Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Bust the Stash: Finished Object 10 - Ribbed Hat 2 (And a Glimpse at the Karner Wrap, In Process)

Here's the latest Bust the Stash finished object - another Ribbed Hat:

In truth, though I have 4 more of these planned, I thought I'd have to throw myself off a bridge from boredom if I tried to make another right away. It's a fine little project but, really, I'm only making these hats to get rid of yarn ends. And they're too fussy in the crown decrease section to be an entirely enjoyable knit.

I was feeling trapped by the hats until the following thing occurred to me:

My fave part of knitting is, by far, the planning. The knitting is simply the execution of the vision, which is probably why I'm mainly a "monogamous knitter" (one who staunchly sticks to one project at a time). But, when you've actually done 25 project's worth of planning, and everything's there and cataloged (including the queue that reminds you of your knitting responsibilities to achieve the end goal), why not switch it up? It's not like I'm going to forget something. That yarn will still be there, assigned to that project. I feel this process has provided me with a bit of latitude to explore other planned projects that still need to be done.

Which is why I've returned to the Karner Wrap, my second-longest, in-process project (after the Knitted Boucle Jacket, recently discussed - and, as yet, uncompleted). I decided, since it's already on the freakin' needles, and it's not going to finish itself, that I might want to give it another go. It's simple stockinette (with ribbed edges) but the yarn makes it a mighty complicated knit.

Karner Wrap
I bought this yarn with Sara and Andrea in June of 2014. I cast on the included "beginner level" scarf pattern immediately, enthralled by the potential of the finished result. I had enthusiasm for the first couple of months, whereupon the endless, endless monotony of knitting with dental floss-weight conspired to turn this project into "train knitting". Note: I don't go on long train trips so often that 1000 yards of dental floss has yet been utilized.

Look, if the sample is anything to go by - or my progress to date - this project is going to be amazing when it's done. The yarn is irregularly slubbed, of different gauges. The colour is gorgeous. The bamboo / cotton fabric produced is truly textile art (and as wacky as textile art tends to be - but with more cool factor than it usually has). Plus, it'll be totally useful and wearable through all seasons.

But I don't recommend that you go out and knit this thing. It's a fucking commitment. I just returned to it with gusto and I can still only get through a couple of grams in a sitting (and maybe 6 grams a day over hours of concentrated knitting). The unused ball weighs 100g. Furthermore, the yarn is plied. Yeah, it's thinner than cooking string and it's freakin' plied. That means that ones sharp pointed needles (and you do need sharp to get through the loops) inevitably strike between the plies, semi-regularly, and you end up having to carefully unknit the stitch to avoid split yarn (which when your yarn is dental floss can result in a mere hair of yarn holding the stitch to the needle). Then there's the ease with which you can knit into the stitch below the one you're going for, which leaves what looks like a hole. Or the accidental knitting of 2 stitches next to each other (that lump together) - since the yarn is of many different thicknesses, it's impossible to tell what's going on at any given time. Of course, one can drop a stitch and not realize it for 20 rows because the texture of the yarn is such that the stitch holds itself in place, until it doesn't.

My point is that any beginner would lose her mind knitting this and even an intermediate or advanced knitter can't take it on with any facility because the yarn has special needs.

I don't know that the means will justify the ends, but I'll keep you posted. And I am seriously considering going back to finish that Boucle Jacket next. I know I say this occasionally, but I cannot believe that I have 80 per cent of a gorgeous wool jacket just sitting there ready to be hand seamed and machine "buttonholed".

The joy of not buying new yarn is that you really get to experience the yarn you already have. And let's face it, all of that yarn was new at some point.

Anyone made the Karner Wrap? Would you ever make it again? Do you like the fabric produced by Abrazos? Let's talk!


  1. I love the Karner Wrap. And that is my kind of knitting. Because my dirty little secret is that I LOVE to watch TV, but don't allow myself to just sit and watch; somehow, knitting justifies that time. So miles and miles of stockinette works well for that, because I can still pay attention to the show while knitting :-)

    It's going to be amazing when it's finished.

    1. Here's the thing - and I know you are a much more advanced knitter than I am so maybe you'd have more capability - but it's so fussy that you can't look at the TV without risking all of those errors I described. It's more like "podcast knitting". Or "listen to the TV more than you look at it" knitting. Yeah, it's totally straightforward and no thinking is required, but concentration, alas, cannot waver. But I see what you mean about not having to worry about what comes in the next row...

      I'm at 3 g remaining and the only thing keeping me going is that I so want to be finished with it :-) Sick again so that should happen.

    2. It's going to be lovely but that yarn sounds like a complete bear! I too love sitting of an evening watching tv and knitting. But. You'd be amazed (or not) as to the number of conversations hubby and I have about programmes that I swear blind I've not seen, but it turns out I was just knitting and not paying a massive amount of attention! Oops.