Thursday, June 16, 2011

Needling the yak

There has been a surprising lack of knitting at Casa Rududu recently while I pursued other interests—mostly temari balls. One reason for lack of knitting action was that I forgot to take a crucial size of needle to Costa Rica this year and got stuck when it was time to do the sleeves of my cardigan. Getting double pointed needles in Costa Rica would require a major expedition of some sort; they are certainly not available in our little town. On my return to Wisconsin, a careful search of my needle collection failed to turn up any US4/3.5mm double points.
I don't buy needles often because I have so many already and it was quite exciting to have a reason to go needle shopping.  Now that I'm back in Wisconsin, it's ridiculously easy to get needles. I bought some Knit Picks wooden needles at a local craft store.  I like the idea of nonmetallic needles to make it easier to get through airport security. I also love that they are so quiet: there's no metal clicking to distract me during movies. The surface of these needles feels silky and I love how pointy they are.
 So now I'm zipping along on my sweater again and predict that it will be finished soon. I'm using the percentage sweater system by Elizabeth Zimmermann.
The yarn is Yaqui, a 100% yak yarn from Artfibers. It's extremely soft and I think the handpainted blues, purples and greens will be very useful in my wardrobe. Yak yarn doesn't have much spring and I found that when knitting the sleeves circularly on double pointed needles I got unsightly ladders between the needles where the stitches were stretched slightly. My solution was to use all 5 needles and stop in a different place on each round. Thus, with the stitches divided among 4 needles, I knit all the stitches on to the fifth needle and then a few more from the next needle. This was much easier than trying to keep the tension snug between needles and much faster than transferring stitches from one needle to the other.

1 comment:

Evelyn said...

What a great solution/remedy to the ladder problem you encountered. And it is amazing when we discover the gaps in our needle collections -- and how much fun it is to actually go and buy new ones! Your cardi is looking great.