Posts Tagged ‘cowl’


December 3, 2013

Oh, the blogger guilt hangs heavy around my neck.  So many FOs to tell you about, and so little time to actually write about them.

I’m going to dust off the old soapbox and talk about one of my favorite techniques.  It gives maximum effect for minimum effort, and if you haven’t tried it ~ well, shame on you.  Let’s talk about colorwork.  I’ll do you one better, though: let’s talk colorwork without stranding.  Let’s talk mosaic knitting.

Sofya Cowl

Sofya Cowl

Simply explained, mosaic knitting, also called “slip-stitch knitting,” allows you to work one color at a time in each row you knit with results that look like you positively slaved. Often, depending on the colorways involved, mosaic knitting has a distinctive look that mimics stained glass.

Here you see it in the Sofya Cowl, knit in Spirit

Corrugated rib up close

Corrugated rib up close

Trail Fiberworks Verdande.*  The background color (green) is Crete; the brown is one of my perennial favorites, Kestrel. This was a really quick knit other than the 40-odd rows of corrugated ribbing (Knit the knits in one color; purl stitches are worked in the other color, see?)  Even with the ribbing, I was able to knit the larger size  in less than a week.

Here is the 411:

Mosaic up close in Sofya Cowl

Mosaic up close in Sofya Cowl

Pattern:  Sofya Cowl by Jennifer Dassau, size Large

Yarn:  Spirit Trail Fiberworks Verdande,* one skein each in Crete and Kestrel

Needles:  US 7 Signature Needle Arts circs because I know Verdande will grow when it meets water and I tend to knit colorwork (of every kind) a little loosely.

Mods:  None.  I had enough of both colors left to have made a 2nd one reversing the colors.  (Putting the brown in the background and the green on top.)  Maybe even enough to repeat the whole thing if I felt adventurous.

Project Marriage Score:  9  ~ I just wanted to squoosh this around my stubby neck.


Bubble Wrap Cowl on display

Bubble Wrap Cowl on display

Similarly, I used Verdande’s thinner DK sister, Birte, to make the Bubble Wrap Cowl, with Winter Solstice in the background and Sorbet in the “bubbles.”  This is another mosaic pattern where you’re working one color per row.  Period.  That’s all she wrote.

I’ve had a couple of people ask me about executing Row 5 – which is what creates the “bubbles.”  If I get a lot of requests, I’ll haul out the camera for some new snaps, but I would explain it thus:

  • Insert the tip of your right needle in the 5th loop down ~ the last one you knitted in the background color you are now working (the blue, in this case)
  • Using your fingers, unpick the four “bubble” loops, leaving them laying across your right needle, behind the loop you are holding.
  • Now insert your right needle the rest of the way through the stitch and knit with the background color, catching the loose strands behind the new stitch you made.
Bubbles of sorbet

Bubbles of sorbet

Sanity check: these dropped stitches always occur over the middle stitch of the bubble in the sequence below.  If you’re not aligned there, something’s gone awry.

Pattern:  Bubble Wrap Cowl by madelinetosh

Yarn: Spirit Trail Fiberworks Birte,* 2 skeins Sorbet (bubble color), 1 sk Winter Solstice

Needles:  US 6 Signature circs for this booth sample.  I am making one for myself now, and I’ve gone down one needle to a US 5 very comfortably.  It is making the bubbles “pop” more.

Pattern marriage score:  9.5. This is both drapey and smooshy in Birte.  In my own iteration, I’ve removed a few pattern repeats to make it a single loop about 37 inches around that I will work a full 12 or more inches deep.  The original finished size (44 inches) sort of fell between the easy-around twice /or not size for my liking.

There’s more blocking to do, more cowls, more shawls ~ oh, and the holidays and Owl Manor and … you get the general idea.  But do yourself a favor and pick up a mosaic knitting pattern and give it a test-drive.  You’ll be pleased that you did; I won’t tell a soul it isn’t stranded.

