Tuesday, October 26

Klara Q & A

Thanks for all the nice comments on my Klaralaundry post. I really appreciate them. There were a couple of questions that I wanted to answer.

First, well, I thought I had a request for a shot of Klara *on*, but now I can't find it in the comments, so maybe I just hallucinated public interest in further viewing of my mug. Anyway, here is the laundered Klara being worn:

As you can see, it really didn't shrink much at all. I would say that the sleeves got a pinch shorter, and maybe the body did too. So pretty much more shrinkage in row gauge than in stitch gauge. I wonder if that is typical for fulling, which would explain my short fuzzy feet.

One commenter asked if I washed it in cold water. The answer is yes. I did everything I normally do for the gentle cycle: cold water, mild detergent (I don't use soap because it's even more alkaline, which encourages felting), and the gentle cycle. I also washed it all by itself, partly because the dye discharged when I hand-washed it so there was a danger of dyeing whatever was in there with it, but also because I didn't want anything rubbing up against it to felt it.

Jody asked if the 5% shrinkage I was looking for was about what I got. You know, I kind of thought that I did when I first laid it out, but after wearing it for a while (and I have worn it a LOT since washing), it has stretched out again, as you can see in the photo above, so I don't think I did get that much--maybe in the length but not in the width. As you can see from this picture too, it really didn't full that much: you can see my white bra through the stitches in front, sigh. Partly this is the stretch factor, but there's room for more is what I'm saying.

While I normally don't re-launder items that are fulled, since they will continue to full and get smaller and smaller, I think I will make this a machine-wash garment. I'll be very careful with it and be sure to wash it by itself, but it does seem to stretch out a lot after a few wearings. I should add that my 2.5-year-old son is very interested in pushing my buttons these days, and he's a pretty smart customer. He has figured out that grabbing any of my hand-knitted garments and PULLING really hard is a great way to get a big reaction out of mama. So I wear sweaters rather hard these days, sigh.

I'm waiting to see how Jenifer's Klaralaundry came out. Then I'll shut up about Klara and go off into the sunset wearing her. Until I knit another one, that is....

Baby Sweaters Galore

In other knitting content, I'm almost done with Baby Albert. I found some very cute buttons, and the manager of the store at Webs made a great suggestion about alternating them, so I have alternating stars and squares. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the buttons, but you'll see them on the FO in the next few days.

Here's the sweater, almost done.

I literally have like 10 rows of sleeves, then weaving in ends and sewing buttons. Any minute now, I swear.

The pattern, from The Knit Stitch (a book I highly recommend, even for experienced knitters), has you knit pick up stitches from the body and knit the sleeves flat, with the seam at the top. I understand why she does that--it means that you really just have to sew one seam on each side for the whole garment, plus it's really the only way to knit the sleeves flat, as the bottom edge is already closed. But I didn't like the way the seam at the top looked, so I'm knitting them in the round. It's a little annoying to be doing garter stitch in the round. You know, if you are working in the round, I feel you shouldn't have to purl. But purl I do. The needles are also annoyingly small, but it's almost done, and I think the parents of its recipient are going to be pleased.

My attention has also been occupied with Nick's Kureyon Jacket. I found an error in the pattern, but Carol Sulcoski, the designer, who also designed this and this for Knitty, was incredibly helpful and responsive in helping me with this and other questions, and got me a correction right away. So now I'm cooking with gas on the jacket. I did rip the whole front right side. It had a provisional cast-on, so I thought I might get away from ripping from the "bottom" edge, since I had already attached it to the back at the "top" edge. It was really only a matter of a few rows and when I tried to rip from the bottom I realized I would have to pull the end through the final stitch on each row, which got increasingly annoying as I went on and the tail got longer. It's good that I did this, too because a) the old front had a really big strip of pink that I wasn't sure I liked, and b) amazingly, the colors lined up perfectly between the front and the back (largely due to me making an effort to match colors when I joined a new ball), so it flows seamlessly now. Here's its current state; note the much-improved symmetry of the fronts compared to this.

Caps and Yarn Shopping Strategy

The timing of Knitty's Fall Surprise could not have been more apt. SIL is one week into chemo, and I think she's going to get all her hair cut off this week, before it falls out. It is time for me to make a chemo cap. I can't really decide whether to make this:

or the hat in this picture:

I have *almost* enough handspun, handdyed silk to make the spin-off cap, and I can probably fudge the edges to make it work (and I can also comb my stash to see if I have another hankie dyed with those colors--I think I might). The silk I'm using is on the right in this photograph. I may just use the navajo-plied dark-purple silk on the left there as an edging, actually. I hadn't thought of that until I linked to this photograph. Hooray for blogging, grin.

