Kiama Questions

Today has the absolutely distinct feel of a Monday about it, and I’m not just saying that because I’m still recovering from the journey home on Saturday.  I was delayed in Calgary on the way home, thanks to a snowstorm and it’s attendant need to de-ice the plane, and that meant I got home wickedly jet lagged at 2am,  and the only thing that kept me from being totally pissy about that was that I had Kiama with me, and I knit and knit and knit and not for one moment did I wish I had something else.

I’m almost done now, having knit the yoke/sleeves (twice) and picked up all around for the bottom part.  The construction of this is cunning and interesting, although hard to show you while it’s pent up on the needle. You’d think that miles of this stitch pattern would wear on a knitter, or that I’d be sick of it now, or see the black hole of knitting stretching out in front of me… where I knit and knit but I’m never done… But Kiama has an increase row every so often, and that rescues it.  It isn’t that a couple of increases is enough to be thrilling… it’s that it’s a marker for progress.  I can see those increases, I know another one’s coming, and apparently that’s enough visual evidence to prove progress to me.

Although it’s fun to knit, I know it must be boring to watch, so a little Q&A?

Ariadne asks:

Which colorway are you using? Sunset Rendez-vouz?  Would it make me (5’1") look tallish too? 🙂

The colourway is indeed "Sunset Rendez-vous" though I wish it was named something that sounded less like it was straight out of a romance novel.  I’m a middle aged mother of three who talks about knitting for a living.  I’m not likely to rendezvous at sunset with anything other than a ball winder or my dishwasher.   I don’t know if it will make you taller.  I’m 5’1" tall too… and I’ll know as soon as I’m done and put it on if it’s a "tall sweater".  It’s how I can tell that I really love a garment.  They may not actually make me look taller, but I feel taller.

Susan enquires:

It’s interesting to hear that you love this yarn. I recently knitted a swatch of it (my LYS had a "swatch night", loads of fun!), and hated everything about it (except the colors, which were gorgeous). It felt harsh in my hands. It had no bounce. The knitted fabric felt floppy and limp. I felt that the only thing I could possibly make with it would be an extremely expensive mesh shopping bag. Glad to hear another point of view.

Does it feel better after washing?

Yeah, it does soften a little after washing, but I don’t think of this yarn as "harsh" more like… crisp.  You’re right about it though, it really doesn’t have any characteristics of wool.. no bounce, no elasticity – and it doesn’t resemble cotton (although it contains some) at all either.  I wouldn’t call it floppy or limp,   I would say it has a great deal of drape- but the crispness of it keeps it from being clingy, or flaccid, which I think will suit me fine when the summer comes.  It is rather like a really upscale string, and I don’t think the pattern would work very well without these qualities. Both cotton and wool stretch a lot if you knit them loosely enough to be breezy and drapey, and I like that this garment won’t.

Skeindalous asked,

Could you mention how you tied on a new skein for this yarn? Wool with the basic spit/slice is so easy but I always have trouble with the novelty yarns or linen.

Me too.  My modus operandi for joining is usually to just knit with the old and new yarns overlapping for a few stitches,  and then to trim the ends off after a wash.  I tried that with this yarn, and really… it sucks.  Origami is a really slippery yarn (so slippery that you might have noticed that I’m using hand wound balls, not the ball winder) and the ends just kept slipping their way forward and showing as either ends or loose stitches.  It was craptastic.  I experimented a bit and have eventually settled on a modification of my second favourite.  If I ever worry that the double thickness will show or matter, then I just start knitting with a new strand, leaving the ends hanging on the inside.  Later I come back and weave them in.  This time though I found that the slipperiness of the yarn meant that I had to knot the ends on the back, and weave them in, splitting the plies as I went.  If I didn’t, then the ends were just up front again. 

Jessica asked

After an entire post about the merits of a relatively tight gauge, I’m having a hard time seeing this knit fabric as the type you’d strive for. Is this some sort of paradox sweater?

Yup.  It really is.  I advocate a tight gauge for most yarns that have stretch because you want to control that as much as possible.  Too loose a gauge and you allow yarns to stretch all over, and that means they get baggy, wear out faster and have less stitch definition.  This yarn, however, has no stretch.  It is going to stay the way I knit it forever, so there’s no fear of it loosing its shape- not like cotton or wool.  Plus, it’s super strong, so there’s little point in knitting it in a manner that gives it strength- I might as well use those qualities to my advantage, and make it loose, breezy and drapey.  It’s one of the only yarns that will allow me to do that without consequence, which is likely why all the pattern support for it is summer wear.  Make sense?  Like everything else in knitting, it’s really hard to make one rule about gauge.  All we can ever say is "generally speaking" or "usually" – because the content of the yarn has to be considered, and so does the intended effect.   I dare say that this pattern in this gauge would be a disaster in wool, bagged out over your arse and shoulders in moments, and pilling attractively in your armpits moments later.  Sexy.

