The weirdest yarn I’ve ever seen

This is Be Sweet Bambino Taffy in the Spearmint Gum colorway, a worsted weight blend of 70% organic cotton and 30% bamboo which is now discontinued.  And it is the weirdest yarn I’ve ever seen.

I bought several skeins of this yarn many years ago, mainly because it’s wool-free and gradient-colored!  You don’t often come across those two properties together.

Recently, I got the idea to pull it out of my stash.  I came across the Sand Dollar Wrap in the book New Vintage Lace.  Isn’t it gorgeous?

The original pattern uses Crystal Palace Mini Mochi, which is a fingering weight wool blend.  I remembered that I had Bambino Taffy in the stash, and thought with a little tweaking, I could knit something like the Sand Dollar Wrap in a heavier weight, and that, depending on its final size, it could work as a throw or blanket.

To modify the pattern, I whipped out my old copy of Norah Gaughan’s Knitting Nature. It’s an oldie, but goodie (I even wrote a preview/review a million years ago!).  This book has a whole section on hexagons, so I knew I’d find some inspiration in there to modify the Sand Dollar Wrap for a heavier weight yarn.  And I did!

I used the Basalt Tank as a starting point, and then tweaked the pattern to make much smaller hexagons.

So, with my modified pattern and Bambino Taffy in hand, I cast on.  As I neared the end of the first color, I eagerly awaited the transition to the second.  Except the next color was tied with a knot to the first.  Huh, that’s strange, I thought.  I’ve occasionally encountered that in Noro yarns, so I undid the knot, and moved on.  And then, when I reached the end of the second color, the third was tied with a knot to the second.  I pulled apart the skein, and then two more brand new skeins, just to make sure I wasn’t going totally crazy, and discovered that this gradient yarn is nothing more than (equal) lengths of five separate colors tied together with knots.

Have you ever seen such a thing?!?  If I wanted to combine colors in this way, I could do so myself with any number of yarns, including Be Sweet Bambino from which this “gradient” yarn is clearly made!

I suppose I could just ignore the blunt splices and knit through the knots, but that’s not my nature.  I don’t think I’ve ever left a knot in my knitting (except, on occasion, when I encounter a knot in a single ply of a multi-ply yarn).

So, since discovering this interesting feature of the yarn, and needing to cut up each skein anyway, I’ve decided to make each hexagon out of one color.  They are lovely colors, and they do go together very nicely, even if each hexagon now has at least one join in it.  It wasn’t going to have a gradient look anyway, just blunt transitions, so might as well deconstruct and reconstruct the whole thing.  GRUMBLE!

Forgotten Entrechat

The other day someone was asking about a nice red colorway of Malabrigo, and I opened up my blog to look up that lovely little shrug I knit a few months ago using a gorgeous shade of red Malabrigo, so I could recommend the name of the colorway.

Except the shrug wasn’t on the blog.

Huh.  I knit it during a very tumultuous time – I was newly pregnant and very sick, we were dealing with health issues in my family, and there were many stressful things at work – and I nearly questioned myself whether I knit it at all.  Then I found the pictures, they had even been edited!  And then the printout of the pattern, with notes on it and everything.  I guess I didn’t imagine it, after all, I only forgot to blog about it!

Pattern:  Entrechat by Lisa Chemery, 12-18 months size.  In my notes I marked the shrug as being 10″ from the top of the shoulder to the bottom of the peplum, about 10.5″ across when measured at the armpits, and 9.5″ across when measured at the shrug’s most narrow point (a few inches below the armpits).  As far as I remember, I made no changes to the pattern.

Yarn:  Malabrigo Worsted in Geranio, about 150 yards.  That’s less than 1 skein!  What a delightful and quick way to whip up something so cute!

Needles:  US 7.

I do remember really enjoying knitting this pattern.  It’s quick, simple to execute, and the result is darling.  I especially loved the gathered peplum in the back:

I knit this shrug for a little girl whose mom was very helpful to me and my family during our tumultuous spring.  I paired it with a simple white cotton dress when giving as a gift.  I thought the little white button I picked up at my local Joann’s went very well with it.

It’s not typically my style to blog about things I knit five months ago, but I will follow the motto, “better late than never”!

Little textured sweater

I am about 1 month away from having my baby, and it seemed like the right time to knit her a little sweater.  I really loved how the striped raglan sweater I finished a little while ago for my friend came out, and decided to knit this project as a kind of fraternal twin – I used the same yarn colors, and the same stitch counts/dimensions.  Bonus of this approach:  I already had all the yarn in my stash, wound and ready to go!

Pattern:  Top-down raglan with a stitch pattern at the yoke of my own creation.

Yarn:  One of my all-time favorites for baby knitting:  Berroco Vintage, in mochi (off-white), dark denim (navy), sunny (yellow), and fennel (heather green).  I used US 5 and US 7 needles.  I used less than 1 skein of the yellow, and just a little bit of the other three colors.

Finished dimensions:  18″ chest circumference, 6″ sleeve length to underarm, 10.5″ shoulder to hem.  I was aiming for about 3-month size (for this winter – my baby is due at the beginning of October), and I hope I came close.

It’s interesting how the exact same set of yarn colors can look so different depending on how it’s knit up!

About the stitch pattern:  I wanted to come up with something that would allow the colors to flow one into the next, but without needing to strand anything.  This stitch pattern accomplishes that – it’s just a clever combination of slipped stitches, knits, and purls.  Each color is used for 3 rows, which you don’t see very often, for a reason (it’s usually 2 or 4)!  Three rows means that if you carry the yarns up the side, as I did, sometimes you work a row from the right side, and sometimes, from the wrong.  That can get confusing, especially because there are increases to be made every other row.

But with a little practice, you get used to it, and I think the results are well worth it.  The fabric ends up having a nice texture to it, and you’d never know that there wasn’t any stranding, or any post-knitting finishing, like weaving in lengths of yarn.

I like the stitch pattern so much, that I’m currently working on a complementary sweater for Gregory:  same textured yoke, but a different main color and finishing.  Details TBD, though I better hurry up if I want to finish before baby girl is here!