Monday, June 9, 2014

Not Coming Up Rosie

So the latest attempt at the Rosie Top was not a success. Mind you, I did have the meaningful opportunity to alter the pattern yet again! (Yeah, you can infer sarcasm.) It's going into the magic cupboard, where it will stay till after I get back from hols. There's only so much masochism one girl can take.

What went wrong? Well, though the last muslin (made of voile with very little mechanical stretch) fit well (once I altered it), the much more mechanically stretchy silk crepe version was somehow too small. As for next-wave alterations: I've increased the full bust volume at the side bodice, yet again, given myself another inch in the waist (it was prudent if not strictly necessary) and increased the peplum hem by 2 inches. I don't know what's up with that hem but I cannot seem to get it right.

I'm really convinced that next version will be the one that works, but I've said that 6 times now and, frankly, I don't have enough weekends in a row to keep at this thing.

I can't tell you how much I want to go out and spend a fortune on a silk crepe top right now, just to subvert the misery of yet another failure. But I'm on a tight budget and, something tells me, there will be a bit of Euro-retail therapy when I get to Barcelona.

In the meanwhile, my only recourse is to knit.

Here's the Karner Wrap pattern which I'm making with the Americo Abrazos (45% cotton and 55% bamboo):

This pattern comes with the Americo Abrazos yarn purchase. There's no way to buy it separately.
Let me say that this yarn is quite a trip. It's not quite kitchen string but it sure is moving in that direction. Having said this, the fabric it creates is appealing. It's like a burnout, lace effect. And the colour is superb. That photo doesn't do it justice.

Here's another of the yarn:

Even that photo isn't true-to-shade, it makes the yarn look much more grey (and less blue) than it actually is in real life.

Anyway, the Abrazos is, without a doubt, the thinnest yarn I've ever seen. It's like knitting with double-weight sewing thread. Occasionally the nubby part of the yarn comes to the fore and then it goes from thread-weight to sport-weight (I estimate). I'm really glad that my first foray with this yarn is making a stockinette rectangle with some rib at the edges. It's quite easy, despite careful attention, to drop stitches - particularly at the edges. If you're a loose knitter, like me, well - be that much more careful. I've had an issue already that I've opted to fix on the fly. Otherwise I'll be knitting this till the end of all time. As it is, I'm going to be knitting the 1028 yards for quite a while. I put in 2 hours last night and got a mere 20 rows deep. It doesn't make a dent in the skein. That's how skinny this yarn is.

Gotta say, it's perfect train knitting. No pattern required, no fitting necessary and, although the loops are loose (and that's after I went down a needle size!?) purling and knitting seem to be of similar complexity. It's not like the purl rows are slippery. The tension, which is lacy and weird, does seem consistent - even as it's unlike any I've knit before.

After the Aisance, still blocking BTW - Lord that thing absorbed a lot of water! - I need something binary.

I'm intrigued to know if I will learn to love knitting with this fiber or if I'll find it a necessary evil. I would never have bought the pattern if I hadn't seen how gorgeous and unusual the finished garment looks in real life. I do realize that this foray is a hop, skip and jump from linen (the yarn du jour, it would appear), but it in no way motivates me to move further in the direction of wiry, stringy yarn.

Today's questions: What do you think of linen? Or cotton? Or cotton-bamboo blends? Have you used the Abrazos or any other Americo yarns? What's your perspective? Oh, and while we're at it, what's the highest number of muslins you've ever made for one garment? Did you prevail in the end? Is that sucker still hiding out in your closet behind the tennis racket? Let's talk!

12 comments:

  1. My very first sweater was a mercerized cotton (Karabella Yarns) and it was lovely to work with if a bit less stretchy/less recovery than wool. I may do some cotton knitting projects this summer.

    My first trousers went thru a heavy muslining phase. It was mostly worth it, but I think now I would probably see how much change I needed from the first muslin and pick a different pattern.

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    1. Sometimes, it's time to move on (I just don't really get that concept - but at some point, I'm wasting my time on this top...)

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  2. That is going to be one gorgeous wrap. Can't say I envy you working with that yarn though! I like knitting with cotton, but haven't had the greatest experience with linen. I have used some cotton/linen blends that were quite acceptable though.

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    1. It's really gorgeous. I even convinced Sara to make it - and she's horrified by the yarn :-)

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  3. The Amiga sweater I made last year using Americo's "cotton flame" was also a super thin, inelastic yarn and very easy to drop stitches. I found that with this slippery yarn, wooden needles worked best. As I said before, I think my Mariposa sweater, which as you know also uses abrazos, will take me five years to knit! Oh, and did you know "abrazos" means "hugs"? I think we'll deserve a few of those once we are done with this yarn :)

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    1. Dropping stitches is what drives me NUTS. Especially when I pay attention! I love that Abrazos means "hugs". When knit, it the shawl will be just like a hug!

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  4. your yarn looks gorgeous but sounds like the devil to knit with... The only time I knit with anything other than wool is when I have made large scale knitted lace edging with pearl cotton. Not my favorite sort of project

    Whenever I make a new garment I must needs make many muslins in order to get it to fit my shape and size, which ranges from about a size 2 to 26 in less than a foot of vertical height. I made five muslins the time I made a denim jean jacket, and at least that many to get a tee shirt pattern to fit. I made four just on the bodice alone of the future raincoat pattern... I find fitting to be really difficult, so end up with a very small collection of TNT patterns that I use over and over again.

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    1. I finally got some bamboo needles to increase the friction. I think it will assist in preventing stitch dropping. And I'm intrigued to hear that you have a complex alterations agenda too. I am getting a LOT of use out of my few slopers, gotta admit.

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  5. You are a glutton for punishment! ;-)
    Although this will be stunning once done. As for the Rosie...it'd be in the bin here by now.

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    1. The Rosie may end up in a bin. :-)

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  6. Unless it's something that i think is going to become a TNT (basic lines, lot of opportunity for variation) I won't do more than 2 or 3 muslins.
    The Rosie's shape seems a little too distinctive for it to be a TNT for me. But if you a) do see yourself making lots of them going forward or b) enjoy the challenge of mastering the fit and don't care if you're only going to make one or two tops from the final pattern then i say have fun!

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    1. That's a smart approach, I think. And I agree that the Rosie is too distinctive to be a TNT. Which is why I don't know why I'm still working on it?! I really just want to solve the puzzle.

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