* If you’re reading this before Dec. 18, check the home page for a 25% discount on these yarns at Spirit Trail Fiberworks, and tell Jennifer that Nutmeg Owl sent you!


Season’s change

September 6, 2013

I never intended for this to become a quarterly blog.  Really, I didn’t.

The thing is, the one thing that has been a constant in this still developing new life of mine is my knitting.  I just have been hard-pressed to find time to photograph and write about it amid all the other chronicling, organizing, decision-making and traveling that over-fill my days, not to mention the owl-hours.

I think about this owl box with guilt even as I post over on Owl Manor.

I won’t claim that I have made one iota of progress clearing the blocking runway.  That will have to change soon, as my Rhinebeck projects will need to jump the queue to be shipped off to Spirit Trail Fiberworks for display.  Maybe then I will take advantage of a cleared guest room to address the rest.  Maybe not.  You’ll want to bet the “under” on that one, to be sure.

But I will offer some proof of knitting, and my own fallibility.  Here is a half-completed Arbutus in Spirit Trail Birte, having just come off

Arbutus - let 'er riiiiipppp

Arbutus – let ‘er riiiiipppp

the needles in the car, about to be frogged.  The colorway is Autumn Aurora, lovely deep blue violets.  Arbutus is a terrific pattern for a single skein of Birte, and it has a really nifty design for those of us who lack swanlike necks.  Through the magic of short rows, the cowl is divided into three joined rings of graduated size.  This allows for the back to not get too bulky on the neck, and the front to drape nicely.

So why the frogging?  It was just too dense for my liking.  Generally speaking, gauge doesn’t matter a lot with cowls ~ as long as you can get them over your head, that is.  Birte is a little lighter than the original yarn the pattern was written for, and I was playing around with needle size.  In doing so, it was clear that while the US 6 produced a nice springy fabric, it wasn’t the one I was trying to achieve.

When in doubt, rip it out.  No harm, no foul.  We’ll try again on my Signature circs in US 7, which I tend to knit a little looser with than the Addi lace-tips I had handy the first time around.

Because it has been so very long, I owe you all a look at my greatest, and lifelong WIP, too.  Here is Darling Girl last week, on

The Baker in all her frosting glory

The Baker in all her frosting glory

the eve of her last day in preschool, decorating every single one of the cupcakes she baked.  She grew almost three inches and two shoe sizes over the summer.  (This resulted in much unscheduled shopping since she outgrew fall clothing without ever wearing it!  Another reason for my blogging fail.)  She does love to bake, and to watch Jacques Pepin.  Go figure.  Must be Owl’s genes.  I can’t wait until we have a real kitchen to work in.

DG started kindergarten this week ~ and what a grown-up she became overnight.  I am not sure I can handle this.

All the more reason to keep the needles ~ and the camera ~ at hand.

Gauge play

March 23, 2012

One of the things I enjoy about sample knitting is the opportunity to get to know new yarns and how they like to be treated without a personal investment in the yarn or in the project.  I don’t have to love it when I’m done, or feel at all guilty about not loving it.  What makes knitting for Spirit Trail Fiberworks unique is that Jennifer rarely uses the same bases as other independent dyers.  She has her own yarns spun ~ and that means F-U-N.

Spirit Trail Fiberworks Holda, Fortune's Red

Holda is unique.  It pairs lambswool with cashmere and dehaired angora.  You wouldn’t really know that on the skein ~ it’s somewhat limp and there’s little to indicate the presence of bunny.

“Project marriage” matters tremendously

Dripstones Cowl

when you’re producing finished samples to show knitters how a new yarn performs.  I enjoy working with Jen to pick out the right patterns to show off a yarn’s qualities.

