Friday, 1 November 2013

I Knit, Test Knits and Yarn

Fairly recently I started going to a knitting group in Waterloo at the I Knit London store. It is very different to the Stitch 'n' Bitch that I used to be part of back in Leeds, though it is a good group. The age ranges and people are much more diverse, which is always a good thing for a well rounded group. The past few times I've been I took along my test knitting project.

The item I am test knitting is a gorgeous cardigan by Sheila Toy Stromberg on Ravelry called the Salt City Cardi, it uses three different types of lace stitch and they flow really well together. Though I'm finding time wise, it has taken me a fair bit.  I started it on the 17th and I'm still working on it, I have had less time this week however. The yarn pictured below is the Merino Silk blend I talked about before from Kingcraig fabrics on eBay, it's been pretty good to work with and has got me load of compliments at I Knit.

From balls like this
One of the great things about having a more diverse group with a crowd generally older than me is nice varied levels of experience. This came in pretty handy when it came to figuring out what to do about washing my  yarn before knitting it. I wouldn't have thought about the possible ramifications of skeining and washing the oiled balls of yarn individually. Each skein would likely have been washed at slightly differing temperatures and also with varying degrees of roughness which affects how much of the oil is washed out. Knitting them all together like this would then impact blocking as different parts of the garment used different skeins, with different amounts of all and could therefore when completely wash skew the shape because of the tension changes etc.

What this meant I did in the end was use the skein I had already washed, but only for the back piece, and then I used the unwashed yarn for the shawl collar and I plan to use the remainder of the washed yarn for the sleeves. As each of these sections are blocked separately the different levels of oil will not affect the final look and structure of the garment.
To this
Taken at I Knit, London

As I am knitting to a deadline I take my project with me everywhere, I've been knitting on all my journeys and whenever I have a spare moment. I even took my knitting to Blues Fest at the Royal Albert hall last night to see Greg Porter and Natalie Cole, which was amazing. Greg Porter really blew my mind with his smooth voice, I will definitely be listening to more of his songs. It took me a little while to warm up to Natalie Cole, though in the end she was great too.

How would you recommend treating oiled yarn? I know some people are adamant either way, washing it thoroughly before knitting or washing as a garment. Let me know, also if you have any tips for treating it, I would love to know for future projects.