Odd Ball Recycling

As the song goes..”Another One Bites The Dust“, it should be my regular tune after I complete a knitting project. It was when I tossed yet another small ball of yarn into the ‘Odd Ball’ basket that I realised that this basket was overloading….!

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The basket contained silly amounts of yarn, not enough that could really be made into anything significant – OK, not unless you’re into making dolls clothes, that is! It would appear that the types of yarn that I tended to ‘waste’ were fingering (4ply) weight yarns. This is mostly because 100g skein yarns that I work with are either used for socks or for shawls. Since socks never use the entire skein of yarn (usually having about 30g left over) and shawls tend to have a small amount left over (10g or more), all this was building into a huge pile of…. what exactly??

So, by grabbing 3 strands of various colours, I made new yarns….

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I won’t get into what yarn strands are in each, but once plied, they became equivalent to Aran weight yarns. I knitted each sample using 6mm Needles. The fabric is firm, but not too stiff and binds the strands well, offering a good mix with the colours. The back row of yarns weigh between 100g – 130g. The front row of yarns weigh between 70g – 78g. In all cases, there’s enough in each yarn cake to get a hat out of it, or a pair of fingerless gloves (both, for the back row yarns).

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Caribbean Sea
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Tuscany
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Molten Lava
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Lemon Fizz Bomb
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Brighton Fair
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Greek Mosaics
Farmyard Haystack

By plying some odd ball Grey lace weight merino yarn with leftover DK weight Alpaca I had lying around, I made this hat and matching mitts:

Side Buttoned Hat – Moorside Alpaca DK combined with Grey Merino Lace.

Quite a satisfying exercise!

Picture Ref: Buttons are ceramic single samples from Buttonalia https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/buttonalia

ByeLine – The Cardigan Version

This is one of my recent designs, “ByeLine“. It’s a tunic length Henley-style top, with buttoned front and curved hemline. It’s made from the top down in one seamless piece.

ByelIne (original)
ByelIne (original)

Someone asked me if this could be turned into a cardigan. It was an interesting thought and it got my mind racing… So, a cardi version… Can it be done? I’m sure it can!

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Note to self:
• Stripes – 4×2 (CC/MC)
• Length from shoulder to split – 52cm
• If there is enough yarn… make sleeves longer?

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Verdict

Pretty good! Despite what I wrote as a note to myself, it would seem that I disregarded most of it!! But here is the result anyway:

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I had intended to make the cardi shorter, so that the split would fall at belt level (just below high hip), but I couldn’t seem to stop knitting! Then, I confused myself at some point by mistaking my contrast colour yarn with my main colour yarn (such was the closeness between them in tonal value).

So overall, it had turned out longer in the body than I’d planned, but in some ways this was a blessing. The fabric is very soft and floppy, so it would have needed the length to accommodate for the waft and flow around the hem.

Modifications

Apart from obviously turning it from a sweater to a cardigan, I lengthened the curved hem by 8 rows. No particular reason really, I just wanted to see what it would look like. I’m happy with how it turned out. It’s easy to turn this into a cardigan. Just follow the pattern as instructed, instead of joining in the round just keep going, working flat down to the split hem.

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The Yarn

It was the first time I’d ever worked with Bello Worsted. It was lovely and dreamy to knit with (yeah, and you’ll forget to stop knitting too!). It has a generous amount of cashmere, so it blooms pretty quickly, particularly after much handling (the shoulders are full with activity!).

This yarn is ideal for lightweight sweaters. It provides warmth and comfort in all kinds of weather conditions, without the heaviness in weight. Oh, but it is a grower! Gravity and cashmere based yarns are great partners! So be mindful when you are gauging for length… yes Jimi, why don’t you act on your own advice in future, eh?!  😉

The Buttons were from: http://www.textilegarden.com
Ref: TGB1983 – 5 x brown wooden buttons with starburst design. Size 18 mm – £2.00

What’s on my Needles: Follow Your Arrow MKAL

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If you’re not familiar with MKALs (Mystery Knit-alongs), then you’ll be forgiven for not understanding the excitement and buzz it brings around the knitting groups on Ravelry. All I can say is, have a go and see for yourself!

Let me explain…A mystery knit along is exactly what it is, a mystery. In short, you enter into a project without knowing what the end result will be. You do, however, know WHAT you are knitting, you just won’t know the outcome. It is more fun than it sounds, really!

The designer, in this case, Ysolda issues the first clue with tools and material requirements to set you up, then week by week a new clue is issued giving you instructions to follow. In the Follow Your Arrow MKAL, there were 5 clues in all and each of them gave options to choose direction A or B. This gave up to 32 design possibilities for the shawl.

IMG_9933_medium2The MKAL journey from start to finish

13 Jan – CLUE 1B: 1B sounded more challenging than 1A (and I must be a sucker for ‘suffering for one’s art’!). C1: Blue – “Rittersporn”, C2: Yellow -“Daisy”.