That’s what attracted me to Dripstones Cowl.  I’ve previously written about my preference for cowls to have some shape ~ to be wider at the bottom and narrower at the top ~ and how I achieve this using different needles sizes.  Here is a designer who produced a pattern incorporating this concept.  But Justyna Lorkowska took it one

Each section knitted with a smaller needle

step farther for my sample purposes: this project is knitted on four progressively smaller needle sizes, so it allows a knitter to see a yarn at four distinct densities.  It also allowed me to see how Holda liked cable gymnastics and whether it would split.

But first, there was some math involved.

Holda is labeled worsted, but my swatching tells me it is lighter ~ I would definitely call it DK.

The pattern is written for a stockinette gauge of 3.75 st/inch with an aran or worsted yarn. For the Small cowl, the cast-on is 108 stitches.  Divide 108 by 3.75 and you get a bottom cowl circumference of 28.8 inches.

Holda had a nice density at 5 st/inch.  Divide the same 108 stitch cast-on by 5 and the bottom circumference would be 21.6 inches.  Each pattern repeat at this gauge is 3.6 inches wide.  So in order to have a finished cowl at the same size as the Small, I used the Medium cast-on ~ 144 stitches.

Needle sizes:  With lighter yarn, I adjusted the needle size accordingly and used US 8, 7, 6 and 5.  I used a mix of Signature stiletto tips and Addi Lace.

Stalactites and stalagmites

Yarn performance:  Judging Holda on the skein, I was afraid it was going to split a lot, especially doing a lot of cable work without a cable needle.  I was delighted to find that it did not.  Instances of a ply not joining with its mates were few and far between, making this a most pleasant knitting experience.   Holda did soften somewhat while knitting, but not tremendously.  The more significant transformation came after its bath.

Unblocked dimensions (flat):  top – 7.75 inches; bottom – 10″; height – 11 inches

Blocking:  A soak in Eucalan relaxed the fibers slightly but really turned the plies into a cohesive fabric with a slight halo from the angora.  Even with color saturation this deep (Colorway: Fortune’s Red, a very orange-red), the water was the color of weak tea after soaking.

As is my habit, I blocked this around an inverted vase to avoid creasing.

Blocked dimensions (flat):  top – 9 inches; bottom – 12.5 inches; height – 11 inches (unchanged)

Size Small using Medium instructions

Modifications:  I knitted the entire cowl as written for the Medium instructions.  If I were making this for myself, I would have followed the directions for the Small and omitted eight rows at the bottom and top of the chart to achieve a shorter cowl for my (and my model’s) less-than-swanlike neck.

Project marriage score:  9   Even with the extra math, this pattern worked nicely for this yarn.  I will make one for myself, or something like it.

Holda’s been a bit tricky to get aHolda’ since Anne Hanson of Knitspot featured it in two recent patterns, Tabata and Fartlek.  It has generous 295-yard hanks, allowing for a full one-skein project from a single skein.  For those who appreciate angora but find fluff up the nose and in the eyes too much to bear, this yarn’s for you.

If anything, Holda looks deceptively ordinary on the skein.  If you have been able to obtain one, do yourself a favor and put it on the needles.  Once you see what Holda can do, you will likely be charmed.  A Holda cowl is a lightweight portable hug.   A pair of fingerless mitts would be a toasty treat.   Maybe that’s what’s next for me ~ after all the sample knitting’s done, of course.


March 16, 2011

If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

Kilkenny Cowl

That credo prevails in my knitting.  Thus, my recent frogging and complete re-start of the Quince & Co. Kilkenny Cowl.  I was not pleased at the Knitting Time Lost.  And having knitted what is essentially the body of a sport-weight sweater ~ twice ~ I was bored.

Chickadee in Gingerbread

When I was finished knitting, I liked it.

Now that it’s blocked ~ it is delicious.

The difference is all in the blocking.

I’m rather finicky about blocking cowls.  In order to get the shape I want without a crease, it involves working in three dimensions.  Often, inverting my trusty old tin vase works fine, but this one took a modicum of creativity.

