It All Comes Together in the End

My friend Sue is one of the very few people with whom I actually get to sit and knit. She’s just a very good friend who has very patiently opened her home to me even through this past fall when my schedule was insanely erratic and constantly changed at the last minute. She was the first person to encourage me to do the Socks with Sarah KAL and is just the sweetest, kindest, most supportive friend out there. She truly does knit a whole lot and loves doing it, so I wanted to find a special skein for her for a holiday gift. She loves green, so I sifted through all my favorite hand-dyers for the perfect skein of green yarn. There are certainly no shortage of beautiful green yarns, but for whatever reason none of them were it. Sue is a very well-versed knitter and has tried a lot of yarns, so I was looking for something she couldn’t just run down to the LYS for or order with a couple clicks of a mouse.

Just when I started to lose hope and was beginning to think about what other avenues I could possibly pursue for a gift, I remembered this was in my stash…

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Photo courtesy of Cloudlover Yarn & Fiber.

One 4oz braid of Cloudlover Yarn & Fiber Merino/SW Merino/Silk in the Ponderosa colorway. Ironically, I had actually bought this with a different friend in mind, but as soon as it crossed my thoughts I knew it had to be reassigned. As this epiphany came just before Thanksgiving, I pulled the braid from my stash and left it out so that I could get going on it as soon as I returned.

As I mentioned yesterday, there was a flurry of insane cleaning when I arrived home, but by Saturday afternoon I broke open my braid. I split it up into 3 equal parts because I thought a nice round 3ply would be ideal. Each of the 3 parts I then broke up uniquely to blend the colors as much as possible. Personally, I find handspun 3ply yarns to knit up a bit closer to commercial yarns and thus can knit up a little more predictably. You must sacrifice some of the yardage you’d get with a 2ply, but they definitely knit up into a more even fabric. So off I went…

ponderosaI cruised along in order to spin & ply the entire project within about 24hours, so I could get it washed, set, and drying in time to gift on Wednesday. It was a faster pace than I’m used to, but I managed it. And sure enough, it was hanging to dry by Sunday night. I’ve discovered that since I don’t have the outdoor option for drying in the winter that if I hang my handspun above one of my furnace vents I can dry it quite quickly — the one in the bathroom above which hangs a convenient towel bar serves very nicely. The skein was dry by Monday evening.

And the results…

pondoNot the most even yarn I’ve spun — I probably could have dealt with a few of the slubs a bit better and of course the slickness of the silk makes it harder for a relative newbie like me to get my singles just so, but all in all, I think it turned out very nicely. And most importantly, it was just what I was hoping for for Sue.

Now once I had it skeined, I noted that I had about 185yards of roughly fingering weight yarn. That is kind of limiting as far as pattern options go, so I wanted to give a compatible pattern along with the yarn to make it easier to use. I searched all over Ravelry for a pattern that would work. I started with my favorite designers, dog-earring a few options before sifting through more broad Ravelry searches to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. What I finally ended up getting was Arcus by Lisa Mutch of Northbound Knitting. A pretty little cowl requiring 130 – 330yds of fingering weight yarn and knit in a super chillaxed garter stitched variation, this fit the bill perfectly.

pondopatternI purchased a copy for myself (because I have more than a few skeins that would work great with this), printed it, and put it in a sheet protector. Once I actually gave the gift, I purchased a gift copy for Sue so she could have it in her Ravelry library and reprint as she wanted. Whether this yarn works with the pattern and is to Sue’s liking remains to be seen and, really, I’m fine either way. I just wanted to include an option, you know? And it made a nice little package, the yarn & pattern, so I was very happy with how it all came together in the end. I hope Sue is, too!

It’s worth mentioning that Lisa Mutch is running a Buy 2, Get 1 Free Sale in her Ravelry pattern store for the month of December. She has nearly 80 patterns available and I’ve come to appreciate the simplicity, elegance, and modernity of her designs. If you were interested in trying her work out, now’s a great time to pick-up a couple patterns. No coupon code is necessary, the 3rd pattern will automatically be deducted in your cart.

Also, for those who are ogling the fiber, remember we have just a couple weeks left to take advantage of the Cloudlover Yarn & Fiber Socks with Sarah discount. Use the  SOCKSWITHSARAH  discount code at checkout to receive 15% off your yarn & fiber order.

5 responses to “It All Comes Together in the End

  1. I love everything about this! The yarn, the pattern… it actually looks a bit like crochet in the picture, so I got all excited (I’m a beginner knitter, much better at crochet). Your friend is a lucky girl – I’m sure she’ll love it!

    • Well, I can definitely tell you that Lisa Mutch writes great patterns for beginners – they are generally based off of very basic stitch patterns and have a lot of repetition. This pattern is pretty straight-forward, too!

  2. That’s a great gift. I always think gifting someone a lonely skein of yarn, no matter how beautiful, is not always the ideal gift (on it’s own). A lonely skein with an awesome pattern is brilliant!

    • I have to say, for me, it really depends on the skein and the recipient, but I like giving a little ‘kit’ when I can. Even if I handspin the yarn it can kind of feel like an underwhelming gift on its own. Or it can feel totally overwhelming because handspun is kind of a unique type of yarn oftentimes with uncommon yardages. So putting together a little kit can be nice. If I plan ahead well enough including appropriate stitch markers or a handmade project bag is a nice touch, too! (But I’m rarely that organized!)

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