62 thoughts on “Kiama Questions

  1. What are some Tall Sweaters that you might recommend for someone of the boobtastic persuasion? I am 4 ft 11 (well, quite nearly, in really thick socks, if my hair is not straightened). I find that I tend to look all hobbitty in cardigans.

  2. Thanks so much for the lesson on joining new balls in this type of yarn – just what I needed for a project that’s been languishing because I couldn’t figure out what to do with those ends!
    And, I love the way your knitted fabric looks in your pics and look forward to seeing the finished sweater. Wish I could have been at sock camp. Sigh. 🙂

  3. Almost first… I love the soft muted colors of this, might tempt me to do a sweater for a friend. About the name, don’t you sometimes have a Sunset Rendez-vous with your knitting and beverage of choice? I sometimes find it the only calm in the hub-bub of my days.
    Loved the booties and pix, absolutely darling!

  4. I’m just holding my breath over here to see this finished. I can’t seem to visualize the drape on a body, and I’d love to see some pictures of it. Really curious about this yarn.

  5. i’m also short (5’2″) and have felt the pain of over-long sleevery. and for some reason, i often knit sweaters in xl, not just l: result — warm, cozy, wool bags . . . or even tents.
    there’s not much call for summer sweaters in indiana. it usually gets warm in may and stays that way into september, so i’m not tempted to use this slippery yarn of which you sing praises. instead, i’ll hit my stash for some lovely takhi stacy charles donegal tweed and re-knit the central park hoodie — to fit ME this time, not some mythical person who’s taller and more well rounded than i!
    but i concur with adele in loving the colors. i’d like to make socks in a similar colorway!
    btw, stephanie, any tour plans that will bring you close to indianapolis?

  6. and I’ll know as soon as I’m done and put it on if it’s a “tall sweater”. It’s how I can tell that I really love a garment. They may not actually make me look taller, but I feel taller.
    I’m interested to know whether or not your previous tall sweaters might fit my intuition: that a “tall sweater” is longer than it is wide, fits your shoulders well, and incorporates some kind of vertical visual element. (With optional extra-credit drape/fluidity.) My favorite element about Kiama is the diagonal hem–I think it will give a really long impression without being as overwhelming to a petite figure as a straight thigh-length jacket would be.
    (How excited am I that we haven’t had any real snow yet this April in Boston? SO EXCITED. Don’t get me wrong, also scared s**tless about climate change, but… excited nonetheless.)

  7. i’ll remain suspicious of all faux fibers until i find one that is pretty enough to make me try it.
    i feel like i’ve lost a fellow wool snob to the acrylic cult.

  8. You know… I have the same yarn on the needles right now, too, because you recommended it and I felt adventurous (and, I admit it, I was waiting for someone else to try it first), but mine is neither as lovely or as intriguing as yours. Why is this? Maybe I need to let go of my preconceived gauge notions? I have a lovely blue/greeny mix, but the fabric does not bespeak me of summer evenings and outdoor entertainment quite the way I want it to. I sense some frogging and bigger needles coming up…

  9. I love this yarn and bought two skeins for a hat but my yarn knowledge must be lacking because this is a terrible yarn for a hat. Oh well, that’s what Cascade 220 is for!

  10. I also long to find a tall sweater. I hope your Monday improves to something less Monday-ish, and the sweater looks lovely.

  11. My Kiama is looking good and will be the perfect weight to counter the frigid a/c already blasting in my office. I kinneared Van Cliburn this weekend while I was knitting. My Harlotization is now complete.

  12. Would this garment make a tall person (174cm – almost 5’9) look giant? Or does it have an opposite effect of making people above 5’6 shrink?

  13. Sunset Rendez-vouz sound like it’s right out of a Western Romance novel. If the sunset happened to be in the canyons of Southern Utah it could be very cool. All the 1×1 ribbing kinda kills the romance, however (I’m a thrower).

  14. Is 5’3″ tall? I’d like to be thought taller and if a certain sweater might help, I might be tempted. Cheers and red wine, Hazel.

  15. Your posts made me want to find this yarn and the pattern and make on for myself. I haven’t yet, but I might.
    love the widdle booties with the pom-poms too.

