Let me start this off by stating that I love yarn and all it’s possibilities. Which is where my problem is. Since I love popping into a yarn shop and browsing through the piles of potential projects, I tend to purchase yarn without having a project in mind simply because the color or texture was interesting. My one rule is that every bit of my yarn stash must fit into one “yarn chest,” a dedicated plastic tub for all my yarn goodness. (Guess how many years it’s been since I broke THAT particular rule. So many years. So many.) I’m attempting to knit down my stash, and am no longer purchases yarn without a pattern in mind. After I finish a few projects, I go back into my yarn chest and fill a few gallon ziplock bags with yarn and a pattern from my collection, so that I’ll always have something on hand. To set the scene, here I am slowly getting my stash in order. I had a shawl on the needles and three projects of various complexities and lengths ready to go.
And then my friend A Suitcase of Books recently went to Prince Edward Island. She brought back fun stories about visiting the home of Anne of Green Gables, and also fancy hand spun yarn for me. This yarn is so beautiful. It’s a slightly slubbly wool dyed bright magenta with spots of dark gray wrapped in pink silk. So pretty. I’ve been petting it for longer than I will actually admit to the general public. I’ve had it on my bedside table for a few weeks while I try to figure out what to do with it. What follows is in no way a criticism of the gift I have been given.
Here is my issue. Yarn I buy for myself I don’t feel guilty about shoving into the stash chest until I can figure out what the perfect project will be. Gift yarn? My brain says I need to use it now, else I will show my ingratitude to the gift-giver. Which I am fully aware is not actually true, but sometimes you can’t fight the brain. So the minute the previous shawl was finished I rolled this one up into a ball and started the gears grinding.
While this yarn is very pretty and I love the colors, the homespun nature doesn’t lend itself to the patterns I normally go knit. I like heavily cabled sweaters and lace slouchy hats. Generally speaking, most of my projects are heavy on the details. This is obviously not going to work on any of those projects, as it’s slubby nature will hide any and all pattern details. Thus began the altogether un-epic trials of finding a pattern for this yarn.
I knew I wanted either a hat or fingerless gloves. In trying to decide, I sent many a picture to Liz in order to estimate what the finished product would look like. A note: balancing a ball of yarn on your head is not an indicator of what a hat will look like. But it does make for some amusing photos that I would have posted here, except I’m still learning the functions of my phone and somehow the photos I sent weren’t actually saved to my camera roll.
Issue the second: There’s no yardage on the ball. It does list the grams, which in any other type of yarn I could weigh out ten yards and calculate it out from there. But with the thick/thin texture I don’t think that measure would be accurate. So, a pattern that won’t look weird if I have to swap out a few yards at the end. That leaves out mittens for now. Also, my ears are cold. So hat.
I couldn’t find any hat patterns on Ravelry that sang to me in the style of this thick and thin yarn. Which lead me to doing something I rarely every do. Liz take note! Your yarn has forced me to SWATCH. For the non-knitters out there, this is when you knit a basic square with your chosen yarn and needles in order to test out that they’re going to agree with one another. It’s generally assumed to be a terrific thing to do that many people don’t bother to do. It’s the flossing of knitting.
So I’ve tried out a few pattern variations in hopes it would look different on the needles than my brain predicted it would. This is one of those moments when I acknowledge that I’ve been knitting long enough that I was pretty sure what the outcome would be here.
I started out with a basic stockinette stitch. The tumor looking things above the first inch are a seed stitch and and a double moss stitch. Which is exactly what the eyes in my brain told me would happen based on the texture of the yarn, but I needed to see with the eyes in my head. It’s so very pretty of a yarn that I want to do something beautiful and complex with it, but anything more complicated than a basic stockinette hat will destroy the swoops of slubb that make up this yarn. Boo. So I’m casting on from the crown and am going to attempt to use up every bit of this wonderful vexing gift.