I love this yarn. (Really.)

This Christmas, after I had taken out the chocolate and socks and new pens from my stocking, I found a single beautiful skein of yarn curled elegantly in the toe.


I love it. (In the interest of accuracy and not screwing over brand new knitters who are going to be left wondering what the difference is between a skein and a ball, and will then send me email saying “If that’s a skein, what’s a ball?” .. this is not the skein. The skein has been wound into a ball for the purposes of knitting and a photo. ) This is one little skein of Alchemy Alpaca Pure, and for a time it’s just hung around. It sits on the desk. I pat it. It’s a pet skein.

Now, I don’t have any problems with pet skeins. I think they serve a valid and noble purpose just as they are. Not all yarn needs to be knit up to have a reason for existing. I mean, does anyone stand in front of Sonia Delaunay’s Tango Bal and say “Yeah…but what’s it for? I mean, is it holding up the wall or something?” (I take it back. I know there are those who have no feeling for art, but they are soulless and dead inside and I’m not bringing them into this conversation. You can not like some art, you can even think it’s ugly, but pointless? Dead. Inside. That’s what those people are. )

Back to the point. This skein has been sitting around, fulfilling its purpose of being beautiful and art, and I’ve realized that’s a mistake. Joe bought that skein for me as a gift, and he doesn’t quite yet understand about yarn as art, and I realized that if I didn’t knit it into something, he was going to think (was thinking, actually) that I didn’t like it or want it. I certainly wasn’t doing anything to reinforce his yarn buying. I decided to knit it up. I thought I would love to have some pretty fingerless mitts and I winged it. Behold, not the first, nor the second, nor even the third attempt, but the fourth attempt at a pair of simple, simple fingerless mitts which I am now going to frog because they are ass. Complete ass.


The first ones were too big. The second ones were less big, but still not related to my hand size in any way at all. The third ones were ugly and this time, this time I have outdone myself. These are ugly AND too small.


All of that comes down to me violently ripping alpaca last night, and Joe stating so simply, “I don’t know if that yarn makes you happy…”

Obviously, the foul language I am using when I am near this now cursed yarn is not doing anything to help Joe understand that I value it greatly and that I really enjoy his forays into yarn purchasing and would like him to repeat it as frequently as possible.

Anybody got a pattern suggestion? It’s a fingering weight alpaca and I’m clearly not cutting it with the “winging”.


From the comments: Sonya asks:

Will you do another knitting olympics??

Absolutely. I might do a few things differently next time, (Things like finding a better way to manage the list of names. A way that doesn’t include all that crying.) but there’s no way that the Winter Olympics could go down in Canada and I couldn’t do it. Lucky for me I’ve got a couple of years to figure it out.

What’s that? A few of you saying “But what about the Summer Olympics! The Knitting Olympics can happen every two years, not four!”

I don’t think so. When you have an event….a sport, you only get to go to the Olympics every four years. It’s part of what makes it epic. Bobsled? Four years. Skiing? Four years. Running? Four years. Knitting? (I’m sure you see where I’m going with this.) I say that the Summer Olympics are for other sports. Maybe the Crocheters should have the Summer Olympics?

289 thoughts on “I love this yarn. (Really.)

  1. The yarn will speak to you!
    Yes, you must knit it- Nothing should be done to let muggles think we don’t want the yarn they buy!
    It is too important!

  2. Buy another skein in a nice contrasty color and do Endpaper Mitts! (Yeah, everyone’s doing them. They’re still pretty. And I wear mine every. single. day.)

  3. The alpaca is very nice and I totally understand how it is a pet skein. I’d like to be able to help you on the handwarmers, but can’t, having not knit any yet. I’m a little bummed about no Summer Knitting Olympics, but understand. For me, a Summer Crocheting Olympics would be quite the challenge. My crochet skills are utterly laughable.

  4. Compassionate Knitting by Tara Jon Manning (I am certain there is a copy on your shelf) has a very nice fingerless mitt pattern. It is a 10 stitch repeat so you can use your yarn and simply add a repeat. Page 29

  5. play nice with the yarn or I sell Joe some really fugly yarn next time….oh yeah we don’t sell ugly yarn.
    And a big HELLO out there to the Rachel
    (my internet is down baby)

  6. When I have a skein like that, I usually end up doing stockinette stitch with maybe a simple garter stitch border. It’s the only way I know to really be sure the yarn shines.
    I think not having a Summer Knitting Olympics might just play into the stereotype that knitting is a cold-weather sport. I’ll bet this time we can come up with a variety of cool events — how about Project Decathalons? Instead of picking one big challenge, we could all try to work on many small challenges.

  7. I agree that every four years is enough for the Knitting Olympics. Otherwise, you’d need one person to devote their life to it – it is too huge.
    Also, ask Joe to get more of that same yarn for you, then you will have more possibilities. He will have to shop for yarn again, which would be good for him.

  8. I’m sure you are already aware of the fingerless gloves “Fetching” from Knitty – but you may be able to use this as a basis for your own design. The yarn is gorgeous by the wya!!

  9. Fetching. If you have 98 yds there, do the Fetching mitts from the Summer 2006 Issue of Knitty. They are quick to knit up and look great. I gave some to my sister-in-law. I knit some for myself. I love this simple little pattern.
    As for the Summer Olympics, do you really want thousands of new toilet paper covers running around this world? (I kid! Don’t any crocheters send me hate mail. I’ve been hookin’ it since I was 7. Wait…that sounded less dirty in my head. Aw, you guys know what I mean.) Besides, the Summer Olympics won’t be until next year in 2008. We got plenty of time before we have to decide. What kind of crafts do they do in China?

