Gift Yarn Jacket, Part I

One of my favourite gifts I received on my 40th was a collection of hand spun and commercial yarn in warm greys and naturals. I made these slippers out of some of the commercial yarn after I discovered it felted beautifully:

But I hadn’t found the right project for rest and the handspun until now. After knitting up the pieces for the Cowly Vest I decided to make a long ribbed scarf out of the gift yarn. The Bond being a single bed machine, you have to do the ribbing by hand with a latch hook. Since the handspun was quite clingy, I decided to skip the stitches that would be latched rather than unravel them at the end. You can see the lines where the skips are here:

I was determined to keep knitting until I couldn’t make stripes any more. The scarf just kept growing and growing. It wound up almost 3 metres long:

By then I’d worked out that latching up those ribs was going to make a very tight fabric. Firstly because the tension was clearly a bit tight already – I should have used a bigger keyplate. Secondly, just skipping a stitch means there’s less yarn to make a new loop with, so you get a very tiny, tight stitch.

That left me with two options: drop a second column of stitches for each rib… down all 3 meters of scarf, or leave the strip of fabric as stocking stitch and make something else out of it.

I admit, I was already favouring the latter because the strips were whispering ‘awesome sleeves!’ to me.

(Though no matter what I did, I had a LOT of ends to sew in.)

In the meantime, I’d been collecting together patterns and ideas for garments made of rectangles, including a few I’d already made. The Jo Sharp Origami Bolero is a cross between a shrug and the Circular Shrug (rav link):

After a bit of measuring and math I worked out that if I halved the strip and sewed it together it was almost exactly the right length for the sleeve, and only slightly wider.

That left a body and collar to knit. There was a little of the grey commercial yarn left, but not enough for either piece. I had some balls of natural yarn leftover from other projects that would probably do the collar. I just needed yarn for the body, so I called that reliable local, Bendigo Woollen Mills and ordered some Luxury in Bark, a colour close to the mid grey of the commercial gift yarns.

So once again, using yarn meant buying more yarn. Funny how that happens.