Friday, January 23, 2009

Wind, Knit... Repeat

I've learned a lesson. Last Sunday I wound up two skeins of Araucania Nature Wool Chunky with my new ball winder. Which I love by the way!! This yarn had been sitting in my stash waiting for DD#2 to claim it.

I bought this pretty blue-purple hand dyed yarn with the intention of tempting her to get serious about learning to knit. She works a pretty high pressure job and I've often suggested that knitting would be a great down-time hobby for her... not to mention she'd knit her own socks and hats. But so far she hasn't progressed much beyond a half completed wash cloth.

So while digging through my stash looking for some yarn suitable for a scarf to "match" a recently completed hat, I decided 1) the Araucania would fit the bill and 2) DD#2 is not knitting this yarn any time soon so I should.

Now a slight digression, the Yarn Harlot had a great post this week about "matching" winter knitware on her blog (see excuse 7 if you haven't read it). Stephanie always hits the nail right on the head and is able to so clearly articulate the knitter's dilemma I struggle with. To match or not to match.

It's cold here in Philadelphia, really cold. January cold. And I, like many other cold climate knitters (and my fellow blog partner) have been busy knitting hats, mittens and neckwarmers for the family and me. In a perfect world my hat, scarf and mittens/gloves would coordinate nicely but not necessarily match. That's not a hard and fast rule. I did make a Foliage hat last winter and had yarn left over so I made a Foliage scarf to match. But whenever I wear it, I feel a little like a flash back from the 80's in my matching set. And I recently made my granddaughter, Ashley a hat (Utopia if you want to ravel it) that I think is a good match for the Bella mittens I made her. Same yarn, cables so it looks like a set. On the other hand, some of the hats and scarves I wear as sets, well they definitely don't match. In fact, I must admit they really don't even coordinate that well together. For example, my go-to scarf when I wear my Koolhaas hat is my Sheep Shop One Row Scarf . That combination is what I consider a fashion statement.... that say's "I don't care". The problem, as Stephanie so clearly explains, is that my collection of winter wear are all "different knitting adventures". For me that means knit at different times and for different reasons and not always planned in advance. How do you approach your winter knitware ensembles?? Do you work at matching them or are you just thankful to be warm?

In addition, this winter I've been intent on knitting yarn from my stash rather than go out and buy something new (blame the economic mess on me). So my latest completed hat, the one that prompted my winding the Araucania is another such project. A spur of the moment.. it's going to be really cold this week.. I need another hat project.

Pattern: Winter Femme Hat
Yarn: Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd's Wool (left over from my Greenjeans sweater)
Color: Pansy
Needles: us 7

I love the pattern, it was a quick, enjoyable knit. And the Shepherd's Wool is so soft and such a pleasure to touch and knit with. Now that I have the hat, I needed a scarf to wear with it. Not a cable scarf, that would be too matchy, right? A basic scarf out of the Araucania. I could make it work, right? The purpley color in the yarn is very close to the color of the hat. Pansy purple. Compliments or matches close enough in my world. I started the Yarn Harlot One Row scarf.

But for the second time I ignored the advice I've read about working with hand-dyed yarn and didn't alternate my skeins. I knit away this week and thought I'd soon have a completed scarf to wear with my orphan hat.

But after attaching and knitting 4-5 inches of my second skein I could clearly see where the second skein started. And it wasn't because I had a tail hanging, I felted the ends together. The second skein was clearly darker. Distinctly darker. I had to admit defeat, frog and rewind. After all, I do have some fashion principles.

Lesson learned. Alternate your skeins of hand dyed yarn. Or just go buy a hat and scarf that match.


  1. Yeah, I'm torn on the matchy-matchy, too. While I'd buy a matching store set in a minute, I don't know if I want to do that with my handknits! The hat is so cute--looks like a fun, quick knit.

  2. Yeah I wonder about that too. I made a hat and scarflet this year out of the same yarn but don't like to wear them together lol, but I really don't have anything else to match them too. I'm sorry you had to frog the scarf it looked very pretty! Love the hat : )

  3. I love the Arucania -- that's a beautiful color.

    Good luck with the scarf. I've had sock yarn that actually seemed like it changed dye lot in the middle of the ball where they had a join. THAT was frustrating.

  4. Oh no! Damn yarn. Sorry to hear about that sweetie, because I know how frustrating that is.
    I still like the yarn though :)

  5. Love you hat! Bummer about the scarf. I'm sure you will make it work.
    P.S. I really love the new blog look.

  6. Both hat and scarf are beautiful! I love the stitch you're using for the scarf. It looks very warm. My knit circle and I had a winding session at the coffee shop we knit at in Delaware Monday night. I'm lucky enough to have a winder, but not lucky enough to have a swift so using that was nice. Also, how did I miss that you were from Philly! I keep meaning to go this LYS on Walnut (name I can't remember to save my life) because I know they carry Rowan.

    (PS-I'm passing along to you crazy ladies a Butterfly Award)

  7. I don't have this knitters dilemma. I really can't say I've had a need this year to wear a hat, scarf and gloves. Or any combination. Usually I wear a scarf everyday from October to April (and much much lighter ones from April to October) but it isn't so much that I need it as I like too. I think I would be stifling in a hat and gloves as well. I do have nice leather driving gloves because the steering wheel can freeze and Chris banned knitted gloves in the car.

  8. Oh and your hat and scarf are very cute!