Sunday, 28 November 2010

Late contender!

As I thought we had our line-up closed, a late contender arrives!

Yesterday I went to Bath, to check out their new LYS, Wool. It took me a bit to find it, because I forgot the paper in which I had written the address. Thankfully, I had looked on the map where it was, so I just wandered around the area until I finally found it. Wool is a nice cozy little shop, although sadly it has too much sheep for me, and not enough sheepless yarn (which I'm aware is a problem with me, not the shop!).

However, they had a yarn that looks like it could be a strong contender for the Periodic Blanket! I bought a ball, and I will try it soon.

Late contender!
Late contender!
Patons Fab! DK (rav)
100& acrylic, dk weight, 274 m/ball
Pros: has all the colours, immense yardage
Cons: only available in Bath, yarn a little thinner than wanted

I also found today a new square pattern that looks really good, so I need to go back and rework with some of the other yarns. I've never put so much effort into the prep of a pattern!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Periodic Yarn

Most of the time, when I make a project, I go down to my LYS, and just pick up some yarn. A couple of times, I have bought "a sweater's worth of yarn" online, and then found a project. But that is not something I can do now. I need to think, and plan, and then my loads of yarn appropriately. Welcome to the Yarn-Offs!

Requisites for the yarn:
- no animal hair.
Ideally acrylic, or an acrylic blend, for durability and ease and care.
- wide range of colours.
With my current colour-scheme, I would need: red, a more different red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue, purple, pink, black (outlines and names) and grey (most likely background colour).
- easily available.
Ideally with some certainty that it's not going to disappear of the market (I haven decided yet whether to buy it all at once or in stages).
- not ridiculously expensive.
While my brother has both his kidneys if I need one in the future, I shouldn't just throw away mine.

I had a perfect yarn picked for it, Rowan All Seasons Cotton. I love this yarn. However, while the 2009 colours will fit my blanket just perfectly, the 2010 colours are very few, and not in the right ranges. I could wait until next year to see if they change them again, but I won't hold my breath for them. I shall play a sad tune, and move on to current yarns.

I scouted the local yarn shops, and brought home 4 candidates for my yarn. In the order I selected them, I bring you my candidates. All the yarns are satisfactory, but have extra pros and cons.

Candidate number 1
Test yarns
Rico Kids Classic Aran
50-50 acrylic poliamide, aran weight, 115 m/ball
Pros: has most of the colours I need, acrylic blend, machine wash & dry, preferred thickness
Cons: doesn't have all the colours

Candidate number 2
Test yarns
Rowan Handknit Cotton (rav)
100 cotton, worsted weight, 85 m/ball
Pros: has all the colours
Cons: I'm a bit weary or using pure cotton for a blanket, not a lot of yardage per ball

Candidate number 3
Test yarns
King Cole Bamboo Cotton (rav)
50-50 bamboo cotton, dk weight, 230 m/ball
Pros: has most of the colours I need, it's a blend
Cons: a bit too splitty and thin, doesn't have all the colours, delicate machine wash

Candidate number 4
Test yarns
Hayfield/Sidar Bonus DK (rav)
100 acrylic, dk weight, 280 m/ball
Pros: has all the colours, immense yardage
Cons: some of the colorus I need are so bright as to be radioactive, a bit thinner than wanted

Over the next couple of weeks/months, I shall be swatching with each of the yarns. Testing the yarn for such a big project is important. This will also allow me to decide which pattern to use for the squares, as well as know how much yarn I will need for each one, helping me determine how much yarn to buy. My initial preferences are towards Rico and Hayfield, but I won't really know until I work with and wash all the yarns.

Will keep you posted with some swatches soon!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

My crazy, let me show you it

It is no secret that I am somewhat mad. However, there is normal crazy, and then there is, well, doing-aeronautics crazy. I think my next project falls into the last category but, much like doing Aero, I'm elated and excited and crazy and I don't care.

You see, I've been wanting to make a blanket for me. A geeky blanket, ideally somewhat modular, so I can travel with it. I initially thought of a Settlers of Catan blanket, and then Alex had the best idea ever.

A Periodic Table blanket!

I've already sketched the colours, scouted for a square pattern, and bought a couple of different yarns to test which one I want to use for the whole thing. I'll be updating the progress, because this is going to be too awesome not to share! It's going to be the best blanket.