Thursday, February 22, 2007

Knit Talk with Deb

At long last, I have some of my own knitting progress to share with you, but first I want to take a moment to get a bit of business out of the way. Many of you have noticed that my selection of Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn has been a bit scant of late. This is because the base yarn I use has been on backorder. I'm usually very good about ordering well in advance, but my vacation in January caused some timing issues with the delivery and so I waited a bit longer than usual to order. I got a call from my supplier while I was on vacation with the bad news that the yarn was on backorder.

There's a rather long story here about the nightmare and magnitude of the backorder, but suffice it to say that I now have a whopping 150 pounds (that's enough for 600 skeins!) in my hot little hands. The truly miraculous part of this is that the supplier actually only had a total of 400 pounds, with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pounds more on backorder. This supplier works with just about every big name in handpainted yarns out there, but through some miracle of good fortune little ol' Fearless Fibers was first priority on their list for filling the backorder. (I know the reason for my priority position is almost certainly because my order was likely the first one on the backorder list, but I would prefer to think that I am The Chosen One. Ha! I know I certainly felt that way when I learned that I was getting such a large chunk of such a scarce commodity!)

I received the yarn on Monday this week and have been dyeing furiously ever since. You'll start to see the Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn filling up my shop again in the coming days and weeks. Once I've replenished the stock of my standards, you can count on some new colorways coming. I'll be sure to highlight a few here for you.

And now, on to Knit Talk . . .

Some of you may remember the Red Sweater Knitalong that I joined some months ago. I started with plans for a sweater, which then dwindled down to a simple felted vest when I found myself not loving the yarn I selected. When I got close to finished with the vest I had to face the fact that I just hated it. It's been draped over the back of a chair for ages now. I keep thinking that one day I'll be inspired to finish it, but that's looking less and less likely each day.

Given that I totally abandoned the project and then snuck quietly away from the KAL hoping nobody would notice, I am totally undeserving of the reward I received. That's right! I won a prize! I am so thrilled to have been chosen to receive Anne's (of KnitSpot) handspun yarn prize. If I were a truly good person, I would have meekly and apologetically declined and allowed someone more deserving to receive the prize, but I have to admit that getting my hands on some of Anne's handspun was too good to pass up.

I received the yarn, along with a copy of the KnitSpot Cloverleaf Mitts pattern (available in the catalogue on the KnitSpot site) and a bar of chocolate to boot, earlier this week.

I'm really looking forward to knitting with this yarn and also trying the Cloverleaf Mitts pattern. Last week, I began another of Anne's patterns: the Delicato Mitts. I meant to post a work-in-progress photo but have been so busy that I never got around to it. And now, the Mitts are done!

This photo definitely doesn't do justice to the wonderful pattern detail, but you get the idea. The Delicato Mitts pattern is a real gem! It's a small project and so you get that nice sense of satisfaction in completing something in a relatively short space of time, but it's not something I would categorize as a "quick knit." The pattern has just the right amount of detail and intricacy to make it interesting and to give it a more substantial feeling than most quick projects. Just as you become comfortable with the lace rib portion and can see the pattern emerging, it's time to move on to the main lace pattern. As that portion of the pattern begins to take shape, the increases to shape the thumb gusset begin. A bit further and it's time to return to the ribbing to finish the edge that wraps around the fingers. A little more work to finish the thumb and Voila!

The detail of the lace really is lovely, but it's not as visible in my mitts as it could be. Part of that is my rather blurry photos, but part of it is also that I used a different yarn and needle size than the pattern recommends. My FF Classic Merino Wool Sock Yarn is one of the recommended yarns for the pattern and I did play around with that a bit and it worked perfectly. I decided to go with the Superwash, which is a thinner yarn and I knit on a size 0 needle, because I have rather delicate hands (OK, OK . . . they're freakishly small) and I also prefer quite a snug fit on any handwear. The yarn and needle size worked perfectly for fit, but the smaller needles meant the yarn-over details of the lace are smaller and more closed so you lose some of the beauty of the pattern. I'm thinking of knitting some of these mitts for my nieces and will look forward to seeing the pattern detail as it was meant to be with slightly thicker yarn and a size 2 needle.

In other knitting news, I've been making slow and steady progress on my Faux Russian Stole from Meg Swanson's book, A Gathering of Lace. I'm too lazy to take another photo, particularly since it looks the same only about twice as long, but here's a reminder from the last update on this project a month or so ago:

I've now finished 4.5 pattern repeats out of the 5.5 the pattern calls for. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! I used a smaller needle than the pattern recommends (yes, I do that a lot!), so I may have to go a bit further than 5.5 pattern repeats, but I am definitely nearing the home stretch. Now if I can only get myself to knit more than a few rows in one sitting maybe I'll actually finish it!

In yarn news, I should let you know that I've added a couple of the colorways designed for my new Laceweight Merino Yarn to the Worsted Weight Merino options. The Worsted Weight Merino would be an absolutely divine yarn for sweaters. It's also great for hats, scarves and the like of course, but the soft, plush feel of the yarn just screams SWEATER! to me.

The two colorways I've added to the Worsted Weight Merino options are both rainbow dyed, while the other colorway options I already had available on the worsted weight are handpainted. As with my sock yarns, the rainbow dyed yarns won't pattern or stripe when knit. On the worsted weight yarn this makes for a nice option for a project with a bit more detail to the stitch work since color patterning won't mask the detail of the stitches.

Golden Olive is now available on Worsted Weight Merino:

And so is Hendrix:

Alright. I think I've rambled on long enough for today. Everyone have a wonderful day!


Mia said...

You are not the only one who has been having problems obtaining your super wash blanks. I think every indie due has had the same problem. But good things come to those who wait.

Micki said...

I, for one, never had any doubt that Fearless Fibers is one of the Chosen...

peaknits said...

Your stole is fabulous! And the mitts as well - Knitspot has the neatest patterns! Thank you for pointing me that way!

Crinklemama said...

Definetly not the only one having a problem! Glad to hear you got some yarn though....I love me some FF!!! I've been tempted by that mitt pattern, I might have some yarn calling for it.

Stacey said...

glad the supplier came through! you were tops on his list!

that shawl is going to be amazing - I love the color!!!

anne said...

wow! all this kitting!! that stole is looking beautiful deb; i love it!
and your mitts are beautiful . . . love the brown.
(as to your supplier, don't diminish the fact that whoever pays first gets stuff first! a couple of years ago a lot of shops could not get noro yarns becasue they were backordered so long. but our little shop always got theirs, becasue the owner pays her bills right away)