  10. I can so understand the “pet yarn” idea. I had two balls of Dave Daniels’ Cabin Cove sock yarn sitting next to my chair for about a year just to look at and fondle and dream over. Now I’m getting really loathe to use my last skein of vintage Lion Brand “Bridget” to finish a moebius and may save half of it just for fondling purposes. Yarn – the drug of my life.

  11. Have you seen the Endpaper mitts on Eunny’s blog? I know it’s a 2-colour design, but it’s in fingering weight….

  12. I can hardly believe that I am suggesting something to the Yarn Harlot, but … I just finished some Very Simple fingerless gloves (wrist warmers), based on the suggestion of my local LYS owner, and I love them. I’m wearing them now, in fact! They’re warm! And soft! And alpaca!
    Okay, enough exclamation. I have a photo on my blog. They were simply done on dpns, cast on 32, k1p1 a round, knit a round, repeat, with a thumb hole when I felt it was called for. I found them simple without being boring, though of course that’s in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it? I’m certainly honored if you consider them. After all, it’s an honor just to be nominated, isn’t it? And we must encourage others to gift knitters thusly. My charming muggle brother went to an LYS before Christmas and presented himself as shopping for a knitter. I got a pair of knit-lights and a Lantern Moon needle holder. Not bad, brother!

  13. I found a pretty pair of fingerless gloves by googling fingerless gloves. Your husband obviously has exquisite taste. cecilia

  14. I did 5 different pairs of fingerless mitts for Christmas gifts. In my planning, I seem to have forgotten you need two for a complete gift, but, I persevered, and all 5 pairs were gifted. I am a pattern follower at heart (avoid decisions whenever possible), but in the end, didn’t have enough patterns for all 5 (lazy in research, too), but I ended up using a couple of my favorite sock patterns as the arm/hand part, stuck in a gusset idea stolen from one of the “real” patterns and ended up with a couple of my favorite versions. Am I the only one that sticks the legs of socks on my arms just to see the pattern?? I bet that beaded lace sock thingy would be fabu…

  15. Ah, pet yarn. One of life’s great pleasures, especially now that I know what to call it.
    My sister hit the nail on the head the last time she visited. She called home and told my mom that in spite of my telling them all my hobby was knitting, she believed my actual hobby was collecting yarn.

  16. In my experience, alpaca stretches far more than wool. (I once copied an alpaca hat in wool; I had to add a third more stitches.) So first: swatch and wash and dry the swatch, to see how it works up. Then figure your stitch count. That lovely light colored yarn should show cables well, but since alpaca is soft, maybe you could use a twisted stitch design to help the design pop. Experiment. (Who said fingerless gloves had to match any more than socks do? Have a different design on each hand.)
    Remember what finally worked for the name list last time? Someone else doing it, and organizing it by categories. Maybe you could have several volunteers each take a category, and one just to sort categories.

  17. Hmmm…If the yarn **really**wants to be made into gloves, and fingerless ones at that, may I commend the pattern from the Fall ’06 (I think) issue of ‘knitty’ online. I made several pair for Christmas gifts (with and without the cables and in different yarns) and they seem to be, well, um, foolproof. πŸ˜‰

  18. How serendiptitous–this morning I picked up the latest issue (March 2007) of “Creative Knitting” magazine because it has a fingerless mitt pattern with a simple K3,P2 rib which I want to try–p. 44 — sample shows it in self striping but I think your alpaca would work nicely too. Look forward to seeing what you do with this skein/ball–LOVE the colour!!
    And Joe, your beloved is grumpy because she wants to make something wonderful so you REALIZE how much she loves it AND the fact that YOU got it for her!! So please continue to get wonderful yarn…(you know the gang @ Lettuce Knit can always help if you’re stumped!!)

  19. I’m printing out this post so that my hubby can read your explanation of ‘pet yarn’. He always gets that scared look when I try to explain… πŸ™‚
    As for the yarn, I’d go with a little, simple pouch of some kind, both because it would show of the yarn nicely and because I am a bit obsessive-compulsive and have quite a thing about containers of all kinds. As in, I have a whole room in my house dedicated to them. πŸ™‚
    Absolutely surreal, making project suggestions to the Harlot. πŸ™‚

  20. Natalya.
    You know you ran it off at the time.
    Alpaca ain’t got no mojo, so cables are
    de regei…de riger…de rigeu… necessary. So what that it’s written for near-worsted weight [and lies about yardage requirements]? You’re the Harlot — suck it up. (Anything ironic about my being up to the second thumb-gusset and almost too cold to finish knitting it?)

  21. I agree with Mel. Fetching is an ideal project, or at least that’s what I thought when I made my pet into a pair and still ended up with a third of a ball left over…

  22. I think you are overthinking this. How about a neckwarmer/earwarmer in a 2×2 baby cable rib? You could even skip the baby cables if you were so inclined.

  23. Mmmm. That looks like delicious yarn. What a fantastic X-Mas gift. I have seen Fetching all over the place online – the name is appropos – they are fetching. :-p
    Hope you find a pattern that works. You are dedicated. 4th time frogging? = FINISHED for me.

  24. Go to http://www.knittingpatterncentral.com. I’ve knit the “cabled fingerless” 3 times and I get lots of comments and requests for the pattern. I even sent the pattern to NZ to the host mom that my daughter was staying with while doing her intership. And if you don’t care for this pattern there are lots of others to chose from.

