Category Archives: yarns

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week -2KCBWDAY1: A Tale of Two Yarns

One of the knitting-related blogs that I’ve discovered lately is called Eskimimi Knits, and I love seeing all of her projects. Yesterday I also found out that she’s doing this great project called Knitting and Crochet Blog Week – which is a fun way to get a lot of crafty bloggers to all blog on certain themes and get to know each other better all week. I’m so glad that I found out about it just in time to participate! Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up every day – if you’re a knitting or crocheting blogger (you don’t have to have a blog dedicated to it), why doing you join in too? :)

Today’s topic (2KCBWDAY1) is all about yarn – definitely one of the most important things to consider when you’re knitting or crocheting. And one of the most fun too – like most fiber enthusiasts, I have a yarn stash, because it’s really hard to pass up something perfectly soft or a gorgeous color. I keep my stash pretty low in general, due mostly to financial and space constraints – but I do have one. One of these days I need to go through it and weed out the yarn that I know I’ll never, ever use – but for now I keep it all. Just in case, of course.

I haven’t worked with too very many different types of yarns yet, again since my budget is pretty limited. I also stick to those that are machine washable – a must-have with kids, of course. Lately I’ve been all over sock yarns, since I’ve been focusing on sock and glove projects just about exclusively, so I’ll talk about a couple of those here.

MiniMochiYarn 001The first yarn to discuss is the Mini Mochi that I used to make my fingerless gloves/convertible mittens earlier this year. There are definitely some things that I absolutely love about this yarn – especially the colors. I used a pastel range (called ‘baby face’), but I’ve seen the other colors that Mochi yarns come in and I love pretty much all of them! It’s also very soft and slightly fuzzy – and is machine washable (although can’t go in a dryer). It’s 80% merino wool and 20% nylon and is a single-ply yarn. I liked the single-ply a lot – it didn’t split the way that some of the multi-ply yarns I’ve used do and it knit very smoothly on my Addi Turbo needles.

KnittedGloves 004Working with it was a dream – but I would never use this yarn again for a pair of something, like socks and gloves. Unless I didn’t care if the colors matched exactly – because it’s dyed before it’s spun, the colors definitely don’t go in a predictable pattern. I lucked out with my two balls and my gloves match fairly well. But I can definitely tell the difference between the two, especially since they were different dye lots as well, and one ball was much more subdued color-wise than the other. If I’d know what I would be making with it when I originally bought it, I would have bought two balls, not just one. For something like a hat or a scarf, this would be perfect – but I won’t use it again for socks or gloves. I have a book of patterns of various projects for sock yarn (other than socks), so I think I’ll definitely use Mini Mochi for at least some of them.

FirstPairOfKnittedSocks_001

My second yarn is Patons Stretch Socks – (the first sock yarn that I ever bought), in the ‘olive’ shade. I bought this yarn originally because I liked the idea of socks that stretch, thinking that it would make sizing easier – and also because I loved the colors that it comes in. It took me a year to finish my first sock – and I think that was in part because I found this yarn really difficult to work with. The socks that I’ve made since with other yarns have been a lot easier.

FirstPairOfKnittedSocks_006

The biggest problem that I had with the stretchy sock yarn was that it tends to curl and loop and tangle – I had to keep un-twirling the yarn between the needles and the skein and I felt like it was really twisted as it knit too. It’s not as soft as I’d hoped either – but the socks that I made definitely do stretch, which is nice when wearing them. It’s 41% cotton, 30% wool, 13% nylon and 7% elastic and although it says hand wash only, I have washed my socks in the machine just fine. I do hand dry them though. I had horrible problems with laddering while knitting them – in part because it was my first try at using dpns, but I’ve also talked to someone else who said that she thinks the stretchy yarn makes that problem worse in general too. I’m kind of curious to see if I’d have any better result by using magic loop – I have another couple of balls of this yarn (in ‘plum’ this time), so I’ll probably try and find out at some point. I love the colors so much – if I had a way to fix the twisting problem, I’d be a lot more inclined to use this yarn more often.

