Big Fat Mess

I’m here to inform you of the enormous time suck that this single skein of fluffy, partially-felted Merino wool has become:

I bet you didn’t know pure evil could be so colorful!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore Malabrigo Rasta. Knitting with it is quite dreamy: it’s one thick, buttery-soft strand of wool that knits up into something snuggly and awesome before you even know it. However, designing with this particularly colorful skein of Rasta has been another story.

That is all I have to show for the last two days of knitting.

I tried four versions of a hat idea I had before I finally admitted that the fabric was just too darn thick for the look I was going for. Then I thought about mittens but realized that I really suck at finishing mittens (I have three pairs in progress) and that with such bulky yarn, a single mitten would only consist of about 16 stitches or so. That means you’d only really have 8 stitches to design with on the back of the hand, which means the only patterns that would really be practical are super simple (stockinette or seed stitch) and have already been done. Then I moved on to a neckwarmer/cowl idea. There’s a great Estonian stitch involving multiple wraps and drops and twists that I’ve been wanting to use in a design for months but what to pair it with? Five pages of charts drawn in my notebook and multiple false starts later, I came up with an idea I liked. Then I weighed the ball and realized that the stitch I love eats yarn like a beast and I would only get a few repeats out of the one skein, which wasn’t going to be long enough to be useful. (This was around midnight last night, btw.) Then things started getting really crazy: I restarted with slightly modified stitch counts (the difference between 20 stitches and 23 stitches is actually significant with such thick yarn). I tried different needle sizes. I tried every different combination of stitch count and needle size therein. I finally called it quits around 2am when I realized I was ready to scrap the idea and start an entirely different design. Now I think I’m going to try to stop obsessing about the exact stitch count/size and just knit the whole thing up and see where it gets me. The good thing is such thick yarn knits up quickly. Also good news: Rasta can withstand a heck of a lot of frogging!

Why am I going through all this trouble? Firstly, Malabrigo graciously sent me that particular skein to design with and I really want to do it/them justice. Secondly, October is the October Stockpile event in the Malabrigo Junkies group on Ravelry. Stockpile is all about knitting as many one-skein items using Malabrigo yarns during the month of October as possible, with the idea of stockpiling the items to be given as holiday gifts. There are different contests and KALs and much general encouragement and it’s fun to see how quickly people bust out their one-skein knits. Part of the event is a design contest, which I’d like to enter with this design… if I can ever beat it into submission. 🙂 Wish me luck!  

Do you have favorite projects or patterns you’ve knit with super bulky yarn? What’s your favorite way to wear such thick yarn (hat, cowl, mittens)?

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6 thoughts on “Big Fat Mess

  1. I cannot believe how much effort and labor you have put into this project, I would have given up long ago, you obviously are very patient! I wonder if you will end up using any of those interesting ideas you sketched out in the process, I see more patterns maybe? I'm also interested that the yarn survived frogging, especially since it is single plied. But it shouldn't surprise me, their yarns are wonderful. Good luck, you can do this!

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  2. Oh and thank you for the excellent advice on my shawl situation. I cannot believe that I have been using the cast on for years but never even knew their was a bind off with it!

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