Saturday, February 26, 2011

Love, thy name is Madelinetosh

Last weekend I saw a cute hat pattern listed in the Free Pattern Tester group on Ravelry. My experience in knitting hats for myself was bleak -- every one had been immediately ripped out because it was huge or oddly misshapen or huge AND oddly misshapen. Now, I've made a few very nice, well fitting hats for other people, my cousin George, my Dad, Bob (heck Bob even sleeps in his.  I like to think that's because he loves it too much to take it off, but it may just be because our house is really cold), and Virginia (see A Christmas Cowl post for pics), but for me? Fagetaboutit!

Anyway, (a) the hat, Tied-Band Chevron Beret, was cute (see While Waiting for the Snow post), (b) I needed a break from a garter stitch comfort shawl, (c) I really wanted to knit with that brick red Nashua Hand Knits Focus Worsted that was burning a hole in my stash, (d) based on the 7-11 inches of snow being forecast (we got 11.8), there was clearly a lot of winter left and I don't actually own a hat that fits, and (e) being a Knitter who doesn't actually own a hat that fits is kinda embarrassing.  So I volunteered for the test.

The hat test was a resounding success, I started the hat on the 19th and finished on the 21st and it fit me very well.  Ravelry Project Link

So the very next day, when I saw another hat test, for the Aspen Tam Pattern Link  and my Project Link, I jumped at it.  This hat seemed to use the basic shape of the last one, which fit me very well, and added cool leaves and the twisted knit stitch that I loved from Bob's Unicurve Socks.  So at lunch on the 23rd, I trotted off to Monterey Yarn to find the perfect yarn.  To be perfect for this project, it had to be an interesting earthy color, be tonal enough to not distract from the pattern, and have exceptional stitch definition to make those twisted knit stitches really POP. 

I found it.  And I am so in love with this yarn!  Madelinetosh Tosh Merino (non-Ravelry link) in the Amber Trinket colorway.  For some reason, the website is not showing Amber Trinket.  I hope it isn't discontinued, but they have so many amazing colors that I know I'll find something else to love if it is. 

Tosh Merino is a worsted weight 100% merino single ply, similar to Malabrigo but with a tighter twist so it is even rounder and gives even crisper stitch definition.  And soft, as in OMG soft.  The Tosh is to Malabrigo what Malabrigo is to Manos of Uruguay. (And we know I love Malabrigo enough to have named one of my Guild Wars characters Misti Malabrigo after both Mal and Misti Alpaca Tonos, my other favorite yarn).

Okay, for non-knitters, I know that last paragraph sounded like the adults on Peanuts -- wah wah waah wah, so let me try to restate it in non-knitter terms... Remember how you thought a hamster was really soft until you felt a chinchilla for the first time?  Yeah, just like that.  Tosh is to Malabrigo is to Manos like chinchilla is to hamster is to dog.  (I could SO have a career writing SAT questions!) Now if that didn't make sense to anyone, I just have to recommend you visit either a good local yarn store or a good pet shop, either one should have what you need on hand to make this make sense.

I really haven't done enough of the hat to see the pattern yet, but look at that stitch definition!  The color is more accurate in the first picture. 

It has been 2 days since I bought the yarn, and Bob has already taken to saying "yes, we got it, you love this yarn" a lot, so I guess maybe I'm obsessing a little bit (just maybe). I mentioned to Bob at lunch that I totally understood now why the Madelinetosh Lovers group in Ravelry has almost 3,000 members, but he kinda got hung up on the fact that a yarn could have a fan club, which was not the response I was looking for, so I moved on conversationally.

But I definitely see a sweater in this yarn in the future, maybe this one:  Renaissance (non-Ravelry link).    Yes, I know, NOT until I finish my February Lady Sweater (which is almost done) and Bob's sweater (which is not quite as almost done).  Then again, those will go faster now that I'm so motivated.  Until then, I might have to make myself a Hamsterbean with any leftover yarn from the hat.  A cute little knit hamster will probably be more socially acceptable than carrying around a little ball of leftover yarn to pet and admire.  Or maybe not...

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