Carol Sulcoski, Lisa Myers and Laura Grutzeck have recently published a great book called Knit So Fine. The book has plenty of great designs using lightweight yarns, which tend to get a bad reputation from both knitters and crocheters that they are slow to progress in your projects.
Well, Carol has agreed to be my “guest blogger” today and I am happy to have her! The following is a discussion we had about her book and her thoughts behind using “skinny yarns.” So, take it away Carol!!!
First of all, a big thank you to Andrea Lyn for hosting me today, on the very first day of the Knit So Fine Skinny Yarns Blog Tour!
Today we’re going to look at Trekking XXL, a wool/nylon sock yarn that is made in Germany by Zitron (and distributed in the USA by the Skacel company). I’ve always loved Trekking for socks, but after I got a spinning wheel and began to experiment with plying yarns, I came to love Trekking even more. There are particular colorways of Trekking that create wonderful shaded color effects via the plies: each ply changes color in long lengths, at different rates and using different hues. You end up watching colors morph into each other and back again. I’m fascinated by these colorways.
After I started spinning, I came to better understand the color effects when I was plying together yarns that I had spun. I began to wonder what would happen if I knit two strands of Trekking together. I picked about five or six different colorways that all used this shaded effect and started knitting striped swatches with them. It was addictive (much in the way that self-stripers like Noro Kureyon are addictive – you can’t wait to see what color comes next).
Since layering pieces are in fashion, I decided to go with a very simple, classic v-neck vest.
I had so much fun making stripes (you had to change both strands at once at the end of the row, and start the next row with two different strands to get really distinct stripes) that I designed the vest with a striped front. But I also loved the way the yarn looked when you switched one strand randomly. So I designed a back panel that allows the knitter to randomly drop one strand and pick up another for an impressionistic blur of colors.
CS: Andrea Lyn, you did some crocheting with Trekking – what did you think?
ALVB: I have to tell you, I am always a little worried about using skinny yarns for exactly the same reasons as most stitchers, but I think I am becoming a convert! I especially liked Trekking XXL. The feel is incredibly soft and the colors are wonderfully vibrant! I especially liked that is is 75% wool, as I prefer to use natural-occuring fibers.
You told us how the yarn’s color effects inspired the vest in your book. Where else do you get for inspiration for designs from?
CS: All over! For example, my oldest son is ten, and he wears a lot of skateboarder-style shirts, like this one:
I thought how fun it would be to translate that idea – a T-shirt style top with faux layers – into an adult style. And that’s how the Skater T came about!
Sometimes a particular yarn gives me an idea, while other times I just play around with a style I like – like a yoke sweater or a raglan – and try to come up with a little twist to make it seem fresh.
ALVB: How do you/what is your process for selecting the specific yarn for a specific design?
CS: Sometimes the yarn will inspire the design – like the Drapey Silk Vest, which was a way to show off the gorgeous drape of a pure silk yarn. Sometimes I have a design in mind but not a particular yarn, so I look for a yarn that will fit in with my mind’s eye view of the design, paying attention to things like elasticity, warmth or coolness, colors available, gauge and so on. Every once in a while, I start to swatch or knit with a yarn and discover it doesn’t behave the way I need it to, so then I have to find an alternate. There’s a lot of trial and error involved.
ALVB: How long did you work on the project?
CS: We first proposed the book idea in mid-2006, and spent several months working on swatches, sketches and an outline. We began ordering yarn, designing and knitting in the fall of 2006, and that process continued until the summer of 2007. It seemed like so little time! But luckily we finished it up and we were pleasantly surprised when the finished book starting showing up on bookshelves a few weeks earlier than our projected publication date (which was June).
Thanks again, Andrea Lyn, for hosting the first leg of the Knit So Fine Blog Tour!
Tomorrow we’ll be visiting RosieBlogs (http://www.rosieblogs.blogspot.com), the blog of Rosie’s Yarn Cellar (http://www.rosiesyarncellar.com). My co-author Lisa R. Myers – who founded and owns Rosie’s – will be chatting with Courtney Kelley about another delectable fine yarn . . .
It was my pleasure hosting you Carol! You can order Carol’s book from Amazon by clicking on the widget above!