Not Martha

knitting, some notes

I’m currently paused between projects. I merely have to install the orange zipper in the freshly lengthened gray Ribby Cardi. I feel shameful having a sterotypical unfinished object sitting there, staring at me, reminding me about itself being unfinished.

In the mean time I’ve been swatching some yarns I picked up at a fire sale at Hilltop Yarn in Seattle. Everything in the store was 50% off, the line went out the door, down the block and around the corner, inside was packed to the point where nobody could move. Despite the crazy I came home with Rowan All Seasons Cotton and Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton, both of which I am loving.

I also swatched some Brown Sheet Cotton Fleece yarn. I’ve read that some knitters who find wool scratchy can wear Cotton Fleece with no trouble, but as I was knitting the swatch I found the yarn unpleasant to use, not quite scratchy but definitely not soft the way it feels when I touch the skein. So much for me and a little bit of merino.

I seem to have abandoned any immediate plans to use the Berroco Comfort yarn as it’s too drapey when knit at a Worsted gauge, just splitty enough to be discouraging and, in certain light, slighty shiny. I think I’m mostly afraid that it will look like acrylic yarn.

A friend mentioned that she has been knitting purl bumps into her swatches to indicate which needle size she used, which think is brilliant, so I started doing it as well. Is this one of those knitting things that everybody does but has somehow escaped me?

The new Knitty came out and I am smitten with the Lace Ribbon Scarf. At first I found myself wondering how it would look if I used an Aran weight yarn, it seems to have slipped my mind that Fingering cotton yarns exist. This is one of those things Ravelry is excellent for, the yarn browser turns up fourteen pages of Fingering weight cotton. I have my eye on Rowan 4 Ply Cotton or Jaeger Pure Cotton.

My next sweater will be a modified Central Park Hoodie with a collar instead of a hood and maybe a little front crossover action for that extra-cozy feeling and the ability to make a front closure using a few large snaps instead of creating a button band. I’m currently liking snaps.

· comments [23] · 03-18-2008 · categories:knitting ·

23 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Carrie // Mar 18, 2008 at 8:26 am

    You might want to wash the Cotton Fleece swatch before calling final judgment on it — I’m one of those people who love wool/cotton blends and they do feel better when washed, to me :) It is a bit stiff to knit with though.

    I read about the purl bump thing (and some people use yarnovers) a while back and have been doing that since. Very clever, and handy when doing long swatches to compare different sized needles!

  • 2 megan // Mar 18, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Carrie – Thanks for the tip about washing the swatch, I will do that. I suspect, though, that I’ll avoid knitting with it because it also felt stiff and not-soft in my hands.

  • 3 Michelle // Mar 18, 2008 at 8:40 am

    I do the yarnover thing for my swatches, and I agree, when I read about it I was like “duh!” and “does everybody do this already but me?!” I felt like I was late to the coolest party of the year! :0)

  • 4 DimKnit // Mar 18, 2008 at 8:58 am

    Not trying to be an idiot here, but number of purl bumps = size of needle used?

    I love it!

  • 5 Heather // Mar 18, 2008 at 8:59 am

    I feel like I got the invitation to the party but somehow can’t figure out the address. How, exactly, does knitting purls into your swatch make it clear what needle size you used? Are you just knitting in the number of purls that corresponds to the needle size? It’s a little hard for me to tell from the photos (I suck at counting what’s not in my hands).

  • 6 megan // Mar 18, 2008 at 9:05 am

    DimKnit and Heather – Yes, I knit eight purl bumps to show myself that I used a size eight needle, six for a size six needle, etc. And Heather, I cannot count the number of bumps in those photos either, too much light/dark going on. I think for half sized needles (though, in the non-lace spectrum it would only be 10.5 yes?) I would put an extra bump the row below.

  • 7 paola // Mar 18, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Heather, I am SO glad you asked that question. I hadn’t worked out what was going on AT ALL.

  • 8 paola // Mar 18, 2008 at 9:26 am

    Oh and Rowan 4 ply is gorgeous.

  • 9 Patti // Mar 18, 2008 at 10:08 am

    I knit a whole sweater out of Cotton Fleece, and even after several washings, it’s too itchy for me to wear.

