Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Catching Up

It seems like yesterday, and it seems like a long time ago. The last time I posted was while I was at TNNA (The National Needlearts Association Trade Show). It was a fun, tiring, exciting time! A lot has been written about it on other blogs- check out The Crochet Dude, and DesigningVashti. I forgot to bring my camera, so I couldn't take pictures, but we were in Darla's class together. And yes, Drew did finish his washcloth first! (We won't talk any more about that! :-)
After TNNA, I had family visit from Hawaii, and then I visited family in Boston. When I came home, I had projects to finish and send in to various companies, and some tech editing to work on. I also was going to be teaching 6 classes at the Knit and Crochet Show in New Hampshire in July, and I had handouts to finish writing (3 were new classes) and samples to make, gather, and pack. Lots of stuff to do in a short time. (I tend to work better on tight deadlines!) So, my blog, unfortunately, was neglected.
I thought I would be able to start blogging again while I was at the conference, but when I was finished teaching two classes a day, I didn't want to do anything but put my feet up and rest. (We won't tell WHERE I put my feet up, will we?) There were also meetings, the Yarn Market, more meetings, the Keynote Address, more meetings - all happening in the evening. So, no blogging. But check out The Crochet Dude, DesigningVashtiand Nexstitch to find out what was going on. When I came home, I had lots of stuff to catch up with - paper work, organizing, sleeping. But this past weekend, on a car trip to the beach, I was able to swatch!

This is what I did. I wanted to make some post-stitch swatches, and wanted some different yarns to work with. I went to a local Michaels, because I knew they had a good selection of Sugar 'n Cream yarn. I forgot that they were getting ready to move, though, and when I got to the yarn department, I really had to search. Most of the shelves were bare, the yarn was in carts, and all I could see was some old colors of SnC. But I was searching for the new colors. I finally found them, on sale even, at the end of an aisle, one aisle away from the rest of the yarn. I bought a whole bunch of skeins. (Which I felt was justified - I had just given away about 40 skeins of my stash of SnC in one of my classes at the Knit and Crochet Show!) You probably are thinking, why would I want to swatch with SnC, aren't you?

Right before I went to NH to teach, I read a blog post (yarnoverpullthrough)about a sweater design that I had in Interweave Crochet, Spring 2007. My sweater was made with Classic Elite Provence, a great mercerized cotton yarn, light in weight, wonderful to touch. (I promise, I'll swatch with that yarn soon, and write about it more!) The blogger posted a picture of the sweater, and it looked wonderful! It was in a deeper purple than the one I had made. She had written on a message board that she changed the yarn, so I asked her what yarn she used. Her answer? Yes, it was Lily Sugar 'n Cream. I really couldn't believe that! It was cotton, yes, but completely different than Provence, heavier and more coarse. I used SnC alot in the past - for dishcloths, totes, bags, etc. But never for a garment like my sweater. So I was intrigued, and decided to revisit the yarn. Of course, it didn't hurt that I needed to buy some more for my stash - to replace the skeins I had given to my classes! :-)

So - my post-stitch journey to the beach began!
I started with some old variations, but with the new yarn.

These swatches are worked with an H8/5.00mm Susan Bates hook in the new colors; two of them are worked in the "twists" and one is "Soft Ecru". I wanted to see if the "twist" colors would hide the stitch definition, and if the stitches would get lost in the "soft ecru" color. The post stitches that are in these swatches are clearly visible, so the new colors don't hide the stitches. When I was working these swatches, I couldn't help but notice how soft the yarn seemed - much softer than I remembered. And how easy it was to crochet. The "twists" had a little tendency to split, however. I had to be extra careful with them.

These last three swatches are worked in older colors of SnC yarn. The stitches are still plainly evident, but the variegated yarn on the left swatch pools. Sometimes that can be effective. Sometimes it can be distracting. One way to get rid of the pooling is to work with two skeins alternately. One or two rows with one skein, one or two rows with another. If you don't want a gazillion ends to weave in, work two rows of each yarn, and carry the other one up the side. The one thing that I did like, when I worked with these older colors - the yarn was soft, and not as scratchy as I remembered.

I've used Sugar 'n Cream a lot in my crochet. It's good for toys, tote bags, purses, dishcloths, and anything else that needs a firm stitch and a strong yarn. With a smaller hook, G or H, it makes a sturdy fabric. With a larger hook, it creates a drapey fabric. And it's great to swatch with and to try out new stitches and stitch patterns with, because the stitches don't get lost. The pluses - there are so many colors to try, you'll never get tired of it. And - it is inexpensive, (less than $1.50 in my area) and usually on sale somewhere. The minuses - can't think of any. Except I'm hooked on the new colors, and want some more! So - it looks like I may have to go back to Michaels and I don't have the time today! :(


Vashti Braha said...

Yay, Marty's swatching again! You make the new SnC colors enticing, I'll have try some.

The first cardigan I ever made was in SnC and now that I know that my crochet can drape as much as I want it to, I don't wear that sweater much. It helps to rinse SnC sweaters in lots of fabric softener. It looks beautiful though.

Sheryl said...

Thanks for the SnC info. I have customers who love it and I encourage them to use it even though we don't sell it. I have swatched all the new fall yarns for the shop and will be posting reviews on my blog this week. It was great fun and really helped me to envision what kinds of projects will take best advantage of the yarn. Swatching rocks - I love that I can play and have a productive result!

Amie said...

Oh, I really like these a lot Marty. My favs are the first two swatches.

Marty Miller said...

Thanks, Amie,
I like making up Post Stitch patterns, and the first one is one of my latest "creations". The second one appears in a baby afghan I designed for Vogue Knitting on the Go Crocheted Baby Afghans. It's fun to do!

AnneB> aka Red883 said...

Hi Marty!
Thanks for stopping by the blog! Yes, I am using the Sugar 'n Cream too. Thought the stitches of the week on the CGOA message board would be great to use this SnC cotton on...and by making them dishcloth/washcloth size, they are a good swatch size too. :)
Baby bibs come out great with this cotton and yes...they have tons of colors. Love the basketweave swatch...I just won a couple of ribbons using that stitch for a scarf; also saw your pattern for that in the Vogue Crochet on the Go scarf book. Kudos to you!
Be in was nice running into you at CGOA conference.
Anne (and Brian)