I put a sleeping pillow into a large plastic bag, lining the inside with tall pieces of recycled cardboard.  After soaking the cowl in Eucalan, I blotted it, then put the bagged pillow/cardboard inside the cowl to hold it up.  I pinned the cowl into the plastic and cardboard where the ribbing and the knitting meet ~ not at the bind-off: I did not want the edge to develop points.  (Yes, I thought about photographing this, but it was not aesthetically pleasing and looked rather jury-rigged.)

Toasty Gingerbread

This allowed the cowl to dry quickly, suspended gently, with no creases.

The Quince & Co. Chickadee in Gingerbread blocked out wonderfully without any special pinning out ~ the lace sectioned opened nicely.  The yarn bloomed and softened a bit.  The colorway looks a little washed out in these photos ~ it is richer IRL.

For the record, although I did not stretch this in any way, the yarn did relax for a much larger circumference after pinning.

Finished dimensions:  Height: 14.5 inches   Circumference: 38 inches.  Used 3.5 skeins.

Project marriage score: 9.5

No cable needle needed

This version of the cowl includes eight chart repeats, not seven, so that I can pull it up over my head in case of need.  (Thanks for that suggestion, Luann!)  My row gauge tends to always be shorter than my stitch gauge, so the additional repeat compensates, too.  And, BTW, I knitted the whole thing without a cable needle.  About time I learned how to do that …

I am rapidly entering the WIP wilderness where it may be awhile before I have much to show you.  There’s a little personal designing going on for this month’s Babydoll Southdown wool-along.  We’ll see where that goes.  If it’s worth looking at, I’ll show you.  If it’s not, I’ll probably show you anyway.

Soldiering on

March 3, 2011

I will not cast on a new project.

I will not cast on a new project.

I will not cast on a new project.

So goes the battle with start-itis.  The reason I’ve been quiet is that I have exerted extreme discipline.

Lingering WIPs

I will finish these two WIPs before starting something new.  In all fairness, re-knitting the whole Kilkenny Cowl was not in the plan.  But since that happened because of my own inattention idiocy, I have not allowed myself any wiggle room from my resolve.

How ready am I to move on?  Enough to start counting.  When I break out math just for fun, you know I’m getting bored.

Sweet Grass Targhee Grove mitten #2

It goes this way:  Grove mittens (This time for ME!) ~ two thumbs to go (I finished the second mitten body since snapping this the other night.)

Kilkenny Cowl – now shaping up deliciously, I must add, using the appropriate needles and

Quince & Co. Chickadee in Gingerbread

gauge – 18 rounds of pattern and six of ribbing.  It is, indeed, Gingerbread (IRL color is between the 2 photos – camera was not cooperating).  It is spongy and delightful and this time, not too dense.

But geez, am I ever ready to move on!

Geodesic Cardigan - at least the start of it

The miles of stockinette in the Geodesic Cardigan by Connie Chang Chinchio have provided a necessary break from time to time.  A lot more coming on that topic (I fear this could be an epic knit …), but the gist is that any time knitting with Spirit Trail Fiberworks Sunna is good knitting time.   This colorway is Acadia, if you’re wondering.

Of course yarn and pattern for the next project are already waiting on deck for me to finish the mittens and cowl, but I refuse to allow myself to wind the yarn until these WIPs are whipped.

Are we there, yet?


January 25, 2011

What do you get when you have a Finnsheep, a French rabbit and a pattern called Holland?

I know, I know, it sounds like a joke from a bygone era.

To answer the question ~ you get this wonderful melange.  Added bonus:  you actually finish your monthly wool-along project within the specified month!

Holland Cowl - blocking

Our Knitter’s Book of Wool wool-along yarn was Finn.  Back in November, I picked up this blend of Finn and angora from Point of View Farm.  Although labeled worsted-weight, it was decidedly thick-and-thin, and really rather bulky in places.  Thus, I sought a cowl pattern that was more sculptural than defined, and that would accommodate the 103 yards in the hank.

