Monday, August 22, 2016

Fall colors

I think it happened overnight. All of a sudden I realized that nights are truly dark, like a bag has been pulled over my head. Last week the moon was huge and stretched a bridge over the lake. The lights inside the house look warm and welcoming and inviting. It is almost time to build a fire and let the warmth push away the damp of the fall. It is raining today and I am having a break from the fall outside activities.
Yesterday morning I noticed that some of the birch trees are shedding and leaves are scattered all over the grass.
Can you grasp the fall feeling by looking at these pictures, they were taken today. The rain feels and looks like it is not going to cease any time soon.
The deck appears lonely and deserted, doesn’t it? Later this week we are going to stow it away for the winter. It cannot stay in the lake, as the ice buildup is so heavy that it would break the deck. Soon it is time to face bravely the north winds and dress up in layers of wool.

Over the weekend I dug out this old project. I am almost sure I have not shown this to you yet. I started it “Charm by Kim Hargreaves” long time ago (!!!) when I was having aching wrist and purling made it hurt and I wanted something to knit only. I am not quite sure just how old the pattern is but it is old, definitely from the previous decade but maybe even from the last century.
I have taken it out and put it back into the bag many times and I am not sure if I like what I am making at the moment.  The problem is not the pattern, I think it is fine, but I am having serious doubts with the yarn. This is a third project I am trying to pair with this yarn Drops Silke Tweed (discontinued) and the feel is little bit odd in my hands. It seems dry somehow and almost papery. I love the rustic feel (I think) and somehow it matches the garter stitch, but yet… I am having serious doubts.  Also, the outcome is a bit too thick to my taste, as I like light garments.

-        The color: very appropriate for the season
-        The fiber content: wool (48%) and silk (52%)
-        The texture: rough (matches my country life style so well)

The list of doubts:

-        The feel through my hands; there is no give; the yarn is sticky almost, very difficult to make even stitches, and I have to concentrate on slow knitting (which is not all bad)

-        The smell is little bit odd, it is kind of strong, and it has been there from the very beginning, it does not remind me of sheep, as a matter of fact, the wool is very difficult to feel or smell in the yarn. 

-        I am not sure that the pattern and the yarn will be a good match in the end. The cardigan is shaped and intended to hug the figure and I am afraid that this yarn will make the cardigan too loose; after some wear it might not bounce back becoming baggy. This is just a feeling at the moment and I am hoping to be proven wrong. I am going to block the cardigan once I reach the arm holes and will try to make the wool bloom. I have lost the swatch but I should make another one and treat it with hot water to see if I can wake up the fibers. Now that I think about the yarn, it feels somehow dead and hard.
I have high hopes of finishing the garment sometime soon, but don’t be disappointed if you never see this again. It might end up being ripped once again and I am not sure if the yarn can take any more ripping. The poor thing has been treated this way so many times already that if this does not work this time, it most not going to be knitted again. I am not sad, this has been a good lesson and there are times when nothing helps and then it is time to go part ways.
After I block it and if I decide to continue, I need to think about the sleeves for a bit. As written the cardigan is done in pieces, but I wanted to knit it in once piece up to the arm holes and did that. Now it has raglan sleeves but they are sewn on later and I could do that. After seeing Anne Hanson's excellent Craftsy Class on Finishing Handknits, I have grown to love the final touches more and more and sewing the sleeves might be a nice change, but then again, I hate to add seams to the places where I can avoid them. 

I looked through the pattern and saw that there are only a few stitches decreased under the arms and if I decide to knit this in one piece, I am almost sure I need to decrease more under the arms to have enough room for the sleeves and that would mean changing the decrease ratio a little bit as I don’t want to add more stitches to the sleeves and the main body. As I am not sure how the cardigan will look and behave in the end, I am sort of hesitant to invest even more time to the project, if it is for nothing. Then again I can be stubborn at times, even when it is not wise or desirable, and I am afraid this will be a long and rocky road for the cardigan and me.

One step at a time... I will continue up to the armholes, then I will block the piece and will check the fit and the feel and base my future decisions on them. I think this sounds like a plan. I have almost 4” (10cm) to go before I need to make up my mind, so until then, I am going to enjoy the rough yarn and enjoy the challenge it is giving me.

The rain is getting heavier, now it is drumming steadily. No need to go anywhere just now, will make a cup of tea, as afternoons are for tea, pull up my feet and listen to audio book while I knit. Right now I am listening to Ann Cleeves Shetland Mystery Dead Water.

Wool with you,

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

New yarn and a very lovely yarn shop

For a really long time I have wanted to visit Titityy, yarn shop in Jyväskylä in Central Finland. Every time we have driven through or past that town, it has been late and the shop has been closed already, so now, when we had once again a trip planned towards south, I made sure I could squeeze a visit to the yarn haven.
The shop is in an old fashioned wooden house, the entrance is very welcoming and you are into a little paradise when you cross the threshold.
It has truly a lovely selection of yarns from all over the world… maybe you can recognize some familiar cones/skeins/balls in the pictures.
I spent quite a while going through everything and had hard time deciding what to buy. Since I did not have anything special on my mind, I wanted to buy just a taste of the ones I have been willing to try. Now I can make swatches and see what I enjoy and what they are good for and then later mail order more.
is a new yarn to me. I don’t think I have seen it anywhere, nor have held a skein before but I am almost certain this will become favorite. The yarn is light (185m/50g), the color is rich, and the yarn has texture. It is soft being blend of different merinos, if I understand the band correctly, but it has character and personality. Somehow it brings to my mind Rowan's Felted Tweed, yarn that I have used a lot and love dearly, although this feels squishier, but I have not knitted with it yet. 
Another lovely one is this fingering weight Titityy’s house wool called Tukuwool, which is 100 % Finnish wool. It has lovely colors and again the yarn is light, 195m/50g. Cannot wait to try this.
I am not sure if you can see the shine in this yarn, but it is wool and silk blend, but not your usual kind, this yarn has texture, it is woolen spun, it is not smooth like most silk/wool blends. Very interesting.
This yarn you probably recognize, it is Loft by Brooklyn Tweed, finally available in Finland, it has been a long wait but worth waiting for. Remember when I swatched with Loft and I did say that if I were to choose one yarn to crochet with for the rest of my life, it might be Loft. I bought two skeins and I am thinking of making another ripples cowl with this.
Supersoft100% wool by Holst garn.
Lovely yarn, again with a huge selection of colors. This yarn has some spinning oil left and I cannot wait to swatch/wash the yarn to see how it changes when treated.  It is very light, and very affordable, a very good find.
These were all the yarns I got, there were a lot more that I would have loved to buy, but could not get carried away. The shop was as lovely as I had imagined and a place I am planning to visit … hopefully very soon.

Talking about wool, the wind has been coming strong from the north for couple of days. I have been working outside and even though I, on some level, am little sad to see summer come to an end, I have thoroughly enjoyed the yard work with the fresh breeze and without any mosquitoes. I had woolen socks in my wellies and somehow it felt just about right.

Wool with you,