Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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Saturday, April 03, 2004  

Oh! The Alice Starmore yarn is wonderful. Of course, I had ordered from samples, so I knew the colors were both pleasing and intriguing, and the texture was soft. Ha! It's gorgeous and the texture and softness are mahhhhvelous. It is also not cheap, coming in at $5.25 for a skein of yarn comparable to Jamieson and Smith's Shetland weight - which I see has leapt from $2.95 a skein when I bought it some 2 years ago, to $4.00. So - I guess I should not be surprised at the $. And the Starmore yarn is a whole lot softer - as in - I would wear it next to my skin, while I would have to move beyond the Arctic Circle before I'd wear Shetland without a T-shirt underneath. And now I think on it - I'm not sure if K charged me shipping. (I hope she did!) So it may be even closer in comparison, for a sweeter feeling yarn.

What they also have in common is a marled color effect. I wonder how they create that - It's a subtle inclusion in, say, a blue yarn, of purple and green. Not in flecks, nor in specks. Not as in long combed lengths, as some color blend tops have, nor in swirls. It's something far softer. I am utterly fascinated by how they create this effect, though it must be a fairly easy industrial process. I've seen it in other yarns. Carodan Farms' own brand of wool has it, and so do some other proprietary yarns.

Meg Swansen of School House Press sells the Jaimeson & Smith and will send you a color card for it - you will drool over the vast choices. The AS yarn has fewer choices but still plenty and Virtual Yarns sent K a sample card. I notice on Meg's page, though, that there are some new EU rules and a warning that looks to me as if the new skein size has fewer yards in it. I know that you could knit up a fair isle tam with 2 skeins of the old J&S and have a good bit left over. You always need so much yarn when working with this 6 st. to the inch stuff.

The AS colors I bought are Poppy (what you’d expect); Strabhann (gorgeous medium value blue); Whin (gold); and Machair (a woodsy olive green). The red, blue and gold go together. The red, green and gold go together. The 4 of them create a slight discordance.

Now - I was wanting to do this, to push the edge with these colors - to jolt the eye. The inspiration for this diminished fourth comes from two mind expanding knitters; Lise Kolstad and Tone Takle. I own More Sweaters and the library owns Small Sweaters. There are so many things in these two books that make the brain synapses click and snap. I love these two minds - which come across in so many ways. In their insights, their designs, and, my goodness, in the color choices they make! I love it that one of them writes, and I paraphrase, "We've knitted a lot of stuff - and a lot if it was simply awful but some of it was really good" Do you hear the important message there? Don't be afraid to try.

I constantly pull out their books just to feast my eyes. I also really love doing color stranded knitting. And I wanted to knit something really complex, using color combinations that don't all harmonize with Brahmsian sonority. I wanted a little edgy discordance; Stravinsky, but not Gershwin. But I didn't want colors that were too juvenile. Not that I think adults can't carry off crayon box colors, I just didn't want use them on this project. The AS colors are extremely easy to blend with subtle, gentle harmony, but you can mix a little tartness with them, if you wish.

I do wonder if I ought not to have bought a black yarn to unite this slight color discord, but I think I shall just go with these 4. I pretty much know what I want to do with it - and how to put things together. It's now just a matter of finishing up my handspun bunny bonnet so that I can release my only set of 16" size 2's.

And a word here about needles. I like pretty much all good quality needles but I knit 98% of the time on circulars and to my mind, nothing knits like an Addi Turbo. I like slick metal needles. I also like good quality wooden needles, and Bryspun DP's. But I had only an Inox 16" circular in size 2, so that is what I'm knitting the bunny bonnet with. Well. I had forgotten what lovely slender tapered tips the Inox needles have. How utterly perfect for knitting stranded color work in thin yarns. I've been a little snooty about Inox because they don't have the joins that Addi's do - but the joins are good enough and ooooo those lovely tips! These are the coated Inox needles and I can't praise them enough.

And last night's girls' night with K and BH was simply perfect. Thank you K!

posted by Bess | 8:37 AM