Swatching again

I’m still working on Josephine, but I ended up ripping the top from Runway knits.  Why, you ask?  My gauge in the lace section was bigger than stockinette, so I needed to go down 2 needle sizes in order to make it work out, but… that made my row gauge all kinds of funky, which would be fine until the armholes… but I looked and looked at the pattern, and I just didn’t have the energy to rework them, plus I didn’t really like how the stockinette sections looked at the tighter gauge.  Ah well.  Maybe it was not meant to be.  I’m not upset… I’ve just been swatching again!  It’s so nice to work with wool after all the cotton I’ve been using lately.  Here are the swatches so far…

Elann highland silk to make this eyelet sweater from the Winter 06 vogue

Laines du Nord Giunco for Veronica from Rowan 36

Rowan felted tweed for Bloom from Rowan 36 and Salina from Vintage Knits (Salina will actually be purple.)

Valley Yarns Colrain for Maude louise.

Thoughts on these yarns: I do love that Elann Highland silk.  It is perhaps less soft than I think it should be, but look at that lovely sheen!  And it comes in so many nice colors.  I am interested in trying the zephyr wool silk yarn and seeing how it compare.  This swatch did not change size when washed.

I bought the Giunco on major clearance at webs (I think it was maybe 3 dollars a ball?)  It’s 100% merino wool, and I am in love with that color… such an intense indigo!  It isn’t as soft as some merinos, but it’s softer than, say, Cascade 220.  It also did not change size when washed.

My thoughts on Felted Tweed are well documented… I love it!  I want to make every sweater from Felted Tweed!  Having said that, this yarn changes size when you wash it.  It relaxed quite a bit, so I will have to swatch again on smaller needles.

The Colrain is the big surprise yarn though… I suspected I would love it, and I was right!  It’s really soft… softer than the merino, softer than the wool/silk.  That comes from the 50% tencel content.  It also has a lovely sheen and drape.  When I washed this yarn the swatch got bigger, going from 4.5 st/in to 4 st/in (the gauge listed on the band.)  I will have to swatch again, as I need 4.5 st/in, but still… lovely, lovely yarn, and a blend that I’ve never tried before.  I recommend this one highly!

On today’s agenda?  That’s right, more swatching!  I think I’ve actually trained myself to look forward to the process now.

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Book Review: Lacy Little Knits

Lacy Little Knits: Clingy, Soft & A Little Risque by Iris Schreier

I do love preordering books from Amazon.  This book will supposedly not be released until July, but it arrived almost a full month early.  Iris Schreier designs for Artyarns, and all of these patterns utilize Artyarns and her signature modular knitting technique.  I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting too much out of this book, but it was pretty cheap at the Amazon price and I needed to qualify for the free shipping.  I find myself a bit pleasantly surprised, as there are several lovely patterns to add to my list.

The book begins with a detailed explanation of the techniques used and includes directions for several test swatches.  This section seems thorough, and I’m sure I will find it useful should I decide to make any of the patterns.  The patterns (because I know that’s what we all came for) are divided into 5 sections, each of which showcases a different technique.  The patterns build from easy to advanced knits in each section.  Here are a few of the patterns I’m interested in.

The Good: The ruana.  Do you see the ruana?  Look at the back!  I love it.  Of course, it’s knit in Silk Rhapsody and would cost a bajillion dollars, but I could find a sub somewhere.  I’ve been trying to find a good ruana pattern for ages.  I even like the variegated yarn, and I almost never do for sweaters.  Modular knitting really shows off multicolored yarn. I also adore that little cropped vest/bolero thing.  It only looks crocheted.  I could definitely see myself wearing that.  The little cap and the scarf are good basic patterns (the scarf is really lovely up close, and is shown in two different versions in the book.)  That dress is really amazing.  I’m not going to knit a dress or anything, but it’s a really unusual piece.  I know you can’t see details on the sweater with the ruffle, but it has a center panel with diagonal patterns and the sleeves are knit the same way.  I would like to see it with the model standing though… I am always suspicious of sitting.  I like that there are a variety of models in this book, including those of all ages.  The patterns themselves look well written, with clear schematics.  She tells you how much yarn you need, and what weight, but only includes a note at the end of the pattern mentioning a specific artyarn that it is knit in.  I like that because I think it encourages substitution.

The not as good: The sizing is ok but not great.  Most sizes go down to a 32 or 34″ bust (and I really like that she tells you how much ease to allow for each sweater) but I don’t see many sizes above 42,” and some end a bit short of that.  I’m iffy on the technique of alternative rows of two weights of yarn in a lace pattern (the cover sweater and several others use this technique.)  I think the photo styling could be better, although I’m able to overlook that.  There are a few too many mohair sweaters for my taste, but for the record I think one is too many (I do not like mohair.)

The verdict: This book is $13.57 on Amazon right now.  That’s what – the cost of two magazines?   2 online patterns?  Anyway, it’s pretty darned cheap.  The patterns are pretty, and there are a lot of them (and mostly sweaters too!)  If you love variegated yarn I think it’s definitely a good purchase.  If you’ve knit the  famed multidirectional scarf, you’ve already done modular knitting.  I think it’s an interesting technique.  This book is definitely different from any other on my shelf.  I’m recommending it based on one reading, and I’m adding 3 patterns to my list (the vest, the scarf, and the ruana.)