NOT QUITE SURFACING

Where have I been?  Working.  There are some times in a proposal writer’s life when the project at hand grows to the point of devouring all other life.   I’m writing from mid-peristalis right now, deep in the belly of the beast.   My house is a shambles, and it is only through the cooperation and understanding of my family that any shred of normalcy remains.  Side entertainments like blogging are out of the question right now.

Through it all though when I do get to sit down for a minute I’ve been stress-taming with trivial knitting.  No projects worth a darn, but calming none the less.

Mostly I’ve been playing with odds and ends from my stash.  For example, to answer some questions about other yarns suitable for the Kureopatora’s Snake Scarf, I’ve been playing with Noro Kureyon.

Apologies for the dark photo, again I just don’t have time to tend to details properly. As you can see, the long color repeat of the Kureyon worked nicely for this project, with single color slices lasting almost the entire duration of each segment.   The upper scarf with orange on it was knit exactly according to the pattern I posted here – on a US #6, 30 stitches across at the widest point.  The lower scarf in browns and grays was knit on a US #7, 28 stitches across at the widest point but otherwise following the logic of the posted pattern exactly.  Each scarf took two skeins of Kureyon.

You’ll notice that in spite of the 28-stitcher having in fact fewer stitches across, it’s a tad wider.  That half inch of difference is entirely due to the different gauge produced by the larger needle.   Surprisingly, the 28-stitch scarf is also about seven inches longer than the one knit on the smaller needle. 

In terms of drape, they are pretty close.  One would think the scarf knit on the US #6 would be stiffer and denser than the one knit on the US #7, but in fact there is very little defference between them.  BOTH are relatively un-supple compared to the Kureopatora original, but that is more a function of the difference between the two yarns rather than a difference among needle sizes.  The heavier and less uniform yarn also had an impact on the amount of "wiggle" right and left in my snakes.  The deformation that makes the snakey shape is less evident in this yarn than in the original, and is the same for both size needles used.  Given the small differences between the two needle sizes  and the extra width/length gained by using the larger needle, I’d recommend the #7 and the 28-stitch width for anyone looking to do a Kureopatora’s Snake scarf from Kureyon. 

Now, how did I like working with the Kureyon?  Not especially.  In spite of hype, this is the first time I’ve used it.  I accept the thick/thin variation and differences between skeins as being part of the yarn’s unique look.  I am less happy with uneven spinning, with some parts so overtwisted that they kink almost uncontrollably, and others so untwisted that they shred into breaking from just the normal action of knitting.  I’m also not fond of the fine grained agricultural dust that I feel between my fingers as I knit (very present in the orange/green scarf) and the abundance of sharp, thorn-like chaff in all four skeins used.  I was also not pleased that one of my skeins had six knots in it (each skein had at least one).  Finally, I find the texture of this yarn is too harsh for next to skin wear.  My scarves are interesting, but are clearly "outside the coat" articles, and not something I’d be comfortable pulling up around my chin muffler style.

And in part to answer the folk who have asked about using yarns with shorter repeats for this pattern, I present the following eyesore, knit for edification only, and shortly to be ripped back:

This particular yarn is a Red Heart acrylic "worsted" in pinks, white, pale blue and gray, picked out for her own projects by Younger Daughter. Because this yarn like so many mass market acrylics  is actually a 16st = 4 inch yarn and not a 20st=4 inch actual worsted, I’m using a US #9 here, and working on 28 stitches across. 

There’s nothing wrong with knitting Red Heart – it’s a very serviceable and inexpensive yarn.  Like any cost/value trade, it has performance and aesthetic strengths and weaknesses.  It’s not particularly soft, although it is more wearable than the Kureyon.  It feels squeaky on the needles.  I don’t like the color set used, but that’s a personal preference item. 

But what makes this horrific isn’t the quality or price of the yarn, it’s the length of the color repeat.  As you can see from the exposed length, color segments last about 8 inches or so before shading into the next one.  Stripes are choppy and colors pool at the edges, giving it a very haphazard and to me overall unattractive look.   For this pattern to show best you need one of two things – a solid color, so that the interest comes from the movement of the ribbing segments and the way they deform, or a variegated yarn in which the color segments run for at least a yard before changing.

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