The endless joys of yarn pairing

I think most of you know how truly and thoroughly a yarn nerd I am already, so the title of the post should come as no surprise? ūüėČ

Last Monday I showed a few examples of possible yarn pairs for blindingly simple but stunning subtle-y striped shawls like Camomille¬†and Merlot.¬†I got a bit carried away with the process and decided at the last minute that I’d better split the post as my yarn-nerd-ness was getting out of hand!

I’d paired up 2 more, classic grey combos to show you – ‘Colebrooke/¬†BFL/Alpaca‘ and then ‘Colebrooke/Dusty Miller‘ – and then realised how different these two shawls would be due to the properties of the yarns being paired and got really excited!
Kettle_Yarn_Co_greys

While the two above look incredibly similar in the skein, the two pairings would create substantially different moods in a shawl!

The BFL/Alpaca combo is more lofty on the right will knit up significantly warmer and ‘fuller’ than the Bloomsbury¬†BFL/Silk, with a sumptuous Alpaca¬†bloom and sponge. It is so warm – even knit as an open lace – that I often find myself overheated with this blend in the mild autumn chill!

In the pairing with Bloomsbury (right) the 80% BFL makes stitches hold a bit more crisply¬†open and the extra silk adds to Westminter’s already substantial drape giving a slightly more dressy (formal/evening wear) feel to the shawl.¬†Both could be worn to dress up last winter’s coat OR over a party dress for a holiday event, but the subtle difference lets you tailor for personality.

You would never think it just looking at the skeins, which look quite similar at first glance, would you?

I first discovered the joys of yarn pairing when knitting Helga Isager’s¬†Nightingale Vest.
bloom

It was amazing how even adding a single thin strand of lace to otherwise rather unpleasant feeling sock yarn transformed the fabric into something much greater than its parts (knitting gestalt)!

Yarn pairing is amazing and opens up a world of possibility in stash busting. Add a strand of another yarn and you can create amazing colour effects like heathering and ombre – like in Antonia Shankland’s¬†Kinetic cowl below which starts with 2 strands of the same colour, moves to two strands of 2 different colours for a gradient, then back to 2 strands of the new colour:

Or even change the drape and handle of a yarn and counteract a less desirable trait by blending to better suit your pattern – create more drape, LESS drape and more structure, or add a fuzzy soft halo for an feminine ‘sweater-girl’ twist.

Fun AND useful!

Tassels and tea

Well the day finally came…the last stitch of my Cammomile. I stretched it out for as long as I could but really did need a light summer scarf, so it was time.

I had to wait for a few days until ‘Mr. Purl’ could be convinced to take a few half-hearted snaps on a scorching hot day, but finally got around to it this weekend!
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I think I made the body a touch too long as I just didn’t want to stop, but I think it will be perfect in the autumn when the weather drops. Kettle_Yarn_Co_camomile13
And it works perfectly across the body like a sontag, below, so I can play dress-up! (makes me feel a bit like I should be saying ‘y’all’ and wearing petticoats, which suits me fine right now as working through Justified and True Blood, so all up in the Southern thang!)
Kettle_Yarn_Co_camomile12

I was dreading making the tassels a bit, but they turned out to be quite easy in the end. I made them a bit longer than most of the others I have seen (used my mini Moleskine notebooks to wind around) and then added some grey seed pearls I’ve had stored away for years in my jewellery supplies as they matched perfectly with their ‘oil on water’ purple/pink/grey sheen, for a bit of subtle bling.
Kettle_Yarn_Co_tassel
I am still not so sure about the tassels in terms of function, though, as they are constantly being caught on things. I have already had to shorten the strand as they were driving me nuts the first day I wore it, but might try sewing the tassel directly to the lace and see if that helps. Otherwise they might be coming off!

