Adventures in Double-Knitting – Vernetzt

Another Shawl-in-a-Ball project – this time, I’m moving away from the brioche style knitting and taking another run at double-knitting.  I’ve only knit a few double-knit projects, so am not very experienced (and that’s why it’s classified as “new techniques”).  This scarf looks like a fun way to use the Restful Rainbow color.  The long color repeats will set off the pattern nicely.

The project is Vernetzt, or “Networked,” available as a free download on Musterbunker (Pattern Bunker), a German knitting blog.  The author has several very nicely-rendered double-knitting projects.  Patterns in both German and English.

It took me a bit to refresh my memory on double-knitting.  If you have never tried this technique, I recommend you use simpler and more clearly-stated patterns to get started.  This pattern is not at all difficult, once you get the hang of it – just requires some experience with double-knitting, and the written directions assume a certain level of experience (casting on, knit-purl rhythm of double-knitting, etc.)

Modifications – rather than 4 repeats of the base pattern, I used 3 – the scarf as modeled is wider than I prefer.  I used my go-to black yarn Knit Picks Stroll Sock Yarn for the black contrast.

As usual for new styles of projects, I knit-and-ripped and knit-and-ripped until I was satisfied with the direction the project was going.  The machine-wound yarn ball and band did not survive that treatment, so I re-rolled the yarn into a ball.   You can’t see the colors except for the color you are knitting.  Fun for those who like surprises.

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Green the Whole Year ‘Round

This yarn was pulled from my stash – one of the “on vacation” purchases.   I think I purchased it when in Palm Springs several years ago – we took an outing to a nearby historic (and touristy) district and found “The Wool Lady” store tucked in a corner.  I picked up a few hand-spun and hand-dyed hanks and never found the right project – until now.

The yarn is Teeswater/Wensleydale by Feathergrass Fiber.  Unfortunately, I could not find information about either the store or the fiber producer, so either may or may not still be in business.

The pattern is Green the Whole Year ‘Round by Anna Yamamoto, available as a free Ravelry download.  The yarn I used was a bit fuzzy, so tthe pattern in my finished project is not as distinct as the author’s pattern suggests, but I think it turned out nicely.

The pattern was fun but challenging – the author rates it as “advanced”  The pattern is both charted and written out, and the author provides clear directions, but one needs to be very comfortable with some of the more advanced stitches and the pattern requires attention.

Changes:  I did not include the “nubs” – I don’t particularly like that feature in most patterns, and I don’t miss it in the finished product.  The pattern also calls for short rows for shaping – I used my favorite German Short Row technique, instead.

Also note:  I think the term is “severe blocking” and is required to make sure that the shawl is shaped properly.

 

I was concerned about the yardage, but I had plenty, and wish I would have carried the pattern on for a bit more length.  But, that sometimes happens with hand-made and dyed yarn, and having yarn leftover is better than not having enough.

Note in the pictures that the yarn has more pink tones at the bottom (right side in the picture) of the shawl, and more evenly purple at the top – that is the difference in the two skeins used to make the shawl, and a cautionary tale in purchasing yarn by unknown fiber artists – even though clearly the same dye lot, purchase at the same time, and looked the same on the hanks, the dye process on the two hanks resulted in a clearly different product for each hank.  Fortunately, the shawl pattern lent itself to this and the color change looks like it an intended feature.  Had this been a sweater or some other more fitted project, it would have been a noticeable flaw in the construction.

 

Toronto Yarn Stores – Romni Wools

Continuing my exploration of local yarn stores while on vacation in Toronto, on our last day we stopped at Romni Wools.

While Yarns Untangled (also in Toronto) was a terrific example of a local yarn store, Romni Wools is on the other end of the spectrum – an enormous yarn store with a selection that could keep you occupied for days!  Its website confirms, “Romni is your one-stop shop for almost all natural fibre arts.”

Two stories of floor-to-ceiling fiber (or “fibre” as they spell it in Canada).  I don’t know how they keep track of inventory – that’s probably a job, all on its own.

They also had the largest collection of books and magazines that I have ever seen in one place.   You could spend days just perusing the magazines.

The basement is full of “sale and discontinued” items – including a lot of large-spool yarn, which might be leftovers from factory production lines.  Did not look like commercial yarn, and was not labeled like commercial yarn typically is.

