Friday, April 23, 2010

Discontinued Yarn - WHY?

Why are yarns discontinued?  I suppose that fashion trends have much to do with it.  Or lack of sales.  Perhaps a dated color way spells sure demise.  But why?  I have very favorite yarns, now listed as discontinued,  stashed away for safe keeping from marauding yarn thieves. 

Oops, pardon me.  I meant to say friends who beg.  No,  that is not right either.  Oh, dear.  Who are those people?  Let me just indicate that some personal favorite fiber based items are carefully and securely placed in out of the way nooks so that I am not responsible for any friends drooling upon my clean floors.  There - now I have described the situation perfectly!

At any rate, this swath of lovely fluffiness is, sadly, discontinued.  I love the way it works up in the most simple of garter stitch diagonal scarf-ery.

Artful Yarns (JCA, Inc.) Broadway is a bulky soft yarn composed of acrylic, mohair, polyester, metallic something and nylon.  The color change is quite lovely and the bit of metallic whatever adds just a hint of glisten down amongst the mohair wisps.  This stuff will look stunning with the little black dress thing or add elegance to plain old down home jeans.    Too bad you can't rush out and acquire it for yourself.  That whole discontinued thing is an occasional pain.

I love it.  And, after this scarf is ready for wearing there will be a scant 50 grams left over and hidden away from drooling friends. 

PS - I went by a favorite LYS today to hide out and knit in peace.  What met me when I opened the door?  Masses and masses of knitters all trying to hide out and knit in peace.  There was an undecided lack of peace.  I had to fight for a seat!  At least they were at the store and not drooling about in my personal yarn stash. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Not The Same Old Rib Stitch

Every month, I learn a new knitting stitch or pattern.  It is all part of the Riverside Knitting Guild program for members.  This week, the new stitch is called "traveling rib."

Here it is in all of it's sloppy still on the needles glory.  Not that this photo is the best, but the columns of knit stitches actually widen and narrow - thus it appears as though the columns travel away and come back together.  In this version, we used an eight row sequence. 

All of the new stitches that I learn are going into this sampler scarf.  Or maybe it is a wall hanging.  Only time will tell.  Above and below the rib is a one inch band of linen stitch.  That was our second new stitch and rather than using it as a section of the scarf, I decided to use the linen stitch to separate all the other new stitches I am learning.

The fun thing about this traveling rib is the reverse. 

It looks like little blocks and not at all like the wrong side of anything.    See  how fine it is.  Given my distaste for any scarf that has an obvious wrong side, this traveling rib is great for any item, scarf or otherwise, where the viewing public is likely to catch a glance of the under side.

With beauty such as this, no one will ever know if the view is of the "public side" or the not public wrong side.  Gotta respect that for sure.

You might notice how the underside of those linen stitch areas are also pretty to look at.  This whole stick and string thing always has something new up its sleeve!  Well, at least new to me. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Roses To The Rescue

It was clear from the get go that my contribution to the Riverside Knitting Guild Afghan Project would involve Victoria Avenue in the City of Riverside.  When we moved here several years ago, this wonderful swath of glory captured my attention and has not let go.  Not a week goes by that I don't find some reason to travel the beauty that is Victoria Ave.

So it was, with this stretch of cultivated environment signifying Riverside County in my thoughts, that I set out to design my square for the afghan.    The theme of the guild project this year is Celebrating Riverside County.  From orange grove to vineyards, snow capped peaks to snow capped cacti, rivers and deserts, Riverside County is  an extremely diverse area.

Read about Victoria Avenue (link is above) and you will discover why my square is named Ragged Robin - aka Victoria Ave.  Oh, sure I could have created a palm tree square - but my color is pomegranate.   Not Grecian Olive.  And my talents, such as they are, do not extend to knitting an irrigation canal into a twelve inch square.  

But I can knit this.   I am happy.    (as happy as one can be when there is no time for color correction)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thank You Brown Sheep

Kudos and a huge shout out to Brown Sheep Company.  These generous folks donated Nature Spun yarn for the Riverside Knitting Guild Annual Afghan fundraiser.  Isn't that just the nicest thing? 

I am working on my square and so far it is looking like this -

Not much to look at right now.  However I have a vision that includes adding dimension to this texture. 

Last year, the guild members each knit squares for an Aran style afghan.   This year, owing the the five luscious colors of worsted donated by Brown Sheep, we are using a different theme.  Each volunteer knitter is to design a square that represents something from Riverside County.  Isn't that a grand plan? 

Working with a twelve inch square bordered with garter stitch, we are once again encouraged to be creative.   I chose to work with the pomegranate color because I like it.  My square will not be about pomegranates though.  I have something else in mind and it shall be a secret until it is completed and delivered for the putting together. 

There was only one false start - but by jove, I'm cruising now.  This is fun!

PS - did I say Thank You to Brown Sheep?  Really nice yarn - check it out.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

No Yarn - Just Inspiration

Today I walked around the back yard.

  There was inspiration.

There was beauty.

There was hope.

There was life.

There was joy.