  16. Wow! Interesting questions and definitely an interesting yarn!! Do you find, generally, that knitting with two strands when joining holds well? I’m always afraid my ends will come apart and the whole project will disintegrate.:) I weave them back and then back again. Trouble is, that does leave a thicker spot.

  17. The ever-creative EZ recommends knitting the old and new together for a few stitches, then splitting the tails and taking a diagonal swipe THROUGH the backs of other stitches with a sharp darning needle. (I think I said that right) That would secure the ends pretty well with most yarns, but probably not this one.

  18. My friends curve the boredom of watching me knit by commentating like it’s a competitive sport. But they don’t know any knitting terms, so it’s quite hilarious

  19. I love the colorway of the yarn you are using for this! So pretty. Can’t wait to see it all finished!

  20. I saw Susan “misknits” last weekend (you remember her from Sock Camp last few years? She couldn’t come this year), and she had this same yarn in a blue-green colorway, which made this blue-green jewel-tone girl very happy. Lurve. She was debating making the longer version of this sweater, Kirra Knit. But then I suppose that’s not a ‘tall’ sweater, is it?
    How did you know I find arse and shoulder bags mad sexy?

  21. Does a Russian join work for the loose ends, or is it too slippery even for that?

  22. A Ballwinder at Sunset has more romance than a Dishwasher at Sunset, the ballwinder has more Anticipation than the dishwasher, and variegated wool (woot).
    I meet with my dishwasher a lot more than my ballwinder, and the Sunset thing is more of dishwasher time than a ballwinder time when the household (with children of 10, 13 and 15 still want to be fed) it is not a time I would spend much time with my ballwinder. Perhaps I am lacking in romance (sigh).

  23. That was a very informative Q and A! I love reading about knitting problem solving and was especially glad to read tips about joining in new balls of yarn.

  24. So glad you’re back. I was missing my daily dose of your insights… I loved your sweater so much I ordered the longer version in the same color and it arrived today. (I’m in knit hell at present as I also ordered a kit for a felted messenger bag which will look great when done but I am reminded of how much I don’t like felting knitting.) Can’t wait to start on this sweater….

  25. Now there’s a relief..I’d been picturing you in the airport surrounded by enormous piles of little booties while a large crowd of onlookers said, ‘aw, sooo cuuuutee!’, ‘did she really *make* all those?’ and staff ran to look up the security regulations on wee pom-poms…

  26. All the good colorways of that yarn are backordered on the website. I blame you for this….Your pictures of the finished product are much better than I would have thought from just looking at the yarn, so now I NEED some of it.

  27. More than once I’ve resorted to a sewing needle and a bit of sewing thread to fasten down loose ends of particularly slippery yarn. A few wraps and fasten off does it, and the little suckers are going to have to work REALLY hard to get loose from that! No knots, and it doesn’t show at all on the outside (and not even very much on the inside).
    Needless to say, I have at least one project where I should have done this and didn’t 😉

  28. Okay missy you have done it again. I ordered the yarn from your blog project( I am trying it in the sandals colorway)and the booklet and then went to find my nine straight needles which it seem I don’t have. This little Stephanie voice in my head from camp said, knitters can invest in good tools. Whish… The most beautiful Signature 9 needles arrived today, and of course so they wouldn’t be lonely I ordered size one double points. Next I am ordering a nice big portion of self control but in the meantime, thanks my knitting guru.:)

  29. To Wool Free at 1:01: my daughters were both born on snowy April days, one the 3d, one the 15th, quite south of Canada. Snow is a cat that likes to play with us mice any chance it gets. It even lured the San Francisco business district officeworkers out into the street at lunchtime a few years back, with them sticking their tongues out to catch flakes like little kids.
    Meantime, I love your reaction to the name of the colorway. One thing I’ve never done, but I’ve sure thought about it, is maybe dabbing the slightest bit of nail polish for glue between two overlapped ends, out of sight. I *think* it would hold up in the washing later?

  30. Congratulations on finishing…can’t wait to see it on you. Any word on Wild Apples? 😉

  31. Wonderfully informative post. You may just talk me into this one yet.
    Do I say thanks or run screaming?

  32. It must be brain draining for the people that have to come up with names for yarns and the colour names, must be the same people that name the lipstick colours. Lovely knitting and waiting to see it on .

  33. My grandmother, who taught me to knit when I was 7, was a fabulous knitter, and there are little knots on the inside of all her garments….many of which I still have and wear when I can. If they didn’t bother her, they won’t bother me. I do spit splice wool, however!

