Monday, February 23, 2015

Stash Match: Lace Weight

It's Monday Match. That can be a thing now, right? Or not.

Since starting my Stash Match project, I've acquired more laceweight, so I now have two skeins that need projects. This was a challenge since it seems I rarely work with laceweight. (I like it when I do, but it doesn't seem to fall into my shopping cart like 4-ply does!)

laceweight photo IMG_1042.jpg

Filatura Di Crosa Centolavaggi: 1531 yards / 1400 metres, 100% merino cobweb

I've had this yarn for years. It's sentimental yarn, since it's the first yarn that my husband ever bought for me - an impulse purchase from when we visited Bologna and randomly found a yarn shop. When we got engaged I briefly harboured thoughts of using it for my wedding shawl... but then I bought a light gold / champagne coloured dress and decided that undyed yarn would be a better coordinating colour. Sentimentality has prevented me from settling on a project. Plus, that is a LOT of very fine yarn, and my style isn't particularly delicate.

I've been feeling the need for a truly challenging project, since I haven't been stretching myself much with my knitting lately. That + loads of cobweb weight yarn lead me to Malgven by Lucy Hague. I've admired her celtic-knotwork shawls for a while, so what better time to try one out? Plus, I've never made a circular shawl before. No time like the present! The pattern is written for laceweight rather than cobweb, so mine may turn out a little smaller / I made need to use different needles.

Maharashtra Silk: 800 yards/732 metres, 100% silk laceweight.

I got this yarn in a swap last year (hence the glimpse of the tasty cow-themed treats I also received). I've never used 100% silk, but I love silk blends, so I hope this will be fun to knit with. It looks like a good candidate for planned pooling, given the way it was dyed. The website I've linked has a tool for figuring out how to get your yarn to pool intentionally in different patterns, but there are also lots of patterns written for planned pooling. I've chosen the Pooling Summer Mesh Stole by Gladys We as a starting point. If I'm going to do something ridiculously complicated with my other yarn, I thought I'd do something slightly simpler with this one. I will change to something else if I find it isn't working with my yarn, of course.

That's all for this installment of Stash Match. I have a few more categories to go, and they are proving difficult, but I'll get there eventually!

Do you have stash yarn that stubbornly refuses to commit to a pattern?

Friday, February 20, 2015

FO: Luna Purpurae

 photo IMG_8266_zpsjvk885tp.jpg

I have a new cowl(ette)!

Pattern: Luna Viridis by Hilary Smith Callis

Yarn: Sweet Georgia Cashluxe Fine

 photo IMG_8260_zpszosavsmu.jpg

Notes: No mods, other than accidentally doing two repeats of one of the lunar bands at the beginning, rather than alternating the direction.

This was a fun knit, and fairly quick. The yarn is so luxurious - Merino/Cashmere/Nylon - maybe the first time I've used such a blend? I can't remember. But anyway, softest ever. I do worry it will become very fuzzy in short order, but in the meantime it looks and feels lovely. The gentle variegation works pretty well with the textured stitch pattern, and I loved watching all the subtle colour variations occur as I knit.

The cowlette thing intrigued me and I'm glad I tried it. It fits well, but unlike a shawlette, I can't pull it more tightly around my neck - so it does feel different to wear. I can still tuck it in when I wear it with a jacket, plus there is a double layer of knitting since the stockinette portion folds under the textured bit, so it is still plenty cozy.

 photo IMG_8262_zps4daykqlj.jpg

Just in time for spring? Ah well, it'll get plenty of wear throughout the year here, I'm sure.

See more FOs here!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Wardrobe refashioning

I have this corduroy skirt that I've had for years. It is so comfortable that I haven't been able to give it up, despite its horribly faded appearance. It used to be olive green, but years of wear and washing have turned it dingy gray-green. I stopped wearing it in public because it was getting truly shabby-looking. (And not in a shabby-chic way.)

Exhibit A: Comfiest skirt in the world.
 photo IMG_8207_zpszdgdapju.jpg

Some time in the summer it occurred to me that I could dye it and maybe give it a renewed place in my wardrobe. I went out and bought some Dylon dye, and then packed it away and forgot about it until a few weeks ago. I bought the kind of dye that you're meant to use in the washing machine, and I was a bit nervous to try it in our rental flat, and then I just never got around to it. (Probably for the best that I didn't attempt it; since the landlord charged us for leaving a dirty bathroom mirror when we left that flat, I dread to think what would have happened if there had been any discolouration in the washing machine!) When we moved into our new place with our very own new shiny washing machine, I dug out the dye and skirt and got to work.

Exhibit B: Skirt now deep chocolate brown and once again wearable!
 photo IMG_8215_zps6ldjklp5.jpg

It worked very well. I'm so pleased that I've been able to extend the life of this skirt, since it has been a wardrobe staple for me in years past. This was my first time dyeing in the washing machine, and it was stupidly easy. There was a bit of discolouration on the rubber ring (front-loader), but I think it was mostly pre-existing fuzz stuck to the rubber that got dyed. After a few more washes, and wiping it out with a sponge, it is pretty much gone.

