Friday, February 13, 2009

I'm aliiiiiiive!

A little the worse for wear, and my eyes are a bit woozy still, but I have a pulse, and February is now more than half over, which has to count for something.

So what I was starting to talk about, before I was so rudely interrupted by work, is Twisted Fiber Art. Specifically, TFA's Arial, in the Firefly colourway, which I've had in my stash for a while now, awaiting the right project.

Kathi Taylor turned me on to TFA last fall (or was it last summer? the old memory ain't what it was), and I managed to snag an order the next time they had an "Instant Gratification" moment -- and when I got the yarns I could see (sort of) what all the fuss is about. I say "sort of," because the yarn didn't really reveal its full potential until I got to know it a bit better.

First thing out of the wrapper, I noticed that the colours are beautiful, and the combinations unexpected. For example, if someone were to have suggested to me that I'd enjoy knitting a self-striping yarn in shades of grey alternating with avocado green and chartreuse, I'd have laughed myself silly, if I hadn't seen this yarn with my own two eyes.

Somehow, on this skein, those colours just . . . work. And the self-striping, which isn't immediately evident on the skein, revealed itself a little more clearly when I wound the yarn into a cake.

Last weekend, right after my first Moebius adventure, I started to wonder what would happen if I were to try the exact same pattern, only this time using a self-striping yarn. Aha! I thought to myself -- this would be the perfect time to take some Twisted Fiber Art yarn out for a spin. ("Twisted," Moebius, spin -- what's with all the knitting puns today?)

The other big change on Moebius Mach II is that I started with a slightly more reasonable number of stitches, having figured out that when you cast on 280 stitches, even if you're using a very light fingering weight yarn that will get a gauge of something like 32 stitches to four inches, you're still going to wind up with a mega-gigundo Moebius, since (news flash!) you will be knitting on double the number of stitches you cast on. Somehow this fact had escaped my notice first time round, but this time I was ready, and cast on only 140 stitches. Can't fool me twice!

Arial is 100% Merino, and bills itself as a light fingering weight. I'd really emphasize the "light" -- this yarn was featherweight in texture, with a beautiful soft halo of fuzz that emerged as I knit. I liked the yarn well enough on the skein, but it really hit its stride once I started knitting it up. The fabric itself is lofty and delicate, almost as soft as cashmere. Definitely "wear next to the skin" yarn, possibly even more so than the camel I used for the first Moebius.

It's a two-ply, ideally suited for openwork. While it's fine enough that I don't know how hardy it would be for a pair of socks, for a lacy scarf, it's really in its element. Initially some of the stitches looked a bit uneven, but once I'd dampened the finished work with a spritz of water and given it a light blocking, they fell obediently into place, and the whole piece bloomed, even softer and lighter than before.

It worked up like a dream, too. No snags or splitting, and I barely felt it slipping past my fingers as I knit. The striping is long and gradual, so that you barely notice the shift from, say, light grey to avocado; and next thing you know you're zipping along in chartreuse, wondering how you got there.

So I finished it last weekend, and wore it a couple of times this past week. I think. It's light and airy, but warm -- and definitely lived up to its next-to-the-skin promise, with nary an itch.

But alas, no pics of it in action, at least not yet.

I'm still on a green kick right now, and have begun yet another top-down raglan, using Handmaiden's Ottawa, in the Rainforest colourway. This time I'm using my noggin -- instead of knitting it and thinking I'd write up the pattern post facto, I'm keeping meticulous notes in a computer file, so that by the time I'm done I'll just have to make some adjustment for different sizes, and voila! I'll have a pattern that I can post here.

1 comment:

Kathleen Taylor said...

It's marvelous yarn, and I love the Firefly colorway (I've spun up 2 different fibers in that colorway, and socks in Playful). I know that people do knit socks with Arial (using size 1 or 0 needles I think), but I prefer the heavier fingering weight Playful myself. However, I bought a bunch of subtly mottled single shade Arial for a future Fair Isle project.

Anyway, your Moebius is gorgeous!