Yarn Substitution Star Eyed Julep Blanket

At my regular Monday night class at the Yarnery last week ,there were three students with yarn sub questions. It got me thinking, so I thought I’d think here.  I keep putting off this type of writing on the blog, but I need to do it to keep my ideas somewhere I can find them!

The topic  of yarn substitution could cover an entire book. Or at a bare minimum a 3-hour workshop. I thought I’d start discussing it because one of the premises of Drop Dead Easy Knits is that the patterns use basic yarns (yarn-store yarn) at a basic gauge to allow for easy subbing.

I’ve re-knitted a few of the projects in other yarns. I’ve been happy with the results and learned a few lessons. Always more to learn in life, isn’t there?

knitting, book, hand knit, models

For this initial bit of chat, I’m focusing on the Star-Eyed Julep blanket from DDE. (Photo by Gale Zucker.)

It is an extremely clever bit of log-cabin construction from Mason Dixon Knitting, one of our guest designers. Guest designer sounds like we put them up in a lovely cottage and fed them treats while they worked. Not hardly. Lots of email and airmail and they had to provide their own snacks..

Let’s unpack this, shall we? I just said that because ‘unpack’ is the current phrase I love to hate. I want to smack the people who use it constantly in work meetings, like the zillion I sat through this week. I hate unpacking my regular suitcase or even grocery bags. I’m not going to unpack a perfectly explained bit of a project.

Ok, rant over.   The obvious first place to start when looking to sub is the yarn label. If the pattern calls for a worsted-weight yarn, look at the yarn shop for yarn labeled as such. Warning – what yarn companies say about their yarn and what others who have knit with it believe is not always the same thing. More on that in a future post.

The blanket was designed with Rowan Pure Wool Worsted, but I’m currently knitting Star-Eyed Julep in Berroco Ultra Wool.   A change in distribution has made it harder for some US shops to stock the Rowan at the moment, so we wanted to show it another yarn.  Also, the Ultra Wool is really nice yarn and widely available in the US and Canada.

There are plenty of other popular worsted weight wool yarns that could work, and acrylic blends, as well. (Canadiana, Vintage, Encore come to mind.) Check the label, talk to the sales person, and most of all, SWATCH.

Does it feel the way you want it to feel? Drape in the right way?  Only you can decide that.

If you decide to purchase yarn online, think about buying only one skein initially, or make sure you can return it. I have a couple of bins of yarn that didn’t work as intended…

Back to the yarn label. From the Rowan website for Pure Wool Worsted:

Yarn Ball Weight: 
 100g
Yarn Meterage/Yardage: 
 200/219
Tension/Gauge Stitches: 
 20
Tension/Gauge Rows: 
 25

From the Berroco website for Ultra Wool:

Ball Weight:
 3.5 oz / 100 g
Ball Length: 219 yds / 200 m
Knitting Gauge #1:
 4.5 sts = 1" on size 8 US / 5 mm needles
 18 sts & 24 rows = 4" (10cm)
Knitting Gauge #2:
 5 sts = 1" on size 7 US / 4.5 mm needles
 20 sts & 27 rows = 4" (10cm)

Both yarns are 100% superwash wool. Looks like a close match to substitute. Easy decision.

What about colors?

I rarely make something with the colors shown, even when using the suggested yarn.   In this case, I wanted to try and match the colors in the book photos, since that is so often what knitters want. Plus, in addition to being Drop Dead Easy, it is Drop Dead Gorgeous.  Those MDK folks are geniuses.

I opted for Ultra Wool, and Berroco generously supplied yarns that appeared to be an excellent match for the colors. Did I take my own advice and swatch? I did not. Well, I did for gauge, but not for colors. I have even participated in a silly video  of tips that reminds knitters of an easy way to check for adequate contrast.  I should know better.  I did know, within a few rows of introducing the medium grey, Fog, that the contrast wasn’t going to work. Also, Fog looked more blue in when knitted up with the other colors than it did in the skein. (Color theory explains the why, which I don’t remember, although it has been explained to me.  I just know it does.)

What did I do? I kept knitting. “And still she persisted.” isn’t always a good thing, I guess. I even took a picture at one point to convince myself that it would work. The black and white to show lack of contrast is on the right.  If it weren’t for the blue tone, which I can’t quite reproduce here, I might have kept going, because I didn’t want to stop.

 

contrast Collage

The worst thing about ripping out log cabin-style construction? So many little balls of yarn. Such much more ripping that a few rows of normal knitting. SWATCH!!

Photo Mar 10, 7 40 25 AM

I tracked down another grey, Storm, that I think is working. Really. It is.  Storm isn’t a heathered color as the others are, but that is ok with me. I know it bothers some people to mix heathered and solid, but I have never understood that preference.

Before, the mix with Fog

Photo Mar 12, 12 48 44 PM

After, with Storm – Partially used skein, so it looks a bit flat.)

Photo Mar 12, 3 18 27 PM

A redone square, in progress.

