Tag Archives: cotton

Peeking into the stash

It occurred to me tonight that if I’m excited by the new yarns I acquire and stash, perhaps other people might be thrilled by them as well, non? My best friend have a game that we occasionally play where we call each other and invite the other to take a tour of our newly stashed yarns on Ravelry. Tonight I thought I’d let all of you take a peek with me as well. So here we go, diving into the stash!

First up is a yarn that I am absolutely in love with. I’m a big fan of cotton blends – give me wool and cotton or silk and cotton and I’m as joyful as a pig in mud. But even cotton can get a little boring sometimes. Enter Farmhouse Yarns Silk Spun Cotton, to mix things up a bit for me.

Farmhouse Yarns Silk Spun Cotton in Rose Heather

This yarn is divine. It’s a worsted weight blend composed of 60 percent cotton, 32 percent lambswool and 8 percent silk. So that’s cotton with all of my favorite blends! It’s silky and creamy and wooly all at the same time, making for a totally squishable yarn. Plus, the way the yarn blends up creates these awesome little tweedy flecks of color in the fiber. From a distance, the Rose Heather colorway I own almost looks like its reflecting the light from the sun, because little bits of yellow poke out from it and give the pale pink color a warmth and depth it wouldn’t otherwise have.

Farmhouse Yarns Spilk Spun Cotton in Rose Heather

I fell in love with this skein so hard that I immediately searched through the destashes on Ravelry and nabbed myself a second skein. I’m really pleased with the yardage on this yarn, too. With just two skeins I have 400 yards to work with, which is sort of exciting. I think that a spring short-sleeved top made out of this would be perfect.

The second yarn I’m sharing with you tonight is brand spanking new, as it just arrived this week in the mail. It hails all the way from New Zealand, and it’s a from a little company called Skeinz. Skeinz is actually the in-house brand for a woolen mill in New Zealand called Design Spun, which is one of the three major mills in the country, and spins up a whole bunch of popular yarns. Their mill store is Skeinz, and they have slowly been expanding their wares and their branding. These little beauties are the product of that expansion.

Skeinz Perendale Premium Blend DK in Smokey Teal

This yarn is 100 percent Perendale wool in a really fabulous colorway called Smokey Teal. The color is slightly brighter than a petrol blue, and the fiber is simply fantastic. I’d never heard of Perendale wool, which is what first intrigued me about the yarn, so I immediately looked it up. According to the American Sheep Industry Association

The Perendale originated in New Zealand from crossing the Border Cheviot with the Romney breed. They are an open-faced, medium-framed breed that produces bright, lofty, long-stapled, medium-wool fleeces. Developed as an easy-care sheep, they are both hardy and highly adapted to marginal forage-producing areas.

I’m excited about the idea of the long staple, which is similar to Blue-Faced Leicester wool. A long staple means that whatever I make out of this wool will pill less, thereby lasting longer. It’s both sturdy and soft with a great body, and the best part is that this yarn is really affordable. Not only is the US dollar stronger than the NZ dollar right now, but the shipping to the US for a sweater’s quantity of yarn is only like $8, which is sometimes what you pay for Priority shipping within the US.

Now you can imagine what happened with this yarn. As soon as my three skeins arrived I squished them and said out loud, “I must have more.” I contacted the woman I’d swapped with to get these, and begged her to give me everything she had. It was a little bit like a druggie saying, “Hit me up, man!” A sweater’s worth of yarn in Smokey Teal may just be in the mail to me next week.

Skeinz Perendale Premium Blend in Smokey Teal

My third skein is actually something of a surprise to me, at least with the “loving it” factor. Now, everyone knows I’m a huge fan of Manos del Uruguay yarns, and if you give me a minute I’ll talk your ear off about them for ten. I know plenty of people that are Malabrigo Junkies, but I’ve never fallen into that category. It may have something to do with the fact that my Malabrigo socks got holes in them immediately. But that’s another story. I think that Malabrigo’s new Twist base is worming its way into my heart – literally! Just look at this wormy, squishy skein:

Malabrigo Twist in Liquid Ambar

I got this yarn at Eat.Sleep.Knit. this week, a sort of extra thing I tossed in my buggy at the last minute to use up my gift certificate there. I fully expected that I would wax poetic to you about the Sanguine Gryphon Bugga that I had purchased in that order. But while my new Bugga is gorgeous and lovely and I’m thrilled that ESK is now selling it, somehow this new yarn just has me all twisted up.

