beginning and end of the piece to create a contrast color edging.
Notes: This is such a cute pattern! I want to make one of these for myself, perhaps using one skein of some cuddly and expensive solid-colored yarn. I would probably make the circumference a bit smaller, though the extra folded-over length seems like it would be good for tucking into the neck of a jacket. I am kind of undecided about the Cotlin. It seemed nice to knit with at first, but all this red fuzz came off the yarn and got all over my hands and my face and made me sneeze. I thought perhaps it was cat hair on the yarn, until I rubbed my hands together and giant red lintballs stuck together with sweat came off my palms.
Verdict: It looked very cute on Jeanne! I sort of wished in retrospect I’d chosen a different contrast color. Red and white has too many other meanings attached to it. I started out thinking of Dr. Seuss, then, as I was knitting, my thoughts progressed to IU’s school colors, cream and crimson, then, when I was about 3/4 of the way through, the words “Santa Claus” slowly, horrifyingly, made their way into my mind, and it was a great effort to try and see the cute and modern color combination I had envisioned originally.

Friday night: After finishing Jeanne’s scarf, I cast on for a basketweave neckwarmer for Charlie. That was it for knitting that evening, since I headed out for some drinks after that, but it was a productive day anyway.

Saturday: I finished Charlie’s neckwarmer in the afternoon, after this cool encounter at the farmer’s market. I stopped by to fondle the handspun bulky yarn at the Schacht Fleece Farm stall, and as I was talking to the woman there she said she had read my blog! They looked up their farm name the other day and of course, since I’d blogged about the open house farm visit (as did Elliphantom and chemgrrl) my site came up.

Pattern: My own. In a fit of creativity, I’m calling it the Giftblitz Basketweave Neckwarmer (click for pattern instructions).
Size: One size fits all!
Yarn used: Knitpicks Cadena in Mist Gray, approximately 1/2 skein (~55 yards)
Needles used: Size 11 Denises
Started: 10/12/07
Finished: 10/13/07, probably about 3-4 hours of knitting
Notes: A super-quick, easy, and thrifty gift. The Cadena is squishy and nice, but I think many people would find it a bit itchy against the neck. I didn’t have time to block it; I bet some Eucalan would help tame the itchies.
Verdict: I think this was the most popular gift I gave. Rahul requested one too, once they saw that it could be pulled up around the face for biking in the cold in addition to pushed down around the neck to keep it warm, and Charlie’s girlfriend Carol immediately stole it and wore it for the rest of the evening like a headband, Calorimetry-style.

Off-topic notes on Firefly, since I was watching it while knitting. I love Buffy, and started getting into Joss Whedon’s other work only after I ran out of Buffy episodes to watch. I think Angel and Firefly are definitely inferior to Buffy, but I grew to enjoy them both–Angel came first, as a natural progression. I watched the whole series over this last summer. (The puppet episode was one of my favorite of the series. Brilliant!)

I watched Serenity at some point, probably when I found the DVD at the library, and found it disjointed and hard to follow. It seemed really obvious to me that it was a continuation of a TV series rather than a movie that could stand well on its own. I think I’d really like to go back and re-watch it, though, after finishing the rest of Firefly.

I was totally underwhelmed when I watched Disc 1 of Firefly–completely bored throughout the pilot, and thinking the whole way through of how baffling Whedon fanboys/girls were, to build up a cult following around this show. I thought grimly, though, of how terrible Buffy Season 1 was compared to, say, Season 5, and soldiered on through the rest of the disc. By Disc 2, I was finding myself really liking the characters, settings, and stories, though the forced affectation of “gorram” still makes my skin crawl.

Some of my favorite scenes so far include the “Too much hair!” sequence, Kaylee’s throwaway line, “He makes everyone cry, he’s like a monster!” and the scene between Mal and Inara at the end of “Our Mrs. Reynolds.” And by the time “Out of Gas” rolled around, it was deeply heart-warming and satisfying to see everyone’s backstories.

The Chinese is abysmal. I think the only intelligible word I’ve heard so far out of anyone’s mouth is “go-se,” which I am thinking is probably “dog shit.” I can’t figure out anything else they’re saying. It’s not just that I don’t know the words they’re using; I have no idea what syllables and tones they’re trying to produce. Just a minor complaint. I appreciate the integration of Chinese into this space western. I was going to say into a sci-fi movie in general, but then I started thinking of Blade Runner (look at that insane metal suitcase box set!) and Naboo and decided that Exotic Asian is already totally an old motif in futuristic sci-fi. Let’s see some more Exotic South American or Exotic East African or something.