Getting the Most Out of Your Yarn

I believe I have found a way to extract the most enjoyment out of a yarn purchase. Some years ago, probably at least five years ago, I was on a brief respite from the very hot and dry foothill summer. There is a place my fiber enabling husband and I like to visit on the Mendocino coast.

We always take the cottage with the view of the ocean and we usually manage to spend at least a few hours visiting the town of Mendocino. And, of course, like any good fiber fanatic with an enabling husband, we visited the Mendocino Yarn Shop that used to be in town. I say “used to be” because I just found out that it moved a few miles closer to the cottages where we stay. In fact, I can now walk there from the cottage. Yes, that does sound dangerous. At least until you realize that a sale purchase from at least five years ago is still providing lots of enjoyment. And the garment isn’t even finished yet!

When we first visited the shop, they had four skeins of Araucania Ñuble yarn on sale. It was the last four skeins and one of the tags says it sold for $12. This is a beautiful lace weight 75%/50% extra-fine merino/silk yarn in a tonal aqua color. It spoke to me of water, the ocean that I so miss living near, and it spoke to me of a circular lace shawl. Of course, I could not leave these last four skeins sitting there; they had to come home with me.

As knitters, we often like to start new projects. I am no different, but I am trying to limit how many projects I have going at any one time. I also spend a lot of time spinning and weaving. And there have been several dyeing projects between when I purchased the yarn and when it first went on the needles. So, I used the yarn for decoration in my fiber room. And it sat on the shelf for years while I looked for just the right pattern and started many other projects, finishing most of them.

Finally, the time came. I decided on and purchased the Guinevere Shawl by Anne Podlesak and set it up in KnitCompanion. It was light weight and compact and I took it on our August 2019 trip to Sweden. I even began the project before departure so that I was sure this would be a good travel knit. I used Emily Ocker’s cast-on method to begin the shawl, which is lace knitting in the round. The pattern has four charts and, like most lace knitting, is somewhat difficult to see the overall effect before it is blocked. So, with the beginning worked out prior to departure I was ready, and I knitted on. It was an enjoyable knit, with some tinking, to be sure, but it was pleasant yarn to work with.

Maybe I was too busy seeing other things because by the time I returned from Sweden and was onto the third skein of yarn,

I was starting to see that my lace patterns were not stacking up like they were supposed to. So, after about two months of knitting (I am not a fast knitter and always have multiple projects going), I was going to have to frog this project. All of it. Every last stitch. I had misinterpreted the charts in a pretty major way. Somehow, this one got right past me. But I enjoyed the yarn, knew I liked the pattern (especially when correctly executed) and really wanted to complete the project. So, another Emily Ocker cast on, better understanding of the pattern, and I was, once again, knitting with the yarn that had been decoration for so long.

Well, the project sat on the needles for another two months, at least, while holiday gifts were completed. Four woven scarves, a woven lace table runner, 10 woven mug rugs, a number of woven kitchen towels, two knitted hats, a knitted cowl, and a knitted Christmas stocking later, I was ready to get back to this lace project.

Now this project only competes with my combo-spin sweater (which has also languished on the needles for few months), my weaving and spinning, and other activities of daily living.

I’m on the last chart, all seems to be going well, and all I can say is that I have certainly enjoyed this yarn! For a long time, for many times!

It has been a good investment. I hope to soon be enjoying the finished object. I’ll end with the photo I sent my two adult kids on New Year’s Eve, which I spent quietly knitting at home. Cheers!

 

 

 

 

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