Malabrigo Twist is a rich, warm and squishy aran weight baby merino wool yarn that has 8 plies for added strength. It comes in a bajillion gorgeous colorways, and I find 150 yards an acceptable yardage for this gorgeous handpainted effect. As is typical with things I fall in love with, I’ve just gone back to the Eat.Sleep.Knit. website and moaned a little over the 2 skeins that are left. I’ll resist, though. For now.

Ok, that ends our grand tour of my stash for this month. Thanks for taking that little stroll with me through my newest stash acquisitions!

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Mask is done!

I reknit the mask and it’s gorgeous. It took a bit more yarn than the last one (26 yards), but every design flaw has been mended. I immediately laid it on the table that I use for photographing my yarns and moved everything else away from it so that it didn’t get rumpled. I finally got a chance to photograph it and edit the images yesterday, and I think everything came out pretty well. It was kinda dark outside (ok, raining and miserable), so I decided to go for a moody, spa-like look. I nabbed a crappy candle that I’d never used from one shelf and a shell that was filled with stylish toothpicks from another and shoved them together. Then I prayed that I didn’t set the curtain on fire, since I create my “lightbox” effect by wrapping the white sheers around the table. Oy! Everything went well. I found a wee little mistake in my seed stitch border on the mask (oops!) but it’s tiny and hopefully no will notice or care. Oh, and I used the pink ribbon for color and to mimic the effect of ties (if you are into that sort of thing, which I am not). Here’s some photo p0rn for you:

Oh! And I’ve been working on getting submitted as a pattern designer on Ravelry! It’s harder than it looks, so I’m actually glad I started before my official “release” date, which I randomly decided would be Oct. 1. I got OK’d today, so here’s a link to the page, even though the pattern isn’t up yet. People are already favoriting it!

More ruching fun

Yey! I am shocked at how fast my masks knit up! It was much harder to actually come up with the design than it was to actually knit them. I did two – one which I am calling my “prototype” and my second one which was perfect.  It  took me a couple hours to knit them, and I was watching TV and taking notes while I did it, so I think it went pretty well. The hardest part was making sure I got the ruching to look correct – I had to knit and then tink and then scratch out my notes and then reknit and then frog and then recount and reknit multiple times.

I made a seed stitch border, and had to do that a couple different times to make sure I was hiding the cast-on edge and the bind-off as well. I feel like I am teaching myself a lot as I knit this. The first one was a  little too large for my head and doesn’t really have great “lift.” I used size US 8s, as your average worsted weight yarn calls for, and after examining it, decided the mask would work much better on smaller needles. I cast on 13 stitches and only used 27 grams yarn, or 24 yards.

For the second prototype I cast on 17 stitches using size US 6 needles, and I could tell right from the beginning that it was working much better. The seed stitch pattern was more even (I had to make sure everything was symmetrical) and instead of a seed stitch band across the nose bridge, which lets in too much light, I just continued the stockinette stitch pattern. Tomorrow I’m going to make a third mask for photographing purposes because this poor mask is so beat up from my ripping back multiple times to get the pattern written correctly.

The ruching, the ruching…

…what what the ruching.

So I’ve gotten this idea in my head to make a sleep mask. I really dislike all of the sleep mask patterns that are free on Ravelry, for various reasons. Some are wonky-looking, others are padded, and still more are just plain ugly. The problem is that I’m very picky about my eye masks. My uncle bought me an eye mask for Christmas one year when I was in college. It was made of silk and stuffed with lavender, a scent which I absolutely detest, and always lay really heavily on my eyes. Sometimes I actually had trouble falling to sleep because it pressed down on my eyes so much. Luckily, I eventually lost it, and no longer had to suffer with the damn thing anymore.

But a couple nights recently the neighbors have left the lights on, making my bedroom fill will light and giving me a frustrating night’s sleep. So I started contemplating a lightweight mask that wouldn’t lay flat against my eyes. It needed to be gathered, to give it a little lift, and made out of something super-soft, like Blue Sky Alpacas Cotton.

I found a cool, little-used design element – ruching – and then scavenged through patterns on Ravelry for how to do it. I think I know now, but there aren’t really any properly designed free patterns that use this technique, so I’m kind of winging it based on my knowledge of increasing and decreasing and from looking at photos. I’m going to use this very nice cotton/rayon/acrylic blend yarn that I got from my friend Crystal (bradymom29), and I’m hopeful this will work!