Wow, the last two weeks have gone ... somewhere? Anyway, I have been knitting. And thinking about knitting. Just not blogging. Thanks for all your wonderful comments on Charlotte's Web. She's been worn several times and continues to please me.
In addition to knitting, I'm trying to take up cooking (surprise surprise - this is more popular with the rest of the family). Made a lasagna from scratch yesterday. OK, not the pasta, but I made the Bolognese and bechamel sauces. Added sauteed Swiss chard to the ricotta layer and sauteed brown mushrooms to the bechamel layer. Yummy. Very yummy. If you want to understand Italian cooking, get Marcella Hazan's The Classic Italian Cookbook. I'm a new cook but what I've made from this book tastes like I've been doing it all my life - that's a good cookbook!
Finally finished Knitty's Cozy wrap. Pushed on through balls five, six and seven in about four days after getting that bug to JUST FINISH IT. Almost stopped at ball six, but decided that I wanted a little more drape. I've only got about two yards of ball seven left. Final measurements after an hour of wear are 67" x 22", though I blocked it wider/shorter (about 62ish x 25ish) knowing this yarn/pattern had a strong tendency to stretch long. The pattern uses eight balls of a different yarn and measured 67.5 x 19.75, so this was a pretty close substitution.
I've found I can pin it like a poncho or just wrap it. I'm wearing it at the PC right now and it lives up to it's name nicely. The pattern is two simple lace rows shifted over an eight row repeat A-B-A-B, so once you get comfortable it flies along, which is good since it seems to goes on and on at the end!
The yarn is Rowan Summer Tweed. I LOVE this color. You can see from all these photos how it changes in different light. It's my favorite shade of red with the added bonus of orange flecks. But, I'd be hard pressed to recommend this yarn for this pattern - nothing about it is conducive to knitting lace. It's a thick, rough 70% silk/30% cotton worsted weight blend that can be very hard on the hands for lace stitches like K2togtbl. Still, it does create a wonderful texture. Ah, the price of art.
Click this photo on the left to get a good look at the orange flecks.
I've read a lot of opinions about Summer Tweed, so I'll just give you my experience so far. First, it does indeed soften significantly in the wash. It's still got a rustic hand, but softer with a nice drape. After CO, I machine washed it in a front-loading washer on the delicate/cold cycle with Eucalan. I would have used the "handwash" cycle, which has an even gentler agitation and spin, but I was in the middle of kid-management and simply forgot until I heard the spinning. Still, it survived without issue, though this fiber doesn't look like it will tolerate too much agitation.
From there I gently wet-blocked it on the futon - no pins, just repeated tugging to measurements. Someone on the Cozy KAL told me their Summer Tweed bled badly, so I put a color catch sheet in the wash (it was the only thing in the load, I was just curious). The sheet came out red, but there was no bleeding on the cream futon after Cozy laid on it wet over night (yeah, I live on the edge), so I'd call it colorfast, though I'll probably always wash it alone to be careful and reduce agitation. I put in in the dryer on the lowest setting for about three minutes after it was completely dry just to de-fuzz it and soften it a touch more. Finally, this yarn has not broken on me yet, but it can be pulled apart fairly easily, so I'm going to have to be very careful around our door handles (they've torn my shirts and sweaters in the past as I've dashed around our house - maybe I should dash less?).
Caution to other Cozy knitters... I made the same mistake three times over the last four feet: I dropped the inside K2tog stitch on a [slip, K2tog, psso]. They fell behind the new stitch and were virtually invisible until I examined the knitting from the back. Luckily (in this case) the yarn is so sticky it doesn't run. Caught one while it was still on the needles and just dropped down about three inches to fix it. The other two showed up during blocking, so I fixed them from the back by pulling the yarn up through the back, cutting (yes, cringe), then knotting. Totally hidden by the pattern.
Have a new sweater in process too, but will blog that another day.