I have nothing to knit. This makes me very grumpy. How, you might ask, could I find myself with nothing to knit? (Doug would certainly ask this if he were at home.) Do I not have piles of stash yarn, bags and boxes of haberdashery and knitting paraphernalia, bookcases full of knitting pattern books and magazines (not to mention, dare I say it, the internet, which is teeming with patterns)?
The sad truth is that, surrounded as I am by the detritus of knitting, I can find nothing to knit. I remind myself of a teen-ager who whines “there’s nothing to do”! Surely, one thinks, they can pick up a book or go for a walk instead of whining? But here I sit, annoyed and grumpy that I have nothing to knit.
I have, of course, looked at patterns. I have looked at patterns until my head nearly explodes, but none is saying “Knit me! Knit ME!”. I have also sorted through my stash to look for creative inspiration. I have even knitted swatches – 7 of them this week – trying to figure out how to best utilise some old skeins of yarn that turned up in the bottom of a box. To no avail.
Since I am feeling grumpy (have you noticed?), I have decided to roll with it and publish a grumbly post regarding a pet peeve. To get to the pet peeve, however, you must first wade through the following tale. One of the things that I found in my stash is five skeins of lovely, hand-dyed sportweight yarn from Skein Queen – a wool and silk mix. I have three skeins of the grey and two of the mix (which is called Fig). Here is a photo:
Unfortunately, I bought these many years ago before I realised how much I disliked variegated yarns. (Truth: I adore variegated yarns in the skein, just not in the knitted product. I am not into speckles, or fades, and I hate pooling.) Regardless, I decided that these skeins might become my next project and so I sought a pattern to use them with. Only a knitter would believe me when I mention how much time I spent searching. It is rather embarrassing.
After some time, I found this pattern:
It is by Lisa Richardson and is called Hip. I kind of like it. However, it is knitted in three different textures of yarn, in many colours, and weaving in all of those ends would be a nightmare. What if, I speculated, I knitted it with just two colours, alternating stripes, but in which one of the colours would alternate between cream, brilliant purple, pink, yellow, and taupe, and the other would be grey? That way, the yarn can be carried up the side of the piece and there would be virtually no ends to weave in. Sounds good, yes?
I should mention at this point that the pattern is in Rowan 53 from 2013. I looked at my stack of Rowan magazines and found that I had ….50, 51, 52, 54, 55…. but no 53! I should have called it a day and kept looking for alternate patterns but instead I searched the internet for someone who was selling Rowan 53, and purchased it. I then had to wait for it to arrive. I should have guessed then that the knitting gods were against this whole enterprise.
When the book arrived, I promptly knitted up a swatch, alternating my two shades:
And guess what? I don’t like it! Not at all! It doesn’t look anything like the pattern in the photo (probably due to the lack of mohair and crunchy textures in my yarn selection, as well as the lack of bright colours). And, it demonstrates why I don’t like variegated yarns. I was expecting a row of purple, and a row of pink, etc. Instead, I got speckles. UGH! Not only that, but the grey and the taupe don’t spark together at all.
At this point, I got a new idea: I would knit something using only the grey. I started by knitting up two swatches in stockinette – one with a US4/3.5mm and one with a US5/3.75mm. These are lovely, with the larger one being perfect, and giving me a gauge of 24×36. However, three skeins is sort of a dead zone – too much to waste it on a pair of mitts or a hat, but too little for most garments. The skein is 363yards/332 metres, for a total of 1089yards/996 metres. (Not counting all of the yards I used up in making multiple swatches.)
My next job was to search everywhere for garments that could be made (in my size!) using only 1000 metres of sportweight yarn. This, as you may have guessed is not easy. I have run so many pattern searches on Ravelry that I could have knitted up a cute tank in the meantime. And here is where my pet peeve comes into play! (Remember the pet peeve, which started this tale?) Why do so many designers not list the yardage needed per size, but instead tell you how many skeins of their preferred yarn you will need? (Most patterns will do both, but I have noticed a trend towards the latter.)
For example, one design states that you will need: “2 skeins for sizes XS and S, 3 skeins for size M, 5 skeins for sizes L and XL”. If I want to substitute yarns, I need to pull out my calculator and start doing some math. However, that still won’t tell me how many yards I will need to make the size L, only how many yards I would need to knit the size XL. This gets more egregious the more yards there are on the skein. If the yarn called for in the pattern has 400 metres on it, and a size L needs 3 skeins and a size XL needs 4 skeins, how much yarn do I really need to knit the L? It could be anywhere between 800-1200 metres! That can make a big difference when I have x-much yarn and I want to know if I can knit said garment with it.
I understand that many patterns are designed for particular yarn companies in order to showcase their yarns; regardless this practice makes me want to tear me hair out!
Okay. I feel calmer now. Rant over. I did just today find a pattern which I think I could knit up with the grey yarn. It is the #09 Eyelet Top, by Rosemary Drysdale from Vogue Knitting, Spring Summer 2019:
Unfortunately, the pattern page on Ravelry states only that it needs 735 – 1176 yards (672-1075 metres) and that it comes in sizes S, M, L, XL, and 2X. This means that I would probably have enough yarn to knit my size. However, I have to buy the magazine first to know for sure. I don’t even know if it’s available yet in the UK. In any case, I can’t cast on now.
Knitting gods: I have listened to you and am about to read a book. Maybe I’ll go for a walk as well.