27 January 2013

FO: Obsidian

I normally don't post on weekends, but I finished my Obsidian on Friday and got some photos of it today:

I don't know where the sassiness came from, but I'm not complaining. This sweater feels great on, like pretty much anything I knit with Wollmeise. There's no itch on my relatively sensitive skin, and the wool is lightweight enough to be warm but not stifling in 70 degree weather.

There are two ways to wear the sweater. The first is off the shoulder, like I have it shown above. The other is a more traditional cowl:

I love the color of the fabric, and that I had relatively few issues with pooling this time around. I mostly credit the all-knits garter stitch pattern, which keeps the yarn from getting on a circular repeat. The wrap-and-turn process in the pattern has an interesting result: a spine along the back of the sweater:

It's kind of a cool look, but definitely something that doesn't seem to be advertised in the pattern photos (except one at the very end, where the context is a little confusing). I really love the sweater and can see myself getting quite a bit of wear out of it, though. I really love the difference in gauge between the cowl and the body:

Great texture, but doesn't compete with the yarn. I love this colorway. It's so rich and pretty. And because of the liberal amount of dark blue in the skein, I can actually get away with wearing the greens and yellows that normally make me look like the wicked witch.

Woohoo! Another one bites the dust!

- YX

23 January 2013

Dropped Stitches

I just picked up a dropped stitch on the sleeve of my Obsidian. It's the third dropped stitch I've encountered on this project... I'm finding them after 10 or 15 rounds have been knitted, too, so picking them up is hard because there's no slack where they once existed.
With this yarn (Wollmeise lace), picking up stitches is a finger wrenching, brain crunching task. The base is so splitty that the plies often get tangled and it's difficult to discern what goes where.

I think the most irritating part of a dropped stitch is that you have to pick it all the way back up to your current row. When I finish doing that, I don't get a sense of completion or finality-- it's just a bunch of work to get back to where I already am. No forward progress, no warm fuzzies.

Picking up dropped garter stitches is a different kind of torture, too. Normally, my trusty pink Boye crochet hook makes quick work of dropped stockinette, but garter requires removal and reinsertion of a hook, making it more trouble than using my spare DPN.

And perhaps I'm so irritated, not because I hate hate hate sleeves, but because I'm so close to being finished with this project that this kind of distraction seems like a mockery of my sanity. For what it's worth, I think my brain is wiped out tonight. I'll try for the home stretch tomorrow.

Good thing I'm getting close to done- we're back in the 70's here in the Lone Star state, meaning a good bit of my knit goods will be languishing for quite a few months again.

- YX

21 January 2013


Last week, I was out of town doing videography for a wedding. It was a beautiful celebration, and the bride and groom (my cousin and her fiance) looked so happy on their big day.

The cold January day made me think about wedding knitting. Did you make a shawl for your wedding? Perhaps for bridesmaids? I know there have been quite a few wedding dress projects on Ravelry, even! I can't imagine being dedicated enough for a whole dress, and these are just gorgeous. I found some great patterns that would work for a wedding, too. Check them out...

1930's Inspired Gown by Catherine Jeandel-- wow. This would be gorgeous in ivory, with several more repeats at the bottom to brush against the ground. The open back is beautiful.

#21 Lace Dress by Shirley Paden for Vogue Knitting. I love this for a City Hall wedding.

Principesa Dress by Sarah Wilson. I love this voluptuous dress with the drapey lace cowl. So romantic and would respond well to lengthening. 

I love these dresses! Unfortunately for me, I lack the discipline to finish anything remotely as involved. In fact, I have a #32 lace shawl that I began to knit for my wedding, but gave up on it quickly:
I guess it ended up being alright, since we got married in Key West in April-- the temperature wouldn't have been kind to a wooly me:
- YX

(Reminder to get some free yarn!)

14 January 2013

Birthday cake!

It's my birthday! I don't have any big plans, except to maybe head over to my LYS a bit later today, but I wanted to share these festive, yarny cakes with you! They're all cakes of the edible variety, as opposed to the yarn cakes I normally talk about... Enjoy!

A knitting basket for a 60th birthday party:
A lovely yarn ball:
Another cool yarn basket:
A basket and WIP:

These are some amazingly talented bakers! I love that each cake has a different personality and the interpretations on the theme are varied and special. I'd love to receive a cake like this, but it'd be SO HARD to actually eat it and ruin it!

It'd be cool to see someone do little yarn ball cupcakes, too. Or cake pops! I'm not generally big on cake pops, but the shape lends itself to yarny goodness, doesn't it?

In other news, I have completed the body (and reknit the cowl) on my Obsidian sweater and have moved on to the evil sleeves. I never wished to have an armless torso until I started knitting... Ah well, I'm going to shred through them and get some images up soon! A long weekend trip is in my future, though, which will briefly interrupt my sweater plans, but I intend to start a hat soon, so I'll have more WIP images up for you!

Enter the giveaway if you haven't already!
- YX

08 January 2013

Knitpicks is all grown up/ Willow yarns?

I got two catalogs in the mail today.
It's not unusual for me to get catalogs, but two yarn-related ones in a day? Let's start with the new Knitpicks. For Winter 2013, I wasn't expecting anything fancy. If I'm being entirely honest, I tend to see Knitpicks as mid-market yarn that's great for very specific projects where you need very specific colors. For that, they deliver. But I tend to feel like the company often tries (and fails) to address the sociology of knitters today. Like Vogue knitting, where things can be so off-trend that it's off-putting (and other times, so great that I end up queuing multiple things). Aaaaaand then I was wrong all over the place.

