The stockinette EZ EPS project I cast on the first night at Madrona very quickly turned out too unwieldy to tote around.
The yarn I used was Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 hand dyed sock yarn. So I had a small gauge and skeins that varied in color a bit.
I cast on 270 stitches on each needle using Judy's Magic Cast-On following Cat Bordhi's method in New Pathways for Sock Knitters, then knit on only one needle to turn it into a provisional cast-on. From there I started switching between balls halfway around and knitting the two strands together for one stitch to both secure the joins and make a false side seam in my circular sweater.
At this point I had two needles, three skeins and, somehow, 280 stitches just 6 rounds into the project. There was no way I could haul this out in classes, much less in the bar.
So Friday afternoon I bought a half-pound hank of this tweedy undyed Peruvian Alpaca. The stuff feels wonderfully soft, very light, and is spun and plied loosely, to say the least.
This yarn also had a reasonable cost and 600 yards in a hank. I think it was the most-bought yarn at the retreat, especially if you include the four other tweeds and also the seven or eight lighter-gauged solids he had there.
I chose a seed stitch to play up the tweedy look and cast on about 14 inches worth using a crochet cast-on.
By the time I got home Sunday I had four feet of scarf and an ounce or two of yarn left. The knitting on US9 needles became so automatic during the Retreat that I looked at my stitches just once or twice a row and still only rarely split a stitch or snagged the one below. I caught most of my mis-knits the next row, but the tweed and the moderate halo covered any I missed.
Because I started knitting this right after I bought it, It didn't get wound into a ball first. Luckily I'd successfully knit the purple airplane project so I knew I could manage this. The biggest issue came from the other end unwinding from the hank and ending up a splodge I had to carefully set to one side. Oh, and the time I needed to convince the cat that through the loop was not the shortest route to my lap got dicey.
Unfortunately for conference knitting, you can't knit a hank from your purse but must have somewhere like your knee to drape it. Once you get the hang of it, so to speak, you can even manage it sitting on the floor of the bar drinking 18 year old single malt.
It took me until tonight to finish the last foot of knitting. Sitting and knitting for more than ten hours a day really produces, but it also results in stiffness and aches.
The scarf turned out long enough to wrap around my neck twice and still drape over my shoulders and chest. Still, the weight will fit under a coat to give me a snug layer during those occasional cold fronts that move down from Canada for a few days. On just chilly days I can drape it around my neck and shoulders. Though light, the hollow-cored alpaca holds a lot of heat, especially with the halo this has.
But being alpaca and loosely spun, this scarf will stretch despite the seed stitch pattern. Already my 51 stitch, 14 inch wide cast-on measures more like 13 inches as the thing pulls in and lengthens out.
In a sweater I'd do something with hems and seams and probably a pattern stitch and still I'd think about running a fine but sturdy yarn with it. Otherwise I'd end up with a sweater dress in short order.
Rather than returning to the sock-yarn sweater right away, I've started to swatch an Aran weight Jaeger merino from my stash. The piece hasn't grown enough to warrant a photo yet. I'll do my V-necked and saddle-shouldered EPS first in this heavier yarn, probably with a cable down the front.
Yes, I just returned from Madrona with bags of new yarn and have WIPs, but I wanted to get something quicker and easier on the needles. Both my house in California and my mother's have sold in the two days since I got home and the house we're buying for all of us to share closes in two and a half weeks. I anticipate several trips down there in the next two months to get needed work started on the new place and move my mother and myself.
I might also start another mindless scarf for those times I really need to sit and knit but just don't have energy or brain power for any structure.
PS the only things I saw ride the horse lamp at Madrona were some sock monkeys and night-owl me left with the last knitters both Friday and Saturday nights. But I did catch this knitter photographing her sock in the fireplace. The newly-installed fan actually kept the whole thing from being hot to the touch, though it still warmed the space.