A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Third Time's The Charm?

Back about two months ago, I joined the Mountain Lace KAL, excited because I just knew that I had the perfect yarn for each pattern... I cast on for Mountain Peaks first, not caring to wait to join in the contest fun, but just wanting to get my hands on the Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud I had just waiting to be a shawl. I didn't make much headway at first, and decided by about the fifth row of Chart 1 that I was using needles too large for this very fine, two-ply "laceweight". I ripped everything out, and started over, dropping down two needles sizes.

In an afternoon of work, I caught back up to where I had been originally, and pinned out the work, admiring the supersoft hand. The stitch definition was much better, but the stitches still had trouble staying on the needle, and I lost a bunch of the work while unpinning, thankful there was a lifeline in place already.

I was disgusted though, and dove right in to work on Mountain Stream. The yarn I had chosen was a bit different here as well, but this time I was happy with the results, and flew through the pattern, finishing a few weeks ago.

Since that time, I have been watching as others finish their Mountain Peaks shawls, and still thinking this is a wonderful pattern. Two weeks ago, while attending the Portola quilt guild's show, I got to see some of the yarn my friend Anna had spun commercially from her flock, and right then and there it hit me that the yarn I was trying to use for my shawl simply wasn't right, but that I wanted some of her lovely charcoal laceweight to make another run at it.


Anna's laceweight yarn is from her spinning flock of Coopworth-Salish sheep and is a springy, somewhat tightly spun two ply, crisp where the Alpaca Cloud is soft. I realized that I would get the stitch definition I wanted for the pattern, as well as have a much easier time keeping the stitches on the needles. Blocking might be more of a challenge, as such springy yarns have a tendency to "bounce back", while the alpaca would stay pressed in place, much the way my wool/silk blend Mountain Stream blocked up so effectively. I emailed Anna and asked her to save me some till I would be at her needle-felting class next month; long story short is that the package arrived in Friday's mail.

I cast on this morning, while waiting to meet up with my family for Mother's Day brunch. After our lovely meal in a beautiful spring setting at the Palace Restaurant at Lake Frances Resort, I spent part of the afternoon trialing this new yarn. Here it is, pinned down to check density.




I have since made it through the Top Chart and almost all the way through my first repeat of Chart One. This version will look completely different from the one I might have turned out using Alpaca Cloud, if I could have had the heart to try again.... however, I think I am going to like this version a lot better. I have been wanting an earthy, charcoal-black shawl for some time, and had even considered making the Peddler's Shawl in Folk Shawls. It will work well when I am in costume at historical re-enactment-type events. I am also delighted to be making Mim's pattern from wool taken from mountain sheep:) I have found it quite interesting to see the range of what is classified as "laceweight", and am beginning to think that it is anything too small to qualify as fingering! Anna's laceweight is quite a bit denser than the Alpaca Cloud, and many of the choices other KALers are using fall somewhere between my two choices.

I worked on Ruana yesterday, and really didn't want to get distracted away, as there are only between 9 and 11 inches to go at this point, and I really want to finish it rather than stash it away because the weather is too hot to work on it (this afternoon, with temps in the high 80s, is a warning to me). I will be concentrating on finishing her during the evenings in the coming week, as well as adding those final tentacles to Nautie. I also want to get started on CeCe, as the yarn is calling to me from my smaller knitting bag, and I want to get a lot of wear out of this cute little sweater in the coming season, so I think that my new version of Mountain Peaks will have to take turns for awhile, but at last there is hope once again.

Now don't go feeling too sorry for all that lovely, evening violet-colored Alpaca Cloud... I have a plan for it as well.

I have had fun answering a quiz or two, so decided to create my own for you to take, and see how well you know me!

Happy Mother's Day to all my dear, creative Mothers of Invention in the knitting world and elsewhere....

1 Comments:

Blogger KnitNana said...

Birdsong! I'm so happy you have found the yarn for your shawl! And can't wait to hear what your plan is for your pretty iris alpaca - I have the same you know, and it sits patiently waiting for me to decide! Hmmm... a charcoal shawl, yes I think I need one of those, too, but I'm going to restrain myself...You should join us in Amazing Lace! You're already GOT a teammate - they can serve more than one KAL, you know!
(((hugs)))

2:09 PM  

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