When Will I Wear That? (Originally published 10/08/2013)



Sometimes I knit things without knowing when and wear I'll wear them. I bought an issue of Knitting Today because it had this pattern for a felted rose purse. It took a sweater quantity of Cascade 220, a yarn I've used a lot because the price is usually right, but that I've never really liked. But the yarn was in the perfect red and I couldn't resist.

The pattern was so poorly written that I can see why the magazine isn't published anymore. I don't know if they employed incompetent editors and test knitters or none at all. Another knitter in the Ravelry community had to email the designer for a clarification on the wrap and turns. And the pattern insists you make the puzzling choice to sew the purse all the way around and then cut it open after felting. I ended up essentially mangling one side of the rose.

But the pattern and all the frustration was worth it when I finished. It turned out so awesome. But I have only carried it three times. It picks up lint from my clothes and pills. It doesn't hold very much. And it just isn't my style. But I can't stand the thought of giving it away.

So what do you do when you didn't have the common sense to ask yourself, "When will I wear that?" before you knit something? No. Seriously. That isn't a rhetorical question I need guidance. What do you do?

Criticism of Manos del Uruguay Yarn

I had high hopes for this yarn when I purchased it. I awoke one Saturday morning in a fever to knit a long infinity scarf. I chose the pattern Textured Circle Scarf by Kate Smalley. I went through my yarn stash and was shocked and perturbed to learn that I didn't own any worsted weight yarn. I cheered up moments later when I realized this provided me with an opportunity to go yarn shopping. I rode the train to the Needlepoint Joint in Ogden, UT. A startlingly pretty and very hippy-ish young woman helped me choose the Manos del Uruguay-Maxima. Allow me to list my complaints:

Notice the unwanted marbling and color change

Notice the unwanted marbling and color change

  • I bought 4 balls, all of the same dye lot but, there was a marked difference in the color. I had two that were a pearl grey and two that were smoky. I did what any resourceful knitter would, and alternated the skeins to create a pattern.
  • The yarn is kettle dyed and one of my skeins was dyed with a band too tight so the middle of that skein was almost pure white. Therefore, I ended up with another color detail I didn't ask for...white specks throughout the scarf. 
  • The friction of just my hands and some rosewood needles caused the yarn to look like it was beginning to pill.
  • I lost instead of gained stitch definition when I blocked the scarf.
  • The scarf was only in rotation for two weeks before I noticed pilling. I'm a large woman with many friction points but my neck isn't one of them.

I will say that the yarn was very soft and it was far and away the most consistent single-ply yarn I've ever worked with. There were no thick and thin spots. And the color is beautiful. It is hard to get a compliment on anything grey and I received many while I was both knitting with the yarn it and when I wore the scarf.

My low opinion of this yarn is not one I could find shared among the knitting community. To the point that I am questioning whether I'm the only knitter not on the Manos del Uruguay payroll. This makes me think that I owe it one more chance. I have a skein left. I will make a hat and see if that turns out any better.

Project Details:

Pattern: Textured Circle Scarf by Kate Smalley

Yarn: Manos del Uruguay Maxima in Slate

Needles: Size 6 rosewood    

Cardiff Cashmere

Even the tags are pretty

Even the tags are pretty

I have only ever bought cashmere blend yarn. Frugality has its place. While luxury has a more exalted one, at least in my heart.  Woman can not live by acrylic and Peruvian wool alone. 

I regularly receive emails form Knit-Purl.com and each one fills me with longing. But I have a long standing policy of not having too large of a stash. Currently all my yarn fits in one Rubbermaid tote. This is aided by my inexplicable habit of only buying lace weight and fingering weight yarn, although I haven't knitted anything out of lace weight yarn in almost 2 years. A few months ago I was dying to make an infinity scarf and I didn't have any worsted weight yarn. Once I recovered from the shock I went yarn shopping. I finished the  scarf . I again have no worsted weight yarn. The Cardiff Cashmere is a dk weight. 