File Mar 12, 4 24 54 PM

Are you looking for other color ideas?  Drop Dead Easy Color Genius Kirsten Kapur pulled a few together to get you started thinking. Remember, we chose these from colors on a monitor.  Your mileage may vary.

Alt Colors Star Eyed Julep 2

Alt Colors Star Eyed Julep 1

 

 

Milliners to the Resistance

That’s what my non-knitting long-time dearest friend called me when she asked me to make four more pussyhats!  (I made one for her and one for her sister to wear in DC.) I love that –  we all are milliners to the resistance. Here’s the latest New Yorker:

nyer

Better late than never, here are photos from the Minnesota March.

When I boarded a city bus there were plenty of other hats.  A favorite, but blurry photo, was a knitter finishing her hat.  “I wish I had finished this last night.”  Lament of knitters everywhere.

So many hats, all handmade.  I thought about the images and visual statement of the Suffragists.  Color served as a means of instant recognition then, and now.

The Saturday Night Live on the night of the march used this, when Olga Povlatsky (Kate McKinnon) appears behind Putin.  Everyone in the audience immediately recognized it and applauded.

snl

The kids I saw and talked with were the most fun, and were happy to show the signs they made ‘by myself.’

I initially had mixed emotions about going to the march, but I am so happy I did.  I was supposed to meet up with friends, but it in a crowd of nearly 100,000  (20,000 expected at the most) that was a challenge.  My friend Jill waited for me at the bus stop, or we wouldn’t have found one another either. (Fort Tryon keeping me bundled up.) And some girls just wanna demonstrate and have fun all around.

One last hat I stalked at the march for a photo.  My Tendrils Hat, seen in the wild!

photo-jan-21-12-12-10-pm

 

 

DROP DEAD EASY KNITS DRINKALONG✨

Join in the fun and win fabulous prizes!  Over on Instagram it’s the

🌟DROP DEAD EASY KNITS DRINKALONG✨

Through Dec 31, post a picture of your beverage of the moment- tea, coffee, hot mulled wine, or refreshing spring water – on our coaster.

Here’s one with my water glass at work.

photo-dec-13-2-27-16-pm

Didn’t get a coaster?  Use a facsimile DropDeadEasyKnits coaster, the cover of the book or even a knitted item. Use our hashtag #DropDeadEasyKnitsDAL .✨

We’ll be doing giveaways of the book, yarn packs to make projects, plus some additional e goodies.

Here’s a jpg of the coaster to use if you don’t have a real one!

Drop Dead Easy Coaster WordFrame White

It is supposed to be -20F tomorrow evening.  Knitting at home is the plan!

Post Election Poetry Volume 2

The Thing Is

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.

“The Thing Is” by Ellen Bass, from Mules of Love

Post Election Poetry Volume One

I have few words – what ones I did have I have spent.  I was serving as an election judge for 15 hours on the day of the election, and saw wonderful, heart strengthening actions and people.  I will try to hold that close.  Since I have no words, for a few days, I’ll post those of others. If you have any recommendations, please share them.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

The last stanza of Dover Beach, by Matthew Arnold

Vogue Knitting Live Minneapolis Edition

I’m still a bit bleary-eyed after staying up for Game 7 of the World Series.  I kept on knitting, but discovered a few dropped stitches in my cables.  Too exciting a game, even if you don’t care who wins!

If anyone is going to be at Vogue Knitting Live in Minneapolis, I will be at the Yarnery booth with copies of Drop Dead Easy Knits on Friday from 3:30 to whenever, and on Saturday from 11:30 to 1:00.  Stop by, I love to see people face to face.

I am blocking an Abide Shawl in Malabrigo Sock to bring along.  It has been finished for at least two months.  I’ve been wearing it at home.  Why am I such a procrastinator about blocking?

Here it is in Quince and Co. Finch.  Kirsten designed a wonderful pattern, and it really is really Drop Dead Easy!  I’ve knit two of them, and may do a third!

2016-10-03-17-38-26

(Photo courtesy of Darn Knit Anyway.)

Girl Clothes and Pockets

Being back east meant some family time.  I have a big (big) family, scattered around, but the core is still in New Jersey and I miss seeing them more.  Especially the littles, as they grow so darn fast.  Here’s a lovely shot of a just-woken-up-by a newly-minted kindergartener-and-her-brother visiting aunt, plus the goofs goofing around.

breakfastwagon

In reality, Miss M didn’t want to share me with her brother very much.  After all, when we color together he just wants to grab the crayons and paper.  “Can’t you get him out of here?” She was particularly interested in my ability to make clothing.  It seemed a novel idea to her.  “Aunt Lou, can you make me a dress with pockets?  Because girl clothes have ZERO pockets!”  I agree, and yes, of course I can. We even looked at fabric on-line.  She wanted stars or planets and chose the blue, with the planets second place. I’m sure I can find something like it locally.  If not, there is always Clementine Maine to the rescue!

It was fun to see her think about sleeve length, dress length, and  pocket placement.  “Can you make matching leggings, too?”  This is when I do wish I lived much closer.

Any suggestions on simple dresses (with pockets) patterns gladly accepted.