Recent work

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 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:

Image icon Cresent shawlMWK.jpg57.14 KB
Image icon variegated single.jpg73.33 KB


Joe-in Wyoming's picture

That is a most interesting scarf. Great use of a less than attractive original yarn. A friend recently spun two yarns that looked "ho-hum" but was very dynamic when plied together. One of the joys of our craft, I guess.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

ronhuber's picture

Very nice work.

raydio's picture

How do I delete this????1

raydio's picture

Ooooh! Cotton washcloths!

Perusing your Picasa, I went OMG!
You knit cotton wash cloths, too. I'm currently cranking 2+ a day.
I was making circular ones ( ) using my take on the theme.
Now. I'm knitting softly square ones using my own revision of the original pattern linked = original pattern:
I'm working on the striped cloth pattern, much lie the effect of this one:
In my version, I have applied wraps (of a sort-- the same method as in the circular pattern) to get rid of the holes and a couple other adaptations. I'll be posting it, soon, all else being equal.
I had about 70 of the circular and hexagonal cloths made, which I took over to a local hospital for giving away at their cancer center. They usually have caps and toboggans but sometimes have cloth mats out for anyone interested. Not sure, but I may take the rounded-square ones to the Salvation Army to give away.
Anyway, cotton cloths can be addictive, in a good way, and are so practical, and it's nice to see another wash cloth/hot pad/doily knitter working the cotton.

Tallguy's picture

Yes, I knit about 54 dishcloths before Christmas, thinking I would put them in the Bake and Craft sale in my apartment building. Several other people set up tables as well. There were a number of people that came through, looking at everything, and no one buying! I did sell one dishcloth -- it was very odd. I noticed there were few sales.

The only thing that sold well was food! Of course, this was in late afternoon, when people were coming home from work, and they were hungry. One lady had made several cheesecakes, and they sold well at $20 each. So when it came to a choice between a dishcloth or cheesecake, which would you buy?

I enjoyed knitting them. I like to try out patterns with thickish cotton before I commit to a large project with fine lace yarn. For these dishcloths, I used about 3 different patterns that I like which look good on either side, and which can be made in the right size. They are quick to knit, and are quite mindless for the most part. I even knit one in the dark in the back seat of a long road trip! I use them myself, and quite enjoy working with them!

One lady told me just last night, "For some reason, I have a lot of cotton in my stash!" Yes, that can happen!

I am going to have to try that 4-corner dishcloth. And I want to see your variation.

Bill's picture

if you enjoy knitting those...look at
...very similar knitted bosoms for women who had had a breast removed.