On Buying Yarn When Drunk -- Earth to Sky Mitts
I admit it, I was in a tannin-colored haze when I bought this skein of Noro Shiraito last Thursday. My friend pulled out this buttery-soft pair of mitts her mother made her and said, "The Yarn Is Over There". I followed like a little lamb, bleating in highly, uh, evaporative breaths.
Yes, that beauty is 45% Cashmere, 45% Angora and 10% wool of Noro extravagance! It is incredibly soft and warm, but it is also a very weak, loosely spun single-ply. Treat this yarn with the utmost delicacy! While winding it broke. While sewing it even broke.
You do get 180 yards of it though, enough for a hat or mitts, and it is very easy to re-splice (thank goodness, geez).
You know, you don't even need to be drunk to feel woozy after an overly-excessive yarn purchase (we've all been there). So, I had a double-whammy to deal with. The next morning after my ibuprofen breakfast, I said to myself, "Dayana, you are going to knit something with that yarn for penance, THIS WEEKEND."
Because I could tell I was in earnest, I agreed with myself. I thought that for once I would do exactly as Noro (or really, *any* pattern) told me, and make the exact same mitts I was drooling over, which happened to be from Noro Magazine #1, Fall 2012. These are called "Wristers" by Lisa M. Barnes:
But OF COURSE, you know me, I had to go and change things. First, why are those cuffs so wide? No no no, I was going to slim those. Second, beads are cold, no. Third, the pattern says to start from the other side of the ball at that wrist ribbing to change the color pattern dramatically. But I had this mad idea to try and make the mitts match.
If you know anything about Noro, matching with only one skein of yarn is a fool's errand!
My idea was to go from earth to sky, like the wide landscapes of the prairies.
|"Prairie landscape" by Jo-Anne Douglas, see more of her beautiful work here|
To make it easier to match everything, I reduced the cuffs an entire repeat. This would give me more leeway to cut and paste color changes. But, to make things more difficult, I cut out the "poopy brown" color found in almost EVERY Noro colorway. (you can even see it in the original pattern above!)
My first try, the mitt ended in white, no sky! I ripped it out and cut out some olive green and re-knitted it... success. I couldn't go all the way through the blue though, because I wanted to get some blue at the end of the thumb, too. Challenging! Luckily, there was a lighter color on the other side of the blue, so I came in from the reverse side. You can see the light color is more orange-y from that side.
If I could give you a formula to do this, I would in a heartbeat. As it was, the lengths of the different repeats were not reproducible, unlike a classically space-dyed skein. In the end, I was left with only 5 inches of the correct color yarn, and I probably cut and pasted 6-7 times.
A note on the pattern construction: The cuff is actually knit flat and then seamed (the mitt is in the round). As I mentioned before, sewing with this yarn proved impossible. You can really only run the yarn through a few times before it breaks. I had to do a slip-stitch crochet seam to avoid breakage (because with crochet, you don't have to pull the yarn through repeatedly). That worked, but definitely made a bulkier seam.
If I were to do it again, I'd try to convert in the round, though I bet those nice reverse stockinette tubes would jog, hmm. Worth a try though, if you are game.
I am proud. I have vindicated myself completely from this drunken purchase, in a turnaround time of THREE DAYS! Even better, these aren't just in some pile in an accessory corner, they are being used right now. I have a coat I love that is just too short for my monkey arms.
When it is too cold, I have knitted cuffs to deal with the empty wrist space, coupled with mittens. But what about when it's warm enough to knit while waiting at the bus stop? Or walking around?
|See more about the project I'm working on, here.|
A note about buying yarn when drunk: There are so many ways to be "drunk" at a yarn store that have nothing to do with alcohol! Sometimes you are giddy from being on vacation, sometimes it is Spring and there are new yarns tumbling all around your dazed self, sometimes you just feel this uninhibited need to purchase. It is not so different from a drug, that I-Need-Yarn feeling. And so, as a parting word, I present to you a yarn purchase that trumps all others you can imagine so you feel very very good about any "tipsy" purchase in your future.
Meet the most expensive yarn you will ever find: 24 yards of hand-spun "99% merino yarn, 1% Easter grass and chicks", bought with $41 hard-earned dollars eight years ago! Why, you ask? I wish I had "drunk" as an excuse... I think the better word here is, crazy!
What extravagant yarn purchases have you made, drunk or not? Leave me a comment, make me feel better...
See my Earth to Sky mitts on Ravelry