Welcome to day one of the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week here on figknits. I hope you'll join me for all the posts this week and please leave a comment to let me know you were here!
This first post prompt leaves me almost weak to resist the literary reference contained. It was the best of yarns, it was the worst of yarns, etc. It is a far, far better knitting/crochet project than I have ever done; it is a far, far better yarn I've knit/crocheted than I have ever known. But enough with that foolishness. Let's look at some yarn!
I decided to turn the prompt into meaning two yarns at once, so I spent the morning swatching. I was inspired by a sample I saw last week at A Good Yarn Shop in Port Orchard. Someone had worked a lovely lace scarf using Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool held together with Rowan Kid Silk Haze. It reminded me of something I've had in mind for a while now, and you can create your own blend this way. Technically speaking, this post involves about 11 different yarns, but I will take a look at just two at a time. Today, I could only take the time to try knitting with one certain yarn held together with three different others, all Cascade yarns.
I have had some of this old version (recently reformulated by Cascade) of Madil Kid Seta #682 in the stash for a couple of years now, wanting to try it out by holding it together with another yarn. Kid Seta, like other mohair blends of its type, can be very fussy to work with all alone. So airy! The work can be made easier by working it with another yarn to anchor it. I chose some Cotton Rich in color#1039, some Cascade 220 Wool in a plain brown #9498, and some wonderfully soft Cascade Pure Alpaca in color #3008. This last yarn was the one that I've had snuggled up in the cubby all this time just waiting to be paired with the Kid Seta, but I thought I'd throw in some others for fun. And boy was it fun!
First, I tried it with the Cotton Rich. I already love this yarn for its sturdy softness--so comfy to wear. The background of the picture is a Fundamental Women's Vest I made with it. On top you see the swatch I made with the Kid Seta alone and the one with both yarns held together. I wish you could feel what a difference the Kid Seta makes in the Cotton Rich. It adds a glow of mohair and you can see the subtle striation caused by the marriage of the two. Now it's a mohair/cotton/silk/nylon blend! These two yarns played will together with not much twirling and knotting going on.
The combo above is the one I originally intended, so I was very curious to see what would happen with this pairing. As you might imagine, soft plus soft equalled really, really soft! And the two played together very well, I am glad to report. In the background you can see a top-down cardi I am working with just the Pure Alpaca. This pairing, though, produced an alpaca/mohair/silk blend.
I also love what the fluffy Kid Seta did to this rather flat brown color of 220 Wool. It really jazzed it up. However, these two yarns did not get along very well in the process. The 220 kept kinking up, twirling back in on itself and knotting up with the Kid Seta in the process. High maintenance in this wool/mohair/silk blend!
This leads me to just a couple of tips I have to share with you about knitting with two such different (or any two different) yarns. Mind you, there are many more!
One, make sure you are catching both strands up with each stitch. It would cause some problems to inadvertently drop one or the other of the yarns along the way. In this case, the Kid Seta strand was very easy to neglect if not careful.
Two, be sure to maintain equal tension of both strands as you work. I am a thrower, so this meant I had to constantly keep both strands hugging one another harmoniously in my right hand, stopping every few stitches to adjust this.
I used a size 8 (5 mm) needle for each of the swatches above, even the one of Kid Seta alone. Size 8 is the max suggested by the yarn manufacturer for this yarn and ,indeed, it produced a very diaphanous fabric.
Here are just few other yarns from my stash that I wish I had time to try with Kid Seta. Clockwise from 9 A.M.: Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the Golden Hickory colorway, Rowan Lima in Machu Picchu, Malabrigo Sock in Natural, Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Sierra, Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in Burgundy, Crystal Palace Panda Silk in color #3021, and Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Equinox.
Leave me your vote on which one you'd like to see swatched together next. Also, please let me know which of the combos above you liked best. I will try to swatch up one more of these and I might even plan a project with one of the combos. That would be terrific fun, no?
See you tomorrow for what will be, I'm sure, another fun post prescribed by Eskimimi, organizer of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011!