Schnabu Two

I have put my Toasty on mico- hold as I sort out a yarn order, and am completely addicted to my Schnabu.

The pattern is so simple once you sort the neck cast on out. I am not sure how anyone would have gotten the right diameter neck with a 6mm, knit cast-on and 100 stitches! But all the power to the ones who did. It wasn’t going to happen for me.

I ended up trusting my swatches rather than the pattern  (which I should have done in the FIRST place! Swatches don’t lie. Well, mostly they don’t!)and cast on 165 stitches with a 5.5 needle…a little smaller for a bit of a tighter fabric on the neck. I just felt the loops from the 6mm would have looked too big and lacey compared to the body.  I should really have gone with 160 as the garter is so stretchy, but I can live with the extra inch+ in width. It still looks good and fits over the shoulders.

Unfortunately, I have realised, once again, that I should have done a provisional cast on with the neck as it looks a bit sloppy. When will I learn? Casting on is another achilles heel (along with sleeves). I always get to the end of projects and realise I want to re-do the start. Sigh.

Anyway. The endless garter is a JOY. I had forgotten how satisfyingly mindless it is not to have to agonise over a chart! I can read/watch tv without hardly having to look down, and people watching on the tube is a breeze! And even though it is garter, which usually takes up tons of yarn, when you do it in a bigger needle it stretches out flat and inches fly by. I LOVE the slip stitch trick that keeps you knitting the garter on both sides – even though knit in the round.

Below is a close up of the slip stitch seam up the back. It is a pretty sexy detail, and definitely something I will be using in future designs:

Unfortunately, I managed to drop the marker at the back at one point. Of course, I got all the way down to the end and preparing to bind off before realising I had created a jag in the line by putting it back  in one stitch over. Sigh. Frogged back to the waist and lost all of Sunday’s knitting.

Pattern gushing over…a bit more on the the Habu N-80 that I am using for the first time:

I searched for ages for the right project for the yarn. It is a strange silk/merino, as the silk is wound around the merino core, sliding about and bunching in places to form nubs of colour. I had assumed it would have as ‘fluid’ a hand as other silk/merino yarns, but it reminds me more of a linen in its almost crisp drape. It is hard to describe.

As mentioned in a previous post, I love the look of the Habu packaging – precious little bundles wrapped with simple paper. However, once the wrap is off the balls are actually a little annoying as the yarn slides off the bundle in chunks instead of spooling out as you need it.

Also, the yarn itself is a bit hard on the hands at first – unpleasantly like what I imagine knitting with rough twine would be like – as the rough wound silk scrapes over your fingers with every stitch. You wouldn’t think it would hurt, but after a few hours my fingers were pink, raw and sore! They have toughened up a bit since, but be prepared for some pain when you first start working with it!

All that said, the fabric it makes is quite pretty and totally unique:

A subtle variation of colour, and in the larger needle size rather sheer (not sure this is what I want in winter wear, but it will make it a year-round piece with layering!).

Here was my progress 2 days, ago. I am now past the waist. This was approx 3 balls of yarn:

I got a bit of help from the lovely Gail From Today’s Agenda on how the top down process works, as I was struggling a bit with the concept and couldn’t figure out if you knit to the top of the arm or down to the armpit before doing anything. Apparently it is the latter. Bless her for her non-judgmental help! It is so obvious, now that I have done it.

I am a little worried about the uneven-ness in the cowl stitches, though. Fear I may have to go back and re-do part of the cowl at the end, as usual, to get it looking a bit more cohesive.

I am just praying it all evens out when I wet block at the end (as steam blocking it is still leaving it a bit wibbly!). Fingers crossed.

Habu Textiles

Over the last few months I have become more and more aware of Habu Textiles yarns. I will be honest and say that it is likely because of their gorgeous earthy/minimalist aesthetic! They really stand out from the crowd in a discipline that unfortunately can be over-run by nauseating, embarrassment inducing, ‘cutesie-ness’!

Their yarns are packaged slightly retro – either on classy cardboard cones or in little folded bundles, neatly secured with a band of kraft paper that looks slightly like old-school butcher tape.

As you recall from my excited horde image, I purchased several balls of Habu N-80 at the Knitting and Stitching Show a few weeks ago:

Two are to supplement the 4 a dear friend brought me from Vancouver.

Based in New York, they have come up with some really unique yarns – yarns spun with stainless steel or copper cores, others in paper or even a thin strand of merino wrapped with thinner silk thread that pools in interesting ways and adds a lovely stiff drape to the fabric.

I love the variety and ingenuity and the colours are muted and classy…not a single clownish hue in the lot!

Having sung their praises, there is something about their presence that kind of irks me, though – it is nearly impossible to find detailed shots of finished products made with their yarns.

Do yarn companies not understand that customers need to see how their product knits up? How it drapes, its stitch definition, or how holds its shape in different patterns and items? This is even more important as more and more people shop online and are unable to feel the yarns before they buy them. (Habu yarns are hard to find in the UK and only a couple of their lines are available here).

This has recently gone up on their site as an example of the N-80:

No close-ups or links to any…and 4 arms…gulp. (‘just because you can…’). Not exactly selling the yarn.

So imagine my excitement at seeing that they would have a booth at the Knitting and Stitching show a couple weeks ago! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some knit samples of their yarns so I could see how they knit up.

Unfortunately, the experience was a bit of a disappointment. You see, most of the samples present were knit in blends of the Habu yarns. So in order to get the same effect you would need to spend a kidney’s worth on the yarn combo’s needed. Also, you couldn’t get a sense of what the individual yarns properties were by itself.

That didn’t stop me from getting slightly sucked in, though, as I couldn’t resist getting 4 more balls of the N-80 in the teal colourway!

Lets hope it doesn’t take me another 6 months to find the right pattern for these babies!