Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Hand-Painted Yarn -- Friend or Foe?

Dear Cynthia,

I spent a couple of hours today working on my bag pattern. So many little details, so little experience with laying things out, but I did make some progress. I think I'll be pretty close to printing it once I spend another couple of hours on it. As we discussed, I'm still trying to work out a "logo" (or "loco"??) identity for us and our blog, and as soon as I get in touch with the people who were recommended to me, I'll let you know what I find out, so that I'll eventually have something I can put on the printed pattern which will "match" our blog... Always good to have an identity..... Usually I'm just known as my son's mother.

As a mother of two little boys who attend various things around town such as piano lessons and library story time, I am finding many opportunities to knit these days. And so, anxiously, I started knitting myself a sweater using my recently acquired Briar Rose Fibers "Legend" yarn, 1500 yards in one hank of merino wonderfulness, dk weight.

I decided I'd make the Elizabeth Zimmerman "Brooks" sweater, cardigan version, which I have a pattern for in one of my favorite knitting books, The Opinionated Knitter. The pattern is really for more of a worsted weight, so I'm adjusting the number of stitches accordingly..... In any case, after an inch or two of knitting in the round, I was getting some pooling which was forming a dizzying spiral. So, savvy to the tricks I've read about on other blogs, I thought I'd alternate strands to make the pooling spiral go away, though alas, it did not. And so, as a last ditch effort, I decided to try knitting back and forth instead of in the round, which is considerably slower because of the purl rows, but YAY, no pooling spirals. This also means I won't have to "cut" the front of the sweater when I am done in order to make it into a cardigan -- trade-offs, you know..... Now, hopefully none of our blog readers will comment about seeing St. Francis or the Virgin Mary amid the "random" colorings in the sweater.....

The sleeve has its own issues. One side looks okay:
The other side has a large blotch:
I think I'll rip back to where the pooling starts, and try using a second strand starting there, swapping strands every row or two. I don't think it has to be very scientific....and since there are increases every five rows, the pooling will disappear once the number of stitches changes a little bit so that the colors will land differently on each other from row to row.....

Already I'm having the usual "I hope I don't run out of yarn" thoughts..... It has a hem and a front band treatment which are both knitted on after the fact, so I could always do them with a matching solid color of yarn if it looks like I won't have enough of this.....but 1500 yards, right?? That should be plenty, right??

Oh, one more thing. Something happened at the yarn store:

This is for Hardangervidda (but a different colorway, having main color black, with mostly heather patterning and some wine colored accents). I really don't believe I'll ever finish this for my dh for Christmas..... It will be 48 inches around, so not sure what I'm thinking.....except that I might not be living in reality. I blame my kids.

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)


Designated Knitter said...

Ah, the fickleness of handpainted yarn....I well remember battling that when I did my last baby cardigan. Like you, I found that "back and forth" worked best. It's beautiful yarn, tho, and it looks great.
Hey, is that Katie Luther's face I see in that picture? Just above the sleeve???

Marie N. said...

Those colors are so pretty, and perfect this time of year. I bought some hand painted yarn I have not been able to use yet. I appreciate the heads-up about potential problems to watch for. I'm not ready to learn backwards knitting yet!

allisonmariecat said...

I tend to think of pooling as a "design element" because I'm far to lazy to put any thought into preventing it :)