One little glitch with my yarn combo, which I absolutely adore- BFL/Baby Alpaca in the pink and Camel/Silk in the deep grey – I am not thrilled with the supplier for the BFL/Baby¬†Alpaca, so hope to find another mill that either carries or can spin it for me. It is a lovely yarn but the service is just ‘meh’, which doesn’t thrill me! Fingers crossed I can find a substitute, though I might have to wait on this for future – too many other bases to decide on at the present and HEAPS more testing to go!

Getting things up and running with Kettle Yarn Co. seems to be stretching out longer and longer as I find yet more things I need to work out before going live. It is taking FOREVER (especially for someone with no patience what-so-ever. heh.).

Knitting (k)nirvana

Do you know that feeling of reading a book but not wanting it to end? That sense of wanting to stay in a world you’ve been part of – a collaboration built from the author’s words and your imagination that has fleshed out a story you just don’t want to put down – even though you can see those precious remaining pages slowly dwindling away? So you start to put the book down more often and find other things to do, stretching out the painful pangs of impending separation a little bit longer…?

That is how I am feeling about my Camomile.
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I am so close to being finished this one, but have been finding myself dragging my heels at the last little bit because I just don’t want it to end.¬†Is that sad?

This one has been such a breezy knit and the yarn combination such a lush pleasure to handle and work with that I found myself casting on for my first socks instead of finishing this off…and then immediately started a second pair in active denial!! (I think I understand sock addiction now, by the way. Quick, satisfying and a small canvas for trying out new stitches!)

This is definitely the most luxurious thing I have made yet.

Alas, I finished the lace yesterday and am now just procrastinating on the tassels. Sigh. Separation anxiety already.

;-?

On a more cheerful note – another huge thank you to Gail for bailing me out, yet again, with some knitting help. This time with my serious aversion to kitchener stitch. How sweet is this…she filmed a tutorial for me!! ¬†I have been following another tutorial since I started and now realise that the set up rows were missing and that is likely why I have been having so much trouble with the technique. Or so I hope. I will be trying Gail’s tutorial out on my second sock heels tomorrow.

Fingers crossed.

Camomille – comfort tea in a shawl

Enter stage left new project. The gorgeous Camomille by Helga Isager.
amimono_isager_camomille
Alternating rows of doubled fingering/lace yarn with rows of single lace creates a lovely, light and airy ¬†textural contrast that is knit up to a large, cozy shawl…and then has the magic element – TASSELS! These take the shawl to Frida-esque heights for me by giving it a subtle bit of Mexican flavoured panache that I have been craving since re-watching the movie Frida a few weeks ago!

The pattern I actually have in The Bird Collection book is the Dunlin shawl for children, shown below. But I can’t see a difference (can you?) so will just make it larger!¬†This will be a shawl I can cozy up in on chilly summer evenings.
Isager_Dunlin_Shawl
I have been planning this shawl for a few months ¬†after seeing Leila’s jaw-dropping example on Ravelry.
She not only did a beautiful job matching her yarns, but added a lovely detail of these turquoise ceramic beads on the gorgeously fat tassels. So perfect.

I’ve decided to go halfway between the one colour version and the two-tone Dunlin version on mine, but with less contrast between the grey and pink and a titch darker overall. I ¬†dyed up some beautiful BFL/Silk light fingering in a delicate blush almost-pink and a silky soft but weighty Baby Camel/Silk in a¬†deep¬†metallic pewter for this one.
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I can’t tell you how good this combo feels. I have never knit anything quite so…exquisite.¬†The BFL/Alpaca is a light, fluffy almost weightless yarn while the Baby camel/Silk gives it drape, depth and the most gorgeous shimmer. Combining the two makes a lofty/drapey hand that I just can’t really describe, but is oh-so yummy!

This combo is such a pleasure to knit I am having a hard time finishing my Buttercup! I just don’t want to put this one down. Especially as I am doing more odious twisted stich ribbing for the Buttercup and it is painful! Not least because I have done the bottom hem twice to get the tension right. Gack.
Kettle_Yarn_Co_camomille
I¬†haven’t yet decided if I will finish the final lace row with the glowing pewter silk, or the softer blush yet. Figure it will come to me the closer I get to finishing, right?