Posts tagged ‘Classic Elite Yarns’
So here’s my DIP! (Design In Progress)
Have I mentioned I’m madly in love with Liberty Wool? I know, I know, like every time I knit with it. It is an absolute pleasure to work with. I feel like I knit so much faster when I’m using it. You know, lots of people talk about how cotton hurts their hands, because it doesn’t have any give. And I never really got it, until this project I never really noticed the difference in fibers in how comfortable my knitting was. But I am just loving the squishy elasticity in this yarn. It is to die for. I still don’t think cotton is uncomfortable, but this liberty wool is not only comfortable, it’s downright luxurious to work with. And it’s just a simple superwash!
The milestones on this project are flying by. Finished the back, and the left front, I’m making serious progress on the right front, and then I’ll only have the sleeves… but the sleeves are tricky because I haven’t done the first bit of math on them. So that could present some interesting issues. My goal is to have the front finished by the end of the week so I can spend next week on sleeves, both designing and knitting. 🙂
I have two other ideas on the back burner that I’m mulling over as I work on this project. But I do attempt to be a monogamous designer, so I’m plowing through this sweater so I can get started on all this other stuff that’s capturing my inspiration.
I started to write this “quick” blog post on Saturday, and it just kept going… and going… and going… Apparently I had a lot on my mind.
It’s like a million degrees outside. We’re totally paying for the glorious lack of nasty winter by getting one heck of a summer. I’m pretty sure we just broke the all-time record yesterday. So as I brew some sweet tea for my husband who’s a glutton for punishment and is mowing, weed-eating and doing all sort of other things that a sane person would not do on a day like today, I almost picked up one of my wool projects. What has been keeping me from doing so is actually not the insane temperature. It’s actually more about the knitting that’s making me stand-offish when I look at them sitting there in their unfinished state, begging to be the subject of my unwind in silence time.
Right now I’m actively working on two projects. One for the kids and one for me. For the kids, you may recall, I’m trying to tackle the question of wool cloth diapering. My first attempt was a success with a few reservations and I’m tackling the improvements by way of double knitting. Problem. I’ve never done any double knitting. And while this has never posed much of a problem to me in the past when picking up a new technique, it’s become a problem now. Usually, if I hear a podcast or read a blog on the topic, I can pick up a new technique in a matter of minutes. I may need a youtube or two to help me perfect my execution of it, but generally, I just learn it and quickly and easily incorporate it into whatever I’m working on at the time. Double knitting has not worked out like that. I honestly feel like I’m learning to knit all over again. I hold the yarn so awkwardly, I’m constantly trying to figure out if my yarn should be in front or in back. I can barely figure out if I’m on a knit or a purl stitch. After working on my diaper cover for over two hours, I have like 4-5 rows to show for it.
Part of my problem.. Did I knit a little practice swatch to teach me the basics before casting on a whole project? Of course not! Why would I do a sensible thing like that? Oh no, I decided to jump right in on my next cover with a new cast on, double-knit ribbing, and of course double-knit stockinette. What can I say? I love a challenge. I actually have figured out a bit of a rhythm, and while I’m unconvinced about the success of the project, I am learning a new technique which is never a waste of time.
In all my clumsy fiddling with the ribbed section of this cover, I must say I loved learning the cast-on. Turns out it’s actually not that hard if you’re already a fan of the long-tail cast-on, which I am. It also has one big advantage, you don’t just have to use it for double knitting. When you’re double knitting, you’re constructing two separate pieces of stockinette knitted fabric simultaneously Usually they are connected, but don’t have to be. Some knitters actually work two socks or sleeves at the same time with this technique. Cool? Yes! Awkward to work when first learning? Very! But since usually those two pieces of fabric have the wrong side of both facing “in”, so that you have a piece of double sided stockinette, you are essentially working a 1×1 ribbed pattern, working all the purls with one yarn and all the knits with another. All that means that while yes, you could just use your normal long-tail cast on, it really isn’t very elegant and doesn’t integrate with the fabric well. A ribbed two color cast on of some kind is required. Enter that tutorial on Twist Collective I linked to the other day. When I watched the little video, I had a eureka moment. Why hadn’t I figured this out before? It’s so simple! I’d heard rumors that the long-tail cast on is reversible, but I never figured it out, I probably just wasn’t trying, and was a little to lazy to care. With this cast on, you take your two strands, make a slip knot as usual and place it on the needle. Then you use the two strands as if one was your working yarn and one was the long tail. Brilliant! I’ve used this cast-on before for stranded knitting and it looks great. But this little cast on went the extra mile and incorporated the reversed long-tail cast on for the purl stitches. Something I really wish I had picked up a long time ago.
