ITO & I

Lately, I have been secretly working on quite a few test knits: a blanket, socks, a wrap, another wrap. Some of it is off my needles, some of it is not. Not yet. Like the ITO wrap.

Ito means yarn in Japanese. The wrap I am working on is made of three different and unusual bases: Washi is a paper yarn (54%) with rayon added for stability. Urugami too has a twisted paper core (28%), wrapped in wool. Shio is made of very fine merino (my favorite of the three, by the way. Lovely trace yarn).

ITO yarns HaekelmonsterI was tempted for a long time to work with ITO yarns. If only to try it. It is so different from the yarn I usually work with. Elegantly wrapped on cones – so nice. Hence, I jumped at the chance when Marisa, the designer, offered that I knit the wrap, which will be shown in her second book (focussing on wraps and shawls): Noch mehr Tücher stricken: 25 neue maschenfeine Projekte für jede Gelegenheit (EMF, Sept. 2017).

But then knitting did not turn out quite the way I had imagined … To be honest with you, ever so slightly it became tedious. Here’s why:

I am a perfectionist … Always striving for perfect stitch definition, for a smooth and even fabric. Well, that’s impossible to obtain with Washi and Urugami (at least for me) as paper yarn does not forgive careless knitting tension at all. So far for perfection … 😢.

ITO Yarns HäkelmonsterPlus, having two fine yarns on my finger meant to knit attentively, if only to make sure to catch both strands with every stitch. No movies, no distraction, not for me.

Hence, half way through I was ready to give up. But then I didn’t. And the more I knit the more I learned to enjoy the feel of the finished work: smooth but not soft. A silky softness maybe. Sleek and even. I am still not pleased with the way it looks (way too many uneven stitches) but surely blocking will work wonders. (It scares me to block paper yarns but that’s another story).

ITO Yarns HäkelmonsterThe design is beautiful. The colors Marisa picked – tangarine, carrot and hydrangea (which is a bright pink) – are stunning. Very bright, very much summer. Instructions are a piece of cake, while rows are getting longer and looooonger …

I am almost done. Yay!

It is said that paper yarns have a lasting tradition in Japan. Assumably, they have similar properties to silk: Cooling in summer and warming in winter. Can’t wait to give it a chance.

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