5536269401_f5048f9bdbThere’s a lot more yarn in my stash, of course – but these are a couple of the ones I’ve used recently. Right now I’m using a yarn called Ty-Dy Socks from Knit One Crochet Two. I like it a lot – but it’s a multi-ply yarn, and splits terribly. Or at least I have difficulty with making sure I’ve got my needle through the entire stitch anyway. Other than that it’s been really nice to work with and I love how the striping comes out. This color is called ‘Cherry Cola’ and my daughter absolutely loves it – good thing the socks I’m knitting are going to be for her! :)

Come back tomorrow to hear where I think I’m at skill-wise compared to a year ago!

A pair of gloves – and just in time too

Very strange weather we’re having here in Michigan this week. For several days it was mild and sunny, and all of the snow that we got a couple of weeks before melted. This morning was still somewhat mild but cloudy. And right after lunchtime it began to snow. I don’t think it’s let up yet – and so far I’d estimate that we’ve gotten 4-6 inches of new snow on the ground.

I’d had to put my second glove on hold while waiting for the skein of yarn to come in at the LYS – I found out on Thursday that it had arrived, so stopped by on Friday to pick it up. On Saturday I picked up where I’d left off on the glove, and at this point on Sunday night, it’s 99% done – I just have to finish the decreases for the top of the mitten flap and graft it closed.

Here are a few photos from earlier today after I’d finished the glove portion (the extra yarn woven through was marking the stitches I needed to pick up to begin the convertible mitten flap):

SecondGlove 002SecondGlove 001

A couple of things I’ve noted about this second skein of Mini Mochi yarn:

  • The general color pattern is somewhat similar so I was able to pick up on the second skein and stay somewhat true to how the colors fell out on the first glove. They’re by no means exact, but close enough that at first glance it probably wouldn’t jump out at you unless you were studying the gloves side-by-side.
  • There’s definitely a difference in dye lots – the colors in the second skein are in general more muted than in the first skein. That’s really not a huge deal either but it is something I notice when I put the gloves next to each other.

You can see the more defined line running across the glove near the base of the thumb, where I switched skeins (rather than the rest of the color changes which are more gradual), but it’s something I’m ok with. Overall I really like this yarn and will probably use it again – but for a single item next time, not a pair of anything!

As soon as I have the second glove completely finished, I’ll post some photos of the pair. I’m glad that I’ll have them this week now that it’s colder and snowy out again!

Now to get back to working on the socks for my 8-year-old…  :)

Knitted glove update

I’m almost done with the first glove! It’s really a very easy pattern and so much easier to do using Magic Loop than trying to juggle a bunch of dpns on the fingers. There’s really only one kind of issue that I’m having – and that has to do with the yarn I’m using for it.

The Mini Mochi yarn is gorgeous – all in a rainbow of pastel colors. But unlike other self-striping or variegated yarns, this one doesn’t have a pattern that repeats – at least nothing’s repeated yet that I’ve come across. The colors just slowly blend into one another. It worked out fine as I knitted the cuff of the glove and then worked my way up the hand. And even into the first finger. But then when I cast off that first finger and went to join the yarn for the second one, I realized that the yarn color had moved past where it had been when I left the rest of the finger area stitches off. So I was basically joining an entirely new color. And it was the same way for the rest of the fingers and now the thumb as well. So instead of a glove whose colors slowly blend upward along the whole thing, I’m ending up with one that has multi-colored digits.

It’s not horrible, by any means. I’ve seen glove patterns that call for different colors in the fingers and thumb like this. It’s just not what I’d really planned on for this particular pattern. And I have to laugh – when I rejoined the yarn to the thumb gusset to finish knitting the thumb – I was up to a fairly bright green. Giving me literally – a ‘green thumb’.  ;)

I decided that I’m going to knit this pattern as a ‘convertible glove’ and add the flap that will cover the fingers when I want it to, so my fingertips won’t freeze when I’m wearing them. And the flap will fold backward when I need my fingertips available to use with my phone, or whatever else. I’m kind of curious to see what color I’ll be up to in the skein when I get to the flap.

As for the second glove, I’m not sure yet. I don’t know if I’ll have enough yarn left in this skein to make a whole other glove. And even if I do – I kind of want the colors to match up. I may have to try and track down another skein of this yarn in this color pattern and hope that the colors transition the same way they are in this skein.

One thing’s definitely for sure – you won’t be able to miss my hands when I’m wearing these!  ;)

I’m curious – has anyone worked with Mini Mochi yarn before? Does every skein in a particular color have the same color transition? Or should I just plan on two gloves with similar but different color patterns? Thanks!