  34. “I’m a middle aged mother of three who talks about knitting for a living. I’m not likely to rendezvous at sunset with anything other than a ball winder or my dishwasher.”
    JOE!!!! Your lady needs a little romance in her life NOW! (Not that — or not just that — we’re talking candlelight, flowers, a dance, perhaps a surprise bit of jewelry. . .) Hurry up, or your gansey may end up lining a dog crate!

  35. I love Q&A Day. I always learn something. Thank you! I’m getting really excited anticipating your new Kiama.

  36. Shortly after reading this post I found myself at the Webs site ordering the yarn and pattern for this project. Webs should probably pay you a commission – want me to send them an e-mail?

  37. this is becoming more and more intriguing. I may have to knit with this (not that I’m not 8′ from my stack ‘o’ stash and don’t need more (I just wont’ turn my head and look at it.) Can’t wait to see how this is going to drape, not cling. I get it and love that type of yarn.

  38. OK then, does a yarn being “flaccid” make it hard to knit with?
    *snort – yes, I know, at times I am actually only 12 years old. But I just couldn’t resist.
    Oh wait, that’s opposite: a flaccid yarn would not at all be hard. To knit with, that is.

  39. First I went out and bought lots of Dream in Color Classy, so that I too can own your favorite cardigan. It is going along very, very well; it’s my favorite wool yarn of all time. But then I read your post about Kiara, and down I went to my lys, buying tons of a beautiful, neutral shade of the yarn and the pattern book. I’m sorry to say that my Bohus kit from Sweden (Grey Shimmer) is also in the stash, to be started some day. I am beginning to think that I lack knitting imagination! If I could just FINISH something I’ll feel better…

  40. I cannot thank you enough for this post. I was coveting the longer version of the Kiama sweater (which I think is called “Kierra”) but was thinking of using a super-stretchy yarn I have in my stash. After your very convincing arguments and reasoned explanation about why THIS yarn works for THIS stitch pattern and THIS sweater, I have totally changed my mind – and have consequently saved myself a lot of time and gnashing of teeth. Thank you, SuperYarnHarlot! You’ve saved the day again!

  41. I wonder about taking a needle and thread and sewing the ends together as you switch balls…. It would be an interruption in the knitting, but I think, for me, would be less annoying over all than splitting plies, weaving in all sorts of ends, hoping they don’t come back out, etc.

  42. Truly, it is those intermittant shaping rows that keep me going on sleeves and probably why I am enjoying knitting Skew (aside from watching the Noro change color). Small goals achieved lead to big accomplishment (I call it the squirrel principle). Great Q & A!

  43. I have a bit of yarn that I remember knitting with the needle listed and even though I do not normally have gauge issues (this was a swatch), I just remember the yarn felt like iron in my hands and I’m pretty sure the swatch would have made good armor.
    I find it amazing how different all of the yarns are. There are just so many different feels you can give your working hands.

  44. It’s funny hearing you refer to yourself as middle-aged. I’m noticeably older than you and don’t think of myself that way. I’m really looking forward to seeing pictures of the project.

  45. You’re going about the sunset rendezvous thing all wrong. It doesn’t have to be romantic. It could totally be “fed up with the housework, kids, relatives, dog, cat or ____________, having a sunset rendezvous with knitting friends at the brew hall down the block.”

  46. Stephanie,
    Why did you wind the ball by hand when you have such a wonderful Michigan-made nostepinne? 😉

  47. I’ve been reading the blog awhile. I know about your relationship (or non-relationship) with the squirrels. I have a similar relationship with my U.S. squirrels who plant walnuts that grow into trees in inconvenient places. (Note: I am a tree-lover but a potentially gigantic tree growing two inches from one’s home is not a good thing.) So can you tell me what’s up with all the squirrel contests all over the blogosphere? Are the wee beasties starting a conspiracy or something?

  48. You’ve got to stop posting your projects! I can’t keep up!
    I’m now working on the Kiama sweater (thanks!) but I’m having a terrible time getting gauge. On 9’s it’s a little narrow, but I’m afraid 10’s will be too large.

  49. As for adding a new skein of yarn, I’ve always just guess-timated (usually pretty accurate, my rule-of-thumb is a 4:1 ratio of yarn to the width of the row of stitches on the needle) how much yarn it will take to finish a row with one skein (without starting a partial row). Then I start the new skein with a new row. Trim each of the 2 dangling ends to about 6″ – 8″ long, and weave them into the edge of the garment when done. With my garments, 9 times out of 10, those edges get seamed to another knit segment anyway (side, sleeve, whatever), so there’s nothing to come unravelled (looking like a loose end or dropped stitch) anywhere in the middle of the garment.

Comments are closed.