Friday, February 5, 2021

Anisah and Rita Mae

Ya'll just don't know how much I appreciate all the positive knitting mojo you sent my way the other day.  It was the strangest, most welcome thing.  One minute I'm sitting there, staring at my new knitting toy with absolutely no desire to knit, then my phone starts dinging with incoming email/blog comment notifications.  I opened u[p the comments, read them, and as I finished reading the last one, Anisah popped into my head and my knitting mojo was suddenly back. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

There's a lot going on in that photo.  Let me explain.

During last fall's yarn crawl, I stumbled across Rita Mae Yarns.  Cortni, the dyer was having a trunk show and I instantly fell in love with her yarns. Her colors are just... well, fantastic doesn't even begin to describe them.  As I recall, it was somewhat painful to choose between them.  I considered knocking her down, grabbing an armful of yarn and running.  I'm fairly sure I could have taken her.  But there were an awful lot of witnesses and I don't really run anymore so... 

Cortni had a sample Anisah on display and it was my undoing.  I had to knit myself one.  Just HAD to!  Of course, as those things go, the yarn went into the stash pile as soon as I got home, but I did write it down on my Must Knit list first.

So anyway, after getting my knitting mojo back, I dug out the yarn and found the pattern and cast on.  Well, first, I wound the yarn into usable skeins.  Oh. My. Goodness!  The yarn (merino DK) is SO unbelievably soft. It is an absolute delight to knit with and glides through my fingers almost as though it's been greased. It's superwash so I'm fairly certain it doesn't still contain lanolin but it just feels so good!  And the color!  I'm using Blue Steel and as weird as it sounds to say gray is beautiful, it is The most beautiful deep slate gray I think I've ever seen.  There's just enough color fluctuation to make the yarn appear to almost shine.  I am SO in love with this yarn!

There's just one slight problem.  That is how I hold my working yarn.

And that is my hand after knitting only a few rows.

And there are my knitting needles that were the same color as the cable needle when I started Anisah.  Yes, the dye is seriously rubbing off.  I'm going to have to be careful not to wear anything white while I knit with this yarn.  Hopefully once the shawl is finished, a good soaking or two (or five) will fix it.  I've had other yarns dye my needles but never so quickly and I've never had it dye my hands before.

But despite the dye issue, I still LOVE this yarn!  Oh, and see that pile of yarn under those needles in that last photo?  That's not a tangle of yarn I'm knitting with.  That is the pile of strings that were tied around the three skeins before I wound them.  The tie job was quite impressive!  I've never seen yarn so well tied before.  The skeins weren't huge - they are only 250 yards each - but they were each tied six times.  There is something very special about a well tied, non-tangled skein.

Okay, so let's move past the glorious yarn.  Next, the pattern.  Anisah is awesome!  The lace and cable keep you interested, but the garter section allows you to make quick progress.  And then there's the pattern's directions.  They are so well written and both graphs and written directions are provided.  The designer, Dee O'Keefe, goes into lots of detail regarding modifying the shawl's size and/or using different weight yarns and she even explains a few little oddities that you might be concerned about in the beginning.  For example, in the top photo, do you see that weird stockinette lump that's formed near the point of the shawl?  She explains that that is normal and that it will block out.  It's nice to know that the weird lump is supposed to be there.  At least for now.

And last, but definitely not least, did you see my new toy?  I love my new chain row counter from Northern Swan Creations almost as much as I love this yarn.  And you know if I love something as much as I love yarn, I really love it!  In fact, I love it so much, I've already ordered another one in a smaller size.  

Have you seen these chain row counters?  The concept is just amazing!  The loops are numbered zero through nine and as you knit rows, you adjust the loop so that it is always on the row number you are on.  And since it also acts as a stitch marker, there's none of that getting to the end of the row and trying to remember to adjust your row counter.  You simply make the adjustment as you reach the chain.  

But it only has zero through nine.  What happens if you have ten rows you ask?  You simply put a marker on the one loop.  And when you reach twenty rows, you move that marker to the two.  

This chain row counter is so versatile!  They are advertised as being able to count up through 99 rows, but really, to count more than that, you could simply add another marker to indicate the hundred's place.  And, while I use mine to count rows, I also have a marker on the 7th loop to remind me to cable on that row.  I also have a third marker on the 4th loop to remind me which chart I'm on.  As long as you can keep up with what the different markers mean, you could add zillions of them!  And yes, I know myself.  I've already made a legend for what my different markers mean in case I ever set the project down for a while and forget what they mean.

Chain row counters are just so genius you must get one if you do any kind of knitting where you have to count rows.  As I said, I've already ordered a second one in a smaller size to hug smaller needles a little better, and just so that I can have two different projects going at once, and, I will probably order a few more for knitter friends' Christmas gifts next year.  These row counters really are the best thing since hand dyed yarn!


  1. Oh dear, you are the second person I've seen lately complaining about dye rubbing off. I am surprised the dyer didn't catch that in her rinse water. It would be pretty obvious. It looks like a good vinegar bath is in your projects future. I just had to do that with a Hap I just blocked so I could start wearing it again. It was black and it bled badly but it's fine now. I think I am the guilty dyer of that one.
    That is a pretty pattern and I'm all about the soft yarn right now. I need to start paying a little extra for the good stuff.

  2. I think this kind of dye issue is pretty common with saturated colors, blues especially. I think it has something to do with the size of the dye molecules (though I say that as someone with no expertise in chemistry -- this is just what I've heard from dyers). When you're done with the shawl, you might want to soak it in a vinegar or citric acid bath and nuke it to set the dye, just in case, and then rinse it really well. It may be that the dye is set but what you're seeing is just excess dye coming out.

  3. beautiful knitting and my look at that dye that is on your hands! EEP.

  4. Beautiful yarn - gorgeous color, but yikes to the dye rubbing off! That would make me crazy. And such a pretty pattern too. The row counter is interesting...but I'm not sure if it would annoy me more than please me (it's big and hanging down...).

  5. Wow! That is a lot of color coming off of that yarn! Hands AND needles! It is gorgeous yarn though and the pattern is really pretty too. I know that if you can tolerate it while knitting, the bleeding can be fixed.
    The chain row counter intrigues me. I may have to look into one of those.
    I'm so glad you got your mojo back. What a scary thing to lose. Glad everyone could help. :-)

  6. The stitch definition on that yarn is LOVELY!

  7. That yarn is so gorgeous, so sorry it is not behaving in the dye department.