  25. KISS! You know, Keep It Simple. You’re trying too hard. Beautiful yarn doesn’t always need fancy stitching. There are some good patterns at Knitty. I’ve made a couple Fetchings, but my next try will be VooDoo by Bonnie Marie. I also like Gretch’s idea of using sock patterns. Maybe a lace pattern…whoa, now I’m getting too fancy. KISS

  26. Dear Joe,
    Steph loves the yarn you bought for her. Really. What she loves more than the yarn is the the thought of you buying yarn for her! (You did great, by the way.) The cursing is because she is trying to do just the right thing with the yarn and it just hasn’t spoken to her yet.
    Dear Steph,
    check out Fetching from knitty.com

  27. My husband bought me a LOVELY wooden umbrella swift as an anniversary present. The first thing I ever tried to wind with it(Schaeffer sport weight merino wool…pretty enough to make me cry…) got TANGLED in the worst, soul crushing, brain warping way, and it took me five hours of cursing, weeping and whining to untangle the @#$ing thing. Mate thought (for a while) that this was the worst gift EVER… then I found my ass with both hands and figured out how to set up the yarn and now I’ll have days where I just wind yarn and crow over how fun it is, and now Mate is reassured. When you finish your lovely project (and you know, I’m thinking pet yarn might do better as a cabled cowl-scarf…so you can pet it, right?) your mate will, too, be reassured that his token of love is truly appreciated. Trust me. My umbrella swift is a godsend!

  28. The yarn is lovely, it will make great mitts. You could try looking over at knitspot.com, she’s been knitting lots of fingerless mitts lately, I’m not sure how many of them she has already written up into patterns. I also would love to knit a pair of those Fetching mitts everyone else recommended…

  29. I must agree with previous posters–I am wearing Fetching as I type this; they were made in one evening, and are warm, delightful, and easy. Fun to knit, too, because of the cabling. Time is of the essence, I think, to put Joe’s heart at ease…

  30. Rams beat me to it, but she’s totally right. (Shocking, I know.) Natalya. Definitely Natalya. I still wear mine all the time. Perfect mitt pattern.

  31. Summer is for spinning.
    And for the really intrepid, they will save the Olympic spinning yarn for the Olympic knitting event – bonus points.

  32. PS: I made my Natalyas with fingering-weight yarn. Just added one repeat, if I recall correctly. Fetching? Meh. Natalya is more flattering to the small (or narrow, in my case) of hand.

  33. Searched ‘fingerless’ gloves. Man, there’s like 591,000 pages. Somehow though, I think you’ll figure it out. You are after all our inspiration!
    Never heard of pet yarn before but I think I get it. Treated myself to Alchemy’s Haiku in San Francisco Sky for a sweater, and it’s so soft, so beautiful, I’m afraid to touch it!
    And I vote for an ‘unofficial’ Summer Olympics. I’ve already got my knitting planned for the actual Olympics — a nice shawl with a ‘Chinese dragon’ motif that I’m attempting to design, lord help me!

  34. Steph, you’re working too hard.
    I loved the pink granite socks you made. I loved them so much that, even though I don’t knit socks, I had to interpret that wonderful cuff. I knit a square, wide enough to wrap around my wrist, in linen stitch, and sewed it up the side, leaving a hole for my thumb. Voila, fingerless gloves, in less time than it would take to bake a cake. Every time I wear them, people ask me to teach them how make them. I made several other pair, in various colors and stitches, because I found that they make my poor arthritic hands feel a lot better.

  35. try Bonne Marie’s Knitty Pattern–
    just knit a tube in 2×2 or 3×3 rib, and make a hole for your thumb by making a buttonhole!
    :o)Knitty also has a few other fingerless glove patterns, but i think this one is the simplest and at this point, i think it’s your best bet with the yarn…lest it reach out and strangle you at this point… be careful…

  36. What about some wrist warmers in a Feather and Fan pattern? The color looks like it has some slight variations, and would look pretty knit up that way.
    Summer Olympics could be all lace knitting.

  37. On Knitty.com there is a great pattern for fingerless mits called “fetching” and it is.

  38. The Summer Knitting Olympics could be for the non-wool sports. You know, cotton socks in the stadium, silk shells in the downtown auditorium, linen lace tablecloths in the beach pavilion, that sort of thing. Please??????

  39. Sometimes a yarn has attitude. I had some Blue Sky Alpaca and Silk that I tried to make mittens out of. I finished the first mitten and it wasn’t happy. I haven’t frogged it yet but I can hear it crying in amongst the stash. However I made the rest of it into a scarf with a lacey rib pattern. THAT yarn is quite happy.

  40. I’m not sure alpaca is all that good for gloves or mitts, fingerless or not as it has no memory. It will never give you that supportive feeling you want in a glove and will always feel too big no matter what.
    I would combine it with some other alpacas and work it into a capelet, shawl or throw, something where you want a good drape. Just my opinion.

  41. Surely someone else has told you this, but Anne of Knitspot.com has done a few fingerless mitt patterns in fingering weight in the very recent past.
    Oh yeah, and good for Joe! Buying yarn for a stocking is a very very good thing. Maybe he would have understood how much you loved your pet yarn if you’d slept with it.

  42. Gorgeous yarn!, and Joe should defintely be encouraged to yarn shop for you. Instead of knitting a circ tube, how about a flat piece, which with a seam/graft, ends up a “sideways” fingerless mitt? If you end up with a few too many stitches, it just goes further up your arm!

  43. Wow, you have a husband who not only buys yarn for you, but buys *beautiful* yarn for you. (Sigh.)
    My husband claims to be afraid of buying yarn for me.

  44. I vote for a second skein of that lovely yarn. Gives you more options *and* reinforces to Joe that he a)bought great yarn you love and b)that he needs to buy more of it!
    Uses: perhaps those endpaper mitts over at Eunny Jang?

  45. I’m swooning with the memories you’ve induced with this post…
    Two hanks of Alchemy Alpaca Pure came into my hands via a Secret Pal exchange two years ago — I knit them into Judy Pascale’s Simply Garter Shapely Shawlette and I’ve worn it as often as I can ever since it came off the needles. It’s one of the simplest things I’ve ever knit, but I get more compliments on it than I do on St. Brigid or Fib or anything else I’ve done — testament to a great pattern, fabulous yarn. I still like to feel that yarn against my cheeks, lips and nose… to smell it, hold it, caress it. Honestly, I think fingerless mitts would be a wonderful project — so easy to bring the yarn to your face that way. The way I have to do it with the shawl probably looks pretty silly…
    Anyway, as I was searching for info on the shawl, I discovered that it was knit while also working on Thrummed Mittens — my very first ones, using your recipe with the Screech and all (though I substituted Mike’s Hard Lemonade). Oh, that was fun…
    And I still feel flush with excitement when I think of those two weeks of Olympic knitting last year. ; )

  46. Hmmm…
    If it were me, I’d get out my trusty never dusty handy dandy Interweave Press Book o’ patterns. and go from there. Pick a **simple** textured pattern, which I think would look good with this yarn – nothing too complex.
    And most importantly:
    Gauge, Steph, gauge.

  47. Briar Rose Fibers has a really nice pattern for fingerless mittens with a baby cable pattern – it called for size 5 dpns, but I used size 3’s and got gauge on a slightly heavier yarn than what you are using I think, and also what they said the pattern was for – play around with it. I made some for my mom, and am going to do one for myself. I am an advanced beginning knitter, but it really wasnt too bad – I bet you can do it really quick.

  48. Why not use one of Anne’s (knitspot) patterns. The cabled mitts are nice and so are her new cloverleaf ones:) I’m still waiting for my husband to get in on the yarn gifting…

  49. why not make a toy of it?? Something cudly for on your table or office so you can stay on petting it?
    Looks really soft and cudly.
    take care.

  50. I agree with the Wine and Roses idea from the latest Interweave Knits. They are fairly simple and very pretty. I made mine in a fingering weight alpaca/wool blend and I love them πŸ™‚

  51. Dear Harlot,
    Measure your hand at it’s widest point. Take this number and multiply it by your gauge per inch (or whatever you do in non-US places)using your desired needle size. This will be your approximate number of working stitches to finagle a pattern repeat with.
    My first comment! Thanks for your sharp wit inspired laughs!!

  52. it is such a pretty yarn that you absolutely have to use it now, no matter the curses.
    i think i’d make it into a little green sheep or teddy bear and have it sit on my desk with my other yarn pets. (I now have several from leftovers of my favorite yarns!)
    if you want something actually useful, i’d try the fingerless mittens one more time. and i’d even double the yarn over so as to make it go by ever so slightly faster and get the curse off my mind.
    as far as Knitting Olypics go… There has got to be a way for all the readers of this blog to come up with something that keeps you from having to do all the work. if we can raise over $200,000 in the span of a week or two, we can do this! We just need some brain power.
    isn’t there some way to create a forum or something that people can add themselves and a group can admin.
    i wish i was more computer saavy. for now I shall go ask my more knowledgeable friends . . .

  53. You’re so silly. All those socks you knit and a mitt is stumping you? Must be that “after Christmas knitting failure” thing. Knit a tube..like a sock leg only all rib. Put in an afterthought thumb compliments of EZ.

  54. Anne at knitspot.com just knit a couple of mitts, perhaps one of those would work? Or, I bet it would make a nice lacy scarf. That fits. πŸ˜‰

  55. I’m all for Fetching from Knitty.
    I feel like I saw a nice pair of fingerless mitts in the Winter 2006 Interweave Knits when I was looking through it last night… I could be mistaken, but I think there were some….? I could just be making that up though…

  56. What about Eunny’s mittens? or her fingerless gloves? I think that the alpaca would shine against a soft cream color wool… and I find my alpaca holds up better with some 100% wool nearby. πŸ™‚
    oh, anne at the knitspot’s mitts are heavenly too!
    πŸ™‚ Kate

  57. Summer Olympics are for SPINNING. Duh.
    Also, go look at knitspot. She’s been making some swingin’ mitts these past few weeks.

  58. Knowing your propensity for tweaking patterns to better suit your personal style, I dare to suggest that you use Eunny’s pattern as a basis for the shaping, and choose a texture pattern from one of the stitch dictionaries out there.
    The yarn is luscious, and deserves to be knit into something equally yummy.

  59. Steph,
    I had some lovely alpaca yarn which one of my little neices picked out for me…(causing her non-knitting mother to choke, because it was $20/skein FOR YARN?) for a gift. I had seen some cashmere gloves in a catalog, for $400/pair. I am not paying $400 for gloves, which I will surely leave on the top of the car. So I made them myself out of the really nice alpaca. They look lovely, they’re soft and they’re BETTER than the $400 cashmere gloves because my neice thinks they were all her idea! πŸ™‚
    They’re Dominique’s gloves… uh… shoot.. uh.. quick and dirty pattern here:

  60. I gave myself permission to buy yarn just for petting a long time ago. It does serve a purpose and I have many many pet skeins.

  61. It is to bad when the muggles don’t understand about pet yarn. Maybe if you wore the skein like a necklace while you pet it … Of course my man would never even notice I had it on.

  62. Glue a couple of google-eyes on that ball of alpaca, maybe some pipe-cleaner ears and red felt tongue, and be done with it. The more you rip it out, the fuzzier and more likely to break it’s going to get. Maybe Joe will get the whole “pet yarn” thing once it has a little face.

