Feverishly Knitting

I’m working on knitted samples for the JUL Topografie pattern series for TNNA in June ( we finally made  the collection available for Ravelry In-Store sales and direct download–yay!) and can’t keep my hands off of the Yarn Hollow yarns.  I’m working on at least 4 projects at once, all straighforward stitching, and I’m really enjoying letting the yarn and Rita’s (Rita Petteys, the incredible dyer) fantastic colors do most of the work.

Before I tease you with the close-up ohotos, here’s a little side project.  I am determined not to miss Spring, and all its yumminess this year.  Two years ago I was traveling quite a bit and neglected my yard so much so that a weed grew as tall as a tree and I had to go buy a saw to chop it down.  I built a garden loom out of it, which was my first weaving ever.  Later I bought a potholder loom, and now I have a rigid heddle, and have learned how to dress a Louet Spring floor loom, but more about that on another post.  Last year, it got warm really quickly, and I was late with vegetable plantings.  I got about 28 individual peas and one or two green tomatoes at the end of the season.  Plus I missed almost all of my iris blooms.  This year, I vow to be literally and figuratively more present with the amazing living things in my household–including husband, dog, cats, neighborhood birds, and plants.

My yard gets a lot of violets, and I decided to harvest some before things got too hot or they all got mowed.  I sneaked violet blossoms and leaves into a few salads.  I did not previously know you could eat the leaves.  They don’t have much taste but they are apparently good for you, and I decided they count as dark leafy greens.  I got to thinking about infusions, thanks to the popularity of our chamomile tea-infused grappa we brought to our “traditional” Good Friday homemade hooch extravaganza.

I decided on vinegar, and used a milder rice wine vinegar to go with the floral notes.  I also made some fresh chive vinegar, but we ate it already, so I can’t show you that.  It was great on sauteed dandelion greens and also asparagus.  Enough buildup?  I think so.  Here’s what I started with…

Aren’t they beautiful?  I’m also quite impressed with my new fancy smartphone, which I used to take these photos and the drooly yarn glamour shots to follow.  I have not even played with many of the settings, but it did nicely with these close-ups.And here’s what I had after the jar spent a couple days in the dark pantry.

Here the blossoms are still pink, and the vinegar is a lovely fuschia.

Here , a little more than a week later, the petals have lost most of their color to the vinegar.  I wonder if violets would dye fiber?  I also wonder how the delicate flavor of the flowers will come through in the vinegar.  And, to circle around, wouldn’t violet infused grappa be gorgeous for our 1st inaugural Halloween downtown cocktail session?  I wonder if the booze would so overpower the flowers that it would be all show and no dough.  Only one way to find out.  More flower harvesting later today before it’s too late.

OK, on to the yarn.  For Fall I am designing and knitting primarily in Mountain Meadow Wool and a few Yarn Hollow bases, and have chosen several semi solids for our pallette.

First there is the Brocade (60% Merino, 40% Tussah silk, 500 yds in 8 oz, also available in 250 yard skeins) in Tangerine.

 Rita does really good oranges, and looking at and knitting with this yarn made me wish more people liked to wear orange.  It is the Pantone color of 2012, so maybe more people are seeing it and trying it on, with good results.  I can’t remember if I look good in orange or not.

Wow, with the phone camera set on close up, you can really see all of the individual fibers in the single ply yarn, and that the silk stays white, although it is so well-blended with the wool, that it talkes a really close look to show the lack of dye.  Overall, the color is really saturated and the yarn is luxurious to the touch and to the eyes.

I also love the stitch definition of this single ply.  This is a new sample for a design called Moraine Surround, that originally debuted at the winter TNNA in Phoenix.  I first did it in Mountain Meadow Wool’s Sheridan, a 3 ply bulky Merino.  I do like the more rustic look of the Sheridan, but so far, the pattern has not made much of an impression on anyone, so I’m going to give the design a new treatment with the opulent Brocade and see if it helps.  I’m also getting out of my muted color comfort zone.  The yarn is pretty “crisp” though still soft and shiny, and will be quite warm if it is wrapped around a couple times.

Here is a taste of Yarn Hollow Photograph, a worsted weight 100% Blue Faced Leicester wool.  It is also soft, warm and shiny, and I went up a needle size from my original choice so as not to suffocate the bloom of the yarn.  This will be a new design, tentatively called Palsa Circuit, in 500 yds of the colorway Slate Blue.

In the morning shade on my back deck the color reads much more blue than at other times, when it goes much more grey–my favorite–and this effect may have been intensified by all of the green stuff in the yard lending a cooler reflection.

You can see the fuzziness of this fiber.  Only a few of those strands are likely to be cat hair.  This photo really shows the shine and depth of color in this true semi-solid.  where sometimes I really like very round yarns for textured knitting, because of the sharper stitch definition, I think I will like Palsa in a more subtle releif.  I’ll also do another model in two colorways of Brocade.

Here is some more Photofraph, showing some detail of another new design, “Range,” which will be published soon.  So far I have knit 3 of these, in different yarns and sizes.  I think this will be one of those patterns that can work in any type and amount of yarn.  It all came from an idea that planted itself in my head about how to make a hat, knit flat, with assymetrical increase angles.  The idea wouldnt go away until I tried it, although it seems to want to be a scarf or wrap right now, rather than a hat.

Range is one of those designs like Drumlin Enclose, that gets me a lot of compliments when I wear it, from non-knitters even more so than other knitters.  It is so simple, will be a great show of so many special yarns, and will lend itself to numerous modification options.  I can’t wait to unveil it.  I like it best in 2 or 3 colors, and it will be a good use for my beginner handspun.  This version is in Photograph, in 3 warm brown colorways, Cocoa, Truffle, and Brick, that are really close to each other in value–at least I think that is the right color descriptive word.  I forget all that color theory stuff, if I ever really learned it in the first place.

Look at that shine and depth and fuzz!

Here’s the same shot, cropped a few times.  Interesting…

That will make a good background on my phone or something.

Here’s a better view of the 3 colorways.  They are really close, and I think again that the overall effect will be more sublte, owing to the colors and the bloom of the yarn.

And then I have some shots of the same pattern in Yarn Hollow’s Tor Worsted, a 210 yds in 4 oz, superwash merino.  This model is more dramatic, since it uses way more yardage than the other ones I have done, and I went with two contrasting colors, instead of 3 colors that really blend together.

It is 2 skeins of the aptly named Mushroom and nearly 4 skeins of Plum, so it is at least 1200 yds of knitted fabric.  Much longer and heavier than the other samples, and I can’t wait to see it photographed on a model for the pattern.

This shot gives you a better look at the plum.  I will admit that I made the piece a little fuzzier by giving it a couple turns in the dryer.  I really wanted it to be done for a photo shoot and it would not air dry fast enough.  I don’t recommend machine drying for this yarn, although it is superwash.  It’s not ruined or anything, but I didn’t do the piece any favors.

Well, in between working on this post, I went out to the middle eastern grocery and also picked the rest of my violets, so maybe I will have more food related posts in the near future.  In the meantime, if this yarn looks delicious to you, tell the owner of your LYS to give me a call to get the line into their shop.  Everyone should have a chance to experience these wonderful yarns and to enjoy Rita’s talent with color.



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