knittedgems

Finding the Perfect Yarn for a Project

In stash on October 9, 2008 at 11:31 am

Fall is here and with it the cooler weather. Though I haven’t turned the heat on yet nor have I burned wood in the fireplace, I imagine it’s only a matter of time. Yesterday, I went in search of my wool socks for it’s my feet that are the first thing to get cold on my body. Dan, ever the good husband, bought me a foot warmer many years ago. I cart it all over the house in the wintertime.

Dan, on the other hand, rarely complains of cold feet. It’s his knees that give him the most trouble. They are first thing to get cold and last thing to warm up. Last year, I attempted to return the favor of the foot warmer by purchasing him knee warmers. I bought him two separate sets. Neither worked very well. The first set was made of cotton and though they were soft, they were constantly falling down from his knees. I should have know, since cotton isn’t very elastic. The second set was made of polyester and tinsel. They were scratchy and much too tight.

I had a bright idea last night while unpacking all our winter clothes. I will knit Dan a pair of knee warmers. They will need to have the following characteristics so as not to make the same mistakes as the ready-made ones:

  1. Next-to-skin soft
  2. Elastic properties but not too tight
  3. Warmth but ability to breath
  4. Durable since they will get a workout 4 months out of the year
  5. In a manly (boring) color

Based upon these requirements, I decided wool would be best. I eliminated Merino though due to its shorter staple, tendency to pill, and lack of durability.

I went rooting through my stash (Ravelry link). Insisting that the yarn be wool, but not Merino, eliminated the lion’s share of it. Then, I took out the brightly colored wool: Hand-dyed red and gold wool from Maine and Crystal Palace Yarns Taos. Then, I eliminated the not-so-soft wool: all my Briggs n Little (I can’t wait for the Soft version to come out) and Reynolds Bulky Lopi. Finally, I ruled out the Shetland I handspun, since I simply don’t have enough yardage.

I was left with 5 choices.

From left to right:
Manos del Uraguay Wool
Jamieson Shetland Marl
Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed
Cascade 220
MIL Brown wool, Hand-spun

Yardage concerns plague with a Jamieson and Cascade. I only have 1 skein of each. Though I have two balls of Jo Sharp, it equates to less than one Cascade.

So, that leaves me Manos del Uraguay and MIL Brown wool.

I love my husband, but I cannot use the MIL Brown wool for something he is going to wear underneath his clothes. If he would promise to wear them out in public with a pair of shorts, I might consider it. I’m not being selfish. OK, maybe I am. In my defense, there is a reason for it. This yarn was given to Dan’s mother by her Mother-in-law. When the MIL could not locate a pattern or project worthy enough for the $100 handspun wool, she gifted to my Mother-in-law. My MIL had the same problem. There isn’t enough yardage to make a sweater. There would be yarn leftover from a scarf. Though she considered making a scarf and hat ensemble, it just didn’t seem special enough. The yarn deserved better. I was thrilled when she gifted it to me. So, no, Dan is *not* wearing this yarn around his knees. I have dreams of a textured stole.

Process of elimination leaves just Manos. I should be happy that I found something. Last night I was certain that I had nothing at all in my stash.

Of course, I am a bit remiss that I don’t get to go yarn shopping.

Does anybody else have such trouble when searching for the ‘perfect’ yarn?

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  1. I have the opposite problem right now, have the yarn, know what category I want to make, can’t find the right pattern. But yes I’ve had your problem, too. It’s very frustrating at times, isn’t it?

  2. yes, i frequently have trouble when trying to find that perfect yarn for a project. good for you for shopping the stash! i would have made an excuse to buy some. hee hee.

  3. Yes. That’s why I generally go with the yarn used by the designer.

    I’m worried about using the Manos because it’s a single ply and might not wear too well for a high use garmentand also might not have the elasticity necessary to grip around the knees.

    Let us know how it goes.

  4. Oh yes – and then I buy more :o)

  5. It’s like the quest for the perfect purse. I am always in seach of the perfect yarn and alternatively the perfect pattern. But personally I would pay money to see him with his shorts and his knee warmers on. Tee Hee.
    Seriously though I think it is a great idea.
    Time to go to the yarn store and buy the perfect yarn. Giggles.
    Vicki

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