Saturday, November 22, 2014

Had to Do it

Remember this yarn?
I spun it last month. It's been sitting on my coffee table ever since. I didn't know what to knit with it. It didn't have enough yardage for a hat which was my first thought. Then someone suggested a cowl. Maybe something like this one I knit last year:
But I didn't have enough yardage for that either. But I couldn't let it go. And I couldn't put the yarn away. I knew if I did, it would be stored for a long time and I would forget about it. I let it keep nagging me from the table.

I looked at patterns again today and I found another similar cowl pattern (link here). I didn't think I'd have enough for that either, but I had to try. I just had to work with the yarn and see what I'd get.

So I cast on some stitches on some very fat needles and worked some garter stitch. Maybe two inches.

I didn't like it. The yarn is too busy for garter. And it's too thick. And really, I wanted to see it in stockingnette stitch.

But meanwhile, since I had a sample knit up, I could measure the gauge I was getting: 20 stitches made 8 inches.

Changing to stockingnette stitch meant knitting in the round from the bottom up for various reasons. So I measured from my nose, around the back of my head and to my nose again and got 24 inches. That made for some easy math and I then cast on 60 stitches in the round.

I knit one row and purled one row to set up a garter stitch edging. Then I decided one garter round was enough (I was really worried about how much yarn I had and it didn't seem to be curling...much) and just started knitting and knitting.
It's not very nice knitting with the big, fat bulky yarn and big, fat needles, but I was interested to see how the yarn was knitting up. I knit to the end of the ball I had hand wound. And there it sits.

It's just short of five inches wide, not really tall enough in my mind for a cowl. I could maybe go a smaller (like 50 stitches?) but I don't think that will get me enough length to make a difference.

If I decide to keep it like this, then I'll have to undo a couple rows so I can add my purl row (to keep the top and bottom symmetric) and then bind off.

I could also supplement with another bulky yarn and reknit it with stripes. I have nothing in the right colour in my stash so I would probably dye some light blue cashmere that I have.

But I'm just not crazy about how it knit up. The stitches aren't balanced. (You can maybe see in the picture above that one side (or "leg") of the stitch looks very twisty and you can see all the plies. The other side of the stitch only shows one ply and it's much narrower--more vertical.) Blocking may help the overall feel or smoothness of the texture, but it's not going to fix those stitches.

I don't know. Now I have a unfinished cowl sitting on my table instead of a hank of yarn. But I'm chalking this all up to experience and hoping I'm learning a little bit about my own handspun yarn before I do some more.

Because I just won a new braid in the Malabrigo October Stockpile event on Ravelry. They were kind enough to send me this braid of Nube:
You should imagine the blue parts to be purple
because they are.
It is also sitting on my living room table, whispering to be spun up. I don't think I'm ready yet, but I don't want to put it away yet either...

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