Now my husband wants to try overdyeing some of his faded trousers, so we may give the machine another workout soon.

Have you ever refashioned your old clothes?

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Yarn as decor

 photo IMG_8219_zpsbc8m2mam.jpg

I bought this bell jar the other day. It was kind of an impulse purchase, only not really - I did go home and think about it first before going back the next day to buy it. I'm often a bit skeptical of the whole faux-vintage-kitsch thing, but I thought it would look perfect on a shelf in our hallway filled with yarn. And it does (not pictured in situ, because no natural light.) Because I definitely don't have a shortage of pretty yarn, and it's nice to have some of it on display instead of packed away in a closet. (As mentioned, the hallway gets no natural light, so hopefully there won't be much fading - but in any case, I plan to rotate out skeins regularly. Hopefully because I'll be using them!)

How do you store your yarn? Is any of it on display?

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

2015: not bad so far - keep it up.

 photo f153b26c-a247-4048-a5dc-e7786a709512_zpsd7urxfxj.jpg

2014, and the last half of it especially, was a stressful year for me.

The two main causes of stress were our search for and purchase of our first flat, and my application for UK permanent residence.

I didn't really write about them much here, but I'm pleased to say that both things are finally over.

After a lengthy process navigating bureaucracy and circuitous banking procedures, the property purchase was finalised in December and we moved in January.

On Friday, I received my residence permit, thus concluding a stressful process of paperwork wrangling, test-taking, form-filling, fee-paying... and months of waiting.

My 2015 is off to a good start - how about yours?

Friday, January 30, 2015

Stash Match: Sock Yarn

Last year I set out to match my stash yarn to patterns so it wouldn't languish indecisively forever more. I managed to allocate my 4-ply "Too Pretty For Socks" yarn, and I'm well on my way to using it for its intended purpose. (By which I mean, I've completed two projects and started a third. I'll get there.)

Today I'm finally getting around to my next category: Sock Yarn (aka "Pretty enough for socks," I guess.) The yarns in this category are no less pretty than my un-sock yarn, but probably/hopefully more durable.

 photo IMG_7018b_zpsdvdgwgqp.jpg

Top to Bottom:

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock: I've been holding on to this for a long time, since people keep telling me it is the ultimate sock yarn. I might have put it on a pedestal, just a little, so I've found it difficult to commit to a pattern. Also, it is heavily variegated - fortunately (or unfortunately) there are loads of interesting patterns out there especially for this kind of yarn. After much internal debate, I've settled on Mad Color Weave by Tina Lorin. I'll re-evaluate if it pools strangely when I start, though.

Yarn Yard Cairn: I have had this yarn almost as long as I've lived in Edinburgh. (4ish years). It is time that I knitted it up! It's quite dark, so choosing a pattern that would show through was difficult. I've settled on Torrent by Tin Can Knits, since I think the lace will show up even in the dark colour.

Hand-dyed red: I believe this is 75/25% wool/nylon. Dyed with Wilton's icing gel colours, it initially turned out the colours of canned salmon. Eeeeh not really what I was going for. Then I dumped most of the rest of the red dye into the pot and there was much rejoicing. I think it will look awesome as Blueberry Bubbles by Thayer Preece Parker. Or perhaps strawberry bubbles, in my case. I'm looking forward to a sock with a lot of stockinette but a goodly portion of detail as well.

Hand-dyed tea/brown:
Probably 75/25 wool/nylon. I dyed it using a shedload of teabags a few years ago, and it has been waiting for a project ever since. I actually started knitting Hedgerow with this yarn, but I just wasn't enjoying it, so I frogged and thought some more. The winner came upon me suddenly - not from my favourites or queue, but from the new Knitty: Tauriel. ALL THE CABLES. This is certainly not television knitting, but I'm enjoying it so far.

 photo IMG_8210_zpsfjqgl444.jpg

What are your favourite sock patterns?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Luna Viridis

For the first time in a long time, I have a new exciting WIP on a Wednesday!

I have the beginnings of a delightful cowlette on the needles right now.

 photo IMG_8213_zps8odv02oh.jpg

Luna Viridis, by Hilary Smith Callis is fun so far. I've never made a cowlette - a cowl that mimics the shape of a shawlette wrapped around the neck. It seems like it will be very wearable, but we'll have to see when I'm finished.

The yarn is Sweet Georgia Cashluxe Fine, which is Merino/Cashmere/Nylon and possibly the softest thing I've ever knit with. This is my fourth project using my stash match yarn, and so far I think it was the right choice. It's more of a gently-variegated than a semi-solid colourway, if that makes any sense, but I think it'll work. I've only just started on the textured portion, but slipped stitches and tonal variation are usually friends.

Linking up to Stitch Along Wednesday this week.