Tag Archives: Knit Picks Hawthorne

Spring cast on aka Finish or Frog

I’m nearing the end of my log cabin wrap (pattern soon), and that means I’m daydreaming of what’s next on the needles. I’m tempted by cute little sweaters that I see in my Instagram feed, so I’ll probably cast on for one, to increase my teaching wardrobe. You know we have to look good from the waist up on Zoom! I want to knit from my accidental stash (yarn that didn’t work out for something else, usually). Here are two contenders.

photo by Kay Hopkins

This is the Leaves Shell by Kay Hopkins, Knit for the Soul (Ravelry link). It’s a linen knit, and it will be swingy and drapey. It’s knit top down, and it has a leaf motif going down each side “seam” which is very pretty. I have a good amount of Quince fingering weight linen, back when I was deciding between fingering and Aran for what eventually became my Kittiwake (Ravelry link), Aran weight.

Kittiwake, by me
photo by Casapinka

This is The Birdwatcher by Casapinka (Ravelry link). It’s knit from the bottom up. I have to go poking into my fingering weight stash; I’m not sure I have two skeins of any color! Well, I do have this…

I don’t think I’m ever going to finish my Rio Calina; the moment has passed. I was using 2 skeins of fingering to approximate a worsted weight yarn. I’ll probably frog it no matter what. The yardage is a little short for The Birdwatcher (two 357 yard skeins instead of two 400 yard skeins). On the other hand, I’m a little short, too, and would knit this to 9” to the underarm, instead of the 12” called for. Is that enough to offset the difference? I’d hate to run out of yarn before finishing the neck.

Of course, I could get creative and begin with a provisional cast on at the underarm, work the top, and then pick up and work downwards and knit until I’m out of yarn. Oh, but wait. The lace, how would I know when to begin the lace?

I could begin with that provisional cast on, work the top, and then work from the bottom up until I’m almost out of yarn. And then KITCHENER STITCH/GRAFT the two parts together. Would that be just too much excitement?

Actually, a better plan would be to begin with the provisional cast on, work the top. Then work the lace. Then work stockinette down from the provisional cast on until almost out of yarn. And finally graft the two parts together, so if my grafting isn’t perfect, it will be at a natural transition point to the lace, and it won’t be as obvious.

Or, I could just use a different yarn. Maybe even the linen. But that has a much different look and feel.

This is what runs through my head while I’m working on something else…

Are you dreaming of spring knits?

Tonal Contrast in the Knit Sky, redux

Remember this? I really liked how the smaller/whiter ball was popping against the dark blue background, but I didn’t have enough to knit a whole shawl with this leftover half ball.

The more heavily speckled/creamier ball had more color than I liked in the big stars. (This was also against a lighter background, so it had even less pop.) What to do?

Mix and match! I’m using the whiter/less speckled yarn for the single stitch stars, and for the big star stitch rows. I’m using the specklier yarn for the star trails, and I love how it looks. It’s blending really well. I didn’t take out the very first set of star trails; they’re so short that the less speckled yarn was a better choice there.

I’ll still keep the overall combined contrast color to 100g for test knit math purposes. But this night sky version is making me very happy.

weighing yarn for half the knit sky

I have enough of the blue to finish as written, but not enough to add any extra rows. Good to know! I like that I can figure this out without playing yarn chicken. Instructions for weighing (ha!) your options are in the pattern.

Note that Biscuit is helping me here.

Are you interested in a KAL? I think this could also be a fun class; it has a few interesting techniques, and you’d learn them all at the beginning. Hmmmm…..

Tonal contrast and dye lots

I accidentally finished my pink Love Note before Monday’s Zoom knit nite, so I was desperate to put something else on the needles. This is the downside of being a monogamous knitter.

I poked through my tiny stash, and decided to cast on a second Half the Knit Sky, just to see how far 2 400 yard skeins could take this. The original only has 388 yards in the gradient sparkle skein.

You know the mono tonal contrast camera trick? Put your camera phone in monotone to see if your colors have tonal contrast. Based on this picture, it looks like the speckled yarn would show up well against either of the two blues I have here. I opted for the lighter of the two, because I had tried the darker before and I thought the colors looked muddy together.

But you really don’t know until you try it. Where are my stars?

I think the issue is in the dye lot. The one I’m using is in the upper corner. It looks like the speckles are longer/heavier than the speckles on the one in the lower corner, which is leftover from my Both Sides Now shawl. The light background of the speckle is an ok tonal pop with the background color, but the big star stitch stars are getting lost because there’s too much of the speckle dye in them.

I only have half a ball (44g) of the older version, not enough to do the whole shawl.

I really like the way the older speckle yarn pops off the dark background. When I swatched the dark yarn before with the new speckle, I thought it was a bit muddy. Whyyyyy?

The other difference between these two speckled yarns? The older one is whiter, and the newer one has a more natural/cream background. This isn’t a knock on the yarn; dye lots can vary quite a bit. It’s only when you have your heart set on a particular vision that it becomes problematic.

I do think the darker background is the better choice.

What to do? I think I can make this work if I use the whiter yarn for the single stars and the tall star stitch rows, as well as the final border. I can use the creamier, more heavily speckled yarn in most of the star trail rows (the long white lines). That would be like natural variation in the sky, and it would also vary the perceived length of the lines.

As with most knitting, I’ll have to try it and see. I just have to decide whether to rip back to the beginning of the second set of star trails, or let those bright trails stand. What do you think?