Testing Yarns

When scrolling on the forums I would sometimes see posts calling for testers for a new pattern, and after looking at it for two seconds, I would scroll on.  Until a couple of weeks ago, when I seriously considered signing up as a tester for the designer Frank O’Randle.  He’s the one with the ‘Rings of Change’ series.  After reading through his tester requirements, I filed it in the back of my mind.  I didn’t think that I would be able to dedicate any amount of time and work on what he designs, however much I would like to be a tester for his designs, which are all beautifully intricate, which is what I like.

And then came a call to test a shawl pattern … and just for the heck of it, I wrote in and ‘auditioned’ … and got accepted!  What??  I hadn’t done much crocheting recently, but I guess from what they saw on my previous projects were enough for them?  Hmmm ….

So, that of course set off a frenzy to look for the right yarn … fingering weight.  *sigh*  That means that it’ll take me a while to finish this, although crocheting with fingering weight isn’t so bad as knitting with fingering weight for me. And as luck would have it, the NJ Wool Walk was going on last weekend.  More trouble …

I had some free time over the weekend, but I purposely didn’t go to any of the LYS on the Wool Walk.  I’m trying to stick to the budget, see, and going to the yarn stores is not going to help me stick to the budget, right?  But, since I know I didn’t have 1,100 yards of fingering weight yarn in my stash, I had to go and get some, right?  *sigh* good thing Sunday was the last day, and I could only visit two LYS’s …

So, here’s what’s been added to the stash …

At Patricia’s Yarns, I came across Madeleine Tosh Light – fast becoming my new favourite yarn to work with. I thought I could use these for the test pattern shawl. Love that deep blue (Stargazer) …

At Yarndezvous, I came across sparkling yarn … This green I knew right away that I wanted to make a scarf/wrap with it … And maybe I already have the pattern for it …

These are other colours that caught my eye, and will probably end up as accessories as well … Although now that I see them laid out, they all link to each other nicely.  Subconsciously, my brain had already matched them up.  So … now … maybe I can use these for the test pattern … hmmm … 

And these?  Well, I just had to get these … they looked so yummy and creamy and fresh and springy … I have no idea what to make with these, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something …

  

And there goes my budget …

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Textured Purples and Greens

From the bag of donated yarn for my charity/cause, I came across this one big skein of beautiful colours.  No brand name on the tag, just that it was !00% wool.  It had nice texture – wavy and thick and thin.  It dawned on me that maybe this would look better woven than knitted or crocheted.  Excitedly, I warped the loom.

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There was another ball purple cashmere-mixed yarn in the bag, and thought it would do well as the weft.  As I wove, I asked the boys how it looked.  Nice, they said, but it was kind of looking dark. Hmmm… so I went back digging into the bag and came up with a Cascade Superwash, in a lime green color and added that to the weft. And here’s the finished product.  It’s about six feet long and nine inches wide.

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No particular pattern on the weft.  I just wound yarn onto the shuttle until I thought it was enough.  2015/02/img_9155.jpgThe self-striping colors on the wool made up its own pattern – random stripes and random widths of colors.  I was enjoying weaving with this yarn.

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For the most part, the selvages stayed straight.  But  I think that because I was using two different weights of yarn on the weft, the tension was a little uneven, and there are sections that pulled down.  There’s mistakes along the way – a missed warp thread here and there, uneven tension here and there … Certainly more practice needed but I’m happy with it.

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On to the next project!

Deep Ocean Stormy Waves

I had so much fun with the last challenge over at The Crochet Crowd, so I decided that I would also do the next one – the Ocean Waves Afghan. I didn’t want to join any CALs before, because I knew that there was every probability that something would distract me, and then I would fall behind, and then pretty soon, everybody else would be too far ahead to catch up, and I would finish the CAL long after everybody. But these challenges seem doable to me … or maybe I’ve just gotten better at crocheting and time management.

I needed two skeins of 7- oz RH Super Saver yarn in five colours, so I looked through my stash and pulled out all the colours that I had of at least 14 oz. Luckily, I had Caron and Red Heart One-Pounders.

These are the colours that I came up with. Putting it together, I thought that it was a little dark. Spying the Real Teal, I included that in the sequence. Then I thought maybe an Aran to break the colours up a bit. Going through another storage box, I came up with Caron Green Jeweltones. So I threw that in as well.

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I didn’t know how these colours would look like, so I crocheted a swatch. Yep, couldn’t believe that I was crocheting a swatch either. But I did, and showed it to the boys. After much thought and twisting and turning, they declared that yes, it was a good colour combination. They also told me to make the size for a twin bed, not a throw.

I’m still not sure if I like the colours together. I think the teal and the green jeweltones is throwing me off a bit, but it breaks up the dark colours. I crocheted only one line of the aran, because then I thought it was too bright, and there would be too much white in between.