I tried to ply those 25 wpi singles last night, though, from a center-pull ball, and ARGH! Anyone who has worked extensively with silk (this was spun from a cap, so it's not the smoothest stuff), will be laughing right now. Tangle city. Plying from a single ball is frustrating with wool. Laceweight silk is just ridiculous. So I have to figure out another solution. I suppose I can try to wind off onto two bobbins. That would be the sensible thing to do, but last night I was just too frustrated so I set it down and went back to work on the kureyon jacket. A little easy knitting for a break.

So probably I'll try to do both caps, but I need to focus on something so that I actually have something to send out to Colorado when Rhys goes out to help her out during another treatment in 3 weeks. Given the uncertainty and complications of the handspun (not enough, plying nightmares, etc.), I think I will do the knitty cap. So, my question is this. Price is no object--what yarn should I use? I want the softest, most amazingly luxurious, completely un-scratchy stuff in the universe. I spent about 5 minutes thinking I would do it in the cashmere MIL brought back from Mongolia, but then I started working on dehairing it, and well, that's not going to happen anytime soon, lol. Any thoughts.

One more thing and I'll get back to work. I'm a total Webs officionado, and that's not going to change, but now that I'm on this Noro kick, I need to branch out, since Webs carries a very limited line of Noro (Kureyon and one other, I can't remember which). There's another LYS in town that couldn't be more different: where Webs is big, Northampton Wools is small. Where Webs focuses on weaving yarns, mill ends, and great-quality yarns that are reasonably priced, Northampton Wools is all about high-end and novelty yarns. Where Webs sells most everything on cones, I don't think there's a single cone in the shop at Northampton Wools. Even so, it's a nice store, and it's kind of a nice ying/yang yarn thing to have going on in your hometown. The point here, however, is that they have Noro Blossom, which Webs does not, and which I need to make Eloise, which I have decided to do, knowing that I need more sweaters I can wear to the office.

I know all about Woolneedlework.com, but they have exactly zero skeins of blossom in stock right now. But I realized that Northampton Wools is on the Save 30 store. You can buy $10 gift certificates to the store for $7. That means that the $10.50 skein of Blossom is just over $7, no shipping charges, and no tax on yarn in Massachusetts. Done. I've ordered enough GCs to get the yarn and pattern book, plus maybe a ball or two of something for a chemo cap (repeat plea for suggestions).

Annoyingly, although I ordered the GCs on Friday, they won't be shipped until today, so while I'll stalk the mailbox tomorrow, I don't expect to see them until Thursday. That's okay, really, since I'll be watching a friend's DS all day tomorrow, so with three preschoolers in tow, I'm unlikely to be doing any good yarn shopping, LOL. And hey, you know, shops are open late on Thursday nights.


Anonymous said...

Cool FOs and knitting in progress!

For softness, I recommend Crystal Palace cotton chenille. It doesn't worm, and it's about as soft as you get. I have a slew of it at home - I'll mail a hat's worth or two out after playing with y'all tomorrow!


alice said...

that klaralund looks like the... 'favorite sweatshirt' kind of comfy... oh man, now i HAVE to have one! haha. if only i had some noro yarn that wasnt already designated for another project... but christmas is coming, i shall have hope!

oh, and last time i was in WEBS (ok the ONLY time, heh) i saw a shopping cart full of what i think was blossom in the back corner by the discount stuff... so perhaps they DID carry it for the summer, but were getting rid of it. and i think the only other noro webs sells is silk garden.

if all goes well, i'll be in vermont NEXT weekend (the weekend of the 6th i think?) so perhaps we can try again with the LYS meet-up!

Anonymous said...

Hey MamaCate, your Klaralaundry is lovely, and so is your mug! Thanks for posting the laundering details as well as a review of the Noro for Nick's jacket. I've yet to invest in any Noro yarns despite much fondling. I keep thinking I can figure out the secret to their colorways and spin up my own...one day...

How'd your walk go?


Jenifer said...

Hey there Cate ...

Love the baby sweaters ... that Noro one is something else -- a lot like the Baby Albert, which I've been thinking of for one (or both) of my kids, too.

Klaralund looks great!

Hey -- if you're interested in Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere in color ECRU, let me know, and I'll RAOK you some (send me your address again). I think that the gauge would work ... you could double-check it, though. I've been hording it for myself ... bad, bad me, but it might as well go to a good cause!!

Anonymous said...

OK, well if nobody actually did ask to see Klaralund on, pretend I did. You're gorgeous and so is that sweater.