Something that makes me laugh here in Washington State is that to buy anything with a greater alcohol content than wine or beer (which you can get at a supermarket or corner shop) you need to go to a state-run Liquor and Wine store. In a country where the cultural narratives are so founded on individual freedom and a passion for small government this strikes me as bizarre. At the same time, this can be an opportunity for me to ponder Australia's drinking culture where there is a bottle shop selling everything alcoholic at pretty much every supermarket and pub, so basically, everywhere.
Anyway, here is my own version of liquor and wine:
The Vital Statistics
Pattern: My own. Yes, just improvised by me - keep knitting until the yarn runs out, do some eyelets along the way, a few rows of garter stitch, change to reverse stocking stitch, cast off. It is difficult for me to tell you how incredibly out of character this is for me. I am someone who is most comfortable with (ahem, needs) the certainty of clear rules and boundaries. I follow instructions. I have a deep-seated belief that they are there for a certain reason and that if you don't turn around three times and pat your head in between adding the milk and the vanilla essence to the dry ingredients that your chocolate chip cookies won't turn out properly (for example). It has taken me some time to accept that sometimes instructions are just there to protect the manufacturer from complaints or litigation on the off-chance that something should go wrong, and to think and judge for myself on some of these matters.
Oh and of course, this scarf is not a kusha kusha.
Size: 115 by 30 centimetres.
Yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Haze (70 per cent mohair, 30 per cent silk) in shade liqueur, one skein; Lion Brand LB Collection Wool Stainless Steel (75 per cent wool, 25 per cent stainless steel) in shade wine, two skeins. The first part of the scarf is knit with both yarns held together, the second part with two strands of the wool/stainless steel held together.
Needles: First part, 5mm; second part, 3.25mm.
Start to finish: 1 April to 16 July 2010.
Stash/recycle content: The Kidsilk Haze came from a stash swap, the Wool Stainless Steel I bought a while ago out of curiosity.
Comments: Ah, Kidsilk Haze, cult knitting yarn. Again, one of the first luxury yarns that I became aware of in my knitting career and although I did once have a couple of balls in a bright pink (why?) I gave them away at some point so this is really the first time that I have knit with it. It was lovely but I'm not quite blown away by it - may have to give it another go sometime. I'll see how the mohair content is to wear.
And the Wool Stainless Steel, local approximation of the Habu cult luxury yarns. This I was just curious about and still am about its potential. What would it be like if you knit with two or more of the different colours together? How many strands do you need to knit together to get a fabric that is really malleable?
So, what did I do? I cast on 54 stitches on 5mm needles with a strand of the Kidsilk Haze and of the Stainless Steel Wool and knit in stocking stitch, slipping the first stitch of each row, until the KSH ran out. Then I swapped to 3.25mm needles and two strands of the WSS on 3.25mm needles, increased the stitch count by knitting into the front and back of each stitch and continued until the yarn ran out. Along the way I threw in a couple of rows of eyelets, some ridges of garter stitch and changed from stocking stitch to reverse stocking stitch and back. And that was it. It came out the length that the yarn allowed for.
Verdict: I'm pleased with how this turned out and still curious about both yarns. I'd like to try crocheting the Wool Stainless Steel to see what sort of fabric that creates. I'd also like to see whether it felts and what sort of fabric that creates. I also enjoyed knitting at such a fine gauge with it double stranded, it really allowed for some meditative knitting.