I Spent My Weekend Yarn Farming (pattern near bottom)

On Friday I decided to farm yarn (that’s recycle it from thrift store sweaters if you have never been here before). I often forget why I enjoy farming yarn so much, until I decide to do it. It’s weird, were I having to unravel work I had done myself I would be super annoyed…. but give me a sweater that I didn’t make and I’m in a place of zen and relaxation…. oh and dust bunnies…. zen, relaxtion, and little wooly dust bunnies.

I even completed 2 projects this weekend. I know what you’re thinking… either I am mad (as in nutty as a Payday bar) or I am neglecting my children….. I very well could be mad because I ended up having to hide from my kids this weekend so I could pee alone. I also picked two very short projects- which is why I have the mandate of ‘never knit anything bigger than my head’.

The first is another Calorimetry from Knitty. I intentionally made this one biggish so I could add a second button, because … well, I wanted a second button…It is made in 100% merino wool froma sweater I farmed on Friday. After alot of consideration… I really have to buckle down here and say that Merino is, by far, my favoritest yarn of all time. Its so soft and squishy, I love it. As another aside, if you recall a bit ago when I made my first Calo I discussed my opinion on the pattern. I had found that casting on 120 stitches made this huge thing that I could wrap around my head twice. I’m not the only person who had this problem, both the Craftster and Knitty messageboards are filled with complaints that people were ending up knitting the Calorimetry that ate Pittsburgh. After many knitters fired off a complaint to the author of the pattern and Knitty, Knitty printed a Special Note on the Calorimetry pattern:
” It is very important to obtain the correct gauge for this piece. If worked to the gauge stated above, your Calorimetry will be 24 inches long. If you want a shorter piece, you can either cast on fewer stitches, or work at a smaller gauge. For example, using sport weight yarn (on smaller needles) worked at a gauge of 24 sts = 4 inches will yield a piece that is 20 inches long.
It is also very important to consider the characteristics of the yarn you are choosing. Best results will be obtained from a yarn that is springy and resilient, which will retain the elasticity of the ribbing. Do not use a yarn which will lose its shape, becoming drapey and flaccid with wear.”

After, of course, I spent a good few minutes giggling that they used word “flaccid”- it sort of hit me that what they were saying was really ‘If you had a problem with this pattern, it is because you made a mistake and did it wrong’. Again, I wasn’t the only person who thought that either as other people got the same impression . I also dislike patterns tsk-tsking me, that’s just uppity.

The second finished project for the weekend was an experiment in intentionally dropped stitches. I figured that most knitters write with dread about dropping a stitch, and sit still as death after having dropped one… lest the stitch run like cheap pantyhose all the way to the bottom of the project. What got me thinking about this was a webcomic… oh yes, you read that correctly… a webcomic.
Every Monday,Wednesday, and Friday I read this comic, Girl Genius… its steampunk/gaslight fiction with mad science and giant robotic thingamajigs in a victorian-esque setting. There is this trio of characters in the comic who are these things called Jägermonsters; Dimo, Ognian, andMaxim, frankly they are my favorite characters in the series. I love how simply ragtag they are. Then the main character, Agatha, is a spunky gal who can pretty much work with anything and get suprising results. Then I got to thinking about Jägermonster fashion, and if in some weird alternate universe of the comic [oh yeah, I do think this much about comics] if Agatha could knit (and knitted for the Jägermonsters) and dropped a stitch… what would she do with it? Make it part of the project! So, with a little playing and good old mad scientistical experimentation……I call it… Experiment #1213. Experiment #1213 was also made using recycled yarn from a sweater in 100% Lambswool.

Experiment #1213

Yarn, about worsted weight- I used two strands of a thinner yarn held together to make it thick like worsted
Needles size US10- I used a circular needle for the fiddley bit at the end, but you can use straights or DPNs… whichever you want
Tapestry needle

CO 15 stistches
Work in Seed Stitch for 3 rows (seed stitch, k1, p1 across row)
Knit in Stockinette stitch for 5 rows
Work in Seed Stitch for 3 rows
Knit in Stockinette Stitch for 5 rows
Knit in Seed Stitch for 3 rows
Now, here is where the pattern goes all sparky (and creative!)… Knit in Stockinette Stitch for however many rows you like
Enter a 3 row Seed Stitch section
Continue in Stockinette, again for however many rows you like
Enter another 3 row Seed Stitch section
Do this for the length of the scarf, randomly trading off between Stockinette sections and 3 row Seed Stitch sections
When you near what you would like to be the end of your scarf, work in Seed Stitch for 3 rows
Knit in Stockinette stitch for 5 rows
Work in Seed Stitch for 3 rows
Knit in Stockinette Stitch for 5 rows
Knit in Seed Stitch for 2 rows
Here is where you will drop stitches on purpose- Do Not Be Afraid!- I dropped my stitches in a pattern (3 sts, drop 1, 1 st, drop 1, 3 sts, drop 1, 1 st, drop 1, 3 sts) but you don’t have to, and you don’t have to drop them in the same pattern I did- experiment (on paper first)!
This is the fiddley bit, take time now to drop the stitches and pull them to the bottom of the scarf (stretch the scarf width wise, or just pull the scarf width wise where the stitch is supposed to drop through row by row).
After you have dropped all stitches you are going to, return back to your needles.
Now, measure out a long piece of yarn from the ball (still attached to your live stitches) to make the “tail” (by long, maybe 20 inches or so), and cut, then thread your yarn through the tapestry needle.
Bind off (in pattern) the stitches that remain on the needle, stopping before a dropped stitch ladder.
Take the threaded needle and thread the yarn through the stitch before the ladder, pull to knot (but not tightly- you do not want to pucker your scarf’s edge).
Leaving some yarn to ladder across, continue to bind off the next stitches on the needle- doing the same… binding off in pattern until a dropped stitch ladder, using the needle to thread the yarn through the stitch, then leaving yarn to ladder across and binding off the next set of on the needle stitches.
When you are done binding off the stitches, weave in your ends, and block your scarf. You don’t have to go lace nutty with pins (but you can if you want)- I just ghetto blocked my scarf: I got it wet, laid it flat on a towel, stretched it out a bit width wise, smoothed it down, and walked away allowing it to dry.
And voila, now you have a scarf fit for a Heterodyne…. or a Jägermonster. I like using recycled yarn for this as Agatha uses whatever she has on hand, or what she can get her hands on, to make what she needs to. So dismantle a long forgotten half finished sweater you will never finish knitting, recycle a sweater from the thrift store, or just use something from your stash- no need to go buy new yarn (unless you want to).



  1. Sachi said,

    February 5, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    Wow! You’re a typing fiend! I haven’t recycled anything in a long time (mainly because I haven’t yet used all the balls I farmed). I think it’s about time, don’t you?

  2. bfmomma said,

    December 9, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Just have to say–your Calorimetry is briliant! I knit it (as written) and it’s too bit, but I haven’t had the time (or energy) to rip it out and knit it smaller. So TWO buttons… EXCELLENT!

    Thank you SO much.

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