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: 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-

Great Pattern, Not So Great Yarn

In May,  I was asked to test knit a sweater for Life is Cozy. I just happened to have 5 skeins of hot pink alpaca yarn (from my trip in Ecuador) that needed to be knitted up, so I said yes. I have test knit for this designer before and love her designs. They are simple constructions with interesting and delicate details. The Forever April Sweater was no exception. The design elements that caught my eye were the shaped waistline and the off the shoulder neckline.

The Forever April Sweater is a top down raglan sweater with bell shaped sleeves. I did bump up a needle size (US size 2 and 4) as my yarn was a little thicker than the recommended yarn. I didn’t want the piece to be too dense. The only other modification I made was to shorten the length of the sweater as the recipient is on the petite side. I ended up keeping all of the waist shaping increases and decreases and just began the ribbing 3 inches before my desired end length. 

So why does my title contain the words “not so good yarn”? Well this yarn was by far the worst yarn I have ever worked with. It shed EVERYWHERE! Anytime I worked on this sweater I would end up having a layer of hot pink fuzz covering me. This yarn was was also not very tightly wound. I have a pretty tight knitting tension so at one point I broke the yarn 4 times in one row 😫. To make matters worse I tried it on and it was SO itchy. Ugh! This “not so good yarn” made finishing this project a pain. 

Despite my dislike for the yarn, the sweater came out quite lovely. I made sure to give it a long soak and it doesn’t seem as itchy.  Buster (my “fur brother”) seemed to approve.

I am a little bummed that my yarn choice was a let down, however, The Forever April Sweater is a great pattern. It makes a lovely sweater for the spring or chilly summer nights. I highly recommend you head to Life is Cozy and download this free pattern.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

FO: Zinone Top

It is officially summer and I am excited for the much needed vacation time ahead. In preparation for the hot weather, I have been knitting up some cute cotton tops. One pattern that I have had my eye on was the Zinone top by Andi Satterlund. I love love love the lace detail along the back of the top. I will say I think my lace got a little off center. I am choosing to consider it a “design modification” (hahah)

Zinone is a great pattern as it has several options to make the top of your dreams. This top can be made as a crop top or full length. You can also make a partial or full lace back (depending on how ambitious you are feeling). I went with partial lace back and more of the crop length. 

As with most of Andi’s patterns, the top is made from the top down and includes waist shaping. The best part…minimal end weaving as the body is made in the round. Woot woot! 

I tried a new yarn that I found in my LYS. It is called Bio Sesia 5 and it is 100% organic cotton. This yarn was one of the best cotton yarns I have knit with. It is soft on the fingers, pretty tightly wound (for a cotton yarn), and creates a well-defined garment. I have worn the top a couple of times now and I am happy to report no pilling! 

Zinone is another great pattern from Andi! I can’t wait to get some more wear out of it. I tried to wear this top on my trip to Martha’s Vineyard to model for you, however, it started downporing and my lovely new top got soaking wet ☹️. Follow me on Instagram (@knitsbywhitsf) for some dry photos in the coming days. 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

The Burgandy Shawl

Burgandy is my favorite color to wear. It looks really great against my skin tone in any season so I tend to gravitate toward it. So when I “accidentally” bought too much yarn for my Rosina Pullover I knew I would get to create a couple of great burgundy pieces.

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Here is the latest item off my needles the Burgandy Shawl.

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This shawl is a triangle shawl that can be worn around the neck like a bandana or over the shoulders as a shawl. I used Cascade 220 in Burgundy and the accent stripe is one of my favorites Knitting Fever’s Painted Desert in Brick. I modeled this shawl after the Dovetail Wrap from Purl Soho. I added an eyelet border and also an eyelet row every 12 rows. In addition to the mesh panel, I adorned the edge with gold beads. The beading is not as prominent as I would have liked, but I think it adds a delicate touch. 

For more photos, please visit my Etsy Shop.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-