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,


  1. Anonymous18:32

    Thank you so much for the lovely pictures of your home! It's like taking a trip without leaving my house and I love seeing places so different to my own home (California).

    I've used Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool for a few projects in the past and it sounds like the same feel of your yarn, such a pretty texture. I remember the yarn does bloom and soften when washed, and it also grows so you may indeed want to test that swatch before continuing knitting. Poor yarn with no mate!

  2. Lovely pictures - Autumn is indeed coming.

    As the above comment says, this yarn seems very like EL's Silky Wool. I had a sweater's worth of that yarn, had it knitted about 2/3 up, and pulled it all out and sold the yarn. It's very difficult to make a fitted garment in it - there is no stretch at all.

    I'd pull the cardigan out and knit yourself a big, simple, triangular shawl.Then the non-bounce wouldn't matter, and you could enjoy the colour.

    1. sandra04:16

      I second the shawl idea! Even if the yarn seems unsalvagable after another ripping-out, you may be able to make a lovely shawl with it by carrying along a strand of sock yarn. I would hate to see such gorgeous yarn go to waste! lol

  3. Do you block whilst the work is still on the needles? Your pics are wonderful - esp. the one with the tree and the lake behind it.

  4. I have not read the books by Ann Cleeves, but have thoroughly enjoyed the two series Vera and Shetland, based on her novels. After a very hot dry summer here in Ontario, Canada the humidity has dropped and it is a little cooler. Wonderful for sleeping!

  5. Anonymous03:28

    Loved your "fall" pictures. Yes, it is coming, albeit slower in different parts of the world where we live. I think your rustic sweater is lovely. It fits the season so well. I would wear it OVER your finer, happier knits on your walks with Russo. Finish it. Let is mellow and "bloom". It might become a favorite that you need not worry about.....ever! LOL Renée

  6. I vote press on, with seams to reinforce against the saggy silk -- if it is stretching too much, you of all knitters could make it a wonderful canvas for well-placed embroidery to shore it up!

  7. I can definitely feel the Autumn from your pics, I love them! I just spotted a few yellow leaves here too, but I'll have to wait a bit more for the Fall...

  8. I'm not ready for fall yet!

  9. I am so ready for Fall! And, finally, in eastern PA the temps have dropped (at least for a few days). Early this morning having coffee on my patio I had to grab a shawl to wrap around my shoulders. Love all your pictures.

  10. I'm thinking the feel and smell of your yarn can be attributed to the silk. Yarn with a silk content often has a strange 'wormy' smell! The color and rustic texture are so beautiful.

  11. Beautiful photos as always. Where I live it is cool and foggy. We do not really have the colors of a changing season. We are known for having the best warm but manageable weather in the fall. We await September and October with the anticipation of summer.