About Me ColorJoy Home Page Free Stuff About Me Contact Me
ColorJoy Home Page
ColorJoy Home The ColorJoy Blog Buy Patterns, Recipe Books, CDs Patterns Schedule & Potential Classes Recipes & Food Information The LynnH SockTour LynnH Polymer Clay The Fabulous Heftones - Lynn & Brian

Archive for May 11th, 2013

A Colorama Question: Answers

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

This week I got a question from a Ravelry user about my Colorama Crescent Shawl knitting pattern. She wanted to know “how many balls of yarn” she would need to knit the shawl. It seemed like a simple enough question. However, the answer got fuzzy, fast!

Here is a photo of the shawl in 4 sizes. The edges of the shawls you can’t see in this shot, are lined up evenly. Each successive shawl is a larger size. Note that the sizes are larger in width only. Longer shawls just get in the way of using one’s hands, I’ve discovered the hard way!

So often people ask me “how many stitches do I cast on for a sock?” That answer involves the size of the yarn, the gauge of the individual knitter, and the foot size of the wearer. Of course, those 3 variations can indicate a need for more or less yarn, too.

Yarn is sold by weight. You typically can get a 50gm ball or a 100gm ball, though there are a few exceptions. For fingering (sock) weight yarn, you often get 220 yards in 50 grams (440 in 100gm) where with worsted (sweater) weight yarn you might get 110 yards for the same 50gm balls (220 in 100gm). Thinner yarn makes more but thinner fabric, compared to thicker ones. When you’re talking about a shawl, this thick/thin yarn issue plays out in important ways.

Here is how I responded to the writer:

The question of how much yarn is complicated with this shawl. I offer 4 sizes, as well as 2 yarn weights from light fingering to sport weight. Here is what I wrote in the pattern:

Sizes: Sprite (XS) / Princess (S) / Diva (M–L) / Goddess (XL–3X) All shawls shown measure 42-52” wingspan & 17-19” length, depending on yarn, gauge & blocking method. Bust appx. 36 (41/ 52/ 55)in., 91”(104/”132/ 140)cm.

MC (Main Color), solid-colored yarn. 100 (100-150, 150, 150) gm of sport weight
-OR- 100 (100, 100-150, 150) gm heavy fingering-weight/sockyarn.
CC (Contrast Color), slowly self-color-changing yarn. 100 (100-150, 150, 150) gm of sport weight
-OR- 100 (100, 100-150, 100-150) gm heavy fingering-weight/sockyarn.

Yarn Suggestions:
MC: Elsabeth Lavold Silky Wool, Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport, Cascade Epiphany, Harrisville New England Shetland, DROPS Alpaca, Isager Alpaca 2, Frog Tree Alpaca Sportweight, Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light
CC: Noro Silk Garden Sock, Marks & Kattens Fame Trend, Crystal Palace Mini Mochi, Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball, Kauni 8/2 Effektgarn, Aade Lõng Artistic 8/2.

Color Hint: “Matching” makes boring here. However, unlike stranded knitting, contrast need not be strong. It is best if none of the colors in your two yarns match, but small lengths of similar colors work (shawls 1 & 2 at left).

In this photo (shown above) (a)ll shawls are lined up on the edge you can’t see in the photo. The sizes are laid on top of each other to show how much larger around each consecutive size is.

The first shawl on the left (smallest) is Silky Wool/Kureyon Sock, the second is Heritage/Step, the third is Nature Spun Sport/Kauni, and the last is Drops Alpaca/Mini Mochi.

Of course, some balls of these yarns are 50gm and some are 100gm. As I recall, none took more than 100gm of any one yarn, so 200gm would be overkill unless you choose much more heavy/dense/thick yarns than I did.

I hope that is helpful. Happy knitting!

This may look like a lot of words about one particular question. However, the concept should be useful to many knitters no matter what project they make. If we use a different yarn or get a different number of stitches per inch (row or stitch gauge) than specified in the pattern, we may run out of yarn or buy too much.

In this society, we are so used to manufactured items and true/false tests that we forget that there may be “it depends” answers that don’t fit the picture we have in our minds. One response to this “problem” is to insist on the exact yarn that was specified in a commercial knitting pattern. However, even if you use the same yarn, and the same needle size the designer calls for, you may end up with the same number of stitches but a different number of rows per inch than specified.

Knitting is an artform, something which was learned for centuries by word of mouth, one person at a time, one on one. Yes, it is practical. Practical arts are called “crafts” in this society (the “Museum of American Craft” was just down the street from the Museum of Modern Art in New York City… now it’s called the Museum of Arts and Design – it held quilting, baskets, silversmithing, jewelry and textile work – I saw the Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting exhibit there in 2007).

I’m sharing more photos of Colorama Shawls… can you see why it’s a good thing to not lock ourselves in to what this mere designer could imagine? Look above at 5 of my knitting guild sisters who wear their own Colorama Shawl… some were gifts and some were knit for themselves.

And look at the one at right! Elizabeth knit it in one “double evolution” ball (560 yd/ 140gm) of Kabam yarn (fingering weight 60% Superwash Merino/30% Bamboo/10% Nylon) in “Circle” colorway from Twisted FiberArt. Twisted is an amazing company with incredibly perfect dye techniques. With that ball of yarn, one needs to knit just a few rows fewer to have enough yarn for the 2nd-largest shawl size (“Diva”).

Rock on with any creativity you have! Understand the nature of art and accommodate the possibility that answers may not be precise! Let’s hear it for individuality, yes?

(Edited 5/14 to add the question which prompted this post… thanks to Diana/Otterwise for prompting me to fix that. Also fixed wrong yardage for fingering weight yarn; thanks to Judi A. for catching that hiccup.)

Mighty Uke Day, Lansing

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Today, Saturday, May 11, is Mighty Uke Day III in Old Town Lansing, Michigan. It’s really great to have a ukulele festival here in Lansing (just a few blocks from Sticks & Strings yarn shop and Elderly Instruments).

Come on Out?
Brian and I (as The Fabulous Heftones) will be performing at the Creole Gallery Saturday at 4:45, as part of the Mighty Uke Day “Featured Performer” festivities. The James Hill concert later that night is sold out, but our earlier show is still open. The young lady who follows us, Magdalen Fossum, is a very fine performer as well. I look forward to hearing her.

Canadian Star on Stage
We look forward to seeing our colleague James Hill whose evening show has been sold out for about a week. This young man is a spectacular musician and a fine human being. We played on the same stage with James in Indianapolis, at the Midwest Ukefest, several years ago.

James is presenting some workshops at Elderly Instruments which still had a few slots open as of Friday, so you might still be able to spend time with him that way. If you play uke at all, it would be worth a try.

You May Be Surprised
If you think that Ukuleles are only for hippies, Hawaiians or 70’s performers who got married on the Johnny Carson Show, you may be pleasantly surprised at this event. The styles presented by the different acts are varied and maybe even surprising. We hope there will be warm enough weather to have a few jam sessions in the streets of Old Town. For the musicians, the jam sessions are perhaps the most fun of all the events!

Consider a visit to Old Town Lansing today/Saturday. (For those of you too far away or with conflicting schedules, you can see/hear us on YouTube. The videos were taken by other people but it will give you a feel of our style and the fun we have. (The videos by Bucqui are very well edited in particular, as is “Row Row Row” with Bosko and Honey.)