  63. Stephanie — Fetching (knitty) is a very popular pattern, knits up wonderfully with one skein, and has adopted to a variety of gauges for me ~ I’ve made 4 pair to date, all in different yarns, all really nice (although I have taken to making them just a bit longer if I had enough yarn). Another beautiful pattern is Seaside in Sept. 06 Magknits. These I haven’t made, but will (and they have beads!!). Good luck!

  64. That yarn says to me: “Elizabeth Zimmerman Mobius Scarf” but it’s probably not enough. How about a neck warmer/cowl. I know, kind of boring, but I used to live in Toronto, and I had an alpaca neckwarmer that improved my temperment greatly while standing in slush waiting for a convoy of streetcars to appear. (I could never figure out why streetcars only travelled in packs in the winter.)

  65. You must go visit Anne, over at http://www.knitspot.com. She has three beautiful patterns for lacey and cabled fingerless mitts. Not only that she’s having a contest.
    You’d like Anne. She made a spectacular goof on her latest pair that reminds me of your two left thumb fiasco.

  66. Yet another vote for Fetching. I LOVE that pattern–quick, simple. I would just (gasp!) swatch your pet yarn (adore that phrase) and adjust the pattern–very easy to do. I’ve made several pairs of Fetching from different yarns and I’ve been thrilled with them all.

  67. You may have luck at http://www.garnstudio.com. Most of their yarns are pretty lightweight.
    I still intend to participate in knitting olympics, even if it is unofficial. I didn’t hear of the knitting olympics until after they were over last time (I’m still kinda new to the Harlot cult and knitting in general). So, I will be reporting my progress on your blog (unless you have major objections) when the time comes.
    Besides, its not like skiiers only have one competition every four years. There are regional, national and international championships all the time!

  68. I don’t have time to read through everyone’s comments so I don’t know if anyone else has suggested it – but I think that yarn would be really great for the Wine and Roses gloves from Interweave’s latest issue. Knitted a pair up for my daughter (seen on my blog under “Whine and Poses”) and it is a really fun pattern!
    Pet yarn is fun too, although, ALAS! I am allergic to alpaca : (

  69. If I only had a little bit of very special yarn like that, I’d knit it into a long narrow scarf so that every bit of it could be used, and then I could wear it close to my heart while also enjoying its existence and functionality at the same time. πŸ™‚

  70. I have one word for you: Endpaper Mitts. (Oh, that’s two words . . . oh, and you’ll need two yarns . . . a dark eggplant color would be lovely with that green . . . )
    If you want to do them in one color, Eunny’s design would at least give you a sense of guage/size/shape. You could just follow her pattern without the colorwork (and with a shorter cuff if one skein isn’t enough to make them that long). Meanwhile, all hail Joe, stuffer-of-gorgeous-alpaca-into-Christmas-stockings. Someone really should knit that guy a gansey.
    For anyone who doesn’t know (does such a person exist?), Eunny Jang’s Endpaper Mitts pattern is free, and it can be found at:

  71. Oh, and isn’t it always the way that we love most the ones we can’t control? That’s some “bad boy” yarn you got there!

  72. I have a skein of alpaca sport weight I’m similarly stumped on. I tried socks… and ripped out 5 hours of work on a fancy fan stitch calf. I like the idea of doing gloves with it. Lately I’ve really liked using the Knucks pattern from Knitty (without the embroidery) because everyone I knit for seems to want ‘fingers’ on their fingerless gloves.

  73. If you have Leigh Radford’s “One Skein” book, she has a fingerless garter mitten with two versions: plain and beaded. You wanted to use beads too, right? Here’s your chance to make that yarn into a simple but special project! I haven’t knit this pattern from the book, but the other patterns I have done were well written and turned out infinitely wearable. The only problem might be your teenage daughters…the beaded versions look awfully hip…they might go missing and you won’t be able to blame the cat.

  74. I made two pairs of mittens with Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca and they are (as of last report) happy mittens, so I know alpaca can make a nice mitten. But it looks to me like you went too fussy with that last pair. Maybe it doesn’t want to be a glove. Maybe it wants to be a hat or scarf. It’s not saying mitten to me….and last year was the year of the mitten, I made something like 7 pairs. Which was odd since people kept asking for hats, and I kept giving them mittens. I am knitting my way through Robin Hansen’s books. 😎 I have 2 sets ready to go when next the needles pick up – she’s got at least 2 wristers in her books, BTW. But, no, to me it’s not saying gloves…I think it’s saying scarf. In a leaf motif.

  75. okay, a little more research here on the Magknits’ Seaside Fingerless gloves:
    2 skeins Alchemy Yarns Synchronicity (50% silk, 50% wool; 118 yd [108m] per 50g skein — enough for L size too)
    Size S-M: 1 set US #5/3.75 mm double-point needles
    52 crystal (clear) glass seed beads, size 6/0 (4mm)
    Size S-M: 24 sts and 32 rows = 4″ (10cm) in stockinette with smaller needles – close, maybe even right on for you.
    And, I have a pair of 100% alpaca fingerless mitts I knit a couple years ago. No they don’t hug, but they are the softest, lovliest things, and have held up very well. Now I’m off to look at the other recommended patterns… so much fun.

  76. I understand the need to knit up the yarn gifts to reinforce the yarn giving habit.
    Anne Hanson at Knitspot has 3 very nice mitt patterns for fingering weight yarn. The Delicato is very beautiful with a fancy ribbing and interesting lace back.
    I’ve made the fine cabled mitts and her pattern is very good.

