Saturday, 31 January 2009


I was destructive enough in my last post so, today I decided I’d let the constructive half of my personality write a post! Thank heavens that I'm a multiple personality!


How can you have a marathon with such limited resources? You can if you try to make as many garments as possible from a single skein! A 50 g skein!

This is how the story begins- about a month ago, I managed to “kill” my last functional tapestry needle and had to buy a new set. The tapestry needles are sold in a yarn shop. And there’s plenty of yarn in a yarn shop (as you can imagine)! And this knitter is not allowed to buy any more yarn this winter unless SHE intends to eat it. So, I tied my hands and took a few friends with me (heavy weight category friends - who could easily «remove me from the shelf» if necessary) and off to tapestry needles shopping we went. Why didn't I simply leave my credit cards at home? Well, obviously because the nice lady in my favourite yarn shop is very cool and she wouldn't mind waiting a day or two to get the money (she is quite useless, isn’t she ?!!!).
I was cool in there but I did let two or three people to go in front of me so that I could look around a bit (looking is free!!!) and just when I was about to pay for my needles, I saw a skein of pale grey yarn on the floor. My clumsiness, again. But, there wasn't a single yarn in the same colour on the shelf so I had to ask the shop owner where to put it! She said- «Oh, just leave it anywhere, it's the last one, anyway!» . Suddenly, my eyes were THIS big!!!! I was looking at that skein in my hand… the skein was smiling back at was an instant attraction! YOU'RE MINE!!!!
I didn't care that it was grey… I didn’t know what it was made of… nothing! The adrenaline was already pumping! The great thing about this «ultimate challenge» was that – there really was only ONE skein. No more in the shop, or in my home…the only skein in town! Now- that is a REAL one-skein project! What a thrill!

I mean- I could go bungee- jumping but...what's the point? I can always ask that nice lady to call me when she finds another «last skein» in her shop!

OK- so, the next thing to do was to examine the characteristics of the yarn and decide what to do with it. Not a brilliant situation, at all! Pure acrylic (no wonder no one wanted the poor one)! How do they make pure acrylic yarn, anyway? Do they spin it like wool? I can't even imagine it on a spinning wheel- the first thing that comes to my mind when I hear the word «acrylic», is a beautiful painting. I like acrylic paintings!
But, it didn't really matter it was 100% unnatural, after all. It was yet another challenge- what can be made from a SINGLE skein of ACRYLIC yarn? It's not really skin-friendly so gloves were out of the question. A hat- same problem! And there was absolutely not enough yarn for a scarf or a wrap....I didn't need a pale grey purse (though- I did think of Norah Gaughan’s modular purses)...BUT, it's the turtleneck time and I love turtlenecks. I always wear them in January. If I make a neck warmer- it will basically never touch my skin and there's plenty of yarn for one in this skein. (Finally, it was all about the excitement of making something- I'll probably give it as a gift to someone later)!

I knew I should use an «economical» pattern but eyelet-holes didn’t seem like a good choice for a neck warmer! I needed something slip-stich-ish! k1, s1 wyif – bingo! Knitting only every second stitch in odd numbered rows spares a lot of yarn.
So, this is how this process looked like...

It was a sport-ish yarn, about 11wpi and 5mm needles seemed like the best choice. The result -puffy but not too loose! I got the gauge of 17 sts / 17rows=10 cm(4inches) – just what I wanted – and there was no need to cast on more than 28 stitches (I was thinking of working with 30 but...adding these two extra stitches was just calling for a trouble!). 70 rows and it was almost 0.5 m (20 inches) long- enough! Bind off, break the yarn!
So far, it looked good. Only a bit pale-ish! This called for some extra contrasting yarn! (Is using additional yarn in the «ultimate one-skein project» called cheating??? Oh, please say it isn't because I won't look smart anymore! It's just for decoration!). I found some leftovers from my Buttony cardigan and I believe it was just the best choice- another grey only now charcoal yarn. This yarn is, actually, way thicker than the pale one and not really a material for an I-cord but, it was either that or a dull one-colour neck warmer! A 4sts (3+1sts) and about 90cm (35 inches) long I-cord was all I needed to get rid of that dullness! And I think it worked! It's a funny thing, the I-cord, I mean- just compare the pictures of the neck warmer before and after the I-cord has been attached- it suddenly looks so classy!
I have recently been looking at some pictures in «Knitting on the Edge» and «Knitting Beyond the Edge» and that is exactly where I think the I-cord idea came from so, I gave this garment a working title «On the Edge Neck Warmer». But when it was finished, that shape looked somehow familiar!

