Paste it in the head!


Monday, May 29, 2006

This is what Sunday looked like at the Tasha-Lorien residence:

We dragged a futon mattress out onto the deck and knitted in the late afternoon sun. So pleasant!

I had decided that my next fiber foray would be dyeing, so Lorien and I went to Romni to check out their selection of books on the subject. It was surprisingly limited, but when I did a little research on the internet last night, I realized that it might be limited because dyeing is a fairly simple practice once you know the process. I was originally going to pursue natural dyeing, but really, I can't see myself crawling around the forest floor collecting lichens and walnut shells, nor crushing cochineal bugs, so I'll be following the acid dye trend after all. Romni also allegedly had an excellent new stock of Fleece Artist yarns in, so we figured we'd kill two birds with one stone and see if anything was begging to come home.

Lorien is knitting her mom a sweater using this pattern

Cute, no? It's Patons' Urban Aran from their Street Smart collection. I didn't at all need to do any stash enhancing or project starting, so at Romni I bought 7 skeins of Lamb's Pride worsted in Pistachio, a color that my camera refuses to do justice. It's a delightful celery, a pleasing springtime green. Which is why I'm going to knit a bulky cabled sweater out of it. That would be ridiculously warm in spring. Oh well, I never said I knew how to follow color rules.

Anyway, while we were sitting on the futon outside, I knitted up a couple of gauge swatches. The pattern calls for size 9 and 10 needles; I'm not a huge fan of super bulky knits so my largest size needle would be an 8. Here's my gauge swatch using an 8:

It's ok but definitely not perfect. For starters, the stitches look a bit uneven and loose; you can really see the variation in thickness of the yarn. Also, while this gauge gave me a gauge roughly that of the pattern, I really wanted to knit something a bit smaller. As a fairly small woman (my ribcage measures 32" around), I have a hard time with patterns that give a finished size small as having a bust measurement of 38", as this one did. I know that aran/cable sweaters are not supposed to be tight, but 38" would be swimming on me.

Lorien found an aran sweater that her grandmother knitted for her mom, and we measured it to compare it to the pattern:

It is ENORMOUS. It definitely measured 38" plus at the bust. I tried it on and it held its shape completely without even getting close to my body. (Does that make any sense?) I cannot wear clothes like that if I want to look remotely my age. So, as is usually the case with me and knitting, it was back to the drawing board.

Here is my gauge swatch on a size 7 (4.5 mm) needle, the size recommended on the ball band:

It looks much better than the larger one. The stitches are even and well-defined, and the fabric has a clean look to it, unlike the other swatch, which was a bit sloppy. Unfortunately, going down one needle size didn't do much to change the stitch gauge, so I will have to do some pattern altering.

In other news, here are some Hot Lava pictures.

I am on the second arm of the shrug and so far, I'm pleased with the results. I did have some concerns about the possibility of bunching at the underarm, because there is no shaping in that area. There is definitely some bunching, but I can live with it. My philosophy is similar to that of the ostrich: if I can't see it, it isn't there.

Here's a side view:

And, finally, the back:

And that, my friends, is the knitting progress here. I hope to have some spinning pictures this evening.


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