  77. I’m planning right now to buy some fingering weight alpaca for the lacy mitts in Interweave Winter ’06. Hope I have better luck (and find the yarn), but that’s my idea right now. I’m sure you will come up with something, brilliant as you are!

  78. I say do http://knitty.com/ISSUEsummer06/PATTbaudelaire.html, just at the end of one repeat, do a fetching-like thumb hole by knitting one repeat’s worth of stitches on waste yarn, then slipping them back to the left needle and knitting them again with the working yarn, then working the pattern as set.
    Actually, I think I’m going to do that too. Thank you. Now I know what to do with all those sock patterns that I really like too much to wear on my feet.

  79. What a stunning pet yarn! I am in love with the colors and the slight fuzzy halo.
    If you have your heart set on fingerless mitts (and I would use the yarn for exactly the same thing), I highly recommend the pattern for Rib-and-Cable Mitts by Marji LaFreniere in INterweave Knits Spring 2006 issue. I’ve made several for gifts and am just waiting for the perfect yarn to come along before I make myself a pair.

  80. If that’s a skein, then what’s a ball?
    Sorry – I had to. Someone had to.
    I picked up a skein of Twisted Sisters Avarice in LA – also a great pet skein. Soft. So soft.
    PS I’ve got an interview with the Globe and Mail next week. Send me good Canadian vibes… I’m practicing saying “zede” and “arse” to impress the interviewer…

  81. Wine and Roses mitts from the Winter 06/07 Interweave Knits calls for a fingering weight yarn. It’s a very pretty simple lace pattern, that would set off the subtle colors of the yarn very nicely, I believe.

  82. I agree with another poster … this yarn does not want to be cabled. Unless you make it entirely in ribbing, alpaca does not have a ton of elasticity, and its texture does not “pop”. In my experience, alpaca yarn likes to be lace. When I look at your pet, I think it wants to be a little triangular scarf (like a miniature shawl) in a simple but fun lace pattern.

  83. What this means, Steph, is the yarn is not meant to be mitts. Sit & meditate with it in your lap, one hand resting gently on it, and its true calling will come to you.
    Or, you could let me know your gauge & I can write a pattern. Maybe sell it if it works out & give 1/2 the proceeds to MSF?

  84. In the book Weekend Knitting, there is a wonderful pattern for fingerless (or half finger) gloves with a beautiful cable pattern down the middle. I absolutely love the ones that I made. Oh, I agree with the knitting olympics being every 4 years!

  85. As I scrolled down to add my comment/suggestion, I saw that I will be seconding Petra–if you are willing to modify the pattern for fingering instead of sport, Nikki’s Dragon Scale Mitts! They would be oh so loverly in your gorgeous yarn.
    Message for Joe: The cursing at the yarn in NO way reflects your wife’s feelings about the yarn or your gift of it. It is because she loves it (& you) so much that she is frustrated by its petulant refusal to cooperate. You did GREAT. Buy yarn often; you obviously have exquisite taste.

  86. I knit a lot with Garnstudio Drops Alpaca, which is also fingering weight. I’m up to seven pairs of wristers so far in this yarn, including Mrs Beetons…those ones turned out beautifully. If you can’t get a contrasting/ complementing yarn for the Beetons, you could look into one of the Drops designs, especially from their No. 86 book. There are several, some lace, some rib, etc. One design is garter stitch, knit side to side and seamed, with a picot on every fourth (or so) row. Prettier than it sounds – the yarn does the talking so the pattern can be simple. Mind-numbing to knit, of course.
    I have also made three pairs using basic lace patterns (i.e., from N.E. Knitting on the Edge), just tension swatch + the math + joining in round, and bob’s your uncle. They turned out beautifully each time. The size isn’t as important because alpaca is very stretchy due to its loft, and so is lace, as you know.
    Colourwork with pure alpaca can be dodgy, because the yarn is so lofty and soft that you don’t really get that even, flat surface you’re after with fair isle, where the colourwork is supposed to be the star, not the yarn. I made a pair of FI wristers in alpaca (from book 86, mentioned above) and they are warm and pretty but the colour pattern really is obscured by the halo of the yarn. Of the two approaches, I much prefer this yarn in lace.
    Good luck with it.

  87. Have you considered a pair of googly eyes and a yarn mustache for your pet? πŸ™‚
    It will speak to you, honest. Perhaps..I hardly dare suggest…perhaps a very simple cuffed wrist/hand warmer or even a muff?
    (Bonus points for a muff if you then put an inner layer of pure angora in it. You can also cuddle up and sleep with muffs. :))

  88. The Winter Olympics are for indoor knitting. I think you should do the Summer Olympics and make us do all the knitting outdoors. πŸ™‚
    That said, I’ve heard Google Spreadsheets (currently in Beta) are a good way for groups of people to manage lists like that. I’d be happy to help, if I can.

  89. Excellent idea – Summer Olympics for crocheters. I’m ready. Then with the following two years to train and prepare, I’ll be ready for the Knitting Olympics. I can do both, right? Please don’t tell me it would make me weird or overdoing it or anything.

  90. I too, have a pet skein. It is natural alpaca, chocolate brown, and is wonderful to stroke. It was hand spun and has uneven tension. I have frogged it several times, and now it sits staring at me and daring me to turn it into anything useful. It defied fingerless mitts, and I did not want to do another natural scarf. I am thinking of making it into a felted basket and making it perform a useful task rather than stare at me and make me crzy.

  91. I too, have a pet skein. It is natural alpaca, chocolate brown, and is wonderful to stroke. It was hand spun and has uneven tension. I have frogged it several times, and now it sits staring at me and daring me to turn it into anything useful. It defied fingerless mitts, and I did not want to do another natural scarf. I am thinking of making it into a felted basket and making it perform a useful task rather than stare at me and make me crzy.

