Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Yarn Review: Curio

One of the awesome things about being a designer is that sometimes you can get yarn support in yarns that are not available to the public yet.  That is also one of the not so awesome things about being a designer - you have to keep it a secret until the yarn is released.  Case in point: Knit Picks Curio.  I have been wanting to talk about this stuff for like two weeks now, but it is finally released, hooray!

Curio is a #10 crochet thread, in 100% cotton.  For you knitters out there, that is a lace weight.  I would bet my last biscuit it is mercerized cotton (because it is so smooth and shiny), but the label doesn't say it is.  It is smooth, shiny, and has a very tight twist, as crochet thread should so that it doesn't split on itty bitty hooks.  It feels a little bit stiff in the ball, but softens beautifully on washing.

All that, however, is fairly standard for good quality crochet cotton.  The thing that makes Curio stand out is the colors:

Seriously, they are even better in person.  I have always kind of had a thing for colored crochet thread, but it is often difficult to find it in any colors other than white, ecru, baby pink and blue, and Christmas colors.  Curio comes in a nicely varied palette.  I'm particularly drawn to some of those softer colors in particular.

And now on a related note, a preview for my book:

The next pattern, Blueberry Torte Capelette, is in Curio, in Bluebell.  So if any of you were wondering why I hadn't put a planned yarn next to this one, when I have one for all the other patterns, now you know.  I am good at keeping secrets.  I just don't like it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

16 oz of yarn is a lot of yarn.

This is going to be one of those posts where I do something crazy and take lots of pictures so you can laugh at me.  I swear, when I started this seemed like a great idea.  But getting to the point, anybody remember this picture?

That is a sixteen ounce skein of yarn - a whole pound. It is Mountain Colors Weavers Wool, which is very nice and squishy and will be a very nice sweater.  (To be specific, it will be Chocolate, the Sweater in my ebook).  It does create the problem of how to wind it tho.  See, this is how a normal skein of yarn looks on my swift:

This is how a sixteen ounce skein looks:

Problem number one, right there.  Problem number two:

I think it's afraid of that much yarn.  So I decided to make it bigger with a paper plate with a hole in it and a paper towel tube:

The little yarn guide thingy was too close in, so I tried to guide the yarn with my hand, but that largely resulted in the yarn getting caught in the gears of the ball winder.  Also, when it gets to spinning the paper plate acted like a little wing and tried to launch the whole assembly across the room.  So I decided to take off the paper plate and use the yarn guide:

It... kind of worked?  Sort of maybe?  But you see that blob at the bottom?  Yeah that just got bigger and bigger until I had to put the little yarn guide down again so it wouldn't put the yarn down in the gears again.  But I kept winding until it looked like this:

That's about when the gears in my ball winder started to skip.  Bad sign, that.  Unfortunately the swift still looked like this:

I finally had to take it off the ball winder and finish by hand, which was tedious, but at least I didn't have to worry about breaking my ball winder any more.  I don't think I'm going to get that paper towel tube out of there until the yarn is used up, but it is all wound now, without cutting or anything, as you can see:

It's also bigger than my kid's head.  The really sad part?  I have another one of these I'm going to have to figure out how to wind.  Beam me up, Scotty!

Monday, June 17, 2013

I present as proof I have not been slacking...

...a beautiful new pattern!

My Strawberry Cream Shrug combines a fun wagon wheel stitch with simple cables, to make a figure flattering faux-cardigan shrug.  Faux-cardigan because I love the look of buttoned shrugs, but can never get them to fit properly, so I made this pullover to look like it is buttoned.  For cuteness.  Now available at a discount preorder price of $3.99.

It is also the first pattern in my cool new ebook, Cake (Because It Has Layers).  It is also currently the only pattern, and yes technically still in preorder, but let me tell you, this is super exciting and my hooks are on fire, baby!  Keep checking here or on my Facebook/Twitter feeds for continuing updates.