Holland Cowl fit the bill.  Written for just 60 yards, I could play around with extra repeats and work the shaping I like, rather than making a neck tube.

Holland Cowl - modeled

Mods: Worked first 4 pattern repeats on US 9, then 1 repeat on US 10 and the final repeat on US 10.5.  Used Russian lace bind-off for stretch.

It was clear that the yarn was happier with the larger needle sizes.  Not that the 9 was bad – it will keep close to the neck at the top, and I knew the yarn would relax some with a bath. There was some VM (vegetable matter, to muggles), but it was easily removed and emblematic of how “close the the sheep” the yarn is.

The cowl-blocker

I know there are a lot of questions out there about how to block cowls to keep them from creasing.  I have found that using this old metal vase is perfect. For blocking cowls that are graduated at the bottom, I turn it upside-down (as photographed above).  For those with a defined edging that might need some pinning out, I stand it upright (as at left), stuff a couple of plastic bags around the sides to pad to suit my needs, and then pin out the bottom on the blocking board.  Voila!

I am glad that most of the breed-specific yarn I have stashed  in anticipation of upcoming wool-alongs is not blended with other fiber.  I love angora, and I really like what it did to this yarn.  But I do feel that I took away from the all-Finn experience in doing so, and hope to revisit this yarn based on my pals’ many joyous comments.  On the other hand, the soaking led to a more cohesive yarn in the final product, complete with a slight angora halo and wonderful smooshiness.  Just what’s needed in the brief wake between New England snowstorms.


January 14, 2011

Alas, the calendar page turned and all of my industrious mojo left.

After Christmas, I cleared an unbelievable amount of stuff from my house.  Six 25-gallon bins, four boxes and assorted shopping bags of clothing, some a frightening amount dating back to a different century.  (I wish I was kidding.)  Perhaps the up-side of being a “classic” dresser is that … your stuff doesn’t go out of style?  In that week, I prepared and consigned more than 120 pieces of adult clothes.  Went through scads of Darling Bebe clothes.   Other things delivered to those who need them.  I can see floor in places in the attic, and just need the plastic cabinets to go on sale to have a workable closet space up there.

Then all that energy just … evaporated.

I’m so far behind at work I can see my own backside.  Granted, this has not been helped by a disastrous furniture delivery (furniture was sent back, war with store continues), snow day (two feet), and hopelessly delayed medical appointment (physician and his plow were both stuck in his driveway, setting me back by hours).  When the email came today reminding me that the office was closing early before the three-day weekend, I had to laugh.  AS. IF.

If this was just a work problem that would be one thing.  One peek inside my house and it’s certainly not.  The place is a bona fide FEMA site.  This must change.

When I feel overwhelmed, I become utterly lousy company.  Owl as Oscar the Grouch.  No desire to do anything but sit in a chair and knit uninterrupted. (Which also has not been in the cards.)

Could this be total burn-out?

I did steal a few minutes to pick up my long-abandoned purple sweater for Darling Bebe and knock out the collar the other night.  That leaves exactly three mattress-stitch seams and 27 ends to weave in and it will be DONE.  And it will fit her.

I will get it finished this weekend.

Or else.

No playing with mittens or cowls until I do.  Period.

Tangential digression:  I have realized that my seeming inability to make the Kilkenny Cowl grow is really an optical illusion.  Knitting this cowl on US 2s is really akin to knitting a tube top for one of those skinnypuss teenage girls.  In that context, using a rather fine yarn (in both weight and quality!), no wonder it’s taking awhile.  It may end up a cowl, but it’s practically knitting an entire sweater body!

There is just one solution.

Effective immediately, I am placing myself in time-out.

No word on when the self-imposed exile will expire.