  92. I found a couple on Knitty.com. What would we do without Knitty? In the Summer 2006 issue there are a few patterns that might inspire. Corpathia and Knucks. There is also a pattern on lionbrand.com. They are for use with their magic stripes yarn. Good Luck!
    Wishes of warm weather,

  93. Gimme a few hours. I read ALL your comments -know I wonder not only how you find time to blog between reading other people’s blogs, but also reading your own comments – though I know that’s not a chore – and I’m compiling a del.icio.us page with ALL the fingerless mitt patterns that people have suggested on it.
    With post link to collected links soon.

  94. Anne at Knit Spot has some really nice patterns that I think would suit your yarn perfectly!
    I agree about the Knitting Olympics being a winter thing – it’s harder to get excited about knitting an epic wool sweater in August!

  95. Obviously it’s telling you that it’s meant to be a pet, not made up into something. If Honeybun asks you why you haven’t made something up with it, remind him of what it did when you tried to.
    Call it Notinka.

  96. Alpaca is so soft it would be a shame not to wear it close to the skin…maybe an intricately cabled headband/ear warmer, knit doubly thick if you have enough yarn…

  97. Oh my gosh! I see Dalia already suggested Marnie McLean’s patterns! Great minds….and all that.

  98. A moebius? Never made one. Don’t know how much yarn you have or what it takes, but yarn like that sure could be soft around the neck.

  99. Stephanie: Make these:
    EASY, CUTE, FAST!! I made some with a wool/alpaca blend, and I wear them every day. Don’t do the picot bind-off (looks lame, is lame) and you might want to make the thumbs 7 rows instead of four. OH YEAH, and I also made the over-all hand length four rows more, I wanted them to cover my knuckles. But all in all, very satisfying.
    Happy New YEAR! (Your blog makes me very happy.)

  100. Oh Yes! We need a Summer Olympics! But what if it was more like a training camp or World championship sort of thing. The goal could be to knit something small yet challenging that you’ve been putting off (or something that you want to knit but have no idea what you’d do with it)… a summer tank, purse, or shawl. Or something fun and funky.
    What if it was set up on a separate Blog KAL sort of thing? Just thinking.

  101. Knitting olympics should only be every four years, but I really like the idea of doing spinning in the summer. Especially with the Black Sheep Fiber Festival in June, I can get all preped.
    I don’t know if you have ideas about the knitting olympic thing, but I can totally help if you like. Lolly did these great forms on her website where the name, e-mail and blog were entered in and automatically made a list. Something like that would work great.

  102. This story is so familiar except that I bought the yarn that I absolutely love to death. But,we have been fated from the start. First, it took me 5 hours to get it wound into a ball; secondly, I decided to make a pair of socks,(too blech); third, my next decision was to make a scarf (too ugly); fourth, another bad decision to attempt another scarf(too flimsy). Maybe I will attempt to unwind the second skein [can you believe I have two of these monsters? (i.e., take a day off work to unwind it)] and knit holidng the two yarns together. Maybe that will make me and the yarn happy. I know it is terribly upset with me in that I carry it back and forth on the train every day and never choose it. I knit an Aran sweater, I knit a cabled sweater, I knit a pullover, I crocheted an afghan, but alas, never picked up that wonderful ball of yarn. I know it’s getting a complex, but I have to find THE pattern for it. Never give up, never surrender, I say.

  103. Another shout out for the Wine and Roses Mitts in the latest Interweave. I’m on my third pair and still haven’t managed to make any for myself! I’ve used Posh Yarns 2 ply cashmere, but I think Polly of All Tangled Up used alpaca for her lovely pink pair. It’s a great pattern – just tricky enough to keep the interest – not so difficult you have to throw it across the room in frustration!

  104. There’s nothing new under the sun, is there?
    Last month I went into Lettuce Knit for some xmas gifts for my kntting relatives, but they’d just shipped the Handmaiden Cashmere. Needless to say, I came out with xmas gifts for all and Cashmere for me. Ever since then, I too have had a pet skein.
    I have also been toying around with ideas for fingerless mitts from the pet skein. I’ve looked at the numerous ribbed patterns, at “Fetching”, at adapting sock patterns like “Baudelaire” or “Elfine’s”, at eveything! Ribbing and simple lace or cable patterns seem “too plain” for my beloved yarn. More exotic pattens seem like they’d obscure my yarn’s beauty. I’ve become paralyzied with doubt, unable to find the One True Pattern…
    Please, do let us know when you decide on a pattern. Perhaps I will be able to take inspiration from your choice!

  105. I’m sure you’ve made ten-kazillion more things with alpaca than I have but… I really don’t like alpaca for mittens, it doesn’t wear nicely. As in gets dirty and pilly and suddenly doesn’t look like those pretty mittens you fell in love with. How about something lovely and delicate to drape over your head? Keep the warmth and the fuzz near your face with a hood or a head scarf.
    Or do what I do, ball it back up and keep petting it and loving on it until it’s ready.

  106. Whew! So glad I’ve still got 3 more years of training before the next Olympics. My speed is already far beyond what is was last year and I’m hoping to move from the sock sprint event, which I did very well in time wise, to something more personally satisfying. Here’s to Vancouver and 2010!
    Berocco had a couple of cute patterns a while back for fingerless mitts.

