July 30, 2007

SWIMMING WITH THE SHARKS

My order from Simply Shetland arrived on Friday -- I can honestly say once again that I carry all colors of Spindrift, all the time!

Also in that order was this new yarn:

Silk-Lambswool.jpg

Simply Shetland's new Silk & Shetland Lambswool. This is a 65% silk - 35% lambswool blend that knits to the same gauge as Spindrift. It comes in 16 colors; the red color, pictured above, is Venlaw.

So I busied myself all weekend with updating the Two Swans site to include these Silk & Lambswool shades. I think Culzean is my favorite:

Culzean.jpg

I received new yarns from Crystal Palace, too. Four new shades of Taos: Sea of Cortez, Mineral (despite its name, Mineral is purple and green!), Mossy Pinks, and the plum-gorgeous Cochineal.

Also from Crystal Palace, new sock yarns that I'm still in the process of listing on the website:

CPsockyarns.jpg

Left to right, these are: Panda Wool, which is 46% bamboo, 43% wool, and 11% nylon; Panda Cotton, weighing in at 59% bamboo, 25% cotton, and 16% elastic nylon; and Maizy which is a remarkable 82% corn fiber and 18% elastic nylon.

Yes, you read that right -- Maizy is made from corn! it does not smell like corn at all, but just has a sort of cottony, new clothing smell. (The Silk & Lambswool from Simply Shetland, on the other hand, has a distinct little lamby smell. Oh dear, does this mean I need to put one of those "I Sniff Yarn" buttons on my blog???)

* * *

Whenever I've said, "I'm off to crochet class," Scott has said, "Oh, you don't need to drive to Seattle for that. I'll just set up the wickets out in the lawn and give you a lesson...." So now he's got me calling it croquet class, too.

For our final week of croquet class our topic was edgings and embellishments:

edging.jpg

And because I'd like to apply these concepts that I've re-learned, and right away before I forget them, I made up a gauge swatch for a crocheted sweater so that I could have a discussion about figuring out crochet gauge with the instructor.

croquetgauge.jpg

The sweater is Julianna from Melissa Leapman's book Cool Crochet. What's amusing to me, thinking about making this sweater, is that when I took a class from Melissa Leapman back in 2005, she had brought in the galleys from this book -- it wasn't even published yet. So in that class we got a sneak preview of it. I politely looked at the galleys, but I remember thinking at the time that I would never crochet a sweater, since crochet does not have the give that a knitted fabric does. I did think Melissa Leapman's designs were pretty, though. And here, two years later, I'm swatching for one.

I made the lavender swatch on Thursday before croquet class. Although the yarn was the right weight and the hook was the right size, the swatch came out an inch wider than what the pattern's gauge called for. When I showed it to BeverLee, the crochet instructor, I explained, "I know this sweater is rated for an experienced crocheter--" and before I could finish, she said:

"If you aren't swimming with the sharks, what's the sense of being in the water?!"

Yeah.

So after our discussion of gauge, during which BeverLee said, also surprising me, that I should not expect the crocheted fabric to relax when washed the way I have learned to expect a knitted fabric to do, I made the second swatch in class. The blue yarn is a size thinner and I used a hook one size smaller, and the gauge turned out spot on.

Also over the weekend, taking a little break from listing products on the website, I spent some time at Naomi's on Saturday afternoon. Melinda, Naomi and I are all in the Nihon Vogue class together, and at one point in the afternoon all three of us were knitting on our top-down raglan sweater homework at the same time. Here's Melinda, looking so relaxed about hers:

MelindasRaglan.jpg

My eyes popped out when I saw her working on this. She's working on the waistband ribbing, already?!

Mind you, this is only seven days after our last Nihon Vogue class, when Melinda's raglan looked like this:

MelindasRaglan2.jpg

Peer pressure! One of our homework assignments is to knit the body of the sweater down through the waistband ribbing (without binding off, which we'll do in class after more instruction). My own raglan is only, like, 4 rounds longer than it was last time you saw it here on the blog.

Posted by Karen at July 30, 2007 09:03 AM
Comments

So, um... how does that Silk+Wool smell? I have the "I can smell silk from 2 doors down" gene, and although I love the way the silk blends look, I think they are too smelly to use!

Posted by: nod at July 30, 2007 08:26 PM

Well, nod, the Silk & Lambswool when it's fresh out of the bag had an odor that took me right back to the barn -- it smells like little lambs. The basket of red yarn has been sitting out on the coffee table in my living room -- I'm decorating with yarn, what can I say? And after airing out for four days, it has a very mild odor that now reminds me of new car smell. The red yarn no longer smells sheepy, and to me the new car smell is not objectionable. But if you have the silk-smelling gene, this is not the yarn for you. But there are so many gorgeous yarns with silk in them -- like my favorite, Kidsilk Haze -- it seems a shame to pass on them.

Posted by: Karen at July 31, 2007 11:14 AM

That's one of the better BeverLee quotes! She's got a million of 'em! After you're done with her class you'll be a crocheting whiz - she is one of the most gifted knitters and crocheters I know and she's a joy as a teacher. Please tell her hello from me. Mary

Posted by: MaryB at August 6, 2007 04:51 PM