Let The Yarn Dictate The Project

Lately, I’ve been taking inventory of my yarn collection trying to remember the intended purpose of each purchase.  Well…it’s been quite an exercise.  A great majority of my selections were impulse decisions without a particular project in mind.  I liked the color, feel, or was stimulated by the environment in which I shopped.

Attending Stitches West surrounded by one giant color wheel detailed by the different gauges of yarn, the tactile experience of the many different combinations of plant and/or animal fiber along with the social camaraderie of like-minded individuals, stimulates my senses and wets my appetite for creativity.  Hence, lots of yarn without a project.  Recently, while shopping at one of my favorite yarn stores in the East Bay, a sales person mentioned, “Don’t let the project dictate the yarn.”  Interesting…

While attending Stitches West about five years ago, I purchased two hanks of a bulky/chunky weight hand-dyed yarn from Urban Fauna located in SF (since closed).  I wanted to make sure I found just the right project for the yarn.  Spending time on Ravelry definitely provided a multitude of knitting options.

L’Enveloppe designed by Sally Melville caught my design eye.  “It’s not a  cape, not a poncho, not a shrug, not a shawl, not a cowl.  It’s small enough to wear under a coat, but big enough to wear instead of one, and it envelops us in style.”  The pattern is offered in four different gauges and two different stitch patterns, garter and seed.

Photo credit:  Mary Lou Fall

Here is my knitted interpretation of L’Enveloppe.  I decided to knit the pattern in garter stitch, which combined with the yarn creates a well-defined three dimensional surface. The pattern is interesting to knit, with straight-forward instructions, and the fit is amazing!







Letting Go

Finally, the heat has subsided and temperatures are back to normal for this time of year.  I decided to take my needles and yarn outside for a change of scenery.

California Dreamin'_1
Photo credit:  Mary Lou Fall

I was greeted by three bromeliad pups.  The plant basically gets ignored, but always seems to provide us with such beauty every year.  I decided to organize my knitting space within eyesight of nature’s gift.

During a recent visit to Avenue Yarns on Solano Avenue in Albany situated not far from Berkeley, I decided to finally embrace short-rows.  Just by coincidence, a pattern I was also checking out on Ravelry was recommended I try, Breathing Space, designed by Veera Valimaki. “The sweater is worked from top-down with a raglan yoke and the asymmetric shaping makes it very stylish and at the same time very easy to wear.”

California Dreamin' #2_1
Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall

After starting and restarting a few times, I finally figured out short-rows with the help of Purl Bee’s online tutorial   http://www.purlsoho.com/create/2008/06/18/short-rows/.  The main color I selected for Breathing Space  from MJ Yarns, Simple Sock Fingering Weight, 75% Superwash Corriedale/25% Nylon, Col. Fresh Mowed, and the yarn for striping Wollelfe M/S Gradient 400 Fading to Grey, 65% Merino extra fine, 35% Silk.  I did gauge swatch the yarns and found Simple Sock Fingering did shrink a little.  The pattern is written with clear concise directions, and definitely exercises the brain cells.

Just by changing my “breathing space”situating myself in an environment of beauty and calm, in a different space and time, I  was able to reflect on one line in the pattern description that resonates with me in a very personal way, “The art of breathing, something we rarely really pay attention to, is so much like letting go.”



Around And Around

Tonight, I bound off GAP-tastic Cowl designed by Jen Geigley.  The free pattern download found on Ravelry is a favorite of many.  Two skeins of bulky weight yarn (approx. 300 yds.), US 13 needles and rounds of seed stitch builds an over sized neck adornment.

Gaptastic Cowl #2

Why not wrap GAP-tastic Cowl around your neck and brave the cold on a daily visit to your local coffee shop?


Jumping Into The Pool(ing)

Organizing my yarn in plastic storage bins felt like Christmas, as I unwrapped  my collection of yarn. I found hanks, skeins and balls of color, a montage of assorted textures, thicknesses and content. A fiber salad tossed with a whirlwind of ideas needed to be prioritized, in order to make my creative thoughts a reality.

Three hanks of Schaefer Yarn,  Elaine tucked in the bottom of a bin caught my eye.  Hmmm…Sally Melville’s Einstein Coat would be perfect for this yarn. After purchasing two more hanks of Elaine, I diligently began to knit the coat.  Many garter stitch rows later, pooling reared it’s head.  Okay, so I tried to convince myself pooling wasn’t a concern of mine, until I visited my lys.  A constructive comment was made regarding the appearance of pooling and it was suggested I knit in the round to thwart the action of pooling. I decided to knit in the round with Schaefer’s Elaine and consulted http://www.ravelry.com for a pattern.

I found ravelers Karla Statnerd and Gladys Wenat, who have spent countless hours on pooling, are pooling experts proven by their projects.  Statnerd has developed a computer program which takes advantage of pooling creating beautiful argyle patterns.  Whereas Wenat lines up the color repeat of yarn manually knitting breathtaking projects.  One of the most impressive pooling projects designed by Statnerd’s computer program uses Craftsmart yarn distributed by Michaels.

I wanted to explore both techniques, but not to the detail or attention given by these two artists/designers.  I was not after precision or perfection.  After purchasing a couple of skeins of Craftsmart yarn in Color #15 Twilight, row after row of garter stitch brought forth a motif reminiscent of IKAT weave.  After the second repeat of the motif on the scarf, I decided to isolate a color and purl the stitch, which changed the texture and patterning on the scarf.

Jumping Into The Pool(ing) 1A


Jumping Into The Pool(ing) #2

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