First…sorry this post is long overdue. Life, you know?
If you’ve been keeping up, you know about the great yarn saga of 2014 and all that went into the second of my “Two 4th Doctor scarves in two months” plan, so I won’t get into it too much. I will say that this was my first time using multiple yarn sources to make a scarf, and I don’t much like it.
I still adore Knit Picks Wool of the Andes above all other yarns for this scarf. In the future (after this next custom order…I’ll get into that later) I think that I will explicitly state that all scarves will be made in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes worsted, Cascade 220 Superwash (yes, I’ll use it. I don’t like it as much, but I’ll use it since I know people want washable items), or Lion Brand Wool Ease (my favorite of all acrylics…though I just knitted up a swatch of Knit Picks Brava Sport and it’s certainly giving the Wool Ease a run for its money). I realize that some people have wool allergies and that Wool Ease won’t work for them and that I’m always harping on the need for people to be accommodating of allergies, but until I find a colour combo and a yarn combo that doesn’t make me want to never knit the scarf again, those people will just have to make do with those out there offering the scarf in acrylic (at frankly atrocious prices, if you ask me).
Jamieson and Smith Shetland Double Knitting is the worst non Lion Brand Homespun yarn I’ve ever worked with. It’s scratchy and awful. I like to think that I can tolerate a fair amount of rustic scratchiness in my wool, and maybe it was just that it was VERY rough compared to all the other yarn sources, but every time I came to the brown colour I sort of cringed at the idea of having to knit with the Shetland. I didn’t like the feel of it in my hand while I was knitting it at all. I definitely don't think I'd knit something like a hat or a garment out of it. It knits up alright, but it was truly horrible to run my hand along.
Absolutely no one in the world other than Knit Picks holds true to yardage. I was using three yarns from Knit Picks WotA Sport (Thyme, Turmeric, and Currant). According to Knit Picks, there are 137 yards on a skein. I needed 195, 113, and 137 respectively, according to the pattern estimates. What I ended up using was a skein and roughly a half of the Thyme, slightly less than a skein in the Turmeric, and slightly more than a skein in the Currant. This, to me, is accurate, as the yardage is approximate and I’m not sure it includes tassels, plus my gauge didn’t exactly match the pattern gauge. In the other yarns…well…in the Dalegarn Falk, which I used for the grey, the pattern noted I would need 184 yards. I had 2 skeins, which totaled 232 yards and I had to cut the pattern short to ensure I had enough yarn for tassels. I know this is because Falk is measured in weight, not yards, but the pattern was in yards and matching this up was a challenge. To me, 48+ yards over what I was expecting to use is a little unacceptable, and I did have to leave rows off. That said, had I ordered a third skein, I would have had too much yarn left over. For the Jamieson Shetland DK, I also had to cut rows in order to make sure i had enough yarn for the tassels. The pattern called for 153 yards and I used 2 skeins, for a total of 164 yards. I ended up having to cut 8 total rows, and I was still a bit short on tasseling. This isn’t terrible and, again, if I had to order a third skein, I would have had way too much yarn, but it is disappointing to me. The worst offender, however, is the Rowan Pure Wool DK, which I used for the tan colour. According to the pattern, I needed 263 yards. I ordered 2 balls of this, which should have given me 274 yards. Cutting it close, but should have been ultimately fine. With 40 rows of tan still left in the scarf, I ran out of yarn. With my very rough estimate of 1.4 yards of yarn per row (that’s on the high end by a lot, I rounded significantly), this meant that I would need around 55 more yards of yarn. This meant that I used a rough total of 330 yards in a pattern that called for 263. I’m not sure if this is something with the pattern or something with Rowan really not getting their yardages correct on the labels, but it’s something to note if you’re going to undertake this project with this yarn in the future. I’ve been estimating total yardage needs for this scarf at between 1400 and 1500 total yards, whereas the pattern recommends a total of 1222 yards. My advice is to overestimate how much you need and figure on using about 1.4 - 1.5 yards of yarn per row of knitting.
Mixed sources don’t knit up the same width. This should be obvious, and I was able to fix it with very careful blocking, but it’s not really something I’d like to have to do again. I’d rather I just use all one yarn source and have nice, crisp edges in the first place.
I’m not going to talk any more about the orange/red problem and the Cascade 220, but it basically ruined what was an otherwise flawless scarf and I regret not holding out until I could get the yarn I actually wanted. The customer was disappointed (but understanding) and I was disappointed in myself. I will never again make this mistake.
I’m pretty much done doing these scarves for a while. I did promise this customer (because basically my executive decision to use this orange completely ruined a scarf that they ultimately otherwise loved), that after I get a break to recover and not hate these scarves and get some other projects done (and after the Knit Picks Saffron is back in stock at the end of April) that I would make them another one. I will let them custom it and they will order all the yarn to make sure it is what they want. And that will be the last mixed-source scarf I make. It may, in fact, be the last scarf I make for anyone who is not a close friend, and it will more than likely be the last scarf I make in 2014. I have a lot of projects I’d like to get done and if I keep making these scarves, I will never achieve even half of them. I don’t hate doing them, they’re easy, but they take time, and time is a thing that I don’t possess in great excess.