The Bucket…

I think I’ve explained before just how much of my organizational scheme depends on buckets.  When I start a new book, it gets three buckets.  As yarn comes in, it goes in bucket one.  Once I’ve swatched it, the swatches and tags go in bucket two (while the yarn itself usually goes out to Super Stunt Knitters for the actual knitting).  When the pieces are finished, they go in bucket three.  Once bucket three is full and bucket one empty, it’s photo shoot time!

I have a similar situation for individual patterns, just a bit less structured.  That less structured bit is the potential downfall here.  It explains how I found a done-save-weaving-in-the-ends set I finished damn near a year ago.

Let’s say I finish that up and get it blocked, hmm?  The weather is certainly perfect for cowls right about now…

And we all know I’m unreasonably fond of mitts.

The yarn is Ysolda Blend 1, which is currently out of stock.  I’m not sure if it’s coming back or not, but if it does, I’m buying a whole bunch.  And in the meantime, I should turn those from unblocked bits of fluff to blocked and take some proper photos!

And also done!

It’s been a productive couple of days.  The mitts are done too!

DSC_2966 copyDon’t worry, they’ll uncurl when they hit the water.  The cowl did (and it has longer stretches of stockinette), because the yarn is clearly magic!

DSC_3007 copyAnd again, in need of some end management and a good blocking.  But also done and rather grand!

Easily distracted

What can I say, I’m easily distracted.  The swatch leapt onto my needles…who was I to fight it.

DSC_2883 copySome fingerless mitts (to match the cowl from earlier this year) seemed in order.  I’m sure you understand, right?

DSC_2888 copyI mean who can be expected to say no to that.

DSC_2893 copyBut don’t worry, they’re quick.  I’ll be back to the slipper some time soon!

Before and after (or why you block your swatches)

So we talked about this before with this yarn, but it really does something magic when it gets wet.  Take a look at the differences between this shot before and after I soaked it.

Before:

DSC_2868 copyAnd after:

DSC_2878 copyAnd yes, I know it can be a bit hard to see in pictures (it’s more dramatic in person).  But look especially at the stretches of stockinette at the broadest part of the leaf.  See how it’s filled in?  And the spaces between each leg of the stitches are much smaller?  And the holes made by the yarnovers are more distinct (because the general stockinette background is denser and more solid)?  The yarn really poofs up and nuzzles up against its neighbors when it gets wet.

This is why you block your swatches folks.  If I’d just knit a swatch and not washed it, I’d have gone down one or two needle sizes and swatched again.  But now that I see what it looks like after a rinse, I know I actually want to stay just where I am.  This one changes a bit more than some (and I love how it looks after it’s blocked), but it’s important for every yarn.  You really really do want to take the time to do this, I promise it’s worth it!

The yarn is Blend 1 from Ysolda, and it’s delightful!

Magic

So the cowl grew and grew and grew.

DSC_6138And then at some point, it was done.  Bound off, flippy as all get out (as you’d expect from stockinette), and ready for a soak.

DSC_6146And here’s where the magic happened.  I soaked it, squeezed it out, and flopped it on my desk.  No pins.  No wires.  No tension at all.  Just soak and plop (it will get a more formal blocking later, I was just testing a theory).  And look at that.

DSC_6174It laid down flat.  Not a bit less flippy, not more or less ok, but flat.   Now part of that is the bind off (I used a yarn over bind off, I think it helps with flippy edges), but most of it is the yarn.  It’s clearly magic.

DSC_6185

Yes please

Well that’s just unreasonably lovely.

DSC_6136And yes, yes it’s simple.  It’s just leaves, and leaves are easy to knit.  But there’s something rather delightful about these.  I can’t quite decide if I want to hurry up and be done (so I can block it and pet it and generally admire it) or if I want to take my time (so I can have the pleasure of knitting it for a while longer).

You’ll just have to trust me

So some things are awfully hard to photograph.  The difference in texture between the pre & post blocking version of this yarn is one of them.  Part of that’s my fault (I didn’t take a picture of the actual swatch before I soaked it, so you can’t quite compare like with like just yet), but part of it is just yarn magic and not to be questioned.DSC_6098It looks like this before blocking.  Pay special attention to the stretches of stockinette.  See how there is a good bit of space between the stitches and between the legs of each stitch?

DSC_6100But on the blocked swatch, that’s all filled in (especially on the bottom section, which was done with the size needles I’m using here).  Everything puffs right up and nestles in against its neighbors.  It turns the whole fabric into something much more cohesive.

If I hadn’t swatched this and seen it do this, I’d have been tempted to use smaller needles on my project (and then would have freaked out when it puffed up and became too dense).  But now I get to knit along knowing it will do its magic trick for me when I’m done!

Oh, and yes, it’s another cowl. Apparently I’m not done with them quite yet.  I blame the (delightfully) chilly spring we’re having.

Faith

We’re in the ‘wait, what’s going on here? Are you sure this is right?’ stage of the project.  But if my swatches can be trusted (and they usually can), this is going to be marvelous in a few more rounds.

DSC_6092We’re going to have to talk about yarn floofiness soon (that thing some magic yarns do where they puff up and become even more cohesive after blocking).  This yarn has exceptional floofiness, and it’s a topic that needs to be explored.  But first, a few more rounds…

Oh, and if you’re wondering, the yarn is Blend 1 from Ysolda.  Which no you can’t get right now.  But I suspect there will be more in the future!

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