Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Test Knit

The weather is finally cooler today here in Savannah and I just pray that it’s here to stay. It was such a treat this morning to run WITHOUT the sun burninating me and WITHOUT needing to wear my running hat. I did still put on sunscreen because well that makes Mr. SpiderKate happy. He gets very upset when I don’t wear sunscreen and despite it being overcast and probably not really needing it today, I still lathered it on to make him happy. Why is he obsessed with me wearing sunscreen? Well, in my younger days I was a lifeguard and he’s convinced that I’ve been overexposed to the sun as a result. He also doesn’t trust that teenager Kate was diligent about putting on sunscreen and he would be right about that. It’s hard to argue with someone that doesn’t want you to get skin cancer, so I lather up despite how annoying it is to run with sunscreen on your face.

Anyway, this post wasn’t supposed to be about the long-standing discussion between Mr. SpiderKate and myself regarding my sun exposure. I wanted to write today about a recent test knit I did for Michelle Meyer of Timeless Knits. I haven’t done a test knit before, unless you count my own designs, and for some reason this one really spoke to me. It might’ve had to do with my recent “what am I doing with my life” phase or maybe it’s just about having a deadline and goal. Either way, the shawl was beautiful and it offered an opportunity to try out a yarn company that I’ve been eyeing for a while now. The name of the shawl is Footbridge and it’s knit with Luna Grey Fiber Arts Orion. Luna Grey Fiber Arts is the company and Orion is the base. Let’s talk about the shawl first and then I’ll give you the skinny on the yarn.

I absolutely loved knitting this shawl. It was VERY relaxing and just what I needed. Now, I will not lie, the rows do get very long at the end, I mean it does have a ruffle and all. I find the best way to get used to the longer rows, especially after the shorter rows in the beginning, is to take a break from the knitting. I don’t know why, but this works for me. When I re-pick up the knitting, the long rows are like the new normal for the shawl. The pattern is well written and easy to follow. I had the main pattern memorized after a couple of repeats. I can also see using this shawl as a great template to play with color. Michelle’s pattern is color blocked, but the design lends itself to different interpretations of color blocking. One idea I’ve been playing around with is alternating colors of the garter stitch and stockinette sections/bands. It would be sort of “stripey”, but not really. Or! What about mixing in the next color via this stripe effect before totally switching said color. See! It’s fun!

Now the yarn - Luna Grey Fiber Arts is a yarn company/brand that I’ve been following (re: stalking) for some time now. I’m not sure why I haven’t pulled the trigger and ordered yet; perhaps I was just waiting for the perfect time/project/opportunity. Jackie Vleck is the talented owner/dryer/color creator extraordinaire of Luna Grey Fiber Arts. Jackie very generously offered all test knitters 10% off the purchase of yarn for the test knit, seriously, how sweet/nice is that??! The biggest problem I had was deciding on what colors to get. Her colors are fabulous. I secretly had in mind using a yellow, orange and grey color, but I feared this would be a weird combination. I asked Michelle (shawl designer) for some color suggestions and, I kid you not, she sent me a message with these exact colors. I could not make this up! I went with Charcoal (grey), Pumpkin (orange), and Midas (yellow) for my shawl. These colors are VERY Fall, which I just so happen to be in the mood for.

These colors have depth! Charcoal, Pumpkin, and Midas are not your typical solid colors. They are semisolid awesomeness. I am particularly enamored with Midas because I love yellow and it’s so nice to find a yellow that isn’t just yellow, if that make sense. This yellow is shades of light and dark. It reminds me a lot of the Snitch in Harry Potter. My yarn was shipped quickly too! I think I ordered on a Monday or Tuesday even and my yarn was here by that Friday. It came beautifully packaged and included a note and some stitch markers. I really cannot recommend this yarn enough! So, if you are like me and am on the fence about ordering from Luna Grey Fiber Arts, then definitely jump down and get ordering :o) Jackie has some great kit combos up in the shop for this particular shawl right now. Some of my favorite combos are: Option 1, Option 2, Option 3, and Option 11.

Other details of my shawl:
Ravelry Project Page: Footbridge
Cast on date: 26 Sept 2014
Cast off date: 13 Oct 2014
Color A: Midas – 48 grams used (139 yds)
Color B: Charcoal – 85 grams used (226 yds)
Color C: Pumpkin – 78 grams used (246 yds)
Blocked gauge: 7 sts/2” & 15 sts/4”; some measurements gave me 8 sts/2” and 16 sts/4”, I think if I measured gauge once the shawl relaxed (shrunk) some, then my gauge would be spot on. I didn’t check my row gauge as meticulously, it looked close to 30 rows/4” but that can’t be right based on my final measurements.
Final measurements: Approx. 26” down the spine with a wingspan of approx. 61”

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