Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Modern Vintage

I got a request for custom Christmas stockings this fall, the inspiration photo was a simple Fair Isle snowflakes with zigzags. We started working out the details (one blue, one green), and then I got another request for a similar, but more complex Fair Isle design with more colours--three bright greens and three burgundy shades, I think.

I told her I could do it with one green and one burgundy because it would take too long to find a yarn line with that many shades (and both women liked the idea of a superwash wool rather than acrylic). She got her deposit in first, so I started on those first.

My first thought for yarn was http://www.knitca.com/yarn/superwash but when I checked it out at a local store, Wool on William (forever known as WoW now), the colours weren't right, there wasn't enough, etc. I wanted to do both orders with the same yarn so I didn't have to re-work the design. There was some Rowan Superwash Worsted, in a bright green and burgundy that were perfect...but she didn't have any white, or the blue and green for the other order. And....Rowan had been bought by Sirdar and there was currently issues and nothing could be ordered! She suggested I contact Knit Kabin as she also sells Rowan.

I was a little disappointed. I started looking up options. Cascade 220 Superwash comes in an incredible range of colours, but where could I get it local? Both Rowan and Cascade got very mixed reviews on Ravelry. What to do?! I contacted Knit Kabin, and indeed she had the "white" which is a little closer to ivory. She also had some greens and blues (I had forgotten to look for them for the other order). I set up a time and headed out to the countryside at the edge of this megatropolis.

I got 3 balls of the ivory, but I still hadn't gotten the deposit for the blue and green stockings, so that was all.  I had to go back to WoW for the bright green and burgundy. Then, a day or so later, I got the deposit, so I had to go back to Knit Kabin for the blue and green. So much for being able to make fewer trips to the yarn store by making them both in the same yarn!

I started with Marg Coe's Christmas stocking pattern. I used T3 and 62stitches on the SK155.  After swatching, I did go with my own row counts. Originally, these were going to be 20" from cuff to bottom of heel, but that looked way too long on my sample. I mean, some people like long and skinny, but it just wasn't doing it for me. They ended up being about 16"-18". I forgot to measure after washing! I used one of the standard Fair Isle cards that comes with the SK155 (the first 11 rows), and I punched the snowflake, and the thin zig zag band.

I also decided to taper the foot a little, and do the toes hand knit, with decreases, rather than the short row toe, which just didn't seem to lay right. I was disappointed that even though the long floats were only 5 stitches, it  was rather loopy in places inside. I sewed these down. I had to reknit one foot, and tried hooking up the floats as I went, and I would definitely do that again.

When I went to duplicate stitch the names, I realized that Jackson was a smidge too long. I suggested to the client that I don't centre it, but start on the left so the ON would wrap on the right. She asked if the letters could be smaller. I didn't want to do that because really, when duplicate stitching, that's pretty difficult. Only a couple letters could be narrower. Then I started stitching. For some reason, the top/bottom spacing was wrong. I counted rows...I had done 14 rows of ivory on two of them (and planned the letters to be 8sts high) and only 12 rows on the third. I decided the shorter one would be for Jackson, and I did the letters 7sts high so they would have more white around them. By shrinking them a row, the narrower letters looked in proportion now. Whew.

I washed them in the sink with Soak.  After reading the reviews on Ravelry, I was almost in a panic fearing they would bleed. No bleeding!! I rolled them in towels, but it was obvious they would need some help in the dryer. The yarn grew a lot while wet and I knew it would not shrink back down just by air drying. They were very limp, but  much softer.  I put them in the dryer with a towel, on low/gentle, and checked frequently. They "felted". Or is it "fulled". They shrank back to their pre-wash size, approximately, but the yarn bloomed like crazy. They feel much more substantial!

However....the yarn fuzzed. Not pilled, but all the loose fibers netted together giving a slightly hazy look to the pattern. So I sat for an evening, with a sharp pair of little scissors, and trimmed the fuzz from the patterned areas. They're still not as pristine as before the wash, but I never want to hand off an order unwashed, and then have the client wash them and not know what to do when things like this growing and fuzzing happen. Why let them be the surprised ones?

I have plenty of the green and burgundy left--I bought two balls of each, and I have a ball and 27-34gr left of each, so basically, I can knit 4 from one ball of the contrast colours. That's pretty good value. I'm not sure how much white was used as I had the test stocking, then a test in the Fair Isle, and now have part balls. In total, the three weighed 361gr, which is 120.3gr each. That means  I used 22gr of green and 24gr of burgundy, so that means 74gr of white. It would be nice to make single colour ones exactly 100gr, instead of 120gr, but that's kind of boring LOL. I did lose some yarn when I had to re-do sections and didn't want to re-use small amounts of the yarn.

Now to finish the blue and green ones!

Yarn In:    8023gr
Yarn Out:   361gr +8128gr = 8489gr
Balance:  466gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $351.86 /348 days = $1.01/day

1 comment:

Slisen said...

Very nice stockings, Tracy. Your time and efforts were well worth it. Good job.