It’s nice to take a moment to look at growing things. In the depths of winter, it is all too easy to forget that new life will return in the spring. This is the time of year when I start growing sprouts on the kitchen counter, both to supplement our winter diet of mostly root vegetables, and to remind myself that new life will spring up in no time, once given the chance.

In a week, those seeds will be tiny little green plants. It never ceases to amaze me.

I also take comfort the growth of my knitting. It may be cold, but a little fiber makes for cozy cuddling. Slowly but surely, Branden’s sweater is growing. (I’m really glad that I’ve had the spinning to distract you with while I work on this project; “I knit another 2 inches of stockinette” makes for boring blog posts.) I finished the two 25 inch long sleeves last week. They are long enough to wrap a cat in:

Doesn’t she look warm and happy?

The swatch is also growing. (Can you believe the bias in that feather and fan??)

It’s really interesting to compare the width along different sections of the swatch; I have only varied the stitch count by one (to switch from even to odd number of stitches), so that variation is almost entirely due to the difference in horizontal stretch of the patterns. (With the exception of the section just to the left of the feather and fan.)

As you suggested, I blocked the lacy section to see what I thought of it before continuing. Turns out that I was wrong about the stitch type; it’s a modified faggoting stitch (yo and k2tog), not a brioche (yo, k2tog, sl wyib). Just in case anyone was wondering.

I blocked it pretty severely, but this yarn has bounce, and it’s pulled back together again since the blocking. I like it for all the reasons that I stated before. The pattern works, but it doesn’t sing. I think this yarn can do better. So, I went back through the Walker books. Now that I have a better idea of the things I’m looking for in a pattern, I’ve narrowed it down to about 6 candidates.

Fluffy Brioche stitch:

Walker says that this is an especially light and airy brioche, and I have to agree. It’s a beautiful fabric, and keeps the drape that I liked in the faggoting pattern. I think I would go up a needle size, though; the ssk’s are hard to knit on these needles, and the fabric would benefit from being a tiny bit looser. I love the little “Y” shapes:

I also tried the Vertical Lace Trellis pattern, another yo-decrease mix (I really don’t like the word faggoting, though it is the technically correct term, and has no negative connotations in this context). I really like the zigzag texture on this one, but it is a very solid, stable fabric, without the drape that I liked in the others.

It shows off the yarn beautifully, though.

A side shot shows the pattern texture much better (same order as above):

From this angle, I think I like the last (fluffy brioche) the best.

I have 4 more patterns to try, but I ran out of yarn. I’m officially a third of the way through the handspun. The swatch is currently 21 inches long, so I should get a reasonable-length scarf out of three balls. I want it to be wider than it is currently, but the increased width will probably just account for the large amount of yarn used in the stockinette-dense sections.

Now, I need to go wind another ball so that I can keep swatching. (At this rate, I’ll be knitting this scarf at least twice…)