This is all very cool, but let’s just say that the awkwardness just makes it not much of a relaxing project right now. So what about the project for me?
Well, as you may recall from a month ago. I’m working on this cute little black cardi for the fall. It’s actually going really well, except for my indecisiveness. There are a couple design elements that I just keep second guessing, so I hate keep working on it when there is a possibility that I’m just going to have to rip things out again. There’s this waist band that I can’t decide if I should keep or not. I think I’ve finally decided that the answer is “no”. It looks pretty cool, but if there’s anything I can’t stand it’s an overworked knitwear design. (Ascending soap box now). We know the story… you go to the store and see all these cute sweaters, they’re super simple from a knitting technique perspective, but oh, so fashionable, and you go “wow, I could totally make that and it would look 10 times cuter”, and you’d be right. So you go home, sketch out a simple raglan sweater, or whatever it was, do a bit of math and before you know it, you’re really close to reproducing that cute sweater. But then you go… “hmm, I’d love to add a lace motif”, or “it could really use some cables” and before you know it, your design is way overworked. If you do happen to finish it, the final product is a fine tribute to your knitting skills and a bit of a detractor to your fashion sense. Knitters (me included) have this irritating habit of putting their knitting before their fashion. And that my friends, should not be. It really takes away from our skill if the final product is beautiful only to the eye of it’s creator, and seen by others as at best eccentric, and at worst downright ugly. (Ok, soapbox rant over). So all that to say, I really felt like the waist band was going up the overworked knitwear path a bit too much. I did a quick mental survey of the cute layering cardigans I’ve owned or admired, and none of them had the contemplated waistband, so that makes it a no go. So now that that’s decided I think I have some knitting to rip out.
Break out the sweet tea.
So I guess I sorta left the topic hanging yesterday. I gave all these criteria for my favorite yarns, now lets discuss what those favorites are!
Classic Elite Liberty Wool – $7.50/50g – 100% Superwash Merino Wool – Worsted
Ever since I first used this yarn about a year and a half ago this has been my favorite yarn to work with for any project requiring a smooth worsted wool. It has phenomenal stitch definition, is wonderfully soft, and has great memory. It was originally released in a pretty broad spectrum of colors, but it wasn’t until this year that they added some beautiful neutrals, thus solidifying it as my top favorite yarn.
Knit Picks Swish – $4.69/50g – 100% Superwash Wool – Worsted
Swish comes in at a close second. It has all the same features as Liberty Wool, but doesn’t seem to have quite the same quality. Which, as you can see, is reflected in the price. However, since it is cheaper, I do frequently consider it if I’m working with a smaller budget than usual.
Knit Picks Stroll – $4.69/50g – 25% Nylon, 75% Superwash Wool – Fingering
I haven’t found even a close competitor for this yarn. While there are other yarns that give stroll a run for its money either in the quality or luxurious feel of the yarn, none of them come close to the price. Every other sock yarn I’ve been tempted by is at least twice the price, and I really have a hard time spending $25 for a pair of socks on a regular basis. It does seem like there’s room in the market for a medium priced sock yarn. Knit picks will set you back around $10/100g, while every other brand costs $20-$25. I’d love to find some reasonably high quality sock yarn for around $15. If you know of any I missed, please let me know!
