Friday, January 30, 2009

after the storm

If you've heard about Kentucky in the news lately? It's all true...we've had a bad ice storm. I've been lucky; we've had electricity, phone and internet, unlike most of the state. We (the dogs and I) spent a quiet week working hard inside, warm and comfortable, aside from the crashing sound of breaking tree limbs. (which is very scary to highstrung dogs!)

Unfortunately, the professor had to work, so we walked him to the university. We're lucky to live only a half mile away, so that's why this was possible. It's really an ice rink on some of the sidewalks, though! One student at the university was injured because a tree limb fell on her as she walked underneath it. It was very unsafe for a day or two. Now it's just cold (it hasn't gotten above freezing) and slick, still a dangerous combination, especially if you don't have electricity...and, if you live in a rural area, you then don't have water (electric pumps for the wells) or possibly heat either.
Yesterday I de-iced my car (it took 30 minutes, the driver's side door was ice-glued shut, so I climbed through the passenger door to begin the process!) in preparation for catching a flight to visit my family. I'm off to Virginia for the weekend, assuming all goes well.

On the knitting front, I've been working with some laceweight yarns, doing a little swatchy swatchy knitting...pictured here. So, here's a fanciful question for all you laceweight fans with electricity and internet access:

If you could choose any kind of fiber for your laceweight creations, what do you prefer? Why? Is there something you absolutely avoid? (cotton? Multi-color?) Are there things with too much drape? Too much elasticity? Curious knitting writers wonder about these things!
Tell me what you think in the comments, please-- Your insight is useful.

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Blogger Donna D said...

Lace, my favorite topic. Your swatches are yummy!

I happen to love lace out of (some) multicolored yarns. But you really have to swatch to see what you will get. You can't substitute as easily as you can with solids, because some colorways just ruin the lace because they compete for attention too much.

My favorite yarns for drape are alpaca and silk. Of course I also love merino for everything and my absolute favorite, most cuddly lace shawl is made from Koigu.

The exotics like qiviut, camel, buffalo and yak all work up nicely in lace but these days many are too pricey. Cashmere is a nice alternative, but I really still prefer alpaca.

I actually prefer to knit lace out of heavier yarns, also. I knit a few projects with lace-weight but I also have made lace projects in any weight from fingering up to super bulky, and I love the results! I recently made a worsted weight lace stole that is just fabulous.

Mohair, not my favorite. I love it, but for lace it seems to be too difficult. First it makes it hard to see what you're knitting and second, it's very difficult to rip. So only for experienced lace knitters. The results can be gorgeous though.

So, just a few thoughts from a lace junkie.

January 30, 2009 at 12:31 PM  
Blogger Jody said...

I luv suri or huacaya alpaca for lace. They both have lovely drape and softness. The suri also has a beautiful shine.

January 30, 2009 at 12:57 PM  
Blogger Geek Knitter said...

Cashmere for the softness, blended about 60/40 with silk for shine and strength.

Alpaca and merino are both lovely as well.

I prefer heathers or semi-solids over truly variegated yarns. I have the hardest time trying to find a pattern that doesn't get lost.

Safe travels!

January 30, 2009 at 4:02 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Love the colors in your swatch - no lace expert here as I've only knitted a few pieces. I have to really pay attention to keep my place. My favorite so far is a scarf out of 50% shetland 50% pygora. Lovely drape, incredibly soft and the luster is brilliant from the goat fiber. Not as difficult to rip back as mohair either. Also, it takes dye beautifully :)

I hate ice storms. I'm so glad you came through it safely. So many others were not so fortunate.

January 31, 2009 at 5:08 AM  
Blogger Willow said...

I found your blog via your comment at Knitting Along the River. My parents lived in Kentucky for a couple of years (Lexington). And my hubby is The Professor (Cal State Univ, Channel Islands) :)

I think lace knitted in llama/silk blend or alpaca/silk blend is the most beautiful and most pleasant to work with. I can't imagine doing lace in cotton (SO heavy and NO memory) or in bright variegation because the pattern would get lost. But then I'm a purist and love my colors muted.


January 31, 2009 at 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I prefer to have a little silk mixed into my cobweb weight yarns. Adds a bit of sturdiness and weight to wool. In other words BLENDS beat 100% anything. Other than that I am not too pickity. I haven't knit a cotton shawl but then making joins in cotton is iffy.

I used to do sample garments for K1C2 and Cascade and got kinda hooked on the Kidsilk variants. I have some small farm shetlands which tend to be heavy laceweight or light fingering. Am currently working with the defunct Sajama Alpaca so yeah alpaca is nice too. I have some of those yak/silk camel/silk blends which are almost too nice to work with. I have knit cashmere and zephyr the cashmere was cobweb zephyr falls in that heavy laceweight IMO. Still exploring all the laceweight options I can get my hands on... such a treat after a virtual dearth of light weight yarns.

February 1, 2009 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger Laura A said...

Oh, I'm mental. I have knit with alpaca laceweight. My most recent shawl AND scarf (duh!). It was nice. But nothing touches that Art Yarns.

I haven't yet knit with laceweight camel, cashmere, or the like. Though spinning it was pleasant.

February 1, 2009 at 2:33 PM  
Blogger Laura A said...

Ok, so my first comment disappeared. Here we go again.

My very favorite laceweight yarn is the Art Yarns kid silk. It's beyond delicious. I agree that laceweight mohair isn't always the best. I've knit with at least two others, one being quite expensive, that didn't impress me at all. But if it's mixed with enough silk, I like it a lot.

I am a huge sucker for kid mohair, usually first clip, in any form, though.

Merino... not so much. It won't hold a block. I have a huge circular shawl (my first shawl) that I have to block every time I want to wear it. It'll hold for a couple months, tops.

Alpaca is nice. Didn't make my heart sing, but that might be because the Art Yarns has ruined me for life.

I've knit a large stole with SeaSilk. And it is really nice but I think silk needs another fiber to help it keep shape. At least the Sea Silk could benefit from that. And it's really heavy. It worked in the stole format well, but I don't think it'd look so great as a circle or triangle.

I haven't knit with laceweight camel, cashmere, or anything else along those lines that I don't know how to spell. I've enjoyed spinning it INTO laceweight however.

I agree that only slight color variations are preferable. Unless they're extremely long color blocks. I knit the Shoalwater Shawl with Noro Kureyon, and knit the picot border with some coordinating Lamb's Pride that is seriously gorgeous because the Noro striped along the ripples of the feather and fan pattern. But other than that, I prefer solids, heathers, and lighter and darker variations of the same color within a skein.

That being said, I'm about to start a shawl with Kauni because I've heard good things. I don't know if I'll like the end result, but again, it's very large blocks of the same color, so we should still be able to see the stitch pattern.

February 1, 2009 at 7:54 PM  

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