There was I.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

River's Edge - A Good Yarn

I have been to the river's edge and lived to tell the story.  It all started here and continued with amazement again.   Off and on I visited, I flirted with the flow that is knitted air.  Eventually, the only thing left was the coming together.  Coming together as in sewing air.  Not capturing it within - but somehow holding air together so that it could be seen.  So that I could actually enter the space and be enveloped by the sheer loft of it all.  

Failure.  By me.  Yes, failure.  My fingers could no longer feel the air within.  I could not see the space nor identify its edge.  I put the pieces away with a prayer that after sufficient passage of time, once again my fingers could feel the air and my eyes see the space within and capture it for the wonderment of all.  
Nope.  Did not work.  It was as though I had lost my way.  Clearly I was not down by the riverside.  Unable to view the flow of the yarn and air.  Frustration and some depression followed.  There was only one possible solution.  Bundle the mass together like a gathering storm  and trudge it off to a friend for the finishing.  Bless her, she caught each edge of air and fluff and stitched a mighty fine yarn.  Yes she did.  Thank you, Linda, for rescuing me from the edges of nothingness.

All that was left for me to accomplish was to capture the neckline and define the edges.  And thus, I now wear the air.  I have been to the River's Edge and survived!

riverbed by Tanya Alpert in haiku knits 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Caution: Linares Yarn Review

What follows is a review of a yarn only recently discovered by moi.  I'm not a professional yarn reviewer.  I know what I like and don't like.  That is all I can convey.   My thoughts may not coincide with your thoughts - and that is perfectly fine. 

 This is Linares - an Ester Bitran hand dye that is made in Chile

Color 512 which thinks itself to be green/gold but which me thinks is more not green/gold.
55% Cotton
45% Viscose
A wonderfully soft (and here I mean soft as in you actually enjoy feeling the stuff) blend that, even after being hand dyed, displays a pleasing and playful finish that is both matte and gloss in the same twist.  And, as the cotton and viscose accept dye differently, the variation is quite subtle and pleasing.
Here is the Linares all worked up.  The sport weight yarn  wants to work up at 5.5 sts. to the inch on a handy US 6 needle.  Well, what you are looking at over to the left is the ribbing produced on a US 3 followed by stockinette worked on the label preferred US 6 needle.

I suppose this is OK.  In fact, it looks just fine after stretched downward a bit as would result from blocking.  Thus, I hold out hope that in the final garment (a cardigan for summer) the weight of the cotton will cause downward elongation of each stitch during the wearing.

It is possible that I am not pleased with the ribbing.  Oh sure, the 1x1 has lots of sideways stretch and bounce back.  But the individual stitches - owing surely to the cotton lack of bounce - just hang out looking somewhat sloppy.  

We all can attest to the tendency of cotton (well, it is a wretched fact in my opinion) to grow in width during the day.  Might I let you in on a worry that is now, upon addition thinking, gone completely from my little brain.  At first I thought the pattern to be entirely wrong in the cast on and no way would those stitches ever fit the measurement I selected from those available on the printed pattern.  Totally impossible thought I!  Well, go back up and read the first sentence of this paragraph.  I do believe that some brilliant soul has written the stitch count with full knowledge that the resulting garment will stretch sideways during the wearing.  Now, with that thought and fact swirling about, I am no longer fretting that there are not enough stitches to go around my around part.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Bidding Wars

I went to a yarn auction.

I was bidder #16.

It was hectic.

I bought this stuff.

The Auctioneer was a Fairy Princess.

The Fairy Princess was assisted by a lovely young daughter with red hair.

The Fairy Princess can squeeze the last bit of cash out of a checkbook.

Sometimes, the Fairy Princess gives the winning bidder a free plastic bag!

This is my favorite score of the day.

I paid dearly for the lot.

It was worth it.

Especially when the funds help offset workshops of the Riverside Knitting Guild!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Knitting For Happiness

These last weeks have been hectic.  Six weekends of air travel allows lots of time to knit.  There is all that sitting and waiting after the nice folks have inspected your shoes.  There is all that sitting and waiting and slurping of caffeine.  And there is that sitting and waiting and enjoying the sky. 

Sitting and waiting is not my forte.  From deep in the recesses of memory comes the observation "When I works, I works hard.  When I sits, I sits loose.  And when I thinks, I falls asleep."  Well, sleeping on a plane that is headed eastward is not such a grand idea.  One arrives rested and refreshed - usually just in time to go to sleep in the eastern time zone.  So, in order to stave off sleep, I work hard.  I knit.  I knit a lot.

A recent weekend jaunt to Connecticut provided over eleven hours of sitting and waiting time.  So, I knit a scarf.  A basic seed stitch so the edges don't curl scarf.  This is rather laughable because it was near 80 degrees when I returned home.  Who needs a wool neck warmer when the temps zoom upward?  Not I, that's for sure.  As it happens, my traveling companion admired the color of the wool and, being a non-knitter, was amazed that between the going away and coming home I knit an entire scarf.

Turns out that my non-knitting companion walks her dog early in the morning near a southern California beach where fog and chill and wind cause her neck to feel cold - even on days that soar to 80 in the afternoon.  The decision was simple.  She now has a new dog walking scarf and I did not fall asleep on my trip.  The life of a knitter if filled with all manner of happiness - especially when given away.

When you give yourself, you receive more than you give. 
Antoine de Saint-Exupery