April 26, 2010

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.

Posted by Stephanie at April 26, 2010 12:51 PM