Do you know what it reminded me of? THIS!

Remember this silly hat Greta Garbo wore in Ninotchka ? (You haven't seen Ninotchka??? I won't even comment that! :))) ) . It was, definitely, a Ninotchka neck warmer!!!

But, the excitement continues! After finishing the neck warmer, there was only 1/3 of my magical skein left. Though it looks much bigger in the picture, it was a very skinny skein at this point.
Once again - millions of ideas and millions of «NO-s!» Luckily, I had another «On the Edge strike of inspiration"! Wrist Cuffs! (I don't think I like the sound of this – please, bare in mind, this is a nice place!). I'll make decorative cuffs! Quite a useless garment, of course, but it's not as though I had a lot of options with only 1/3 of a skein left. And they can look quite cool.

But, before starting- the skein had to be divided into two equal balls (otherwise, I might have ended up with only one cuff)! I used 6mm needles this time (just in any case) and only 20 stitches. Three rows of 1p,1k ribbing and then the «neck-warmer» pattern again. 10 cm (4inches) for the knitted part plus the additional 2cm (1inch) long crocheted edging seemed like a reasonable length for a cuff (or height, depending of your point of view!). I didn't work in circle because, I CO the minimal number of stitches and wasn't sure if it would actually fit my hand in the end. In case it didn’t, I would have had to make an insertion (made from a different yarn). Luckily, there was no need for that so I just seamed the edges of that block together. Barely! See this "almost a-yarn-tail something" inside the red circle???

That's the yarn tail after finishing the first cuff! And look at the length of the CO tail! My CO tails are usually ten times longer but working on an ultimate-challenge project can really turn your perception upside-down, can't it? It seemed like such a waste of yarn!
I, didn't have to break the yarn this time, of course! :))) (Did you know that a grey acrylic yarn - literally - turns green when it starts burning? I knew there was something extraterrestrial about that yarn the moment I saw it on the floor!)

An extra edging made from the "I-cord yarn" and a mini flower and my first cuff was finished. I wanted a pale grey spot in the middle of this flower but at this point I was really working with micro pieces of yarn.

The good thing was- I knew that there was still just enough yarn for the second cuff.

And, here it is- the ultimate 'Ninotchka neck warmer and wrist cuffs’ set!

Though, that Ninotchka hat was probably not grey at all! It was the film that was made in b&w technology! Doesn't really matter- I'll turn my Ninotchka into b&w too! No problem!

I quite like the fact that this neck warmer resembles this hat, actually. But- I didn’t know it was going to happen so, I think I should now start paying more attention to what I do. Especially if I decide to make a dress! I’d be in a huge problem if it would turn out to look like THIS ONE!
You can download the 'Ninotchka' neck warmer pattern form HERE!


  1. I saw your Ninootchka on Ravelry and I do like the i-cord detail a lot. And the cuffs complement it quite well, a perfect set.

  2. Wow, all that from only one skein. OK, skein and a half. I love the i-cord detail, it really adds something special to the neckwarmer.

  3. Thanks, to both! And, naturally, it's a NinOtchka with a stressed "o"! :)

    It's funny how many people loves this film, I have already received a few messages on ravelry from Ninotchka lovers. I think we're just a step away from forming a fan-club! :)

  4. Eto i mene u klubu obožavatelja:)! Ninočke, naravno! Ovih dana nešto razmišljam da li da naručim pomenute knjige, kakvi su tvoji utisci?

  5. Knjige su- inspirativne! Ne mora sve da se radi identično kako je predloženo- jedna slika sama rodi po nekoliko ideja. Meni su najinteresantniji predlozi za rol-kragne. Nema tu ništa do sad neviđeno, jasno, ali je originalno! Jedino još nisam prelistala "Knitting Over the Edge" a mislim da bi mi ta bila najinteresantnija!

  6. I poslala sam ti mail, bensedinart! :)


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