Might as Well Use Malabrigo…

I was stuck in project limbo for about two whole days. When you’re off work, that is an extremely long time! I spent my time in limbo researching patterns and techniques, swatching, stashing yarn on Ravelry, and (drum roll) sewing in the ends on my Old Shale blanket! I want to give it a light blocking but right now I don’t have anywhere to do it. We’re in the middle of going through all our stuff, culling, and reorganizing, and the guest bed is…very much buried. That’s the only space that’s really safe from the cats. But, at least I bit the bullet and did the really tedious part.

I did some research on effectively weaving in ends on superwash yarn. There’s lots of resources out there, but I didn’t come up with any options that I really love. TECHknitter shows how to “skim in” the ends, but it seems to me that method would be hard/impossible to do invisibly. The project in question is my Quicksilver shawl and, even though there is a wrong side and a right side, I want the wrong side to look as tidy as possible since it may well be visible when worn. Otherwise, options I found were using duplicate stitch, darning in the ends, hand sewing them, and tying outright knots. To be fair, the knot method is demonstrated for cotton, but there’s no way I’m tying knots on my awesome shawl. Duplicate stitch just doesn’t seem secure enough, darning the ends would be too visible, and sewing them in? Probably not happening (again) any time soon. So, I will probably go the TECHknitter route and see how it looks. I will need to find somewhere to buy a knitpicker.

So, after all that, I still needed a new project on the needles. So, I started swatching for the test knit I signed up to do. I don’t think it’s a secret as the author posted the pattern photos and a call for testers on her blog, so it’s the River District Toque from welfordpurls. I had already picked out a yarn from my stash based on weight, fiber, yardage and color, so I pulled that out and tried it out. You know how sometimes you know something isn’t quite right, but you just don’t admit it? That was the case here. The yarn I had planned to use was Husky by Ellyn Cooper’s Yarn Sonnets. Ravelry says it’s worsted weight, so that must be right…right? Not like it’s called “Husky” or anything. Or like the label recommends a US 10 needle. Or like it looks about twice the size of any other worsted weight yarn I’ve ever seen. Nope, I didn’t let any of that sway me–I cast on for a gauge swatch. Shocking that it didn’t work out at all, isn’t it? So, back to the stash I went, and the only really appropriate thing I could come up with was my new malabrigo Rios. I swatched, found the right needle size, and cast on. After a few snags, I figured some stuff out and ended up with this:

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It’s so squishy and lovely. Ignore the blue cotton provisional cast on. The picture does not begin to do the yarn justice. It’s about the softest thing possible and I love the way the dye looks. It’s almost like the dye didn’t all penetrate the fiber completely so there’s a luminous quality to it. Probably someone who knows something about dyeing could explain it better, but for now I’m happy to just be in awe of it. Here’s a better look at the cables:

IMG_3413

The color in that photo is much more accurate. I love it so much that I’m going to try to keep the finished product for myself! It’s doing a little bit of flashing so far, but not so much that I don’t like it. If it gets more pronounced, I’ll consider restarting and using two skeins. For now, so far, so good!

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10 comments

  1. Orange Smoothie · August 7, 2015

    It’s beautiful! Is that Archangel?
    And for weaving in ends, I would really recommend the duplicate stitch. I don’t think you have to worry about it not being secure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • andalexand · August 7, 2015

      It is Archangel, yes–good eye!
      I’ve used duplicate stitch for many many other projects, but I’m worried about the superwash not felting in. I’m probably overreacting…I just haven’t done many projects before that are this in depth and I don’t want to screw it up!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Maggienesium · August 7, 2015

    Good luck! Both with the knitting and the cull – those can be a bit tough, but SO WORTH IT when all is said and done.
    Also, I just wanted to point out that you did a ton of work on your knitting! It doesn’t sound like project limbo at all 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • andalexand · August 8, 2015

      I suppose that’s true–it just seemed like everything I was doing was knitting related instead of actual knitting. Then, three gauge swatches and my first attempt at the hat all got ripped out, so it seemed like I was just moving backwards (I know I should cast off my gauge swatches, wash and block them, but I mostly don’t–can’t stand to sacrifice the yarn).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maggienesium · August 8, 2015

        Agreed! I’d much rather the yarn go into the project, though a swatch blanket might be kinda cool one day…
        As for the knitting, I think of it like cooking – nothing turns out nearly as well or is as satisfying without the prep 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. FogKnits · August 27, 2015

    Curious what method you ended up with and how it looks now? I’m a big fan of duplicate stitch. Have you ever duplicate stitched to add a design to your work? I assure you, it is very difficult to get out 🙂 If you duplicate 4 or 5 stitches, there’s no way it’s coming unraveled that far, even with superwash.

    Liked by 1 person

    • andalexand · August 27, 2015

      I ended up using duplicate stitch. So far, so good! I figure a hat won’t have to hold up to lots of washing or anything, so it should be fine.

      Liked by 1 person

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