Posts Tagged ‘Blue Sky Alpacas’
Happy Knit Year, everyone! Hope you had a lovely one. Jon and I have a tradition of cooking ourselves a fancy dinner at home and watching the ball drop. I like doing that so much! It feels like a real treat and we don’t have to feel like we’re being lame since we’re staying in. (I love staying in. If you’ve seen me in the past 6 months, you are very lucky.)
Anyway, Pantone announced the color of the year last month. It’s always exciting for me because I’m a nerd for color. I wasn’t very excited about last year‘s color since I don’t really like bright purples. But this year’s color, Marsala, I just love. It’s like the color of my favorite lipstick, a really deep red-brown that’s a little vintage and very easy to wear.
Let me tell you, it was not easy finding yarns that matched this year’s color! I’m not sure if it’s because dyers aren’t into an earthy color like this or that this is a very unique shade of red. Anyway, let me share what I found!
1. Madeline Tosh Pure Silk Lace in Byzantine
2. Sweet Georgia BFL Sock in Terra Firma
3. Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky in Claret
4. Lion Brand Superwash Merino Cashmere in Wine
5. Purl Soho Worsted Twist in Mixed Berry
Will you be wearing Marsala this year? What’s your favorite earth-toned yarn?
Tags: 2015, Blue Sky Alpacas, bulky yarn, color of the year, lace yarn, lion brand, madeline tosh, marsala, new year, Pantone, purl soho, red, red yarn, sock yarn, superwash merino cashmere, Sweet Georgia, worsted yarn
So I’m usually not so bad at getting photos of a FO. Most sweaters I finish and I immediately want to get them photographed. (Can I tell you a secret? I plan photo shoots long before my knits are finished! My neighborhood has so many spots that I can’t wait to use for backdrops.) This time I totally slacked off so I’ve had the Poolside test knit finished for a couple of months. I even wore it for my appearance on Nora Meets the Maker. But there are real legitimate photos now.
I’m actually glad that I waited to post photos. Since I’ve worn this garment a number of times since completing it, I’ve been able to get a feel for what I like and dislike. Especially since I was trying out something new by knitting with cotton. I now have a full report!
First off, this pattern is gorgeous. The lace is so beautiful. I still love looking at it and I get lots of compliments. Isabell Kraemer’s pattern was a breeze to knit up. It was great travel knitting even though a few times I lost track of my lace and messed up a some spots while I was trying to keep myself from having a panic attack on the plane but I can’t even tell where that happened anymore. I’d love to make another one in a different fiber just to see how it turns out.
I’m also really psyched about this color. It’s kind of purple but not really purple but also kind of grey. Not a color I’d normally choose for myself (really the only color I wear is blue and I’m trying to change that). I’m proud that I switched it up a lot with this project.
Now, to get onto the stuff that I’m not crazy about.
The cotton was a great challenge for me but I’m still not really sold. Sorry, cotton, I just don’t think that plant fibers are really my thing. (That being said, the Blue Sky Alpacas is probably the nicest cotton yarn I’ve felt.) I love that this garment is summery but it’s still heavy and feels like it’s slowly stretching out the more that I wear it. Also, the stitches are still super pronounced and I should definitely have followed the rules and joined new skeins at the beginnings of rows instead of right in the middle of the chest. I learned my lesson there.
I also thought that I was being smart and knit the sleeve edges in reverse stockinette stitch in the round (purling every row) instead of doing faux garter stitch in the round (alternating between knit and purl stitches) as the pattern called for. That was stupid. The reverse stockinette doesn’t look neat and flat like the bottom of the sweater, it is all rolled and bothers the crap out of me. You can really see it in the photo below. I could’ve gone back and ripped it out but I didn’t and probably never will because I tend to never look back. Call me lazy or stubborn, I will pretend it’s some kind of life philosophy.
All in all, I’m super happy with the garment as a comfy, loose spring piece. It’s feminine and cute but it lends itself to my anti-fussy, easy-to-wear wardrobe perfectly. Some of the fitting issues that I have with it, I think, are really in my head. Seeing photos of the garment, it looks nice and not baggy or stretched out. Does that ever happen to you?
So, what’s your verdict? Will you ever love knitting with cotton? What fiber would you use for this sweater?
I will admit that blocking has only recently become my favorite thing ever. I used to really hate it. I’ve mentioned that once or twice before. But it’s the best. THE BEST. When I finished knitting up the Poolside top, I was really excited to block it. The lace definitely needed a little relaxing and I was hoping that the stitches would lay a little bit neater.
Here’s the thing. I’m still not the biggest fan of cotton yarn. It was fun to try out a top in this fiber and the Blue Sky Alpacas really does cotton justice. It made me re-think the way that I feel about cotton. That being said, the stitches are VERY defined. It’s a nice, crisp look but it also highlights wonky parts were weaved in and where new skeins were joined. And basically if my tension varied at all, you could tell. So this guy needed a blocking.
