Sunday, March 11, 2012

Off my needles: Seeing Mint

Like many fiberholics, I have, or shall I say had, an affinity for hoarding, stashing and investing in yarn.   2 years ago, I made a New Years Resolution to 1) finish knitting all my sock yarn,  2) not buy any new yarn unless I had a very specific project in mind and 3) not buy any new yarn until the yarn from my last purchase was completely used up.  But lately, I have been aching to clean up even more.  I recently combed through my stash and donated a decent chunk to goodwill, then I recombed and took out any of the good stuff that I knew I would never work with and sent it off to sell on commission at the Weavers Guild.  Anything I couldn’t bear to part with needed to be re-evaluated.  

For example, this gorgeous minty roving, hand spun and hand dyed giving it an ethereal effect was purchased on a whim for a “good deal” at the Weaver’s Guild annual garage sale.  At the time, I  envisisoned a chunky pointelle sweater and eagerly snatched up 15 hanks.  3 years later a chunky mint sweater although uber trendy in theory is possibly the worst idea I have ever had.  Why I thought, even fractionally, that it was a good idea can only be blamed on those yarn purchasing endorphins that invade ones brain cells turning perfectly beautiful yarn into heinous projects.  Don’t laugh-you’ve been there too.  Not everything can be good, can it?   So the yarn sat in my stash waiting, occasionally being imagined into a cat bed, until one day I decided that it would either have to be redonated, sold or actually made into something.  

At one point I tried convincing Adam that it would make a very lovely pouf to which he marched into my craft room and came back with an armload of this minty goodness which he unceremonioulsly dumped onto the floor (a necessary step, according to Adam, to help him better envision the project) before deciding that he actually really didn’t want to buy it off me.  So, there it sat, a pile in the middle of the floor, until one day it narrowly escaped being vomited on by the cat, rescued only as I came running into the room upon hearing the tell tale signs of a cat about to puke.  I saw Box Spring hunched over that yarn so I screamed, yelled and flailed my arms (the best way to approach any situation-right?) until he darted away to finish up somewhere else.  I gathered the rest into my arms and wound each hank into 15 balls and decided that accessories would be the best resource for this yarn.  I finally imagined something good. Chunky hats with earflaps and large poms and maybe a cowl or two.

  At first, I wanted the earflaps to be long enough to tie a  floppy bow under the chin.  I later rethought the design as the ties would have to be ridiculously long to tie that bow.  The yarn is so soft and plush and lovely.  The variation in colors so slight and understated that these pieces need not have a fancy stitch.  A good ole stockinette  is never too humble when the fiber is that good.  The nicest part about chunky, besides the fact that it knits up so quickly, is that the edges don’t have an affinity to roll, so no need to brim it or rim it; the stitches can just float off the bottom.  3 rows of an elongated stitch give the piece a little more interest and silver shine in the poms a special touch.  Check out my original pattern below!

Yarn: Chunky 180gms
Needles: size 15 DPN

WPI: 7 stitches=4"

Finished Measurements
~18" around x 8" tall 

Knit from the top down makes this pattern easier to add the ear flaps.

Cast on 6 stitches.  Divide evenly on 3 needles (2 stitches per needle) Join in the round
Row 1  Knit
Row 2 Knit 1, Increase 1 using bar method, Repeat around (you will now have 12 stitches)
Row 3 Knit
Row 4 Knit 2, Increase 1(18)
Row 5 Knit
Row 6 Knit 3 Increase 1 (24)
Row 7 Knit
Row 8 Knit 4 Increase 1 (30)
Row 9 Knit
Row 10 YO, Knit 1, Repeat around (60)
Row 11 Drop YO, Knit 1, Repeat around (30)
Row 12-14 Knit
Row 15-24 Repeat  row 10-14 two times
Row 25 Cast off 2 stitches (this is the back), Knit 9 stitches and put these on a stitch holder.  This will be earflap #1.  Cast off 10 stitches.  Knit remaining 9 stitches.  This is earflap #2.  Do not break yarn.  Turn to begin earflap #2.

Earflap #2 Continuing to use DPNS
With purl side facing knit in stockinette stitch
Row 1-5 beginning with a purl row work in stockinette stitch slipping the first stitch at the beginning of each row, ending on a purl row
Row 6 Sl1 SSK knit to last 3 stitches P2tog P1 (7)
Row 7 Knit
Row 8 Sl1 SSK knit to last 3 stitches P2tog P1 (5)
Row 9 Knit
Row 10 S1, K1, K2tog, K1 (4)
With remaining stitches work in I-cord until desired length is reached.  Mine are 9”.

Beginning with a purl row, add yarn and complete earflap as per directions for earflap #2.

Break yarn, tie in ends and make pom poms if desired.

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