December 28, 2010

Just as March is the month of Irish Soda Bread, to me, the holidays are all about gingerbread.  None of this namby-pamby desultory seasoning ~ really spicy gingerbread.

Quince & Co. Chickadee - Gingerbread

So it is appropos that my fiber purchase to myself this month included four skeins of Quince & Co. Chickadee in ~ wait for it ~ Gingerbread.  Rarely does a colorway name so perfectly describe what it looks like.  Yes, it’s  a perfect Nutmeg Owl colorway.

But Quince & Co. yarn is about far more than colorways.  It is American wool, spun in America and masterminded by the always-ahead-of-the-curve Pam Allen of the knitterati.  By way of example, at a Knitter’s Review Retreat a few years back, she started a discussion with us about our interest in organic yarns, what would make a yarn “organic,” and even the price point we, as yarn consumers, would be willing to meet.  In hindsight, it was a fact-finding mission for what she has now brought to the market.

Kilkenny Cowl

Back to Chickadee.  Have you ever dug your fingers into a sheep’s fleece and felt all the springiness there?  That is what knitting with Chickadee feels like.  Inspired by Luann, my test-drive is the Kilkenny Cowl, a Quince pattern which is really a sampler of stitch patterns to show off what this hardy little birdie can do.  Some cables, some lace ~ it’s all here.  And Chickadee does it all.

Simply put:  Chickadee feels like nothing else I’ve ever knitted with.  Though it’s a three-ply, it feels close to the sheep.  Not from lanolin, or even fragrance, just touch.  If I had a quibble with it, it might be that Chickadee knits more like a heavy fingering than a sport-weight.  But that would be my only quibble.

Quince & Co. Puffin - Marsh

There’s also a skein of Puffin in the stash now in Marsh to make Bristol’s Cowl – another one-skein project that will make for a quick project and test-drive.   It feels lofty without bulk.

Unless you are traveling through Portland, Maine, Quince & Co.

Quince & Co. color books

yarns are only available online.  If you’re interested in them, I highly recommend investing in a color card.  Computer monitors are not to be trusted when it comes to color selection, and if color matters to you, it’s worth it.   There’s a new separate color card for Tern, the wool and tussah silk fingering-weight blend, as the silk takes color differently from straight wool.  I’ll likely have more to say about Tern in the months ahead.

In the meantime, winter is for chickadees ~ the always cheerful friends darting and swooping to my backyard feeder.

Baby, it’s cowl’d outside

December 8, 2010

I went nearly six days without knitting.


Certainly not by choice.

I am trying to get some life-mojo back, and to recover the illusion that I am in any way organized.  Working 70 hours in a week does not help this effort.

So it’s time to clear the decks with a couple of recent projects.  They have something in common, other than the obvious … both are examples of ways to incorporate shaping into accessories to achieve a better fit.

We’re talking about cowls.

Knitspot - Spiraluscious

I will be the first to tell you that there is nothing remotely swan-like about my neck.  Stubby as it is, it does get cold.  Cowls are the single best way to feel toasty warm without putting on the bulk.

You may remember this project from the first post about project marriage, Spiraluscious by Knitspot.

The yarn is Sundara Sock in my favorite colorway, Hot Chilies.

This cowl differs in construction from many others, in that it is knitted from the top down.  I used that for some shaping flexibility.

In flat view, shaping is apparent

Mods: I started at the top on US 4, at the appropriate gauge.  I wanted this not to crush down on itself into a smoosh on my squat neck.  After 2 repeats of the spiral pattern, I bumped up to a US 5.  I added no pattern repeats, but when it came time to knit on the edging, I went up again to a US 6.

Edging detail

The pattern instructs the knitter to not pin it out while blocking.  I went a different route — as evidenced in the first photo, using a vase to give it a little structure, which allowed me to open up the edging a little bit.  Ultimately, this means no breezeway where the cowl ends, which would defeat the purpose of the cowl entirely.

