I have some tough decisions to make, knitting related. Oh yeah, some big doozies. I have some 'special' yarn and have to decide if I should machine knit it, or hand knit it. I've been experimenting lately with doing "tuck rib" on my Singer 327. I used a very fine yarn (label reads Spinrite, 2/24, Mic Acr Wl, Khaki/black, Wrk 06707 July 99...I bought this at a Spinrite tent sale (the makers of Patons and Bernat) and I'm interpreting it as microfiber acrylic and wool. Not so sure about the "Khaki" as it seems grey to me. The 2/24 is the size of the yarn) and a punchcard, T10, and set the ribber and MB up for full needle rib. The mainbed does the tucking stitches (every other stitch for 2 rows, then the alternate stitches), and the ribber bed just does its thing.
While still hanging on the machine, the knitting is very squishy and condensed, but once off the machine, and given a little steam, it opens up beautifully. In the picture below, you can see the 'long' stitches peeking through--these are the stitches that get tucked for two rows before getting knitted (tucking means the yarn is laid across the needle, but it's not knitted, and once it is knitted, the yarn float is knit with the stitch).This picture, below, shows the "ribber bed" side before I stretched it out. It doesn't look like ribbing because the stitches on the other side don't get knit on each row. Even stretched out, like above, the fabric maintains a "double sided" feel that you just don't get with hand knitting. Both sides look great, it's plush and squishy but still open.However much I loved it, I wasn't thrilled by the gentle drabness of the yarn. Here's a case where a boring yarn and a repetitive stitch design add up to ho hum. I love how grey can both be a casual colour (grey sweats) and a dressy colour (grey wool flannel suit). But this 'shawl' was looking more like grey sweats than a dress suit. It needs a more interesting pattern, and although it's a cone of yarn, I might actually hand knit it!
The other yarns in question are MUCH more special. From left...a skein of rayon, textured yarn, about 400yds, from Grand River Yarns (bought at K-W Knitter Fair, 2007), mohair-wool (80-20), 658yds, from Wellington Fibres (the label, website and email on the label spell it Fibre, which seems really odd to me but the web address works and that's how it's spelled on the website too). I went there at the end of May, 2008. I kept meaning to blog about that trip, the place is REALLY cool. Then, the Yarn Harlot wrote about it, with even more great pictures. Maybe I did blog about it then...I'll have to go back to see, LOL. The yarn on the right is Skacel Merino Lace, "shrink resistant", 1375 yds, bought at K-W Knitter's Fair Sept 2008.I know the rayon is not a big skein, and destined to be a scarf, I guess. Although I wear shawls now, I'm not really a scarf person; they just don't seem necessary with jeans and a t-shirt. So I think I'll knit it on the machine just so I can get it done quickly and out of the stash.
The other two yarns....The mohair does have several colours in it, but it's still pretty tonal (with the exception of the gold). I'm not sure how elaborate of a pattern it will tolerate. It might be perfect for the pattern I tried with the grey yarn. The Skacel though...it's got a lot of different colours in it, pinks, browns, yellow, reds....it's going to need something very simple. Maybe a semi-circular shawl in stockinette but with a very ornate border done by hand. Or maybe not a shawl at all, maybe it wants to be a very fine sweater. Although after working on that red tank top in the summer, I'm not sure if I want to assemble a sweater in fine yarn (I have a white cardigan in pieces, waiting since March or so....).
Part of the problem is that I don't often get to hand knit with awesome yarns, and so I really enjoy getting to do that. But on the other hand, if I use the knitting machine, I can enjoy wearing/using the final product so much sooner.
I'm not sure I'm 'practiced' enough to use the good yarns on the machine, and I do have some Christmas knitting I have to crank out. I'd really like to try using the tuck rib and do short row wedges. Has anyone done this? I have a lot of fine, but boring yarn that I could knit up into shawls, scarves, etc. So, I think I can do some more practicing before going for the good stuff! LOL.