Posts tagged #Sirius

Afghan Hound & Thendara

In the midst of completing the Yarnbox project, I decided it would be important to demonstrate how the two yarns can be used together in one project using a more popular pattern.  In thinking of what would fill these requirements, my mind immediately went to any pattern of Stephen West's, as he loves to use stripes throughout many of his patterns.  I chose Thendara because of the pleasant geometrical shape, and because it fit the yardage and yarn thickness requirements.  I was able to complete the shawl with only two skeins of Afghan Hound with the main color Hushpuppy, and the secondary color Sirius, with a few fewer rows made in the end.  If you have more skeins to use, the pattern gives an option for a larger version.

The shawl begins at the inner center, and after an edge is created in the main color, it begins to stripe and expand. The ridges of color expanding from the center are created from slipped stitches of the main color.  For the first part of the pattern, the shawl is only four sections, but after a measured completion of a delightfully memorizable four rows, the pattern recreates two more of the center cast on splits.  This creates three "square" sections, with four middle or end sections interspersed around them.  The pattern finishes with garter stitch to make an edge that doesn't curl.

 

The pattern is very well written and left me having no questions about how to proceed while being a lot of fun to complete.  My favorite thing about the design is how it uses both garter stitch rows and stockinette rows to create different types of textured stripes.  I was able to enjoy wearing this shawl to experience how well it functioned on my honeymoon in Vancouver, where most days were cool enough that it required some sort of sweater or scarf.  I tend to wear shawls just over my shoulders and rarely tied, and having the silk and wool blend over my shoulders kept me surprisingly warm as we wandered through the city.

Posted on November 6, 2013 and filed under Pattern Review.

Norwegian Elkhound & The Warm & Tingley Mitts & Headscarf

I recently had the pleasure to have knit from the Needles and Artifice collection by The Ladies of Mischief. The publication (from Cooperative Press) carries twenty-three beautiful patterns and has an ingenious layout: it's not just about the patterns, but also tells great stories to tie them together.

Gentle ladies and kind sirs: welcome to the world of Needles and Artifice, where corseted Victorian fashion gets an energized infusion of punk.
In this fantastically playful take on steampunk knitwear design, the Ladies of Mischief offer not only 23 original patterns, but also a high-flying, busk-snapping adventure that plays out across each chapter.
Pull on your goggles and spats, knitters: you’re in for a wild ride.

 

I was originally looking for a pattern for interesting fingerless mitts to knit a sample from Norwegian Elkhound (colorway Sirius), and came across the Warm & Tingley Mitts, a pattern from the collection.  The pattern was designed by Heidi Kunkel, who, besides for designing beautiful patterns like this, has an Etsy store featuring her amazing pottery.  

What made this a perfect choice for a sample is not only the beautiful cabling, but the fact that with one skein of Norwegian Elkhound makes two mitts and a headscarf and still have yarn left over.  In terms of yarn structure, the more plies a yarn has, the more round it is, and rounder yarns show off cables better.  Because Norwegian Elkhound is four plies, it makes beautiful cables.  What I did not yet know was the most important part: how ridiculously quick and fun this pattern would be!

I was able to knit both mitts and the headscarf within 3 days, which makes it a great pattern choice. for gifts; I'm sure if I had a dedicated day, I would have easily knitted all of them within 8 hours.  It's also extremely versatile because of how it's sized: the ribbing on both the mitts and the headscarf ensure that they will fit most, if not all adults.  The pattern recommends a size 9 needle, gauge depending, and worsted weight yarn.

The mitts start off with a 2:1 ribbing, then go into the cabling chart.  There's no written version of the chart in the pattern, which, since I prefer knitting from charts, was fine.  The bind off was a picot bind off, which creates a surprising and fun texture at the edging. The thumb is called "an afterthought" in regards to the technique and is added after the mitt is completed. 

The headscarf starts off with a normal cast on and features short rows for shaping the garment.  The short rows in this pattern don't come with the normal "wrap" instruction; rather, they purposefully leave holes in the fabric for a button.  The cabling on the headscarf coordinates with the cabling on the mitts, but isn't exactly the same.  The difference between the two cable patterns is that the headscarf pattern has the design wider, which better fits the wider garment.  The final addition is a button, which is always the most fun to choose.

This set of patterns was a tremendous amount of fun to make, and knitting it with the Norwegian Elkhound was a treat!  I had only done swatches with that yarn before, but the soft, squishy texture and beautiful stitch definition made me not want to put it down.  I've always selected my yarn bases carefully, and it's rewarding to finally knit a full-sized garment with them and find that I absolutely made the right choice.

 

How do you decide what yarns to use with which patterns?  Have you ever made a really bad choice, or an absolutely perfect one? 

 

 

 

Announcement:  Fiber Hound is now going to be sold at its first yarn store, Rêverie~Yarn, Décor & Gifts!  The store is located in Goshen, Indiana, and is around 40 minutes from the Fiber Hound dye studio.  I'll be sharing more updates about when there will be stocked there soon!  For better updates, don't forget to follow Fiber Hound on Facebook!

Posted on July 3, 2013 and filed under Pattern Review.

Skeinwinding & Reskeining

Last week, I received a new skeinwinder in the mail, purchased from WoodenSpinner!

Dwight helping to wind the yarn.

A skeinwinder can be used for mainly two things, winding a skein or reskeining a skein. When spinning yarns from a spinning wheel or spindle, a niddy-noddy or skeinwinder can be used as tools to remove the yarn from a bobbin, rather than winding it into a ball by hand. Niddy-noddies can come in various forms, such as tiny wooden ones for sampling, hand crafted wooden ones, or PVC plastic. I started out with a PVC one until my fiance made a beautifully personalized niddy-noddy that, until last week, I used religiously.

The beautiful niddy noddy my fiance made for me.

There are two schools of thought for how a skein of yarn can look for its final form, generally based on personal preference of the dyer. The first is to keep the skeins naturally as they were right out of the dyepot; the second is to reskein the yarn, rearranging the yarn so that all the different colors lay next to each other. I consider reskeining yarns one of the yarn industry's magical little secrets because of what it can tell us. Reskeining rearranges the yarn so that all the different colors lay next to each other.

On the natural yarn, you can clearly see the pools of color. I think this is just as pretty as the skein below, but the reskeined yarn gives us a lot more information about what the final garment will look like.

Reskeining on a niddy-noddy is far more labor intensive than using a skeinwinder, particularly for lace skeins, which is why most professionals choose skeinwinders. To use a niddy-noddy, you have to wrap the yarn around the four edges in a zig-zag pattern, twisting the niddy-noddy and the yarn to complete the movements. (I have gotten very sore from hours of this!)  In comparison, skeinwinders can exist either vertically or horizontally, and spin around in a wheel. They're not as compact, but they're far easier to use because the range of motion is smaller.  Like the niddy-noddy, they can come in many forms: PVC, furniture quality, as well as many having motorized options.

What do you think?  Do you like skeins when they're natural, or after they've been reskeined?

Also, an upcoming event: I will have a booth at the Downtown South Bend First Friday: Dog Days of Summer.  Come visit me if you can, as I will have a special treat for both you and your pup!

Posted on May 29, 2013 and filed under Behind The Scenes.