books · crafts · knitting · yarn

Swatch day and library day

Thank you for all the nice comments on my tuxedo top – I wore it out last night, and I am happy to report that it experienced no stretching or wrinkling (I was worried about both.) Now that the tuxedo top is finished I’ve been swatching, trying to figure out what my next sweater will be.

Yarn: Ella Rae Bamboo silk in grass green

Gauge: 5.25 st/in on US 5s

Notes: I love this yarn, and wish I’d bought more while it was on sale. It’s a very smooth soft yarn with a nice drape. I’m planning on using it for the Wallis cardigan from the new IK. It has a listed gauge of 20 st/4 in, but I think it knits up nicer a little tighter than that. I also swatched at 5.5 st/in and it was nice. Curiously, it has the same stats (yardage and fiber content) as Vickie Howell Love, but it is much cheaper. I haven’t used Love because it’s so expensive, so I can’t say if it’s really a copy, but I would consider this yarn first because of the nicer price point.

Yarn: Rowan Denim in Memphis

Gauge: 5 st and 7 rows/in on US 4 needles, prewashing

Notes: Denim is a surprisingly nice knitting experience. Of course, with a name like denim I expected it to feel like knitting with a pair of jeans, and it doesn’t exactly. It’s not soft, but it’s not unpleasant to knit either. And I just love this color to death – it’s so vibrant, and the way it’s faded in parts gives the swatch a more interesting look than a plain blue. This swatch has been shrunk, resulting in the promised row shrinkage and an ever so slight width shrinkage (the label says it doesn’t do this, but my swatch did.) I may use size 5s for the actual sweater, I will have to make another swatch! This is for Joy from Nectar.

Yarn: Rowan 4 ply cotton in Aubergine

Gauge: 7 st/in on US 1 (2.25 mm) needles

Notes: Curiously, this time last year I tried to make a 4-ply cotton sweater and utterly failed to get gauge on even the tiniest of needles. Since then I had given up on the idea, but I really want to make Jasmine! It would seem that in the past year I have learned to control the looseness of my purl rows, and now I can achieve gauge only going down 1 needle size (or is it 2? I’m not sure if this is the smaller of the US 1 needles.) At any rate, not bat at all. This yarn feels distinctly different in this dark color than the light green I used before – maybe the darker dye makes the yarn feel smoother?

Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton fine in Rue

Gauge: 6.5 st/inch in stockinette on US 2 (2.75 mm) needles

Notes: I’m swatching for the Apres surf hoodie here, but I’m not sure that I like this yarn for that purpose. It works ok, and the gauge is fine, but it feels rather thin and doesn’t have the softness the cashcotton would have. I also think the definition in the lace could be nicer. I’m just worried that the cashcotton might set off my allergies. I could make it in a wool silk blend though, making it a little more of a winter hoodie. I’m not sure, and at any rate I won’t get to this design for awhile, so I can mull over my choices. I think the Cotton fine would make an excellent summer scarf or stole…

I was hoping to start the Printed Silk cardigan now, but my yarn is not here. I’m a bit annoyed with the store I ordered it from… they have had my order for almost a week with no word, and they have yet to respond to my email inquiry either. If it’s backordered I would like to know so that I can order it somewhere else. Ugh… so annoying! In the meantime I can always start another short sleeved project to tide me over… I prefer to knit all my short sleeved sweaters early so that I can wear them all summer. Come autumn I get cold in a hurry, so they have a limited wearing season.

Today is Thursday, which also means the day that I go to the library! Since I was sick all week I read an embarrassing amount, some of it really bad, but I do have 2 books to recommend.

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell, is a sort of humorous travelogue, written as the author travels around visiting artifacts of presidential assassinations. Sounds grim I know, but I really loved this book! The author is a commentator on This American Life, and Marc and I are big NPR junkies (oh yeah, we’re cool!) and that’s why I initially picked this one out. It’s a strange book, and a little hard to explain, but if you like humor or travelogues or both I suggest picking it up!

Girl in a Box by Sujata Massey is one of a series of mysteries starring a half Japanese detective named Rei.  This is the first in the series I have read, but I’m planning on picking up another at the library this afternoon.  Rei goes undercover at a Japanese department store in this one.  There is a mystery, involving laundered money and gangsters, but what kept me interested was the detail about Japanese life, particularly the workings of the department store in question.  I have to admit I have a weakness for mysteries, but there are so many poorly written ones that finding anything decent can be a real trial.  This book was well written, and I really cared about what happened to the main character.