Saturday, February 26, 2011

Soft and Feminine

     Having accepted that alpaca is definitely addictive, and that I am totally hooked, I'm still knitting beautiful things for Rocaro Alpacas for the spring Saltscapes show. The feel of the yarn is so inviting, soothing, and it knits up beautifully. I've now had the chance to try almost all of the yarns Caroline has available right now. There have been trials and tribulations, as I figured out which worked best for what type of patterns, how many strands looked and draped the best, etc. She has such lovely fine lace weight products that I love, but they really need to be knit with two strands for the best result. 

     These cowls have had beads added as well. I use the 'add a bead' as you go method with a piece of monofilament as a threader to place the beads over a loop before I knit it. I have a 1.25mm crochet hook which will go through some of the larger beads, but if they have extra coatings, that won't work so I found the simple piece of monofilament worked best for all the beads. I also had the challenge of fitting the crystals over the double strand as they have smaller holes. The edges of the crystal were beginning to cut the yarn, so it was best to loop the bead over only one strand instead of both. I didn't find the end result took anything away from the look of the crystals so one strand it will continue to be. 

     I now have three of these finished. The latest still needs blocking and it's a dark brown with white luster beads. Very attractive! The next one will be a medium brown with more sparkling crystals. Each cowl has a total of 60 beads in the pattern. I even learned a couple of new stitches for this project. The picot bind off is very lovely and since it's done on both ends, a provisional cast on was necessary so the stitches could easily be picked up again. (Bowing to the Internet Gods in appreciation of YouTube!) The finished result is so professional and pretty. I'm actually rather impressed with my newly learned stitches. 

     Now if this cold weather would ever warm up so a person could get outside! That cold blast last night has erased all thoughts of spring from my mind. I'm still waiting for my plow guy as there's a huge drift at the bottom of my driveway. There is nothing but ice and blowing snow as far as the eye can see and it's too damn cold for the road salt to work so driving is really fun!  Hibernation has been a good rest but I'm anxious to get out and do something different for a change. Seems like it's been a long winter so far. I did manage to get some major housework done recently so wasn't time wasted. Come on Spring .... please!