But in between my Martha Stewart moments, I'm working on these:
Renee Lorion's Lace Cover Up from Vogue Knitting's Spring/Summer 2011
|This shawl is knit lengthwise as a short, fat scarf that is |
attached at the shoulder. It's a quick and super simple knit
that's great for showing off a novelty yarn.
|The texture of the yarn is great, but really draws the eye. |
I think any intricate stitch pattern would clash, so the
simplicity of this design's shape and repetition is
I've cast on 64 instead of the recommend 74, as my gauge was slightly bigger and I'm knitting on size 9 needles (not size 7). The nubby texture of the yarn made casting on a bit tricky, but it does not get in the way of knitting.
Michele Wang's Cable Swing Poncho from Vogue Knitting's Holiday 2010
|I was pretty hesitant on the color of Eco +. I usually prefer a more vibrant|
red, but given the size of the pattern, I think a slight more muted hue
will give a better end result.
At first I thought the cable pattern was a bit "shy" for such a big project, but as I continue up the back, I like the soft lines of the fish cables. They make a nice contrast to the dramatic broken ribbing.
I am a bit worried about the yarn, however.
Cascade Eco + is marketed as a bulky yarn, and I'm knitting on a US 9 needle, but the feel of the yarn is much closer to an aran weight, or even a worsted. But that's neither here nor there, as my gauge is spot on and the feel of the fabric is perfect.
|See the fuzziness of the yarn? This does not bode well.|
BUT the yarn is a double ply (2 smaller strands twisted together to make 1 bigger strand) that is twisted quite loosely and I'm already noticing some fuzzies. Plus, the ends of the yarn are significantly frayed.
What does this all mean?
Well, as my mother said when she handled the skein:
"That's going to pill like a skunk's a**."
How she came up with that particular analogy, and the extent of its accuracy, I really don't know, but the bigger issue is pilling. A word all knitters dread.
Pilling is when loose fibres work their way out of the twist of the yarn and gather on the surface of a project, creating matted, fuzzy balls that are REALLY IRRITATING.
Pilling isn't the end of the world- your sweater won't fall apart if it's pilling, but it will look like you just danced through a field of persian cats. Pilling obscures knit stitches on intricate patterns- the fuzzies get so bad and dense that you can't see what the actual knit pattern is. It also damages simple stockinette stitch, because the smooth, small lines of the plain knitting makes the fuzzballs all the more obvious.
|A good prediction of pilling: how do the ends of the yarn |
look? Loose fibers break free (pill) more easily, so fuzzy
ends that unravel quickly point towards a pill-able yarn.
There's really only one way to get rid of pills- shave them off. Knitters routinely shave their sweaters to remove pills but, come on, shaving a sweater? I'm lucky if I can remember to shave my legs. And you want me to shave my clothes?
How do you know if your yarn is likely to pill?
- soft yarns (merino wools) are more likely to pill than "hard" yarns (ex. the undyed, slightly oily yarns that are traditionally used in Aran knits)
- loose twisted plys are more likely to pill than tightly twisted yarns
- single or double ply yarns are more likely to pill than multi-ply yarns (this is one of the reasons that cotton yarns don't often pill, but do "split"- they are usually made up 8-12 small plys)
- areas of a project that come into constant contact are more inclined toward pilling (hence, most pilling is first noticed along the underarms, but you rarely see pilling along the neckline)
- projects that come into constant contact are more likely to pill (the more you wear it, the more quickly it will pill)
The poncho is knit in 2 big rectangles that are sewn together. The sleeves and neck are simply left open, so there are no places where the yarn will overlap and rub against itself, which should minimize the amount of pilling I have to deal with. However, soft yarn is soft yarn, and you get what you pay for. I saved a lot of money by buying a good value yarn for this project, but there may be a reason that Cascade has priced this yarn so low.