No resolutions for me on January 1st. Instead I gave myself a challenge in the form of a bag full of very pretty yarns from Mountain Colors, in the Ruby River colorway. The bag was of the type that holds a comforter or a duvet, and it contained quite a few skeins of Mountain Goat yarn, a soft, barely fuzzy dk-weight blend of wool and mohair, which I had intended for a jacket project several years ago. The project had been frogged since and the yarn had been waiting for me to have the Right Idea of what to do with it. Also living in the bag were 3 skeins of Mountain Colors mohair in the same colorway, so old that I couldn't even remember why I had acquired them in the first place.
That big zippered bag of gorgeous yarn was starting to weigh on me. I needed to snap out of the "wait until the yarn whispers what it wants to become" mindset. You may also know its twin, the "it's too special to cast on without a grand plan" mindset. It took a knitting pal who is more immune to this kind of magical thinking (and who knows my penchant for blankets) to suggest that I just cast on for a blanket and be done with it. So elementary! So basic! Suddenly, a big red blanket was all I wanted to make. So I pulled the big bag o'yarn out of its hiding place and took a photo before casting on on January 1st.
It's hard to tell but there was a lot of yarn in there, enough to give myself a true challenge: the goal to knit all of this bag in 2015. I was even aiming for knitting it all up in January but I didn't quite succeed. I did come close, however. Here's what the pile of yarn finally became in the past few weeks.
A big blanket, knitted in stockinette on a size 13 circular, double-stranding the Mountain Goat along with the mohair. Because of the fuzziness of the knitted fabric, I stuck with plain stockinette, bordered by a couple of inches of rice stitch. I lost track of how many skeins of Mountain Goat I used, but I actually found myself needing to order 2 more skeins of the mohair to produce a long enough blanket. This thing is huge, and grew quite a bit in width when I blocked it. It was still on the needle when the photo was taken and I need to take better pictures, but trust me, it is huge, very warm, very red, very cozy... And yet I still had plenty of yarn left over after binding off.
So I improvised a hat, also double-stranded and knitted in 2/2 ribbing, on a size 11 needle this time, as I wanted a firmer fabric. This thing is seriously warm. I haven't decided if I am going to keep it for myself or pass it on, but I might just have to test-drive it during my upcoming trip to the land of real winter cold. Incidentally, the color is at its most true in the above photograph of the hat. It is not nearly as pink as on the top photograph or as muddy red as in other indoor pictures. Just whisper the name "Ruby Red" as you gaze at the photos and you'll get a much better approximation of the true, deep red hue.
The hat consumed most of the mohair, but there was still plenty of Mountain Goat to go around. As big, chunky needles are not my thing, I couldn't wait to knit this yarn all by itself at a more comfortable and refined gauge. I grabbed a 4 circular and cast on for fingerless gloves:
This is a lovely, free pattern I ran across on Ravelry, called Susie Roger's Reading Mitts. The pattern offers instructions for 3 sizes, and I knitted the Medium size. I am very pleased with the result; the picot edgings are such a sweet touch on this otherwise very straightforward design. I'll definitely knit this again, but in a fingering-weight yarn next time, for a closer fit.
I haven't taken a photo of the mostly-empty bag, which now contains just enough Mountain Goat yarn for a hat and perhaps a pair of mittens. The yarn is too lovely to be knitted up just for the sake of being done with it, so I am going to wait a bit, but the challenge was a good motivator, especially as I spent quite a few hours in January de-cluttering drawers and closets all over my home.
But for now, time for other challenges in all kinds of other colors.