Yarn Alley

This weekend I headed to Guangzhou City to trying find some yarn. This took quite a lot of preparation beforehand. Fist of all, I don’t speak or read Chinese so I needed to research where to find yarn and the mode of transportation to take. I ended up concluding that I could take the Metro to Sun Yet-Sen University to the big textile marketplace.

This place was huge! I didn’t know where to begin looking. So I began wandering. I  weaved through the shops filled with fabric, beads, buttons, and embroidery patches  for about 20 minutes. Eventually I came to an alley with some furry fabric. Maybe it was my inner yarn radar, but I felt a pull to investigate this alley.

Luckily, my yarn radar was correct. I found 4 or 5 shops with some yarn in them. Let me just say these yarn shops were not like the US. They had all of the yarn stacked up and it was still in the plastic. I had to be very very careful while shopping. I didn’t want a mountain of yarn toppling down on me.

I ended up purchasing 6 skeins of yarn for ~$11USD. I bought 4 skeins of acrylic yarn (2 red, 2 blue) that were very very soft. At my new school, I am teaching a kids’ knitting class so this yarn will be perfect for them to practice with.

I also bought something called “milk cotton.” Not sure what that is, but it feels like a  soft cotton blend to me. I choose blue as my friend is having a baby in December. I am still looking for a good pattern, but I am thinking a little cardigan would be best.

Overall, this was an interesting shopping experience.  I really didn’t like that the yarn not out on display. I am so use to the tactile experience of yarn shopping. I am going to still keep an eye out for an actual yarn shop so keep checking back for my progress.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

 

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Cotton Cardigan

Before I left the USA, I knit up a lovely cardigan called Summer Lace Cardigan Shrug by Vera Sanon. I used GGH Linova in Knospengrun (cotton/linen blend), which I purchased from Love Knitting. Sometimes there is great cotton yarn and sometimes there is not so great cotton. In this project’s case, I ended up with a scratchy cotton blend that didn’t really soften up until after a few washes.

Despite this, I ended up with a really cute finished project. A lot of my summer dresses are tank tops so this cardigan will make many of my outfits workplace appropriate. The cardigan pattern was easy to follow and included a chart for the lace detail. I really liked that it was made from the top down in one seamless piece.  Since I was traveling, I didn’t want to have keep track of all sorts of sweater parts. The cardigan was intended to have a button at the top, however, I opted not to sew one on. I made the button hole anyway in case I change my mind and/or find one amazing button in the future.




Here I am modeling my new cardigan on top of the Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China. The Canton Tower is the 4th largest freestanding structure in the world. It stand about 604 meters in the air making for an excellent view. Lucky for us we went on a pretty clear afternoon. We got to see most of central downtown and the Pearl River.

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I have to say I am glad to add this bright and cheery piece to my warm weather wardrobe. It has been a little lacking in color.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

FO: Calais Shawl

My Calais Shawl is complete! Well it was completed about two weeks ago. The issue with posting was the photos. I’ve been having a tough time finding the perfect photo spot in my new apartment. I defiantly need to invest in some white poster board. All of the floors and ledges are tile and the reflection is terrible.Overall, I am quite happy with this shawl. However, the sizing  was a little tricky for me. The pattern stated the blocked sizing should be “48 inches wide by 22 inches deep.” I will admit I didn’t make a swatch and wet block it. MISTAKE! Lace is super deceptive when knitting as it bunches up until blocking time. I knew this, but convinced myself I could skip the prep work. Due to my laziness, the body of my shawl came out shorter then desired. Thankfully, the edging of the shawl allowed me to make up for it. I continued the edging section for a total of 7 inches.This pattern called for a Double Strand Estonian Bind Off. I have never used this technique before. It was simple to execute. The result was a really nice border that reduced the amount of curling at the edge. I most certainly foresee myself using this bind off method in the future. Previously, I had concerns about using a variated yarn with this lace pattern. I am glad I took the risk because I really like the combination I ended up with. The colors did not interfere with the pattern making the piece look too busy.

If you are looking for a lacy shawl pattern, I recommend you consider the Calais Shawl. It is a great way to practice knitting lace patterns.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

 

 

 

 

 

Amazonite Tank

A couple of months ago I saw the Amazonite Tank by Kerri Blumer on Instagram. I knew I had to make it. The pattern incorporated on of my favorite stitches: the seed stitch. But that wasn’t even the best part. Drum roll please… The pattern includes 5 different neckline options! Yes, you read that right 5! Talk about the possibilities.😀

For my tank,  I decided on the Peter Pan collar. I love this style of neckline. It is the right combination of vintage and feminine. For yarn, I used Rowan Summerlite DK in Cantaloupe (100% cotton). Wow, do I love this yarn. It is soft and has a lovely sheen to it. Plus you won’t break the bank :).

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I started this top back in May. Everything was going perfectly until I realized I misjudged the amount of yarn I needed. So this project was put on the back burner until new supplies arrived. I used the very trusty yarn.com. This site is great for popular brands and they tend to carry a great color selection. 

My Amazonite Tank came out pretty darn good. I am in love with the changing texture at the bottom of the tank. I like how it starts very dense and then slowly fades. I will say this tank looks a little boxy on me. When I make it again (and I sure will) I think I will make the smaller size. I did make one modification in that I crocheted a single chain along the neckline edge to make it look cleaner.

So far I am at 3 new cotton tops added to my knitwear collection. I have one more on the blocking mat so check back soon for the finished photos.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

FO: Red Leaf Top

The series of simple summer cotton tops continues! I discovered the Leaf Top on Ravelry on day in June and knew I had to make it. It was simple with with some intricate details. 

The Leaf Top is a seamless top- down piece. The yoke was pretty easy to work despite others (as per online reviews) finding it tricky. I will say the yoke did come out a little big. The eyelets fall a little low on my chest so I have to wear a tank top underneath. I defiantly could have gone a needle size smaller.

This pattern calls for worsted weight yarn so it made for a super quick knit. I used Rico Creative Cotton in Red. I bought this yarn from the Love Knitting website. It was super affordable and had lots of colors to choose from.  This cotton was pretty soft when knitting, however it was quite loosely spun. I had to frog back to some sections where I didn’t catch all of the fibers in one swoop. 

I plan on rocking this top quite a bit as it has been SO HOT and humid here on the east coast. I like that this top is versatile enough to wear casually (with jean shorts) or with something a little more dressed up.

Until Next Time

-Whit-

WIP: The Calais Shawl

For the last few months, I have been on a little bit of a yarn buying binge. Half of the reason is that I cleaned out my stash before I moved from San Francisco. Out with the old and in with the new right?  The other half of the reason is my having a little bit of a fear of not having yarn right away in China. Yes, I know China will have yarn, but I want to be prepared until I find a reliable retailer.

Lucky for me locating yarn on my travels has not been an issue at all. Just the other day I was walking down the street in Vineyard Haven, MA (I am back in Martha’s Vineyard) and saw some yarn in the window. Well, I took a detour to just check it out and ended up with two pretty balls of Crystal Palace Sausalito in Mediterranean. I was very much drawn to the two tone ply and I loved the colors. Plus this yarn was super soft and squishy (80% Merino Wool/20% Nylon).

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At first, I thought I would craft a pair of sock for myself. Then I remembered the Calais Shawl . This shawl has been on my to-make list for a long long while. I have to say I was a little nervous to use this yarn as it has a lot of color going on and the pattern is predominantly lace. However, a Ravelry search inspired me to go with it as several others have used variegated yarn and their shawls look amazing.

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Everything is looking good so far. Knitting anything lace is always deceptive as it bunches up quite a bit as you knit. Have you ever went against your “editing eye” and taken a knitting risk?

Until Next Time,

-Whit-