A while back, the Yarn Harlot wrote about a serious condition she called finishitupitis, wherein she felt a need to finish everything in her unfinished object (UFO) basket. I'm not sure how that virus traveled from Canada to California, but travel it did. To the detriment of almost all other activities, I am determined to Get Stuff Done and get rid of projects I have no interest in finishing and clean out the yarn that I will never use. So yes, I finished yet another project. Yay!
Juneberry is a surprisingly fast knit, and it was interesting the whole way through. I loved this pattern, and I want to make it again in something soft and silky and drape-y. Shelter is none of those things. That's not at all a criticism, however, it's just a very different yarn for me. Had I come across it in a yarn store, I don't know that I would have been eager to buy it. I think that most of the yarn I have worked with has been worsted-spun yarn, rather than woolen-spun, as this is. Briefly, worsted-spun means that the fibers are long, and the yarn is spun with the fibers parallel along the length of the yarn. Woolen-spun, on the other hand, is made with shorter fibers, which are more perpendicular or in all different directions. The result is a much lighter yarn because there is more air trapped between the fibers. This also means that it's warmer, as I could tell as soon as I flung this shawl around my shoulders.
Shelter feels very dry, and not at all soft when it comes off the skein. It has almost a crunchy texture, I kept wanting to compare it to styrofoam when I was working with it. I didn't have any problems with breakage while I was knitting, but when I did want to break the yarn, it did so very easily. Part of the dryness, for want of a better word, makes it really show off the stitches, which I think you can see, are very clearly defined. It blocked up beautifully, and softened a bit. It's still a bit too scratchy to wear right up against bare neck skin, so this will be better worn as a true shawl, around my shoulders, rather than bunched up around my neck like a scarf.
So, if you'll be knitting something with lots of cables or other interesting surface textures, I highly recommend trying out Shelter. I think it's the perfect yarn for many patterns from Brooklyn Tweed, so kudos to Jared Flood for creating this yarn!
So now that I'm down to just one project in my knitting bag, I've decided to go through the abandoned project bags and either finish something that's been hibernating, or ripping it out and using the yarn for something else. I'm just going to try to keep alternating between new and old. Last night I had a look at one of the first lace projects I attempted (in 2007! sheesh!). I knew there was a mistake in it somewhere, and I had been so frustrated that I stopped knitting right in the middle of a row, threw it in a bag and never looked at it again. Fast-forward to last night, when I un-knit several rows, but still didn't seem to be able to discover exactly where I went wrong. I tried knitting a row, but I soon realized the my little size 3 bamboo needles were nowhere near pointy enough to deal with this extremely fine lace yarn. So I ripped the whole thing out and I think I'm going to use it for a very simple, lacy, beaded shawl, and I'll be using bigger needles with nice sharp points. I still love the yarn, and I love the pattern, just not together in the same project.
One last thing, I have a thrifty knitting tip to share. With the last few lace projects I've been making, I thought it would be really nice to have some blocking wires. One of my local yarn stores had some that you could buy individually for a couple dollars a piece. Another local yarn store had a set for over thirty dollars! I didn't notice how many there were in a set, but still, it was a lot of money. I went to my local Ace Hardware, which is one of my favorite stores ever, because you can ask them anything and they'll help you find an answer. I told them what I was looking for and they sent me to look at some steel rods they had. They were great, but a little heavy, and covered with gunk from the manufacturing process that I would have had to clean off. Then they guy remembered something from the welding section. I had a look, and thought they would be perfect, and they were less than $6 for a set of six 36" copper colored rods. They're packaged in this handy tube, required no cleaning, and were nice and sturdy without being too thick.
I have no idea what they are supposed to be used for, but I've used them to block three shawls so far, and they worked great!
Wait, I lied, one more last thing:
Winston says Hi!