Tuesday, September 4, 2007

What the Yarn Wants to Be

So, at the workshop with Ginger Luters on miters at Stitches Midwest, she was talking about a class she teaches on determining what you should knit with the yarn you have. Seems ass-backwards, but it made sense. Yarn wants to do things, wants to be things that we may not see, or may not even agree with. There are obvious points to be made here--Shetland yarn for fairisle and steeking, et al., but sometimes the conclusions are not that apparent. Case in point--a rather seductive skein of yarn I bought a few months ago. A skein of Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky, in 572, a blood red, bought at my LYS.

I live in the deep south, where there is no cause for Alpaca. This was to be a petting skein. I put it in my stash, thinking of what I might make with it (fingerless mitts, or nothing), and put it out of my mind. Then, I was in my LYS again the other day, and I thought of my little blood-red skein, and thought I should knit her into something. I needed another skein, though. At least one more. I bought a skein in 571, a mahogany brown. Then, I brought it home to try to knit with it.

I thought a scarf. My friend Tom likes scarves, and has been asking for one. I'm sick of scarves, really, and have been for awhile, so I looked around for something fancy-ish to do with it. Maybe a red cable with a brown border, i-cord, something like that.

I swatched. The yarn did not like stockinette, that was sure. It looked sloppy, and felt not drapey but rather sort of flappy. "Perhaps a garter stitch border" I thought. "There, that's better..." the yarn seemed to say. And then proceeded to resist any attempt to wrench it into anything else.

So, I had to knit Tom a garter stitch scarf. To make it interesting, I cast on so that there would be long vertical stripes, instead of horizontal stripes, on the finished product. Six rows of garter in red and brown two times, then four rows of the same two times. Diminishing lines. Then just some knotted fringe. Because of the way I worked the garter stitch (evenly), it looks "clean" on one side and a bit more "rustic" on the other. My husband likes the rustic side. I am fonder of the clean side.

Gosh, but the yarn is happy. It is so cushy and thick and soft as this scarf. Tom will appreciate it, even if it's a bit too warm for these parts.

In case you're interested, co 165 stitches on 8 needles. The rest you will figure out for yourself.

Also arriving today in my mailbox was this:

Online Supersocke in this gorgeous mostly-electric blue colorway. With all of the yarns out there, I really haven't seen much dominated by this sort of blue. Also, I bought two skeins of Kaffe Fassett's Regia yarn, also with a stripe of that same blue.

When will I use them? Who knows? I seem to collect yarn like I am preparing for some sort of apocalypse. A yarn-pocalypse. I hoard. I pat. I say "pweshuss" and stroke it gently, cuddling it back into its drawer after I'm through pawing at it. I have actually gotten to the point where I hestitate to wind the hank into a ball, because that would somehow change the purity of it. I want to have my yarn and knit it too. In any case I have to stop buying sock yarn. I have to remind myself that the spinners and dyers of the world are not going to suddenly expire from a some fiber-lover's disease.

I also received Cat Bordhi's new book, New Pathways for Socknitters. I've heard it's filled with errors, but I so seldom see something really new with regard to sock knitting that I just closed my eyes and bought it, full price, because it's not to be had anywhere at a discount (I hear it's self-published). I knit my plain vanilla socks and I like that. I basically knit the same sock over and over again. But I like looking at the gloriously unusual and different, the same way one might peruse a travel brochure for a country one knows one will never visit.

And I can't really begin to describe the book. I've only flipped through it, but I can say that I am not at all sorry I purchased the book. It's beautiful, for one, with large, clear color pictures (one can't always say this about knitting books), and every pattern seems to me pretty revolutionary. And terribly, terribly interesting. It's like a collection of short stories in genres I've never even heard of before.

Also, I'm on RAVELRY! Same name, so if you're on Ravelry too, check me out. Friend me. I am methodically trying to catalogue my stash, and as far as sock yarn it's pretty complete.

(Until the Monarch yarn arrives. Oh, and the Sundara and the Miss Babs and the sock club yarn from Woolgirl which should ship next week and am I excited? Am I? Good lord, I need to be medicated!)


Wendyzzzzz said...

Hi, love your blog. Thanks for letting me/us know about the errors in Cat's book. Now I don't feel bad about not having gotten my grubby hands on it yet. I'm writing to tell you, I obey. I'm friending you on Ravelry. I'm Wendyzzzzz. But my Ravelry is very boring so far. Perhaps one day that'll change.

I'm also on yahoo with that name.

allyc said...

I know it sounds silly, but I finally, finally understand the phrase "have one's cake and eat it, too". You put it terms I understand! Brilliant!