Balls of Steel

I have been diligently knitting the sleeves for Doug’s Brick pullover (I’m still on the first one, so I guess I should have said sleeve, singular).  It is fairly boring knitting, round and round on double pointed needles, in a modified rib (knit one row, k2p2 the next).  It doesn’t make for an arresting blog post – “and here you can see the next 2 inches of the endless ribbed sleeve I am knitting”.   The project has also become less and less transportable.  It is all knit in one piece, so the entire sweater must get dragged around.

This morning I decided that I needed to cast on something else.  I almost always carry some knitting around with me, so that when I find myself with 10 minutes to spare I can whip it out and knit a row or two.  At the office, we have a coffee break at 11 every morning; I am often too busy, but when I can, I sit and knit for 15 minutes while joining my colleagues for a coffee.  My next project will be a lovely sweater for Leah, but as I am adapting a number of different patterns for that one, it will involve a great deal of thought, particularly at the beginning.  What I needed today was a completely transportable project (read, small and light) that will not take any thought at all to get on the needles, and that could be grabbed as I ran out of the house.   When I  sorted through all of my stash last weekend, I found the yarn for a Kusha Kusha scarf, and that is what I grabbed.

Kusha Kusha is a scarf designed by Habu textiles.  They are a yarn company that produces very interesting yarns out of a variety of unique materials.   They also produce patterns and kits.  Their patterns are very Japanese, and have a lovely flow to them.  The emphasis is on the properties of the yarn itself; see their website here.  In addition to having a storefront in NY, Habu frequently travel to fibre events so that people can have a chance to see and touch their products.  One side of the Kusha Kusha scarf is knit with two very fine strands of yarn held together; one is a wool yarn, and the other is made from stainless steel and silk. At the mid point, the wool yarn is dropped and the second part of the scarf is knit just with the steel and silk yarn (in the photo below the wool yarn is in a rusty shade and the steel and silk yarn in a silvery shade).  As a consequence of the steel, the resultant fabric has sculptural properties; it holds a shape and can be formed and reformed.  It is intriguing and architectural.  Doug bought me a kit for the scarf a year ago Christmas and I haven’t yet started it.  (Don’t you love a man who gives such great gifts?)

I did manage to go to the coffee break today, and managed to cast on for the scarf and knit all of one row.  I regret to say that one row is not yet enough for me to comment on the structural properties of this yarn.  I can see that it will take forever to knit; it is all in stockinette stitch and is knit with progressively smaller and smaller needles, and so far at least seems rather “fiddly” – this is a highly technical term denoting “fiddliness”.  As I intend to pull it out only when it is impractical to work on Brick, thus relegating it to backup knitting, it will take even longer.  It is intellectually satisfying, however, to try out new materials, and to knit something that has inherent shape and structure.

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