Challenge in Progress – Soper Creek’s 2019 Yarn Challenge

For over a decade, one of my LYSs, Soper Creek Yarn, has run a Yarn Challenge, where they prepare kits of a particular yarn, and they challenge knitters to come up with something creative using that yarn – more can be purchased, but ONLY that yarn can be used. FOs get put up in her display window and voted on in store and online. I’ve never won, but for the last three years, I’ve enjoyed playing along.

This year, I knew exactly what I wanted to make with the yarn.  Years before, I’ve laboured over what to make, never quite sure. Not this year. I had the pattern in mind, I bought the yarn, and I cast on later that night.

The pattern and work in progress will stay secret until after voting because thems the rules and I wanna play fair, but I can post pics of the yarn in cake format!

The yarn is Briggs and Little Sport, and it’s woolly and wonderful. It has that wonderful wool smell, and this probably weird, but I keep smelling my project. It has that distinct scent, wholesome, slightly barnlike. As well, I LOVE the colours selected by Tina this year (last year’s was rather challenging for me, but I guess that’s the name of the game).

The project is very much in progress.  Looking forward to sharing pics in a few weeks!


In case you were curious, here are the links for previous years’ challenges

2016 Yarn Challenge

2017 Yarn Challenge

2018 Yarn Challenge

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Seeking Ravenclaw

I just couldn’t find the right yarn, so I dyed my own. My co-worker asked me to make a pair of socks for her daughter for Christmas, made in the colours of her Hogwarts House, Ravenclaw.  I was heading to Toronto last week and thought, since I’m on Queen Street, I’ll take a trip to Romni. Surely, they should have some self-striping yarn in blue and grey/silver. Romni has rows upon rows of yarn, but I couldn’t find the right yarn.  I found something close, though:

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This is Regia 4-fädig, and I think it was part of a sports-team/college colours line, but it was a blue (check) self striping (check) sock yarn (check). It just wasn’t grey.  Halfway between buying it and walking to my car, I thought it could be fun to try and dye it, making the white grey and hopefully making the blue a little deeper.  If it works, awesome! If not, it was an experiment and I’d have a blue and something self-striping yarn that could become socks sometime down the line.

Unfortunately, grey is a really challenging colour to achieve with food dyes as most grey/black colours are comprised of many different colours to look black.  Example, when I dyed yarn for my Captain America shawl, they grey looks great in the slow cooker, but when it dried, it became obvious the colours broke, giving a variegated purple/green look.

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It was pretty, and it looks great in the finished shawl, but this certainly wasn’t what I was trying to achieve.

As the Regia soaked, I experimented with a few colour combos. Ultimately, I was happiest with the look of Americolor Soft Gel Paste in ‘Slate.’  You can test your dye by dipping paper towels into what you’ve prepared.  All the Wilton tests were giving off too much green, but this one looked like it would be a muted grey with a hint of green/blue halo. I held my breath, added the dye to the slow cooker, and walked away, lest I compulsively checked the crock pot every three minutes or so.

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To prepare the dye, I used 1 cup of water, 2 tbsp of vinegar, and about 1/4 tsp of the Americolor gel (fun fact, I had to type ‘color’ about four times to spell it the American way). Ultimately, I prepared the dye twice, so it had about 1/2 tsp of the colour added.

The finished skein?

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I am rather pleased! There’s only the hint of a green hue, but overall, it’s grey and blue and oh-so-Ravenclaw!

Foiled by Meterage Yet Again!

How is it that it’s Monday already? I have not intentionally fallen behind on my posts, but it feels like I’ve just blinked and June has somehow ended.  Anyone else feel this way? Just me? Great.

I’ve been busy, making really great progress on my Doodler shawl by Stephen West. See:


I’m done Section 1 and am well on my way with section 2, and all in all I’m really happy with this project.  That is, I’m happy I’m no longer playing Yarn Chicken, a game I woefully lost.

Remember weeks ago, when I wrote about my Captain America shawl and didn’t pay attention to required meterage? And remember when I had to frog almost half a hat because I, oh that’s right, didn’t pay attention to meterage.  Well, I wasn’t about to do that again.  Pattern called for 325 metres.  I had 345 metres in my skein of Mineville Wool Project.  I’ll be great, I foolishly thought.  Only a handful of rows to go, and I ran out of yarn.  A trip to the yarn store later, I find a skein that’s as close of a match as I’ll be able to get, so I work a few rows, and the new yarn sticks out like a sore thumb.  It was painfully obvious that the skeins didn’t match.  So I frogged the entire wedge, rows and rows of work, and I re-worked the wedge alternating the two skeins.  It worked, and with the cabled edging being worked along the top, I don’t think it will be as noticeable.

The full skein on the left is my new one – the colour difference is clear between that one and my original colour…

After two painful instances of not paying attention to meterage, I thought I did good and was in the clear. Maybe this is my trend this year. Oh I truly hope not…

Is sock yarn ‘stash yarn’?

There are many divisive issues in knitting: to swatch or not to swatch, process v. product, but perhaps one of the most controversial is whether sock yarn counts towards stash. One would think that the debate is settled when the Yarn Harlot decreed that sock yarn isn’t really stash yarn. Maybe I just think of ‘stash’ a little differently.

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Take this beautiful skein of sock yarn. I bought this lovely skein of Indigodragonfly CaribouBaa in the fall of 2016.  I had no idea what I wanted to do with it, but I knew the colours were pretty, and when I bought it, it was my first ever Indigodragonfly, so I was excited. There it sat for almost a year and a half; other projects came and went, but inspiration had yet to grab me for this yarn. And then it did.

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In March/April I purchased two skeins from one of my LYSs (one two separate occasions, as it turns out).  After chatting with a friend about this yarn and how to use these two together, she encouraged me to take a closer look at Stephen West and his brioche patterns.  While brioche wasn’t in the future for this yarn, The Doodler was. I saw the pattern, I saw the skein of Indigodragonfly on my shelves, and I knew these three had to be used together.

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I have a hard time buying more than one skein at a time if I’m just buying yarn. Some of this is budget, and the rest is practical.  I’ve been stung too many times by not buying enough to complete a project that I’m either running out and buying more or ripping back and buying new.  If I have a project in mind that needs ‘x’ amount of metres, then cool, I’ll go out and buy what I need, but to buy ‘x’ skeins just because, that I just can’t do. But sock yarn, oh lovely sock yarn. You can buy one skein of fingering, and you have enough metres to make a plethora of things. A hat, no problem! Socks, duh. A shawl/cowl/neck accessory, done and done. Or, like my lovely blue/green Indigodragonfly, it can just live there until the perfect project comes along.