It is a tourist destination, all on its own.  I only purchased a few items, but if I lived in Toronto, this would be a frequent stop.

 

Toronto Yarn stores – Yarns Untangled

Spouse and I took a much-needed week and visited Toronto.  It’s an amazing city – 4th largest in North America (from the airplane it seemed enormous)!  The people are friendly and even the graffiti is artistic (probably by design – but even public wall art that did not look sanctioned was artistic and not vulgar).  Lots to do, lots to see, lots of great food.

Where ever I travel, I try to find a “Local Yarn Store” to visit, and I try to purchase locally-made yarn.   I found two – Yarns Untangled in the hip Kensington District on Nassau Street and Romni Wools on Queen Street W.  I also found a 3-story Michaels’ store, which was an adventure by itself, and had an enormous selection of yarn, but since that’s not a LYS, it doesn’t count.

Image result for toronto kensington district yarn untangled

Yarns Untangled is a small local craft boutique, with a lovely (if small) selection of yarn.   What was interesting about the yarn selection, is that you could find boutique yarn of the same dye lot in varying weights – a neat concept.  The staff was extremely friendly, and there were four people sitting around a small table knitting and chatting when I visited.  If you get the chance to visit Toronto, be sure you stop by – it’s worth the visit, and if you have a less-interested spouse, there is a terrific cantina next door, with a nice selection of beer.

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Who Invented Knitting

As it happens, the history of knitting is somewhat obscure – artifacts have been discovered as far back as 1000 AD, but because of the fragile nature of textiles, it’s likely that the craft is older than that.  Interesting speculation suggests that it evolved from the Middle East, where language is read from right to left, because knitting is from right to left.

Learn more about the history of knitting at this interesting article on AllFreeKnitting.com2017-08-10 07.01.29 (1280x720).jpg:

 

Everything old is new again

Or, “This Old Sock.”

There were these socks.  I knit them up for the boy-child, who never liked them and never wore them. After he moved out (he is a grown-up, now, and living on his own, but stops by from time to time), I found them in his room and confiscated them for my use.

Well, I decided that I didn’t really like them, either, and I was annoyed by the yarn pooling on the foot of the socks.  However, I couldn’t bring myself to throw out perfectly good (if ugly) socks, so I thought…. could I re-knit them?

So, here we have “Nutkin” sock, by Beth LaPensee, free on Ravelry.  I’ve had this pattern for a long time – it was first published in 2007.  Never made it, though.  Not sure why, but I think the turned cuff at the top had something to do with it.

I started at the toe of the old sock (since it was a top-down sock) and knit the new as I unraveled the old.  Worked very well, and I am very pleased with the result of the first sock.

Now that I’m working on the second sock, I wonder if there is some “off-ness” about the yarn, which caused the pooling (from a sock-yarn perspective).  It took several false starts before I could align the yarn in the second sock so that it did not pool.

Yarn:  I have no idea.  I am fairly sure that I knit this, the first time, before I had the blog, so it’s been a while ago, and I don’t have a record.  It’s good, solid sock yarn, so probably one of the common commercial brands.  It was washed several times before abandoned and then reclaimed.

Note on the “new” (top of picture) sock – although the colors you see in the heel and toe are throughout the yarn, because of the shorter rows, it is only distinct in the heel and toe – almost looks like one used a different yarn for contrast.

Shout out to Beth LaPensee for a good pattern – it’s easy to follow and memorize, and looks nice.  I changed her short-row heel for a German Short Row heel (check out the video by Knit Purl Hunter), which I discovered a while ago, and like because it is a lot easier than traditional short rows, and looks nicer.

Bart & Francis – Brioche Knitting

I was certain that I had posted a “casting on” photo, or at least a WIP photo, but I may have only thought I did.

Here is another Nancy Marchant project, Bart & Francis, published in Knitting Fresh Brioche: Creating Two-Color Twists & Turns, available from Amazon.

Continuing as before, I selected a pattern that would use an entire skein of Lion Shawl in a Ball yarn, this time in color Cleansing Quartz, along with the companion Knitpicks Stroll Fingering in color Black.

Also, continuing as before, it took multiple tries to get the hang of the pattern.  I wish I could figure out what my problem is with these patterns – It’s like that “Magic Eye” picture – it makes no sense until, suddenly, it does, and then it’s a great project and lots of fun.