Thursday, October 17, 2013

Our Next KAL | 100 Diamonds.

If you follow me on Instagram, I hope you weren't too unhappy with me when I posted this teaser photo yesterday afternoon.

In my defense, I figured a pile of pretty yarn would brighten anyone's day! I had a wonderful time pulling the yarns and posing the skeins just so. (and of course that whole effort resulted in a few balls disappearing from my pile - and the shelves - the Findley is really popular!) I understand; it's the yarn I've chosen myself to knit 100 Diamonds. Don't miss this - yes, our next KAL is 100 Diamonds and we're going to cast on November 1 (which sounds like it should be months away, but is really just two weeks from tomorrow - yikes!)

This pattern came across my radar a few months back when the designer posted photos of a slightly modified version of the shawl.
photo copyright knittimo on Ravelry
I loved that it could be modified...and that the resulting pieces could look so different from the original...and that every one of them is gorgeous! But I hadn't thought about it for a knit-along until Saturday, when I awoke to a text from Becca suggesting it. Really, it's perfect for a KAL - the pattern isn't all that complicated for anyone who's worked a lace chart, it's customizable (I love "knit your own adventure" patterns for knit-alongs), and it's a fair amount of knitting which always goes better with company, right?! And for those of us who have knit innumerable a few lace shawls, this one uses a different construction - it starts at the bottom point and knits up.

The designer hosted a KAL on Ravelry last month so we have a few dozen FOs (and a good bit of experience) to help us . Based on the projects/photos I've seen, I am loving the design in the pattern-suggested laceweight and (despite my personal yarn choice - driven by two past frogged KALs - which I am only admitting to y'all) a winter neutral. With Theresa's help, we've gathered eight yarn suggestions*.
Please note that the pattern suggests 630 yards of a laceweight yarn at a blocked gauge of 18 st/4 inches to create a finished shawl 68" wide by 34" deep.

Shibui Silk Cloud (pattern suggestion) :: 60% mohair/40% silk; 330 yds/25 g; suggest 2 skeins
Shibui Cima :: 70% alpaca/30% silk; 328 yds/50 g; suggest 2 skeins
Shibui Pebble :: 48% recycled silk/36% merino/16% cashmere; 224 yds/25 g; suggest 3 skeins
Juniper Moon Farm Findley :: 50% silk/50% merino; 798 yds/100 gr; suggest 1 skein
Fibre Co Meadow :: 40% merino/25% baby llama/20% silk/15% linen; 545 yds/100 g; suggest 1 skein (and modifying to make slightly smaller - like the designer modifications I linked above)
Swans Island Laceweight :: 50% merino/50% tussah silk; 530 yds/50 g; suggest 1-2 skeins (1 skein would mean modifications; 2 skeins would allow you to follow the pattern as written)
Habu Tsumugi Silk :: 100% silk; 450 yd/48g; suggest 2 cones
Malabrigo Silkpaca :: 70% alpaca/30% silk; 420 yds/50 g; suggest 2 skeins

*of course we have more laceweight yarns in the shop; we also have plenty of other lovely yarns that would make gorgeous shawls - these are just the eight we pulled to highlight here.

The pattern also suggests beads, but I'm not planning to use them. Although if I were knitting this with the suggested Silk Cloud...I would definitely consider it, if only to add a bit of weight to keep the shawl in place. We do have beads at the shop and they are not hard to incorporate.

I emailed Theresa on Tuesday that the only bad news I'd encountered about the project was size 3 needles. I knew the pattern suggested them, but I was hoping, especially after Boxy, we'd have a project on at least size 6s or 7s, alas no. I think the pattern suggested size 3 needle works best. I tried 4s and 3s and really like the fabric better on the 3s:


Of course if you use a thinner/thicker yarn or you're a looser/tighter knitter, you might need to go down (!!) or up. The best way to tell is to swatch! really!! these two swatches took me about an hour - and I'm pretty sure the finished shawl is going to be worth that little investment up front. (please note I did not wet-block these swatches - I merely pinned them like I plan to pin my wet-blocked finished piece)

The pattern is available online only. The instructions are clear and easy-to-follow. I am planning to knit my piece as written, without beads. If I had less yarn OR if I were using a heavier weight, I would work fewer repeats of chart B (and maybe of chart D) to make fewer diamonds. The cool thing about the construction is that we can easily get an idea how big the finished piece will be while it's still on the needles. That can all come later - for now, all you need to think about is your yarn choice, your needle (work a swatch with chart A - it's quick and easy!) and the cast-on date: November 1.

If you have any questions/comments/etc, please leave a comment here or in our Ravelry forum.
ready to go! (my yarn is Findley Dappled in the Woodland colorway and those are size 3 needles :-)
I do hope you'll join us!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Peek at Pebble.

If you spend anytime on-line - or (better yet!) if you've visited the shop in the past few weeks, you probably already know about Pebble. It's  is the newest yarn from Shibui and I've been waiting to tell y'all about it until I had time to really work with it myself.

**drumroll**
it's awesome! (and oh my, I've just spent a few minutes hours! looking at Ravelry to grab more inspiration ideas...and I'm even more in love with it now).

Pebble is a blend of recycled silk, extra fine merino and cashmere (48%/36%/16% if you're keeping score), Shibui lists it as a "heavy laceweight" at 224 yards/25 grams and a suggested gauge of 26 st/4 inches on size 3 needles. To me, that gauge says "light sport/heavy fingering". I swatched it on US 4s and got 23 st/31 rows to 4 inches. 
my swatch in the trail colorway
And that made me very happy because that's the listed gauge for Relax (which I've had in my favorites since I saw it knit in Shibui Cima). When I first knit and blocked the swatch I thought the gauge was too open; but my daughter - who's the planned recipient of the sweater  - said no. The wide neckline means she'll wear a camisole (at least) under it anyway and it's oversized...so lightweight is good. I'm halfway up the front (yes, this sweater is knit in pieces and no, I don't have issues with that!) and yes, I think she's right! stay tuned!

Of course an oversized sweater on size 4 needles might be more ... knitting/yarn/work... than you want. 

How about a colorwork hat (the pattern is free)? This is Cliff...yes it's a lot of yarn (5 colors = 5 skeins) but it's knit double stranded. I promise it won't seem like laceweight yarn! I love the colors in fiddlehead's version.
photo copyright Shibui
Or a very cool textured/shaped hat...with a matching asymmetrical scarf?  This is Peak. It looks fabulous knit double stranded in a single color, but I love the marled effect of mixing two colors.
photos copyright Shibui
I hope you'll give it try - and if you do, please share your project...on Ravelry, Facebook or Twitter.

Happy Knitting!

sorry, couldn't resist one more photo!