14 September 2006

Shopping the stash or yarn begets yarn and swatchy swatchy

I've had a number of four hundred dollar Fridays of late. No, this not a dollar amount I've won in a lottery (more's the pity) but insurance estimates, money spent on remedial smog repairs (silly sensors) or just money blown in an irrational response. Hopefully, this series will end with my upcoming long term investment in good rubber for the Aerostar.

since some of that irrational spending had me falling off the no yarn buying wagon, I'm working on incorporating the new elann and LYS additions to stash with some swatching and matchmaking.

First up is Rowan's R2 nylon paper tape yarn. elann was blowing this stuff out by the bag and at $16US for 1480 yards so I got one of the peach and one of the pale green. The peach stuff reminds me of parachute silk and its colour brings to mind Summer days and flea market finds in New Orleans a life time ago.

Those memories mean I'm inclined to like this yarn even though it is at the very high end of my knitting gauge. It isn't quite conduit knitting but I wouldn't care to see it on a needle smaller than a US 8 (5mm). The first swatch was done on honking huge needles aka US 17 (12.75mm). Surprisingly enough I own 1 circular in this size and, courtesy of TNNA & Clover, 1 pair of straights.

The stitch pattern is from the Lacy Stole pattern in Pat Menchini's Beatrix Potter Needlepoint Book. I've not seen the stitch pattern elsewhere that I can recall and I've been looking to incorporate it into another piece for some time.

Anyhow, 25 stitches (9 garter edge stitches total and four 4-stitch pattern repeats) measures about 8 .5 inches wide with a nice open grid . If this wasn't discontinued, I'd consider designing something with a decidely lacey lingerie peignoir styling.

Some years back, in an arguably mad moment, I said yes to adopting/fostering yarn that was not going to make the relocation from el-A to Oregon. Most of the yarn that arrived and overwhelmed me and the delivery guy was kitted up and offered up to the crowd that used to gather at the Pick up game of knitting in the Clairemont Starbucks. Kitting helped most of it find a home not with me.

Some of the foster yarn that stayed with me has moved on and become part of FOs but some hangs about on the periphery of the stash waiting for suitable companion yarn. Witness the possible marriage of no-name and fibre unknown peach boucle with the peach R2. This simple 20 stitch stocking stitch swatch is an unblocked loose knit measuring 5.5 inches wide on US 10.5 (6.5mm) needles
Also on US 10.5 needles is a mix of two no-name fibre unknown yarns from the foster collection and some recently acquired Berroco Quest (Needlecraft Cottage Summer yarn sale 2006). The quest was originally slated to be part of a different project that was decidedly not for me. That was the plan before the no-name cake of pink and grey stuff caught my eye. Anyhow, the backdrop is an Ann Taylor shell that I really love so I'm thinking this one's for me.
The problem with a limited amount of sale yarn and no-name unknown fibre is also the unkown yardage factor. The danger in being conservative in your yarn estimates is that you'll make something and end up with leftover yarn.

Sometimes the remaining yarn is enough to haunt you with the regrets of projects not knit (but I could have knit a cardigan) or be not quite enough for something else and drive you right back into the yarn begets yarn buying cycle.
Since recent yarn excesses had a bit to do with trying to augment stash yarn I was less than inclined to go there again.

So I shopped the stash and found three very suitable suitors for this mix of yarn that probably wants to be a short vest/shell that may or may not get sleeves. The first candidate is a cotton and silk blend in a mourning dove grey (camera colour isn't true) that I bought at KinLJ on sale several years back.
There a couple of problems with this solution. The first is gauge. This stuff is more in my US 3-4 range of knitting (aka my usual small kine stuff) so I'd probably need to work it double which would burn up quite a bit of yarn. Given the fact that this stuff has 213 yards to a 100 gram hank that's not bad and I do have 9 hanks of this stuff. . . but 9 hanks of this stuff feels like a better fit for a complete gansey or other project.

Next up is another Berrocco yarn in a Rayon/Cotton/Linen blend. This Linor was from a Yarn Lady binge at a Stitches West. The colour is great. Gauge is an issue and again with 10 hanks of 92 yards each I have enough for a full project that might even pair with this for a non matchy matchy set.
More digging brings forth yarn from the days of Crewel World being a brick and mortar shop. In a bin of neutrals I found some Pingouin Nacre which is a rayon/cotton blend. At 115 yard per 50 gram ill behaved (showing its rayon) balls. I have 7 of these intermingling (read tangling) in the same dye lot. I think we have a winner.
While I know that I arguably have enough of this for a complete project it would be a near thing and this stuff has just enough glam to it to work with the Quest without being overly embellished. I'm leaning toward doing the back in the Nacre and striping the fronts but string the bottom of both front and back with the top in the Nacre is also a good option that might let me eke out some striped or open work (read lace) solid coloured sleeves.

Meanwhile, back at the pentagon, after laundering, I discovered that the last inch or so of one of the pentagon sleeves was also a dye lot mismatch. It told you it was a subtle difference. Glad I know now when I've still plenty of the minority dye lot to work with.

I've made the switch from size 3 US to 4 US for the body and I'm tangling, untangling and barreling away on the project. The photo shows both sleeves, the original bottom ribbings in the two different dye lots and the blended ribbings running diagonally across the lot.

I'm getting about 7 stitches/10 rows to the inch so it will be a real adventure in mixed knitting as I switch from the mittens (snug on 5US), the shawl (lacey on 5US), a couple of 10.5 US projects (there's another Quest Colors/R2/unknowns swatch in progress) and the pentagon sleeve project.


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