Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I Kouyou'd

It turns out that when you work on something a lot, you finish it sooner than you thought you would!

Pattern: Kouyou by Angela Tong
Yarn: my handspun BFL/silk, approximately 430 yards
Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm) Addi Rockets
Started/Completed: April 2/April 16
Mods: added stockinette rows, changed up the bind off

This pattern was the second in my LYS's Shawl Adventure for the year. I'm attempting to do them all in handspun (or at least partially, in the case of the first pattern). This particular skein had been in my stash a long time, just waiting for the right project to come along. It seemed to work well with this pattern, and knitting with it was certainly a delight.

Because my yarn was so much thinner than either of the weights called for in the pattern, I made two big modifications. First, I went down -- way down -- in needle size. The size of the needle was still big relative to the thickness of the yarn in order to create lace that was actually lacy, but I wanted my stockinette to have some body to it, so I didn't want to go too big. However, because I was going down in both needle size and yarn weight, I added additional stockinette rows to prevent my shawl from coming out kerchief size. I started by following the directions for the largest size in the pattern and then did a bit of math to figure out how many stitches I would need for the lace to work out.

The other modification I made was to the bind off. At first I followed the directions in the pattern, but my bind-off edge was coming out way too inelastic, so I ripped back and started over, this time working the picots as specified but substituting the lace bind off (k2, *slip both stitches back to left needle and k2tog tbl; k1; rep from *) in between. The result is a very stretchy edge that I was able to block aggressively.

I did kind of screw up the picots, and I'm not sure if I miscounted or what, but they don't seem to fall where they're supposed to in order to highlight the lace patterning. I didn't really notice this until I was pinning the shawl out last night, and at that point I wasn't about to unpick the end I'd woven in, tink back, and redo the whole thing. I doubt anyone is going to look that closely, and it's not really bothering me at this point, but it's something I'd certainly pay more attention to if I was knitting this pattern again.

I am pleased that I finally managed to knit with this yarn, though I didn't use it all up (I had a feeling I wouldn't, but I expected to use about 100 yards more than I did). I will have to find something creative to do with what's left.

Because I finished the shawl just before going to bed on Saturday night, I got to Sunday evening and suddenly realized that I only had one project on the needles -- my handspun Hitofude -- and nothing to take to work with me. So I quickly wound up another skein of handspun (this Southern Cross Fibre Corriedale) and cast on for a new pair of socks. I've been meaning to give the Fish Lips Kiss Heel a try for a while now, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity.

I got the whole toe done on Sunday evening (yes, I'm actually knitting a toe-up sock!) and have been speeding along ever since. Watching the colors transition in handspun always seems to make me knit faster, and I'm enjoying this sock immensely. I can't wait to get to the heel and try out the magic!

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