It being a gifting time of year, I also did a test-drive of AslanTrends Guanaco in colorway Blue Jeans on the Ridged Lace Cowl for a dear co-worker who likes to walk at lunchtime.

Ridged lace cowl

Again, I incorporated some shaping, though it’s a little hard to see in this shot. This one is knitted in the more traditional bottom-up construction.

Mods: Cast-on using US 9, through first repeat of pattern.  Changed to US 8 to purl ridge of 3rd repeat; changed to US 7 for 1.5 repeats and top edge.  I had less yarn than the pattern called for, so I knitted a total of 4.5 pattern repeats before the top edge.

I found this bulky merino-alpaca blend to be a little bit hairy ~ more than I would have liked.  It did soften up with a soak, and I know that subsequent wearing will make the finished piece softer.   (I knitted at slightly tighter gauge than I would have on a different project, knowing that the alpaca would relax with a bath.)

Project marriage

May 20, 2010

I am often asked, “How do you make yarn and pattern choices?”

It’s pretty simple.  Some projects are pattern-driven:  I want to knit the pattern, so do I have yarn that is appropriate?  On the flip side, others are yarn-driven:  I have this yarn, what should I knit with it?

When you get it right, it’s a marriage.  When you don’t, it’s more of a fling.  Or a one-nighter you’d rather forget.  One of my favorite things about knitting is do-overs.  We don’t get too many do-overs in grown-up life, so I’m especially appreciative of them in knitting.  Call it fearless frogging.

Pattern-driven projects

Just because a yarn can achieve the desired gauge does not guarantee it is right for a given project.  Gauge is a starting point, and even that can be fudged.  Is the final product supposed to be drapey?  Bouncy?  Textured or cabled?  Earthy/crunchy or smooth and sophisticated?  Season-specific?

While there is always some variability, there are some fibers that are not suitable for certain things.  For example, silk, alpaca and cotton have no natural elasticity.  Over time they will stretch.  They may not be appropriate for garments that gravity will play havoc with.  But blends involving these fibers will help compensate for this, and may result in a really pleasing garment.  Entire books have been written on this subject – and one in particular merits attention – The Knitter’s Book of Yarn. More musings from me on this another day.

Yarn-driven projects

As a yarn lover, finding just the right pattern for that special skein (or bag) is a big part of the fun, and for me, the most important part of the creative process when it comes to my knitting.  You have the yarn in hand, so what to do with it?  What does it want to be?

Sundara Sock - Hot Chilies

Here is my single skein of Sundara Sock in Hot Chilies.  I favor tonal and semi-solid colorways over true variegateds.   This one has many of my favorite hues, from russet through copper through nutmeg.  It’s a fingering weight, and definitely has “sproing.”   Having never knitted with it before, I first chose to make an Ishbel Beret by Ysolda Teague.

Ishbel Beret

Part of the reason I chose this pattern is because the strong pattern in the top section would show well even with the tonal color changes of the yarn.  IRL, there is real depth to the color that gives it almost a 3-D effect.  (Gratuitous hoot here: The beret is now featured on the Sundara Stitches blog!)

Now, what to do with the remainder – at least half of the original 370-yard skein?  Short answer:  Swatch and frog as needed.

Abstract Leaves Cowl

Here is what it looked like a good part of the way through the Abstract Leaves Cowl. (Free ravelry download)  You may recall, this was one of my, “In case of knitting emergency, break glass and knit” projects.  Granted, this photo wasn’t pinned out or anything.  That notwithstanding, what do you see?  Not much.  The yarn performs fine, but the pattern is really obscured – there’s just not enough definition.

To the frog pond it went.

Spiraluscious in progress

This is much better.  Spiraluscious from Knitspot.  It has a strong pattern that when blocked, will open up more.  This won’t be the yarn screaming out instead of the pattern.  The colors will move much in the same way that the pattern stitches move.  Yes, this works for me.

Hope something here works for you, too.

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