Birthday knit, mitts, and Stitches

Say that three times fast!

My little sister’s birthday was yesterday.  I had previewed her birthday present on here, but hadn’t dared show a finished picture in case she happened along and I ruined the surprise!  (Which is my wont, anyway.  I get so excited about gifts that I bubble and giggle and give everything away right then and there.)  The present was, of course, a Liesl, and seriously, women in my life, look out, because this is just such a fun, fast pattern that I think it’s going to be my go-to gift for a while.

Erin wears a lot of black, which looks great with her coloring, and I wanted to make her a fun and bright spring cardigan to wear over her black wardrobe.  I knew it had to be bright magenta, but bright magenta turns out not to be that easily come by.  Apparently the world is not clamoring for crazyhappyfuntimes yarn of wackiness.   Happy for me, I stumbled along the Blue Moon website and found the Backstabber colorway.  The photos on the Blue Moon site are a little washed out, but Flickr is a great resource in this respect.  Backstabber it was.

The pattern is fast and easy and awesome, and I’ve already talked about that here, so I want to talk a little about the yarn.  The yarn is Luscious Single Silk (LSS), and it’s a single ply silk/merino blend.  It’s very, very soft, and you get 500 yards to a skein, which makes it a great deal.  I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, and I think I’ll use it again, but I think it’s worth noting that there are some problems with this yarn. Or rather, not so much problems as potentially problematic characteristics.

The Sundara Aran Silky Merino (ASM) I used for my own Liesl was also a worsted weight silk/merino blend.  Since I used both these yarns for the same pattern in quick succession, it was difficult not to compare them, although the Sundara costs more than twice as much.  It’s like comparing apples to apples that were grown by monks and lovingly sprinkled with the tears of orphans each morning so that they can charge you $5 an apple at the store.  Or something.  But the first difference I noticed was the color.  Although the LSS is bright and beautiful, it is not as saturated as the ASM.  There’s a different dye process, of course, and they’re not meant to look alike, but I had expected the yarn to look more saturated with color than it was.  (This doesn’t show up in the finished photos, really.  Check the side by side comparison shot below to see what I mean.  The colors are very different, but the LSS looks softer.)

Second, the yarn itself is different.  I don’t know how well it shows in the above photos, but the ASM is spun more tightly than the LSS.  I think this is pretty important with a single ply.  When I was knitting with the ASM, it felt pretty strong to me, and I never felt too worried that it was going to break, or that I was mistreating it.  The LSS, on the other hand, untwisted very easily, and as I was sewing in the ends, it actually separated and came apart.  I think the knit item is strong enough that it’s not a worry there, but it does look like it will show wear more quickly.  I think Liesl’s not likely to be worn in any harsh ways, so I’d use it again for another Liesl, but for a pullover or a mitt or anything that will undergo a lot of friction, this is a serious consideration.

I don’t know if this is the yarn or my skills and equipment, but in the winding there was an unusual amount of tangling.  I rewound from the cake, which is my usual solution when the first winding doesn’t go well, but even then it twisted and snaked and knotted and tangled, and there was a lot of rewinding by hand.  I am not sure why this happened, but it may be worth a mention.

With all of that, it’s a nice yarn, and I liked working with it!  I sound like I disliked it, but really, it’s gorgeous, inexpensive, and luxurious, and I’m glad it’s out there.  I do think, though, that it’s helpful to note potential problems for other knitters.  One more shot!

I’m almost done with my Azul mitts.  The pattern’s fast and easy and pretty, and while I thought of it as rather feminine, Mr. Kninja is angling to get the mitts for himself, so it may suit dudes as well as ladies.  (It may just be the color, though.  The Azul Profundo looks a lot like this color we both favor for vintage cars.)  It’s not an especially fleshed out pattern, so I wouldn’t recommend it to a knitter making mitts for the first time, but it’s a free pattern and it’s not going to be difficult to follow for anyone familiar with the process of knitting mitts.

Finally, my schedule for Stitches!  I’ll be there most of the day on Friday, wandering around the market, looking tall and probably bewildered.  If you see me, come over and say hi!  I may be there Saturday morning as well, depending on how my back feels after Friday.  So, so excited!

One last thing.  I’ll do a separate post on this shortly, and add a button to the sidebar, but if you like both Arabella and Clothilde, you can now purchase them together for a more than 20% discount.  Both shawls are available for $10 on Ravelry, under the name Two Ladies.  As I say, I’ll make them available here, too, shortly.

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7 Responses to “Birthday knit, mitts, and Stitches”

  1. Julie Says:

    It’s gorgeous!! Looks really pretty. the socks are looking great, too!

  2. Emily Says:

    I have a co-worker who has the coloration to wear those crazy bright colors, and she looks fantastic in them. Love the finished Liesl, despite your issues with the yarn. 🙂

  3. Jeanne Says:

    Liesl is gorgeous! What a great gift to you sister…

    Thanks for the reviews on the yarn – its always helpful to read about how yarns behave and how other knitters like them. Both yarns look gorgeous – I may have to give them a try!

  4. Shandy Says:

    That is such a brilliant colour to wear with her colouring.

  5. orata Says:

    My aunt keeps saying “when are you going to make me a sweater?” (answer: next Christmas). I originally thought about Owls but maybe I should try a Liesl instead! Thanks for the review comparing the ASM and LSS. I noticed the same difference in spin between the LSS and Artfibers Ming (another wool-silk singles)… the LSS was also quite a bit thicker, maybe because it wasn’t spun so tightly.

  6. Karen Says:

    Love this sweater in this color, great choice. Can I use the pattern to make the same for a baby girl?

    • Kristen Says:

      You’d have to do a lot of math fu, but I think it’s possible to size it down. A few people on Ravelry have made child-sized versions. The simplest way might just be to get a thinner yarn and work on smaller needles, but you’d need to swatch really carefully.

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