Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My life is a giant swatch

Well, it had to happen eventually: The Principles of Knitting was due back the library yesterday. I got home from the tearful parting and put myself right back on the hold list. If the new issue isn't released in the fall as planned, I expect I will cry or pay a fortune for a used copy of the original, or both. In fact I can guarantee both if I buy a used copy of the original, only the crying would come second.

But back to my mailbox - I had consolation for my loss in the form of yummy yarniness from A Piece Of Vermont:

The yarn I got (Bristol - a romney/alpaca blend) was a limited run and I'm glad I got in on the last of it. You could take a serious bite out of it, it's so substantial in spite of its 2-ply-ed-ness. A bit scratchy in raw form, but mainly: sturdy as all get-out! I decided immediately on mittens and, as soon as I hit a good stopping point in the current editing job, climbed up onto a chair to perform the Magic Swift and Ball Winding Exercise. Then I swatched:

and when I'd taken the 'before' measurements, I wet blocked:

Did I mention I've been using Soak for wet blocking since reading an adorable column about it in, I think, Knit Simple? That stuff is awesome. It comes in a bunch of scents now and though I've been happy with unscented, it's still nice to have options. But what I especially like about Soak versus the much more labour intensive steam blocking I used to do is that everything comes out just a little softer than it went in. And between that and the two-stranded knitting I opted for after trying out a run of single stocking stitch, and the nice flat lines of yarn that result along the so-called 'wrong' side, mmmm:

Not quite next-to-skin-able for other body parts - mine, at least - but definitely lovely for hands. No shrinkage, either. If anything I saw the teeniest bit of stretch, which I like in a mitten. Added bonus: the gauge turns out to be exactly right for the Spruce Mittens I adore in Robin Hansen's wonderful Favorite Mittens.

These will be my favourite mittens. And they will be portable. And I won't have to use any sock needles to make them, which means I can be knitting socks too. More to the point, I will be knitting things and not just swatches. It's about time!

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