I saw this yarn and wanted it but  I also wanted to find a project that I could knit for less than $100. I rarely get a better laugh than when a non-knitter says "Oh. Making your own stuff must save you so much money," I did the math and casual drug use would cost only 20% more than my knitting habit. 

I initially thought I would make the same cowl that my friend recently cast-on. But when I started the cowl with it's honeycomb pattern I wasn't pleased. It was too complicated for the yarn. The slight halo to the yarn was lost and it no longer had the drape that is a hallmark of cashmere.

So I cast-on a cowl of my own creation and I am pleased with how it is progressing. The yarn is plied and this results in me splitting stitches sometimes if I'm not keeping tension with the yarn. But I also think the plies give the yarn a smoother profile. I find myself a bit nervous knitting with a white yarn. I wash my hands before I pick it up and make sure I haven't recently applied hand lotion. We're having a particularly cold and snowy winter this year and my hands are starting to take on a lizard-like appearance, so skipping lotion is a sacrifice. But this yarn slides easily through my hands and isn't drying them out. So far this a wonderful first experience knitting with 100% cashmere yarn.

Cardiff Cashmere comes in small balls of only 120 yards. My previously stated budget concerns meant I could only buy 4 balls. This would be enough for the cowl I initially had in mind but I wasn't sure it would be enough for the one I had decided on. I began to worry as the ball got smaller and smaller and only an inch or so had been knitted. I even got out my food scale and weighed the left over yarn to determine how many grams I had left to give me an idea of how far I would get with it. As the ball of yarn became no bigger than a pound of soap after a good days wash I just surrendered to the fact that I was going to have to buy another ball. But low and behold after I had finished the first ball I was a little more than a fourth of the way to the desired size of the cowl. I won't attempt to describe my elation but I assure you it involved a little dance and a little song made up on the spot. 

I haven't finished the cowl but I expect to keep loving it and will likely buy this yarn  again from knit-purl.com. I'd been dreaming about a white cashmere cowl for months, but this yarn aslso comes in some very beautiful colors. 

When a fling becomes something MORE

I love it when an easy stitch looks fancy

I love it when an easy stitch looks fancy

I hate buying things online because I am an impatient person. If I give you money I struggle to understand why all you have given me is an email saying "Thanks". So when I realized I'd finished all my knitting projects but my new yarn wasn't arriving from Knit-Purl.com for several business days I needed a new project to distract me. 

I did what I always do when I need project inspiration, I checked my Pinterest and Instagram. And one of my favorite Instagram pages is the one for  PurlSoho a knitting, weaving, and needlework store in NYC. They have great taste. They also have high prices. I have actually to my recollection never purchased anything from them. Which as I write this makes me feel like I am somehow mistreating them since I have knit at least five of their free knitting patterns. (sneaks away to make a guilt purchase she will blog about at a later date) 

I don't feel like they were featuring this pattern well enough. Shifting Angles Scarf in a dull dusky light brown or straw color? I like muted colors as much as the next gal but BLERGH. Give me a little of the razzle dazzle. So I'm knitting mine out of a wonderful navy that I specifically bought to knit a scarf out of because I love Sherlock on the BBC and he wears a navy scarf. Plus Knitpicks,com had the yarn on a steep discount I assume because they were discontinuing the color. Because it wasn't like the yarn was going to go bad. 

I expected to lose interest in this scarf when my luxury yarns arrived but I haven't. I can't convince myself to knit anything else. I am supposed to be working on some patterns I've been writing for my book. But nope. The moment my bum meets seat I find myself picking it out of the basket. I suspect this will not be so for much longer. The scarf is getting a bit long for knitting on the go. I'll cast on something portable and my attentions will be spread more evenly. But for the time being I am still enraptured and I only want to be with the Shifting Angles Scarf. 

Project Details:

Pattern: Shifting Angles Scarf  

Yarn: Capretta from Knitpicks (fingering weight/80% wool, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon

Needles: Size 3 bamboo