Monday, July 13, 2009

Fiber Wars

So, my copy of Feminine Knits last friday. I was so excited that I couldn't resist swatching for a new project. I've wanted to make the lace bolero from the book for ages, except I couldn't read the original Finnish in which it was written. That, and I wanted to make the lace circle jacket, but I just couldn't work up the courage. Now that I have my hot little hands on a copy, I can't help starting even though I have something like a dozen projects in process. And that just counts knitting...

I started out with DMC's Senso Wool Cotton, a yarn that used to be uber cheap at Hobby Lobby. I use the past tense, because I haven't been able to find it at a local store in ages. I started with the ribbing on tiny needles (US 1.5 or 2.5 mm) just to see how it would look. Despite the intimidatingly tiny needles, it looked like a nice even knit. Then I switched to the larger needles for the lace pattern, which is really, really easy. It's a 4 row, 6 st pattern repeat. After all the crazy charts I've been keeping track of, it's almost as mindless as ribbing. Almost.

Except for the cotton fiber. Wool Cotton is 30% wool and 70% cotton, with hardly any elasticity. I got through about 10 rows of the lace pattern, all the while struggling with the sk2p stitches. I substituted for the centered decrease version, which I liked the look of. Finer needle points wouldn't have helped reduce the difficulty of manipulating the stitches. Though they would have made pushing around the stitches easier, the sheer inelasticity of the cotton was what drove me to try another fiber. I was cursing by row 10 of the lace, trying to get my needle to go through 3 stitches. I'd rather slit my wrists than try a knupp with this yarn.

So, I pulled out some other stash, the lovely buckingham yarn which I used to make the Giselle sweater. I had a ball and half left over, so a few months ago, I bought a second ball of the yarn just so I'd have enough to do a sizeable project. Now I do! The yarn is delicious and very flexible about gauge. It's 80% alpaca and 20% silk, so it's ridiculously warm and has elegant drape. I started swatching with it, and oh! I forgot how much I like this yarn! I'm definitely going to be making the bolero out of it. The alpaca has just enough stretch and memory that I can get the stitches around easily on bamboo needles. I'm just sorry I left the swatch at home, I want to knock it out today.

Not to say that I don't like the wool cotton. It's going to get relegated to crochet, where I can more easily deal with the unforgiving nature of cotton. I'm thinking the cheveron lace cardigan because I can't have enough sweaters. I get cold at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. I'm not kidding. So summer AC often leaves me shivering with numb extremities. What can I say, I'm a tropical bird.

It's just interesting to me since I seem to be developing distinct fiber crafting preferences. Cotton for crochet because it literally feels hard to knit with. Silk seems to be following the same lines, but we'll see how the next two silk projects fare. I ordered enough really cheap silk yarn from Ebay to make a dress or sweater. I'm excited, it should start arriving any day now! It's on its way from India and it's been about 10 business days, so it should be here. Plus, there's the silk roving in my stash just waiting for me to start spinning it. I haven't dared spin with it yet just because I don't feel my spinning skills are up to it. We'll see.

No comments:

Welcome to Crazytown, where my friends have proclaimed me queen. Why did they do that you ask? For some reason, there's very little that I fear about knitting. Hmm, a dress in laceweight done in lace knitting written by vogue? Sounds great! I have very few inhibitions when it comes to knitting, and that sometimes ends disasteriously. Apparently, other people think this signifies a level of crazy that only the royalty can attain. Follow along with my escapades as I dive head first into all sorts of insane techniques and projects without much more than an "Oh! That looks pretty, I can make it!"

Those will probably be my famous last words.