Sunday, October 21, 2007

What I'm Playing with Now

Here's a look at the main project I'm working on at the moment -- though, truly, it's play, not work! It's going to be a casual pullover for me, in a yarn called Harmony, from Naturally NZ. It's a felted merino wool, in an 8-ply, which seems to be roughly a DK weight. It's a treasured acquisition from a recent New Zealand vacation. Researching wool-buying opportunities in the places I go is of course a sign that I've got it badly; it's a symptom well-documented by the lovely Yarn Harlot.

I bought the yarn shop's entire stock in this color (more beige and not quite as gray as the picture shows), and since then have looked high and low for a DK-weight pattern that would suit the yarn, suit me, and be possible to do with 1500 yards or so. That meant that the sweater couldn't have too many hearty, yarn-hungry cables. That didn't seem so hard. But, thumbing through my magazines and more than a few books , nothing seemed quite right, so once again I've struck out on my own.

Looking on-line for what anyone else might have made with the same yarn, I didn't find many examples, but I did come across this post by another wandering American who fell hard for the same yarn at the same shop not long after I did!

The felted yarn is a little unusual. In the cold light of day it looks flat, dry, kind of cardboardy. At home, once the rosy glow of the vacation had worn off, I was worried that it wouldn't be soft. But thankfully, when knit, it has a lovely, almost velvety matte finish, with subtle color variation a bit like a hand-dyed solid. And yes, thank goodness, it is soft. Not a luscious kind of soft, but a broken-in-T-shirt kind of soft.

So I got to work swatching. I had some ideas about some allover knit-and-purl texture patterns to give it interest without a lot of bulk, but the yarn said no. Or rather, it said, "OK, I'll do this if you really want me to, but I'll be husky and outdoorsy." We agreed to leave that to some of the other sweaters in the closet; this one wants to curl up in a big soft chair with a book. So I swatched some more and tried some more restrained ideas until we found something the two of us could agree on. That's what you see in the picture above. I only hope the lovably lumpy look will flatten out as the yarn relaxes, maybe with a little help from a nice gentle blocking!

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