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Anyway, guess we’ll see how it looks like in the end. For now, I’m plowing through the rows. It’s taking me close to 20 minutes to finish one row, for a twin size. Once you get the correct count for the first few rows, then you should be okay with the rest, and you won’t have to keep counting. It’s an easy pattern to memorize – one row, dc in back loops; next row, dc in both loops.

But every once in a while, I seem to add another chain or two to the row, and suddenly I’m off the pattern count. Then I have to look through the row, maybe I missed out on a stitch, or something.

Well, I have about 100 more rows to go. Hope to get some more rows done this weekend.

Next CAL I join will be in bright, neon colours. I’m already planning it … neon pinks, greens, yellows, blues, purples ….

 

What’s Wrong With This?

During my recent trip, I brought some of my WIPs, plus some new yarn to start projects and try out patterns.  That’s how ambitious I was.  Did I really think I was going to have so much time to just sit and knit or crochet?  I didn’t know, but I was prepared, just in case I did.

It was only after I got to the hotel and unpacked that I noticed this.  What’s wrong with these pictures? They’re all knitting projects !!

Who would have thought?  Maybe because I have a little more patience now than I did before, and I’m a little more comfortable when following knitting directions and patterns and understand what all those abbreviations and letters mean (oh, there’s still some abbreviations out there that I don’t know and get confused when I try to follow it; and knitting lace still seems like a forever-to-learn project).  Or maybe because I only have two-three skeins of the sample yarn, and knitting uses up less yarn in a project than crocheting.  Whatever the case, I’m starting more and more knit projects.

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Ok, so these ones are all in the same pattern – the Trellis Lace Scarf.  That’s what happens when I learn a new pattern and it actually turns out half-way decent, so I just use the same pattern in two-three projects.  It didn’t come out the same way as the original pattern, so I experimented with different yarns, and a little modification – from one to three ribbed columns.  The multi-coloured purplish one is the one I was working on while waiting for the rains to stop at the US Open Tennis games.  It’s coming along well.  The brown one in the middle is a variation.  And the red on the right is one I started during my travels; I think I started this on the plane.  I thought the colour variations would look good with the pattern, but I’m not seeing it yet.  Maybe when it’s done.

Here’s one I finished, soon after I got home.  It’s made with the Lion Brand merino wool, knit in the round, in a simple pattern:  k2 p2 for two rows, then knit all around for two rows; alternate the four rows to width desired. I also used two different colours for the two sets, which gives it a little ripply effect on the eyes.  I’m happy with the way this turned out; and the yarn is soft and cuddly too!

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Just before I left on the trip, I got the Malabrigo Ravelry Red samples that I had bought.  So, during the plane trip, I started on a moss stitch pattern.  (sorry for the blurry picture; I still haven’t gotten the hang of taking pictures with a phone camera!)  This is what it looked like at the beginning.

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I’m about two feet into the project, and I’ve already improvised on the pattern.  We’ll see how it turns out later.

Knitting at the Beach

Back at the beach again.
I decided to pick up the project that I had started but didn’t get anywhere with it.

So now it’s knit two rows, two rows ribbed (knit two, purl two). Repeat until I run out of yarn.
So far it’s looking okay.

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Okay, time for lunch. Then uninterrupted time under the umbrella.

Not Much Done

Another sale … another purchase of sample skeins.

Since I only had two skeins of each colour, I decided to knit a cowl, so that the project would be a good size and not look like it needed another couple of inches or so to look complete.

Rather than casting on and joining to make a round, I crocheted a length first.  Just three chains, then single crochet in the back loops.  It’s much easier to join to make a round, and doesn’t get twisted.  I’ve made several projects before and then joining to make a round, but it always ends up being twisted, sometimes double-twisted.  I always thought learning the Moebius projects would be hard, but I didn’t even have to learn how to do that … I just do it naturally 🙂

After joining to make the round, I picked up the stitches onto the knitting needle.

Not having a particular pattern in mind, I decided on a seed stitch pattern, with alternating colour rows.

Hmmm …. after several rounds, I wasn’t liking how it looked.

I even turned it sideways, to see if the pattern would look any better from that angle.

Still wasn’t liking it.  And so it was frogged.  I’ll have to look for another pattern that will look good with this yarn.  

Not much of a productive hour.  But at least I got to sit for a while and play with yarn 🙂

Greens for the Day

A green scarf for St. Paddy’s day.  I made this for some contest, using four colors of Tahki Stacy Charles cotton yarn.

I got about ten votes for it …good enough because I changed my mind about the pattern, and it ended up different from what I envisioned.  No, I don’t think it would have gotten more votes, if I stayed with the original pattern.  But it got some votes 🙂

I started off with the idea and the pattern for the scarf, and halfway through I made a little change, and it ended up something different.

I think I do that more often than I should.  Sometimes it ends up good, other times I end up unraveling it.  One might say that’s time and effort wasted by unraveling.

I call it  learning the craft.

Either way, there’s a finished project at the end.