16 Jan: Bah! It turned out shit! The Yellow “Daisy” yarn was just so wrong for this project. I’d been advised to find better matched yarns, so I did some more stash-diving. I must admit, I wasn’t too happy about having to start again. By this time, I’d lost the enthusiasm for it. 😦

17 Jan: OK, I didn’t fancy doing everything all over again with the old version, so I decided to cast on for Option 1A. This option was SO much more enjoyable to knit! I lassoed in the “Lounge Lizard” and kicked out the “Daisy” and what an improvement! Much happier with this one! 🙂

New arrangement: C1= Green – The Plucky Knitter Feet in “Lounge Lizard”, C2= Blue – Wollmeise Pure 4ply in “Rittersporn”.

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21 Jan – Clue 2B: It took a bit of head scratching to understand the instructions. Looked like others had the same issue too. Anyway I completed it, but realised my small mistake in that I should have done Stst on the top section using C2, but instead did garter st. Too late to rip – not sure that I was all that bothered about it. We’ll see how it affects clue 3.

giraffe_shawlSo far the shawl has taken on a shape that is quite….alien!

…and the giraffe? Hmm, yes, I’ve got a funny story about him! Well, on the group forum, it was discussed that we should try to photograph our progress shawls accompanied by cute pets (there were lots of cats, dogs, bunnies, chickens etc. posted at this point). Since I don’t have any pets, I thought “well, this guy owes me a favour, why not?” I hope to win the pet competition! 😉

29 Jan – Clue 3A: For what appeared to be a simple and short lace pattern, it was devilishly hard to line up with my existing stitches! Done it, but not without bodging it up along the way. Well, it gives it character, doesn’t it?

03 Feb – Clue 4A: In the words of Penelope Pitstop: “Hayulp!” I just couldn’t seem to line up the pattern correctly. Checked the spoilers to see an example beforehand, in order to proceed. Found one. Ripped back. Fixed it! Uh, oh!…but then again….oh dear! My stitches have grown legs and walked out on me!! But How??? 😦

10 Feb – Clue 5B: Yep! I’ve created work for myself. For this clue, it’s an edging that’s knitted sideways along the live sts, so it is essential that the stitch counts are accurate…which they’re not! Fun, fun fun!!

16 Feb: …and fun it was! Luckily, I had about 85g of C2 left, so I modified the 5B edging by slowing down the rate of decrease. In the pattern, each repeat is decreased by 1 st. So instead of decreasing at the given rate, I would ignore those decreases for 3 repeats. My version begins with 30 sts for the first repeat, then I stayed with pattern until I had 26 sts – from then on, each rep went down as follows: 26, 26, 26, 25, 25, 25, 24, 24, 24 etc. until it ended with 20 sts at the final few repeats. And I still had yarn left over.

IMG_031117 Feb: It had an overnight blocking that took over the entire room! The shape is tricky to block, so I based it on the Nike ‘tick’ logo and followed the contours in that direction. Blocked measurements: 185cm x 75cm It’s a biggie!

To summarize:

A truly fabulous journey! It was fun, intriguing, baffling and a learning experience. This MKAL introduced some of the most technical knitting I had ever encountered. Ysolda’s video support really helped to visualize certain aspects and techniques, which enabled me to successfully put them into practice.

So yes, the end result is a shawl that looks confusing, charming, or maybe a little odd perhaps, but you CAN see arrows! Plus, it will not in any way look like anyone else’s shawl! A unique piece that will be a talking point amongst my friends! 🙂

I love the colours and I’m so glad I settled for these two instead of my first choice.

(Eiffel) Tower of Strength

A skirt, for my 2-day stay in Paris… Une petite jupe!

Tower of Strength Skirt using 3 skeins of yarn (1 of each colour)
Tower of Strength Skirt using 3 skeins of yarn (1 of each colour)

C1: Wooden shoe (light brown)
C2: At the Copa (orange)
C3: Wingtips (dark brown)

I wanted to try and make this skirt with only 3 skeins of yarn (1 of each colour). In order to do this I used larger sized needles and followed size XS instead of my normal Size Small.

I worked 6 rows of ribbing for the waistband, then worked the first 2 repeats without working the first increase at Round 14. This did shift the colour order for these rows, but not in a noticeable way. From round 28 onwards it was business as usual. I worked a total of 7.5 vertical repeats.

The hem ribbing was done using C3 instead of C1 because there wasn’t enough yarn left to do the job (as I expected). I didn’t mind that at all.

01 Sept: It is now blocking. Finished length is: 45cm (17.5″). Having done this on larger needles, I am really pleased that it did not compromise the fabric in any way. I think the yarn is the reason for that. From the 3 skeins yarn, I was left with 12g of each colour.

Verdict
Plucky Sweater is the best yarn for this kind of project. It is sturdy and smooth, with excellent stitch definition. It very rarely pills or fluffs, which makes it perfect for clothing that will succumb to abrasion through movement. The 10% nylon content helps to keep this skirt nice and close to the body in a flattering manner – almost like a pair of Spanx!

The colours are a bit psychedelic! Not sure what possessed me to choose these colourways. Somehow, it reminds me of a skirt my mum wore back in the 1970s. We’ll see if I can get away with it! 🙂