Knit Picks Gloss – $5.99/50g – 70% Wool, 30% Silk – Fingering
I love, love this yarn with no complaints. well, maybe one. It really should be made available in the stroll tonal colorways.
Knit Picks Wool of the Andes – $2.69/50g – 100% Peruvian Wool – Worsted
My favorite for any felting project. I haven’t tried Cascade 220 yet, so I can’t offer a good comparison. Anyone want to jump in on this one?
Berroco Lustra – $12/100g – 50% Wool, 50% Tencel – Single Ply – Worsted
This one is a bit different, but a lot of fun to work with. It has great stitch definition and the Tencel gives it a wonderful sheen.
Spud and Chloe Sweater – $15/100g – 50% Cotton, 50% Wool – Worsted
I like this one for baby knits that are intended to be a bit more heirloom quality. it’s incredibly soft, spun to be a bit hardwearing, and is thoroughly washable.
Berroco Remix – $10/100g – 30% Nylon, 27% Cotton, 24% Acrylic, 10% Silk, 9% Linen – Worsted
I was really surprised that I liked this one as much as I did. But I’ve now used it in three projects, and I always love the result!
I got a comment yesterday, but I’d love some other folks to jump in too. What are you favorite yarns? Why?
Ever since I’ve gotten into knitting , I’ve wanted a perfect, basic, black cardigan. When I first started working with Liberty Wool by Classic Elite last year, I knew I had to make myself a cardi out of it. A couple months ago, I started this…
The picture makes the black a tad washed out, but the yarn is a beautiful jet black with incredible stitch definition.
I put it down for a while to work on a couple other projects, but then just picked it up again. I’ve wanted this sweater for a couple years and with babies coming in March or April, it’s probably the last big thing I’ll knit for me in a while.
I’m loving the stitch pattern, it’s a slip stitch pattern that resembles a cable, but has a much more squishy texture than most cable patterns.
I am having a bit of difficulty in designing the sleeve caps. I feel like a set-in sleeve is the most flattering sleeve design on women’s garments, especially if you like a more tailored look, like I do. But in my opinion, it happens to be the most finicky to calculate compared with raglan and yoke shaping, especially since these can be done top down and seamlessly. Yes, I know there are ways to do a set in sleeve top down and seamlessly, but from the last two sweaters I’ve used those methods on, I’ve found you can’t really get the exact same effect as when it’s done in pieces. As I get more experience, I may change my mind. But this sweater definitely required the structure and precision that you get when working in pieces. I spent most of the weekend wrestling with math and trying to get my sleeve caps to make sense, but that math I normally use to design a sleeve cap just wasn’t working for me. I finally figured out the problem. Gauge. Isn’t that always the way? This time it wasn’t really an error, so much as realizing once again why gauge matters. This ribbed “cable” stitch had completely different stitch to row proportions than normal stockinette, making the math I normally use completely useless. I could have messed around and figured something else out, but I decided to call in an expert.
Shirley Paden’s Knitwear Design Workshop.
The cheapskate in me rarely, rarely buys knitting books. If it isn’t yarn or needles, or maybe a pattern, I feel like I’m being extravagant, because I’m not directly contributing to a final project. Which is just a silly perspective. But I actually did it, I put in an order to amazon right then. I hope to get it sometime this week. I’m really excited about getting a bit more educated on the ins and outs of how to design a garments structure from scratch. I’ve learned a lot from experience, blogs and podcasts, and patterns. But it’s just been a little here and a little there. I feel like this will be a much more comprehensive approach that will add quite a bit of polish to my designs.
Well, I’ll give a more complete review when I’ve actually gotten a chance to dig into the book a bit more.
In the mean time it’s back to knitting, I haven’t even started the sleeves yet!
I sat down the other day to knit, and instead of working on a serious project I messed around a bit.
Isn’t it cute? I used some leftover Liberty Wool by Classic Elite Yarns, my current favorite yarn. It’s so amazingly soft and squishy! I’m trying to figure out a way to use this little knitted embellishment in a larger project… ideas?