Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Some yarn is just meant to be shared.  And that's what my latest pattern, Blended Scotch, is all about.

This pattern comes from the love I have for our community and a desire to do something to honor the connection we have with our knitting friends. Thanks to the internet, many of us live in different states and have very different lives from our knitting besties, which makes us get creative about our adventures. For the past 10+ years, my fiber people have become some of my closest friends and I can't even put into words how much I value the conversations and travels, and shared knitting and fantastic experiences we've had over the years. 

SO...  When I was up in New Hampshire visiting Ellen Mason, who is one of my favorite knitting people, we went down into her magical studio and she pulled out this gorgeous yarn she'd been working on with Tammy White, who is one of her favorite knitting people.

The two of them had paired Ellen's Doc Mason Wool with Tammy's Wing and a Prayer Farm fiber to create these beautiful skeins, and of course they made adorable labels and named it The Happiest Yarn.  (If you do not know those two, they are the Happiest People.)  Not only did they create beautiful skeins of the natural gray and white, but they decided to make up bags of 12 mini skeins in various hand dyed colors. There are 5 natural shades by Tammy, 5 gorgeous brights by Ellen, and a
mini each of the gray and white, all intended for a little colorwork.

I went home with a skein each of the naturals, and a bag of minis.

That's a LOT of yarn. More than one knitter is going to get to.

But I had just been in Shetland on Gudrun and MaryJane's Grand Shetland Adventure, so I had both friends and colorwork on my mind. I had been obsessed by stranded mitts the whole time, and the idea of sharing this bag of happy yarn plus making some Shetland style mitts was one that seemed TOO perfect. I was also thinking of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, where a few friends in faraway places had a pair of jeans that they shared by sending the pants and notes of their adventures to one another. Pardon the phrase "sisterhood" if your knitting circle is mixed gender - that's where the phrase came from, and it just illustrates the sharing part of this project too perfectly to not use it.. 

I created Blended Scotch, a mitt pattern that I feel is fairly straightforward, but easily modified if you're a bit more adventurous.  The colorwork is done in two sections, with plenty of straight stockinette between. The mitt has instructions for modifying either length or width, and you can omit the fingers if you want a simpler project.  For a more challenging knit, you can easily add an allover peerie pattern to the solid sections, add a motif or two in between these, or play with the charts to add more colors!  The idea is that this pattern can work for either a novice or more experienced knitter, and it can be knit in whichever colors in that big bag shout the loudest.  I wanted something that worked for all the possible levels of knitter within a bunch of friends.

We ended up with a mix of colors, 4 small and one large size pair, and one fingerless version.  These three used a solid gray background, and the fingerless pair are at the right. 

So here's the plan as I see it:

1.  Gather 4 friends, so you have 5 in your Sisterhood.  You can have less people knitting, but if you have more than 5, the 6th knitter will need to get creative about using more than one MC for the background, perhaps a different color wrist or section between the motifs....

2.  Purchase the yarn (info below on where to find it).  Each knitter should please purchase their own PDF copy of the Blended Scotch pattern, which will go in their Ravelry library. (This yarn is meant for sharing. Knitting patterns are NOT meant for sharing, and they really do pay my bills.)

3. Decide who knits first, second, third, etc, and make sure you have everyone's addresses!  The first knitter will begin with 1 skein of white, 1 skein of gray, and the bag of minis.  Each of you will choose your colors, knit a pair of mitts and send the remaining yarn onto the other knitters.

4.  As you knit, keep track of how much you use of each color. Make a card with your usage to send on with the yarn so the next knitter will know exactly how much is left of each color that remains.

5. When done with your mitts, each friend sends the remaining yarn plus the usage info (and maybe treats) onto the next knitter until you each have a pair of mitts!  There is plenty of yardage in the box for more than 5 pairs of mitts if you get creative about color usage, so the last knitter gets to keep the leftovers as a consolation for being last.  They can probably make a few more pairs of stripes or mixed color combos....

6.  (optional) Everyone meet somewhere to photograph your hands all together!!

There's one thing more I need to share, so nobody is disappointed.  The Happiest Yarn is available in limited quantities. Right now,  Ellen and Tammy have about 20 kits on hand, and they can make up about 20 more after they return from Rhinebeck if the demand is there. After that, we have to wait until June for more fiber. 

If you miss out on these and cannot wait, you can absolutely substitute yarn. I suggest Jameison of Shetland DK.   It's beautiful Scottish yarn, available in over 100 colors and it's right on gauge. Jameison's is one of the mills keeping the traditions and yarns of the Shetland Islands alive, so you can definitely feel good about purchasing yarn from them - and they fit into the whole community and friendship theme because the only way most of us (if any of us) get to visit them is when traveling to Shetland with knitting friends.

For each pair of mitts, estimate about 80(90) yds/75(85)m of a MC, about 25 yds/23m of each of 3 ACs, and about 10 yards of a fourth AC. You may use a little less of those ACs, but I estimated high so you won't run out when grabbing a short leftover bit!

Gauge is 24 sts/32 rnds per 4"/10cm in stockinette, based on final, blocked fabric.


You can purchase The Happiest Yarn at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck this weekend at the Battenkill Fibers booth, while quantities last.

After the fair, any available kits will be in Ellen's Esty Shop:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/Odacier

You can find Jameison's DK here:  http://www.jamiesonsofshetland.co.uk/spindrift-and-double-knitting-1-c.asp

Or here, at some of their stockists :  http://www.jamiesonsofshetland.co.uk/stockists-19-w.asp

The Blended Scotch pattern is available here on my blog and also on Ravelry for $6 per copy. More details and photos will be on the pattern page.

A huge thanks to Sandy Aldridge, Melissa Hunter, Julie Van Cott, and Jody Batchelor Campbell, who were the Sisterhood of these beautiful mitts.  A wonderful bunch of smart, funny, amazing women I've known for years through this knitting world.  I hope you all enjoy this as much as we did.  xo


Deb Bski said...

Got my yarn kit on Etsy! I saw Wing and a Pray Farm on Kristy Glass podcast. I loved just how happy her animals were, and I was so sad to see she couldn't sell at Rhinebeck. What a lovely idea.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, Tammy of Wing and A Prayer Farm is just about one of the kindest, most genuinely friendly people I have ever met! If you have a chance to see her stall at a sheep and wool festival, or visit her farm in VT, you should! She also has a pretty fantastic Instagram feed... lots of happy animals and farming wisdom. (: