Posted by: ritsukurimono | March 10, 2010

I’ve been busy!

My Geodesic cardigan is done, but I still haven’t had a good opportunity to do a photoshoot, and it deserves a reblocking since I’ve worn it a bunch of times already. It’s great to throw on over whatever and go; I’m already planning on making another, perhaps in a more versatile color. I love the blue very much, but it’s something of an overpowering color.

Other things I’ve been busy doing!

Recycled a laceweight, blush pink 50% cashmere, 50% silk sweater. Mmmmm, it’s gorgeous. I don’t know whether to keep the color and make something quite floaty and sort of ballet-inspired, or dye it for a different impression. Should I knit it as is (fine lace/cobweb weight,) or double it for more strength? What do you think?

It’s a great object lession in the difference in lustre of silk and cashmere: cashmere is densely, plushly matte. The short, fine fibers are why cashmere is so soft to the touch, but they also suck light in and don’t bounce it back out. The silk in the mix, however, glows through the thin veil of cashmere halo around it. It’s so pretty.

Here are some swatches that I made for a jacket design I’m dreaming up. The dark grey is another recycled mix: 50% laceweight charcoal grey wool, 50% laceweight black cashmere. It’s a kind of interesting concoction: since it’s for outerwear, I wanted a yarn that wore well and was sturdy, both qualities of the rather rustic wool. But I had some cashmere lying around, so I played around with softening the harshness of the wool with it. The result is sort of an oxymoron: plump, sticky, and plush to the light touch, it reveals its more rustic nature the harder you press. It’s really interesting to touch, because the competing signals sort of baffle the brain (it’s soft! It’s rough! It’s sofugh!) and you just want to pet it more. I find it delightful.

The grey swatch is made out of fingering weight yarn, one ply of wool and one ply of cashmere. The huge ball is actually closer to worsted or aran weight, 2 plies of each. A yarn that’s made of different color plies twisted around each other is technically a marl, but the colors are so close that it blends into one darker grey shade. I plied the yarn on a spindle, but due to the dark color and cashmere content of the yarn, the cable motifs are very subtle–you have to get right up to the swatch to really notice. I like the effect, and I think I’ll make a garment for myself out of this yarn, but it’s not quite right for a design swatch.

The wine colored swatch, then, is made out of Queensland Collection Rustic wool DK. It’s my first time working with this yarn, and I’m cautious but quite pleased. It’s a true semisolid, without any patchy flashing or high-contrast pooling, and shows off the cables well. It’s a four-ply yarn, so it’s nice and round for the most part. But (perhaps this is just because I used my sharp Knitpicks size 3s) it’s splitty as hell. Perhaps the superwash process had a hand in bringing about that slight stringiness. It’s not the softest wool, but it’s not bad and I’ve tossed it around for a week with nary a hint of a pill. Perfect for outerwear, right?

Last but not least, I’ve been handspinning a little bit:

This is ~50g of merino wool that I got in a destash on Ravelry. I spindle-spun and plied it on my 1oz Golding Art Deco spindle to teach myself Navajo-ply-on-the-fly. As such, it’s rather thick-and-thin and has overspun and underspun bits, but I love the color and the round bounce to it. It’s also my first foray into spinning thick yarns–my First Yarn(tm) was laceweight.

The colors are pretty fabulous, too. It came out to about 75 yards of worsted to bulky weight; I think I’ll make myself a shortie pair of Boscage Mitts. They’re designed with a whopping 8.5″ length up the forearm, so I’m sure I’ll be able to get a shorter pair out of 75yds.


  1. I lovelovelove the Boscage Mitts pattern, and I can’t wait to see your jacket design.

    • Thank you! I’m working hard on it. 🙂

  2. I love your analysis of the yarns and how they play together. I’m new at using good yarns, and still have trouble knowing what kind I need for which project. That dusty rose is a very nice shade, and I can’t wait to see it knit up!

    • Thanks! Part of the reason I like harvesting sweaters is that it gives me the opportunity to work with a lot of nice yarn, much nicer than I can afford mill-spun. I’m still considering what to do with the pink. Strike faster, inspiration. 😛

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