the yarn that did not want to be knit

Ok, let’s start with the good. I have a lovely new scarf in my arsenal!

Way back, let’s say, the summer two years ago, I went on a tour of Lorna’s Laces, a small yarn-dyeing company right in my neighbourhood. It was so much fun to see the process behind their dyeing, and the local names they give their colorways. And of course, the factory-sale! I fell in love with a couple of skeins of their Bullfrogs and Butterflies yarn (ravelry link to the yarn), in a variegated red colorway:

It ranged from a dark, blueish purple, through a pure red, to rich orange-browns. It’s a single-ply wool/mohair blend, and it was beautiful in yarn-form; luscious, vibrancy, smooth, lustrous… Ok, you get the point.

So what’s the problem? The problem was that I didn’t really like how it knit up. I loved the yarn in the skeins, I loved the yarn wound up in balls, but I did not love the yarn when it was knit. I tried a triangular shawl, but once the purple stitches on one row met the light warm orange stitches on the next, I couldn’t stand the contrast it was creating. In short, I thought it was far more beautiful just as a yarn!

In progress – the balls of yarn were quite pretty I think!

Two skeins of gorgeous yarn sitting on a shelf wouldn’t do me any good, so I eventually decided on a technique that would take away the random color-matching. I read about intentional pooling in a forum-thread on ravelry (am I able to write a post on knitting without mentioning ravelry? I’m afraid not…), and the basic premise is to control the color-blobs that occurs when yarn is dyed in multiple colors.

I wanted a fast, reversible knit that would show off the pretty yarn, so garter stitch was quite an obvious choice to me. By knitting rows that uses half the length of the skein (when it’s laid out as a circle), the same colors will stack up on top of themselves, and you get stripes of the same colors going up the length of the scarf.  Since I was working with two skeins, I decided to alternate them. I didn’t want to knit one, then change to the other skein and get a different pooling-pattern! you can kind of tell the colors aren’t quite the same on the edges, but I like the subtle striping it creates.

This scarf has seen almost daily use since I made it, and while I can deal with the inherent stretching of the garter stitch, I’m a little disappointed to find that the yarn is fuzzing up quite a lot. I loved the shine and luster of the yarn when I first bought it, but even just knitting with it seemed to take that away. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised since it’s a wool and mohair blend, but I really wish it would have stayed shiny. Oh well!

I sewed the two edges together to create one giant loop, which I’ve decided is very handy – there are no ends that can fly away and get untucked in cold and windy weather (I’m looking at you Chicago). It is a very squishy, cuddly, and warm scarf, so I’ll have to admit that this gorgeous yarn became a successful scarf in the end!

Triple-wrapped protection against New England winters!

4 responses to “the yarn that did not want to be knit

  1. Well, you never take the easy road, do you! :-) Love the colors, and sympathize about the issue. You´ve made it look pretty gorgeous! Stay warm!

  2. Very pretty! Great way to use the variegated yarn and I love the loopy scarf trick – no flying away ends is a good thing!

  3. Look at that! You did it again! I would like to show this scarf to the people I work with. I once tried to machine knit a sweather in variegated yarn, but it did not turn out satisfactory. I’m impressed at the way your scarf turned out!

  4. Thank you guys! Mom – yes, variegated yarn is difficult to match up; this blog post is much clearer than I managed to be!

    I really did end up quite happy with the scarf, and part of me liked the challenge of troubleshooting until I found something I liked!

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