Thursday, March 29, 2007

In search of a match

This past Christmas, I received 2 skeins of Tilli Tomas' luxury yarns. One I used to embellish Sahara, which I blogged about here.

Faithful readers will remember that I had luckily ordered a silk/wool blend that matched the sequined yarn perfectly. I knew I would use the other skein of TT for a short sleeve version of Sahara, but finding a matching yarn for the body was going to be a little more challenging.

I've got TT Exotica in Stony Mist - a greenish, but slightly bluish silk blend with fun green stone chips. It's beautiful, and I love it more than the Disco Lights.

As a first try, I ordered some Classic Elite Classic Silk in Paris Green from WEBS, but that yarn was too greenish-yellow and did match this at all. I'm keeping though cause it's nubby and nice.

I decided that I was probably going to have to go to my LYS to find a match in person. I don't really go to my LYS that much, mostly because I don't love it and would rather get good deals on the internet.

So a few Fridays ago I decided to go there after work. When I arrived at the LYS, the two co-owners were each helping someone, so I browsed the cotton selection. Not much was jumping out or even coming close to matching. Ugh.

As I was getting ready to leave, one of the co-owners asked if I had found anything, and I said no. She pulled me aside and started digging through the color cards. The other co-owner was now free and she started pulling every green yarn in the store and bringing it over to my skein of Exotica.

The Debbie Bliss pure silk had a PERFECT match, but I didn't want 100% silk - too warm and too droopy for summer.

We ended up finding Jaeger Roma - a bouncy viscose/ nylon blend that was great too. I scooped up 4 balls at $10.50 a piece and went on my merry way.

Out of curiosity, I checked the internet to see what I could have saved had I bought online. WEBS has Roma at closeout for . . . $4.99 a ball. More than half off. Ugh.

My first reaction was to return it and buy from WEBS. But then I started thinking. I never would have ordered this from WEBS anyway, because the colors on their website are never accurate. And after looking at nearly every yarn in the LYS, I realized only 1 or 2 yarns were going to work anyway. It would have taken me many tries and loads of shipping costs to find it if I only ordered online.

I decided to keep the 4 balls. I guess that's what you pay for in the LYS. You help the local economy, keep small businesses going. I don't know if places like WEBS are 'small businesses' or not, but in this case I certainly got what I paid for - excellent service and a perfect match on the first try.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Beau & Cables in Chamonix Finished!

Believe it or not, I finished these suckers over a week ago. I've been dying to post them, but getting pictures of me and Bill in our respective sweaters has been a challenge. During the week, daylight is basically gone by 7 pm and the weekends have been crazy (or rainy). Yesterday we finally got some shots, so here they are.

Pattern: Inspired by Beau from Rowan Vintage Style. Ironically, I ended up borrowing the Beau pattern from Magknits and used the shape of a basic crewneck. I used pics of the Rowan Beau online to help me figure out how the striping and box effect worked.

Yarn: Tahki Donegal Tweed in a burnt orange color, a little over 5 skeins. Brown 'leather' buttons from Joann's.

Verdict: Bill really likes it! When I still had 1 sleeve to sew in, he said to me, "Are you going to sew that thing in so I can actually wear it tonight?"
I'm happy with how the pattern came out and glad that I managed to improv it. A successful knock-off!

Here's a close-up of the neckline.


Pattern: Cables in Chamonix from Yarn Girls' Guide to Beyond Basics

Yarn: GGH Savanna in a raspberry color, 8 balls.

Modifications: I decided to do this from the top down instead of in pieces. Since the pattern said to pick up 64 stitches for the neckline, I cast on that many and increased until I had the number of body and sleeve stitches. I ended up frogging several times because it was just too BIG. I added some darts in the back, since I didn't do the cables in the back and added a lot of waist shaping. My gauge was spot on - I knit and blocked a swatch and everything - but I realized that I also only did 3 cables down the front instead of 4 which may explain it.

Verdict: OK. It's a little big around the bust and under the sleeves, but overall it's a cozy winter sweater. I did wear it once to work when it was chilly last week, and I think next winter it will get more wear.

Right now, I have lots of progress on spring projects to show you, but I'll wait a few days. Happy Monday!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

February Baby Sweater Finished

Pattern: EZ's February Baby Sweater in Knitter's Almanac

Yarn: Leftovers. I used some Filatura Brilla for the yoke and the Valley Yarns Superwash that was leftover from my mom's first attempted sweater. Simple white buttons found at Joann's.

Verdict: Really cute. This is for a co-worker whose wife is expecting a baby girl next month. I don't know him real well, but I wanted an excuse to make this little one. I've seen it a lot in blogland and it's got that lovely, vintage baby sweater thing going.

Modifications: Zilch. Just the little flower I added to make it even girlier.

What I learned: Nothing too new here, but this was my first official EZ pattern. The real difference that was interesting is the extra stitches she adds under the arms. Most top-down patterns don't incorporate this. I'm not sure yet which is better, if either is, but I think for a baby roomier is probably better. Don't want to squeeze the chubby little arms.

Stay tuned for a (hopefully) finished Beau soon....just in time for spring.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Race to the FO Line

I am expecting to get 3 of my WIPs to cross the finish line here within the next 2 weeks or so. Here are the leaders:

Currently leading the pack is the February Baby Sweater from EZ's Knitter's Almanac. This is for a co-worker who is expecting a baby girl in April. I can't show you exactly how much is done, but let's say the odds for this to win are pretty darn good (ok, I just have buttons to sew on).

Next up in second place is Beau, for my hubby. I'm not using the 'real' pattern for this sweater, but instead trying to mimic the stitch pattern using a basic crewneck pattern. Beau is a sleeve and some seaming away from being the champ.

But don't count out Cables in Chamonix, who has had a remarkable run lately. There was a minor setback last week when about 10" of the body had to be frogged (it was way too big). Although progress doesn't look great, expect this knit to get some extra attention in the coming week.

A few other WIPs are struggling as they made it just on the needles, but we should expect some progress and improvement on them once these top three are out of the race.

PS. I mentioned a while ago that we are going out west in early May. Well, I just realized that we will be gone during Maryland Sheep & Wool. Clearly I had a major brain fart in scheduling. I live 30 minutes from the Howard County Fairgrounds. Doh!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Cascade 220: What's the word?

Fellow knitters, I am having a pseudo-knitting-dilemma here. I knit up my Forecast in Cascade 220 Tweed. Beautiful color, great to work with, but PILLS like crazy. The sides and underarms of my sweater are the worst. I've worn Forecast about 5 or 6 times.

Here's my dilemma. Before I finished Forecast, I got some really lovely Cascade 220 Heathers in a blue.

I'm going to use it for the Cabled Cardigan out of Vogue's fall issue. I think. After seeing how much Forecast is pilling, I am seriously questioning if I should Cascade 220 again. HELP ME!! I read so many blogs about how everyone loves this yarn.

Could I have gotten a bad batch?

Could it be the tweed line of this yarn?

Does it generally pill?

Do you have a personal experience you'd like to share with the group?

I would appreciate any input on this serious issue! Really, though, if you have a minute to drop a comment or email, thank you in advance.