In fact, I was surprised because it seems like this Knitpicks is totally divergent in layout and feel:
They still have the little colorway dots, but you get some good images of the skeins themselves (helps to identify haloing and weight), and large, simple, not-overstyled patterns that coordinate with the yarn.

Even pages devoted to multiple bases look coordinated and upmarket:
I love the branding on these different bases- the personality of the shoes matches the yarn. Very cute idea.

And the patterns in this issue seem current and cute, styled well with images that really sell the designs and have much-needed clarity. I hate it when patterns on Ravelry don't have at least one clear image of the full piece. These are great:
Bravo, Knitpicks. I'm not sure if this is a new thing since the last "issue", but it's the first time I'm seeing it and the layout and graphics are just a total upgrade.

The next one is a new one, Willow Yarns. There'd been some murmuring about it on the Ravelry forums, but when my mailbox was initially empty, I assumed I'd been passed over. Nope! The cover is done in a faux-magazine look, with some headlines:
And inside, the layout reminds me of the old Knitpicks:
Hmm. Something I really like is that the color swatches on each base are represented in fun ways. On this page, the yarn is wrapped around teeny little hangers. On another page, variegated yarn is wrapped around bottles to show the repeats:
The pattern selection was nothing particularly special, but it did run in a range of abilities and yardages. Sweater patterns go up to 2x and even sometimes 5x, which is great for plus size knitters, but not all patterns go up that far. Some only run to XL- it'd be nice to see them consistently going up into the 5x range, which would give them a clear market differentiation from Knitpicks. They seem to have similar products, otherwise (superwash in various weights, cotton blends, and so on).

I was impressed at the substantial amount of homegoods/ non-clothing items in the catalog, too. Nice to see that kind of variation in project type. Four whole spreads are devoted to pillows, poufs, baskets, and blankets:
They sell yarn ("Burrow": 75% acrylic, 25% superwash) that is marketed especially for home projects. It comes in bulky and worsted weights, in 100g balls. It may be just me, but I wonder if it makes sense to give a 300g option, or perhaps something larger? For home projects, it's always a pain to be constantly splicing on another skein, especially with 130-yard bulky skeins.

So there you have it! I'm going to have to lock the wallet up tonight, I'm sure...

- YX

05 January 2013

2012 Finished Objects

I just counted: 2012 brought me 17 FOs. How exciting! Onward to 2013!

- YX

04 January 2013

An unexpected surprise! January Giveaway

Something exciting happened! Remember when I gave away some awesome Yellow Hobbit yarn over the summer? Well, she's back with another giveaway for January! I was going to take off for the month, but her stuff is too awesome to pass up!

This month, the prize is a winner's choice! I love giving you guys choices! The first option is a skein of yarn made to order (2-ply or 3-ply superwash) in one of these awesome colorways:

Or you could choose a sampling of mini-skeins in a variety of colorways! Woah! If it were me, I'd totally go for the minis. A scrap sweater is in my future, but a cool pair of stripey boot socks would be amazing, too. So many options!

To enter, just join the Yellow Hobbit Ravelry group! Come back here and let me know you joined, along with a way of contacting you in the event you win (email or Rav usernames work well). This is a great opportunity to keep up with Yellow Hobbit's new products and colorways, too. I have a whole tab on my forums page dedicated to dyer and designer pages, just to keep up with the news. I mean, look at this gorgeous skein she just did as a custom order:
Beautiful! So remember: 1) Join Ravelry group. 2) Come back here and comment to tell me you entered and how to contact you if you win! Good luck and I hope you're as excited as I am! I'll pick a winner at the end of the month!

- YX

Edit: some people are having issues commenting. If you can't comment, you can tweet or email me (yarnexploder at gmail) to make the entry comment for you.

01 January 2013

December winner and happy 2013!

Hey everyone! I was getting entries until late in the evening, so I'm picking my winner today!

The random number generator says #4 is my winner... Though I accidentally closed the window instead of copying the image! You'll have to just trust me on this one. Our winner is... sch4gators! Congrats! The shop will be getting in touch with you to get your certificate on the way.

For everyone else, I'd like to wish you a super happy 2013! I want to take a month off of giveaways for January, but they'll be back!

I've been working on a new sweater project. There's not much to show currently:

It's the beginnings of Obsidian. Remember when I wrote about it earlier? I realized this Wollmeise lace in "Die Auster" was the perfect match for it. I love this colorway, even though the greens and yellows don't particularly lend themselves to skin tone. This is the same colorway (but different base) from my Autumn hat, which I think I completed pre-blog.

This is a bulky hat knit out of 5 strands of Wollmeise held together simultaneously. It was actually pretty close to gauge! At the time, I even took a picture of my 5 adorable mini-cakes (cupcakes?) because they were so cute:
Anyway, on the sweater, I'm past the raglan increase and in the midst of some decreases for the waist right now. Soon, I'll be moving onward to hip increases! The pattern is done in garter stitch using a wrap-and-turn technique that makes it possible to do the whole thing in knit stitches... Excellent tv knitting. I'll have to take some more photos as I move along!

Happy new year to you all, and I hope you have a great 2013! Any knit-related resolutions out there? Mine is always to use more of my stash...



- YX