It's been all-handspun knitting, all the time here in the Porpoise household. The next lovely holiday item to show you is my first Baktus.
Pattern: Baktus scarf by Strikkelise
Yarn: handspun 18 micron merino from Hello Yarn, colorway Maldives, details on the spinning here and here. Guess it didn't end up as Girl Mittens after all...
Needles: US 5/3.75 mm
Start/finish: 5 Dec-8 Dec 2010
Comments/mods: There are some patterns that are perfect for handspun yarn, and I'm beginning to suspect that anything in garter stitch is a good candidate. This incredibly easy scarf/shawlette is designed so you can use every last inch of yarn - my Inner Puritan (TM) approves of such efficiency and thriftiness. You weigh the yarn when you start, begin increasing and keep going until the scarf is the width/size you want or you've used up half the yarn (by weight). Then you decrease, ideally ending up by casting off with only a few inches left over.
However, utilizing handspun throws a bit of a monkey wrench into the works, particularly if you are using two skeins that were spun at different times, with different grists. Like me. Ooops!
Skein 1, spun first, 886 ypp, 155 yds. Skein 2, spun several months later, 1427 ypp, 214 yds. Riiiiiiiiight... Apparently I split the top in half lengthwise, because the color sequences more or less matched. Both were chain plied. I started with the lighter weight yarn (Skein 2), and merrily knit my way along for 184 yds (155+214/2=184.5) and then started with Skein 1. I was probably halfway through the decrease section when I realized that a) I was going to have leftover yarn and b) the stripes weren't matching very well.
Dilemma...if I knit more increases with Skein 2, I would use up more yarn, but not know when I needed to start decreasing. But...if I started knitting with Skein 1 from the beginning again, I would end up with two pieces that would mostly match stripe-wise that I could then graft together in the middle.
I knit up all 155 yds of Skein 1, counted the number of stitches I had, ripped back on the first piece (Skein 2) and increased to the same number of stitches - I then worked straight in garter stitch without increasing until I had a couple of yards left. I grafted in garter stitch using the directions from this article on Knitty.com. The result?
Tiny amounts of leftovers that even I can't justify holding on to. Saweet. I was hoping the difference in grist wasn't going to be very noticeable, but it is. Thankfully one side is nice and drapey, and the other is cushy and cuddly. So one side can go up against the face/neck, and the other can drape tastefully over a coat. That's my story and I'm sticking to it...
This beauty started off as a gift for my Dad, but then I thought that maybe our recent late night back porch visitor might like it. It is now destined for someone else in the States (sorry Dad, but it was calling someone else's name). I think I'm going to end up spending a metric crapton at the post office next week, with at least three parcels of knitted goodness to fling westward. I hope Royal Mail is up to the challenge!
Current Xmas 2010 list countdown:
Presents to be knit (total): 13 (two of which aren't due until January), so 11 by 25 December.
Presents now finished: 5, with 2 more about to be finished this weekend.
Total remaining in the next 15 days: 4-6, two of which need to be mailed to the USA. One of the others definitely won't be done (my husband's lovely Aran sweater. Hopefully he'll forgive me). The rest? I'm crossing my fingers...