Here’s a before shot. Don’t mind the dramatic shadows…
It’s all pinned down but you can kind of see what I mean about the stitches being defined in the left sleeve. It’s not really meshing and smooshing together the way that wool does, the stitches just kind of sit next to each other telling all of the other stitches to bugger off.
Anyway, when I went to block this, I wanted to make sure I was doing everything properly. I think I’ve only made dishtowels out of cotton yarn and those really don’t need to be blocked. That just sounds silly. Anyway anyway, I turned to this helpful guide from Knitty. Remember, kids: Different fibers need to be treated differently! You can’t just dunk everything into a basin of warm water and Soak.
Cotton needs to be steamed. This is how I did it since my iron is a piece of crap and I don’t have a steamer.
I took an old pillowcase and soaked it in the sink. I wrung it out a little and placed it over my sweater which was laid out on a blocking mat. (I pinned it down since I wanted the lace to stretch out a bit. Whether you pin your blocking is up to you and the way you want the fabric of your sweater to turn out. Think about that!) Then I ironed it out and removed the pillowcase.
Another pro tip: Ask someone else to take a photo of you ironing. It’s really hard and probably dangerous to photograph and iron simultaneously.
Ta da! That’s it! There’s what it looked like immediately after ironing. I tried it on after it dried for 24 hours. Cotton is tough. It doesn’t want to stretch out the way other natural fibers might but the neckline did kind of lose its shape. The lace, though, looks really beautiful in this color and fiber.
I’m really pleased with how it turned out and it’s always fun to try some new blocking techniques! More photos of the FO coming soon!
Have you ever blocked cotton yarn? Any tips?
When I saw Isabell Kraemer’s Poolside top, I was bummed that the pattern hadn’t been released. It was one of those pieces that I instantly wanted to make. So I told her so and Isabell asked me if I’d like to test knit it. I love sneak peeks and previews so I was really excited to get in on the action ahead of time.
I wasn’t going to post a WIP for this project but since the pattern’s been released, I wanted to take some quick photos to show off how beautiful it is. As you probably saw before, I’m using the Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Dyed Cotton. I’m loving it. I got a lot of work done on it on my trip to Chicago. A few hours of plane knitting put a good dent in the project.
The lace part of the body was so much fun to work on. I was worried about how it would hold up using the cotton yarn but I’m so pleased with how it turned out. I’m sure blocking will really make it smooth. I’m almost finished with the sleeves so I will have more updates for you soon!
What are your thoughts on cotton lace?
ps. Just a few days left to enter the Craftsy giveaway!
Friday, I had a box of yarn waiting for me when I got home. It feels like Christmas when yarn is delivered, even if I know what’s in the package. I just can’t wait to rip it open and wind it up and then hide it from my boyfriend before he yells, “More yarn!?” as if he thinks I have “enough yarn.”
I can’t tell you much about what I’m making with it (I’m test knitting a pattern that I’m really enjoying so far) but I can tell you about the yarn!
I’ve got a bunch of Blue Sky Alpaca Skinny Dyed Cotton. (Isn’t my yarn bowl pretty!? It was a gift from Jon’s brother and his fiancee. I’d never wanted one before but I’m a fan now!) I really love the color of this yarn. It actually looks like a building that I always look at out our living room window, kind of grey but a little purple too.
This year I’m all about mixing it up. I’m trying to work with new fibers and brands. I never knit with cotton. The test knit I’m making is more of a spring-time pattern (think 3/4 sleeve) so I decided that using this 100% organic cotton might suit it well. I honestly have never really liked cotton yarns, though I have to admit I haven’t worked with them that often. I love Blue Sky Alpacas, though. Their yarns always seem to take things to the next level. Like their Techno yarn which is thick and bulky but somehow also light and fluffy! I hoped that I’d find a similar surprise from this yarn.
And I have to say that I’m enjoying working with the skinny dyed cotton. I’m not a cotton convert yet but I like that it’s lightweight with a nice drape like some bamboo yarns I’ve worked with. It seems to hold its shape without being stiff like other cottons I’ve used before. The only thing I’ve had trouble with (which is not exclusive to this yarn, just the nature of cotton) is how fibrous it feels. It makes it a little tough to work with and sometimes I’m catching some of the ply of the yarn with some stitches. Okay, the other thing that makes it not my favorite is that it’s not soft the way that alpaca or silk or merino is. It’s different.
I can’t wait to work with this yarn more. The pattern is going to get much more exciting. And I can’t wait to reveal it to you!
Do you like cotton yarns? What’s your favorite fiber?