Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How To Use Up Yarn

Let me walk you through how to use up partial skeins of yarn.

First, the yarn - Blue Sky Organic Dyed Cotton.  Beautiful.  Springy.  You adore it and must do something with it.  There must be about half a skein left, enough for a little kimono for a dear little 2 month old.

Next, the pattern.  Fuss about which kimono pattern to use.  Decide a sweater would be better.  In fact, a sweater that she can wear in August when she's in Vermont.  Yes, perfect - a 3-6 month size of that very cute Debbie Bliss Garter Stitch Jacket.  How adorable!!  Simple, fast, and classic in an EZ-looking kind of way.  Cast on and start knitting immediately, late at night, while completely engrossed in the final episode of John Adams.  Give absolutely no thought during any of these deliberations to yardage requirements.

The next day, notice how very large the sweater is looking all of a sudden.  The pattern calls for a 22" chest circumference for the 3-6 month size.  Crazy!  Spend most of your available knitting time comparing patterns and 3-6 month old babies.  Decide to just go with it.  She'll wear it when it fits.  Once again, and this is very important, give absolutely no thought to yardage requirements.

Run out of yarn.  Buy another skein.  Grumble about how this was to just work up the partial skein.  Wonder what happened.  

Knit until just one side of the front is left.  Run out of yarn again.  Buy yet another skein.  Grumble.  Wonder.

Finish the sweater and see that you have the exact same amount of yarn leftover.  If not more.  Deep sigh.  Find beautiful, sweet buttons and forget all about feeling grumbly.

Hmm.  Now what can I do to work up that skein ...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Proper Response to Gray

I spent an inordinate amount of time this winter knitting with charcoal gray Silky Tweed. It's first pass on the needles was a failed original design, a swingy, drapey open cardigan, intended to be the perfect, light layer for our February family trip to Southern California. This project has been visited before, as a FAIL.
I promptly ripped it, and knit the swingy, drapey, already-designed open cardigan, the Minimalist Cardigan instead. I had previously dismissed it because I thought all that moss stitch would be endlessly, soul-crushingly dull. I was completely right, and in fact, managed to make it even more dull by using that charcoal gray Silky Tweed. I spent months knitting boring moss stitch in dark charcoal gray, wondering why I just wasn't all that into knitting lately. Hmmm.

In the end, it is one of the best sweaters I've knit. The fit is perfect; set-in sleeves are my most flattering shape. That charcoal gray makes it endlessly versatile, and the shape is classic and elegant while being currently quite fashionable. I wear it often, and am glad I suffered through those long months with it because the end result is more than worth it.

But after all those months of gray, there was just one appropriate response: color.
Clockwise from top L: Ballband dishtowel, I Heart You Sweater (a test-knit), Ripples of Insanity, Felicity Hat in Karabella Aurora 8