It's been a very long time since I posted to MWK, although I have stopped by occasionally to see what all the guys have been up to. However, I see others are not posting either! I have a story to tell you about repurposing some yarn.
At our local knitting guild meetings, we have a table at the back of the room where fellow knitters bring in their unused and no longer needed yarns, needles, patterns, etc. About two months ago, there was a ball of yarn on the table that looked interesting. I immediately recognized it as a cabled yarn. This is where two 2-ply yarns are twisted together. It produces a yarn with a very special texture, and knits up very nicely.
But this yarn was made up of many colours with very long colour sections, and with that barber-pole effect, those colours were all muddied, and was not pretty at all. That is why someone was giving it away! Nevertheless, the colours were very bright and I knew that if I could separate the yarns, they could be quite effective. I have unplied yarns before, so I knew it was possible.
When I got it home and set about separating the yarns, I noticed quite quickly that this wasn't a cabled yarn at all! It was in fact a two-ply yarn, with each single made up of those bright colours in very long sections, but there was also black that was carded with the colours as well. This had the effect of intensifying the colours, and blending it all together. It was this black strand that gave me the impression these were multi-plied yarns. But I went along with it and separated the two yarns into two balls, and the colours indeed were much more attractive.
At that same meeting, one of the members gave us all a pattern for a scarf she designed (Any Yarn Goes Scarf or Wrap available on Ravelry http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/any-yarn-goes-scarf-or-wrap) which looked quite nice and yet so easy to do. It was all in garter stitch and would be perfect if you had a beautiful yarn to show off. I could think of no other way to use this yarn. I don't like working with a single yarn -- there are problems with them, but this one seemed to be okay to knit with. It was acrylic, but what the heck.
The scarf itself is very simple: all in garter stitch, with a loose gauge, increasing at both ends so it formed a crescent shape, much wider than it is high. The yarns had very long colour sections, so I could knit several rows before it gradually changed into another colour. There were quite a few colours (I am sure all 7 colours of the rainbow was in it) which is why it didn't look good when plied. But as a single, it was very attractive.
The scarf is started at the neck edge, and increased until it was wide enough, or until you ran out of yarn. This was ideal since I had a limited amount of this yarn! At the outer edge, I wanted more of a ruffle effect and tried a method to make that ruffle. It was not entirely effective, but was alright. Because of the increases, and the crescent shape, the ends of the scarf formed into a curlycue when they hung down. Very nice!
I did have another ball of yarn, of course, although the colours were in a different order. Perhaps they were reversed. Nevertheless, I didn't know what else to do with it, so I knit up another Any Yarn Goes scarf! This time, I decided on using a different method of making the ruffle, and I liked it much better.
I kept an eye on how much yarn I had left, since I only had this small amount. You would be surprised how much yarn you can use up in a ruffle! In fact, I used every last centimetre of yarn I had, and was short about 20 stitches. I was fortunate enough to find some yarn in my stash (another reason to keep a very large stash of small amounts of yarn) and was able to replicate the same effect, and finish off the scarf. This time, the ruffle worked much better, and I had more curl all around the edges, including the ends.
But any knitting needs to be blocked, and especially garter stitch. Since this was acrylic, I was presented with a problem! I could not use the regular method of washing and pinning out. But I know that you can steam acrylic into submission, and that is what I used. I pinned small sections of the scarf to my ironing board, and then hovered over the piece with my steam iron, giving it a good blast. I let it cool a moment or two, and then unpinned and repinned another section. In this way, I was able to open up the garter stitch and show off the yarns, and the drape increased wonderfully. It actually looked quite nice!
These aren't my colours, and not something I would wear. But I can see this done in one of my handspun grey wool yarns, and I can see myself using it then. It was a fun and quick knit, and with the right yarns, very effective. Everyone that has seen them really liked them. There is a pic or two attached, and you can see more in my Picasa album: https://picasaweb.google.com/tallguy403/Knitting#6259340349849838338