Queue Check — March 2018

Queue Check — March 2018

So I never did a February Queue Check. Life was turmoil, and I was just plugging away on the four hats. With those now complete (1, 2, 3, 4), the blue Bellows shelved till next year, and my last sweater having been finished on New Year’s Eve, I’ve found myself with something resembling a clean slate. Or, the more clear-eyed version: a selection of abandoned projects. I promised myself I’d be more focused on knitting from stash this year, plus I really want to clear things away, which means my attention has turned to the contents of the four Porter Bins on my WIP shelf:

– One of them contains my rotating pile of leftovers and singles that I’m still (and likely forever) transforming into Log Cabin Mitts. So that’s fine.

– A second contains a few odds and ends that need putting away, along with a skein of yarn awaiting my attention — for a pattern I’ve promised and won’t be able to talk about.

– The oldest of them is the long-abandoned Sawkill Farm sleeves, which I have every intention of knitting a sweater body for — now more than ever, most likely a Trillium cardigan — but not right away.

– And the fourth is the carcass of the grey summer cardigan I gave up on last year and have yet to frog. This is the one I’m dealing with first.

The yarn is one of my favorites — O-Wool Balance — and I have a cardigan’s worth. So what to do? I love this organic 50/50 wool-cotton blend, and love it best in stockinette. Every time Bob wears his green sweater, I just want to hug it. I mean, him. But this shade, Talc, is unlike the others — it has no heatheriness, no real variation in tone. It’s just a flat medium-light grey that leaves me cold. I thought it might benefit from some allover texture — from lights and darks being cast across the surface — and swatched for that cute little Massaman top, but the combination of this color and that waffle stitch was just plain homely. (This is why we swatch, friends!) The yarn wants to be stockinette but the color needs … something. So thinking further about it and my stash, I swatched it held double (on US8s) with some ivory Pebble left over from my striped raglan, washed it, and this I love. To the point of carrying it around with me, abusing it, petting it, whispering sweet nothings in its ear, not wanting to be away from it.

I’m stuck on the idea of a little sleeveless sweater that can be worn under a jacket or vest on cooler days and on its own on warmer ones, so I sketched three or four ideas and cast on for one of them (just stockinette with reverse-St side panels) before realizing what I really want is a sweater version of a top I used to own and wore to tatters. It was sweatshirt fleece sewn into a sleeveless top with crewneck and armbands and a wide waistband. Even that trademark V patch at the neck. So that may be what I’m making, or by the time I get to the upper region, it may become a sweatshirt. I do have enough yarn for that, after all, and with the cotton content and looser gauge, this would fit the bill of what I was talking about yesterday. So I’m torn, but planning to listen to it as it grows up and see what it wants to be.

Either way, it will factor neatly into my spring wardrobe planning, coming up next week!

OK, this is funny. In adding the links throughout this post, I found myself on last March’s Queue Check, subtitled “A whole new queue.” I’m writing above about the fate of that first item, and finished the second one earlier this year. (I’m wearing it as I type.) For the rest of the items listed in that post, there has either been progress (e.g. a grey Junegrass pullover, just a different pattern; a different chunky shawl-collar in progress, etc.) or the plans remain exactly the same. That makes me feel so good. ;)

Porter Bin and Fashionary sketch template from Fringe Supply Co.

Queue Check — March 2018

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24 thoughts on “Queue Check — March 2018

  1. Tutto is a yarn shop in Santa Fe, that believes strongly in holding several yarns together to make wonderful fabric. Ironically, they tell me that it is hard to get people to do this. Your swatch is proof that it works.

    • It’s been one of my favorite tricks since I first learned to knit. I was wondering the other day if I might actually have knitted more things with multiple strands than singles, but of course some of those are multiples of the same thing (for gauge) while others are blends. Shibui is also a yarn company founded on the idea of holding things together to get a wider range of fabrics.

  2. Interesting that your swatch color is so much more lively. Pebble is a terrific carry yarn, as is Purl Soho’s Linen Quill–similar. Can’t wait to see what this becomes. In the meantime, I’m chuckling while picturing you taking that swatch out for walks, talking to it, etc.!!

    • I have four skeins of the grey marl Linen Quill and my first thought was to swatch it held with this, but the Pebble was already wound!! ;) I love a marl held with a solid, though, so that could happen with that at some point …

  3. So happy to see that O-Wool Balance is still available! I made two different sweaters from in ten or more years ago and found them perfect for Alabama winters. Now I can plan a third!

  4. I made an entire sweater out of a beautiful navy alpaca I bought when I was first starting to attempt sweater knitting. It turned out great, but as I was inexperienced with different types of yarns I realized pretty quickly that alpaca is too drapey for the pattern–it just grew and grew as I wore it and I looked and felt like Dopey! I got the idea for a do-over, so I frogged it all and am starting again with this yarn held double with black cotton in the smallest gauge possible. I used a smaller needle to get the same gauge and it is genius! I’m so glad I read about doing this here.

  5. We have Pebble at the store where I work and I often think about your striped pullover – it’s such a lovely yarn to handle, and I’ve been daydreaming about a lightweight striped scarf, knit in the round with the yarn held single…

  6. sometimes amazing things happen when we let the WIPs sit and stew for a while. Love the two yarns held together – a favorite trick of mine. Now that I am spinning, I like to do the same thing with two different plies. oh, the fabric we can create!

  7. That grey really is a very monotonous colour, isn’t it. It looks great held double with the light colour. I look forward to seeing what this tells you it wants to become.

  8. This really reminds my of your Wabi mitts – the marled yarn, the contrast of stockinette and reverse stockinette, the simple design. Looks great!

  9. I did that once with sewing thread – powder blue slubby cotton, with navy thread. One of my favourite knits!

  10. If you are interested in all-season, lighter weight garments, I recommend you explore Habu and Ito yarns. Habu Tsumugi, stranded with Pebble, or other light fingering and lace weights, makes beautiful fabrics. My most worn FOs are these stranded mixes. They feel great and wear beautifully.

  11. Lovely! I was going to suggest holding your grey double with a thin, slightly metallic silk in a grey/silver close very close to the main color. But I love what you have chosen (and from what I can tell, it’s more “you” than the fabric I was imagining). Perfect for the sweatshirt-like idea, too.

  12. I have a whole heap of Balance in the same colour and feel similarly uninspired. It really is a dull gray isn’t it! Your combined swatch with the Pebble transforms it though. Can’t wait to see where it goes.

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