  • 10 Sara L. // Mar 18, 2008 at 10:47 am

    The purl bumps thing–utterly brilliant. Why oh why had I never thought of that? THANK you!

  • 11 Marsha // Mar 18, 2008 at 11:14 am

    When I knit a gauge swatch, I tie knots in either the cast-on tail or the bind-off tail (whichever is long enough) to represent the needle size I used. So five knots is a #5 needle.

    I like the purl bumps idea, too, but those purl stitches take up precious space in a gauge swatch (and I’m usually impatient to get to knitting the project itself). Plus the knots are something you can do at the very end and don’t have to plan for.

  • 12 Stephanie // Mar 18, 2008 at 11:16 am

    The Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cottons are stunning (some of the colors are SO vibrant !), but beware: they pill, a lot, and very quickly. I haven’t tried a sweater stone, for fear of absolutely destroying my knitting, but wanted to give you a heads up before you invest your time in a full sweater ! Hopefully others can weigh in on their experiences with the Blue Sky.

  • 13 megan // Mar 18, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Patti – Thanks for letting me know. I think I might skip Cotton Fleece for msyelf.

    Marsha – I think that is even better. However, for me, I’d be afraid my knots would come out of the half cotton half acrylic yarns. Then again, I did feel like I was taking up precious swatch space to make the purls.

    Stephanie – Thanks for the warning. I have enough to make a sweater but I’ll make sure it’s not one that is heartbreakingly intricate to knit and assemble. The colors I have are brighter than I’m prone to wearing so I’m unlikely to wear it outside of the house very often to start with.

  • 14 devon // Mar 18, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    The lace ribbon scarf sounds like it would be lovely in Rowan 4-ply cotton. It’s a surprisingly easy pattern with a beautiful result, and I am loving knitting it, but I’m making it with some horrible corn fiber that my nonknitting mother bought me. It’s scratchy and stiff, and oh how it rolls! I think I will follow your lead and make my next one in pretty cotton.

  • 15 Melissa // Mar 18, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Another great tip for needle size/swatch is to knit the number of yarnovers equal to needle size somewhere on the swatch and then you can just count the holes! I believe this was a tip that Lily Chin shared on Knitty Gritty.

  • 16 Melissa // Mar 18, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    PS the yarnovers would be spread out along the row evenly.

  • 17 KarWar // Mar 19, 2008 at 4:20 am

    I love the Lace Ribbon scarf too! the design just looks so new and fun. do you think you’ll try it in a solid? I’m tempted to use this stray skein of cotton sock yarn but it has self-striping properties that may not look so hot

  • 18 megan // Mar 19, 2008 at 8:11 am

    KarWar – Solid, definitely. I think varigated or striping yarns take away from the knitted details. See this post at Yarn Ball Boogie where he does a (photoshopped) comparison of a lacy pattern done in a solid and in a varigated yarn, I far prefer the way that pattern looks in solid.

  • 19 Theresa // Mar 20, 2008 at 5:58 am

    Purl bumps in the swatch! THE BRILLIANCE!

  • 20 kelly // Mar 20, 2008 at 8:55 am

    Someone gave me that purl bumps tip long ago and I completely forgot about it — thanks for the reminder!

    I am also smitten with the Lace Ribbon scarf. I met someone yesterday who was working on it and she said, “I’m glad I’m not the only one who liked it.” I think she was self conscious about liking “just” a scarf, but I think it’s just lovely. Looking forward to seeing yours!

  • 21 KarWar // Mar 20, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    aw man, I see what you’re saying about the kooky colors ruining EVERYTHING, just like every parent on “My Super Sweet 16″

  • 22 Chelsea // Mar 21, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Oooh, that purling in gauge swatches is an excellent idea. Let’s hope I remember it the next time I swatch.

  • 23 miriya // Mar 24, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Another fan of the Lace Ribbon scarf.

    I bought a skein (solid spring-leaf-green, from Weaving Works) of the Alpaca Sox recently to make actual socks, but have been considering flipping it into the short version of this scarf.

Leave a Comment