Kashmira yarn now available in red

October 11th, 2008 |
new RED Kashmira yarn, 100g. 100% wool and feltable.

If you knit or crochet, you know the potential dangers of hoarding yarn as well as I do. Maintaining a yarn stash is a primordial instinct that readily becomes an addiction unless you exercise enormous restraint. What’s more, the urge to stash gets much harder to control when a new yarn product—or in this case, a new color of an existing yarn product—comes to market.

At the present moment, the Crochet Queen is eagerly awaiting the arrival of a new color of Kashmira yarn: red. I have dyed Kashmira yarn red before (in this case, a variegated red and black) and even considered offering it for sale in these pages. The knitted sample below left was hand-dyed Kashmira that I double-knit on size 7 needles, then felted. (No, the sample in the photo isn’t felted. This was an in-progress photo. To see a larger image, click on the photo.)

I was very pleased with the hand-dyed yarn, though achieving the variegated colors was a lengthy, multi-step process.Hand-dyed red variegated Kashmira yarn, double-knitted.

For those of you who can’t wait to try the new red (commercially available) Kashmira, you can buy it now by clicking the photo at top right. This yarn is generally classified as a medium-weight (worsted weight) yarn, but I personally consider it more of a sport weight. The specified gauge for a 4-inch-square swatch (4.5 x 4.5 cm) is 25 sts, 32 rows on size 7 (US) needles, which I’ve found reasonably accurate. For crocheters, a size 7 (US) hook should give 18 sc and 18 rows for the same size swatch.

I have used this yarn for double-knitted projects that were then felted. If you’ve read elsewhere that this yarn won’t felt, relax. Kashmira yarn felts beautifully. It does take more time to felt than Patons or Lion Brand wool, but once it gets there, the results are worth it.

Incidentally, if you buy $35 worth of this yarn, shipping is free in the U.S. Since it retails for $5.99 per 100-gram (3.5-oz), 284-yard skein, six skeins are enough to guarantee free shipping. Otherwise, shipping starts at $6.95, so I suggest purchasing several skeins to defray the shipping cost.

At last–photos of the Crochet Queen’s purses

October 5th, 2008 |

One of the Crochet Queen\'s hand-knitted designs.

We’ve finally gotten photos of some of the Crochet Queen’s purses, and here’s a sample of a striped bag that is hand-knit, then felted. The bag has a wonderful feel to it. The texture is very soft and smooth for a felted bag, because the Crochet Queen used a fine-gauge yarn that felts to an almost silky texture. Make no mistake, the photo at right is actually a color photograph, although it looks like it’s black and white.

The orange and red stripes in the photo at left are virtually indistinguishable. The purse in real life shows the two colors more distinctly.

The orange and red stripes in the photo at left are virtually indistinguishable on the page. In real life, the purse shows the two colors more distinctly, though they do tend to blend at any distance. If you look closely, you should be able to see that the bottom stripe is a dark, almost forest green. It tends to blend with the black of the background, so you really have to look. Although I believe the pictures are good enough to do the bags justice, you really have to hold one in your hands to get the full effect. They’re breathtaking.

One shot I’m particularly proud of is this pink candystripe shown below. The bag itself is simply stunning. It’s so gorgeous I just had to take the photo to a larger size, much to the Crochet Queen’s dismay. Although the black-and-white at above right is spoken for, the pink bag is actually for sale, so I thought I would let viewers have a better look at it. Like the black and white, this bag has an especially soft feel and a relatively smooth texture for felted wool. It is a truly elegant accessory. Watch for it to appear for sale soon, possibly on Ebay.

This pink candystripe is one of my favorite\'s--and it\'s for sale!

All photos copyright 2008 Bill Suydam.

All purse designs copyright 2008 Patricia Corthell.

The two-color lattice

July 6th, 2008 |

two-color lattice

Above: the two-color lattice stitch pattern

Some days are like that. I was working on a two-color lattice pattern and just couldn’t seem to get a rhythm going. I would knit a few rows, then discover I had made a mistake a few rows back, or even at the beginning of the same row. So I would tear it out back to the mistake and redo.

I had been doing that for three days now. It was wearing on me.

Meanwhile, the Crochet Queen was knitting away on one of her elegant purses and it was going well. The color combinations were working beautifully; the purse seemed to progress at a rate I could only dream of. It didn’t seem fair—she got to knit all the time.

I only got the chance evenings and weekends, and even then I was mostly just too tired. I knew that was my problem now: I couldn’t concentrate well enough to keep straight which row I was on in an eight-row repeating pattern. Some rows required moving the yarn to the back and to the front repeatedly within the row; inevitably I would screw up and forget to change the yarn orientation, then not discover it until I had reached the end of the row—or worse yet—a few rows later.

So I had a swatch that was maybe four inches high, if I was lucky. And that, along with a boatload of frustration, was all I had to show for a couple of evenings and two days of on-and-off knitting.