  107. Don’t despair!
    Here’s my tried and true ‘recipe’ for fingerless gloves:
    Using a rib instead of stockinette or pattern stitch makes the fingerless glove MUCH more forgiving as far as size. I have made a couple dozen pairs at least in different yarns, anywhere from fingering to heavy worsted weight; I adapted the pattern from “Last Minute Knitted Gifts” (by Joelle Hoverson).
    Basically, cast on enough stitches that, if you were roughly at gauge for that yarn in stockinette, it would measure 8″ (20 cm) for a woman’s hand (i.e. 40 stitches for worsted weight). No need to do a swatch though unless you want as long as you’re close.
    Knit in k2p2 rib circularly till it’s as long as you want it to be to about the 2nd thumb knuckle; then knit back and forth instead of circularly for 1 1/4″ (3 – 3.5 cm), slipping every first stitch for a nicer edge, to make a hole for the thumb rather than a gusset. Then rejoin circularly and knit another 3 cm or so till desired length, bind off in pattern. (For a guy, cast on another inch or so worth of stitches at the beginning, and make the thumbhole closer to 1 1/2 inch [3.5 – 4 cm]).
    “Last Minute Knitted Gifts” also shows a very nice spiral 2×2 rib, or I’ve played with crossing/cabling the ribs, or putting in this & that to make it interesting, but the basic k2p2 rib works the best for fit. Sometimes I’ll start with purl 1 row, knit 1 row, purl 1 row at the beginning, or a lacy rib, before starting the k2p2 rib, so I can tell which is the bottom easily when going to put the glove on. (Don’t laugh, without a thumb gusset it’s just a tube with a slit!) At first the glove will seem too big for the first few rows, then after you knit a few cm of ribbing it will seem too small, then when you try it on, it fits great. Easy TV/commute knitting!
    And everyone seems to like them; that why I’ve made so many, it’s by popular request (preteen daughters, musician husband and all their friends — everybody wants a pair!)

  108. (note i keep clicking on remember personal info and it doesnt anyone know why – it works on other sites and i dont have this one blocked?)
    Several ideas for fingerless mittens
    FETCHING on Knitty.com
    Cloverleaf Rib Lace Mittens by Anne Hanson – knitspot.com
    She has some other pretty patterns as well.
    have fun – i made a gazillion (well about 6) pairs for holiday gifts.

  109. I’ve got nothing to add to the suggestions listed here. Looking forward to Amber’s compiled links though.
    I am, however, very pleased to see that in spite of what you did to piss her off yesterday, your cat didn’t kill you in your sleep.

  110. If you go to the Knitspot Blog, she just published some absolutely exquisite fingerless mitt patterns that will be perfect for your pet skein.
    You don’t want to do anything to discourage Joe!

  111. fetching from knitty if you double the yarn? maybe adjust the pattern, cast on more stitches? you could always wait until it speaks to you. it takes some yarn a long time to speak, and sometimes it just whispers….(is this odd that i wait for yarn to speak?)

  112. OK, I know you don’t go for “cute,” but why not knit it into a cute little alpaca? Patterns abound because they’re hot sellers at alpaca farms.
    Else, someone has already mentioned a lace kerchief, which was my other thought.

  113. Harlot, you just made me feel a whole lot better! I have spent the past few weeks knitting some lovely wool my husband brought from Crete. My intention was to make Peruvian ear-flap hats for the two of us. Well, I’ve knit his hat three times, reducing stitches each time and it’s still too big. All I can figure is his head is shrinking—though I can’t possibly imagine how! I’m not one who likes going over the same territory, so this is becoming a strai….but I’m not giving up either! Best of luck on your skein. I totally understand the pet yarn thing!

  114. Alpaca has a mind of it’s own. It can’t be coerced into what it doesn’t want to be. I too have some stubborn alpaca, and I found that if you pet it enough, it will speak to you (or maybe I just had to much to drink that night). I say you should go but it a companion skein and make the tiger eye scarf http://www.tmooka.net/blogs/stitchingirl/patterns/tigereyescarf.pdf Made one for my mom and it turned out be-yooo-ti-ful.
    Or, you could just make a little square rug for the rest of the skein to sit on.

  115. Fetching. But use the corrections Susan made when she knit her second pair–you can see them here: http://ma2ut.blogspot.com/2006/10/in-which-i-describe-how-i-knit.html
    She made the thumb openings mirror images, so they’d fit better, and I don’t remember what else.
    Have fun! (Oh, and once they’re done, you can enthuse over them each time Joe comes into the room thusly:
    “Oh, this yarn keeps my hands so nice and warm!” and so on.
    Have fun!

  116. Wow, all of my suggestions are here already, so I cast my vote for Fetching. Simple and pretty and would show off the yarn.

  117. Hi, Stephanie. I hope to see you at the Madrona Fiber Arts event next week. I’ve thought often that with the fingerless mitts, you can start off knitting any sock you want and when it is long enough add a thumb instead of a heel. Unless you have greatly disproportionate appendages, this should work–or maybe go down a size needle?
    Sue Cawley
    Wenatchee, WA

  118. Yeah, it’s funny how guy’s interpret our behaviour around some of our crafts. There have been times when I have tried to heave my Singer Golden Touch and Sew (circa 1964) across the room, in a snit, and then, later, when I express my adoration for that very machine he is so surprised!!
    Alpaca is so soft, and stretchy, it is sometimes difficult to determine what it wants to be. I suspect that it hadn’t finished telling you, but you were rushing into a project so that Joe would feel encouraged about purchasing this yarn. Could it be made into a paperweight? A de-stress ball?
    How about an earwarmer/headwarmer?

  119. Yes, summer is for spinning…there was another blogger who hosted the ‘Tour de Fleece’ to coincide with the Tour de France. All those hours and hours of climbing the Alps and me spinning along. Spinning does go well with cycling, and that’s an Olympic Sport too!

  120. I’ll be we can find a knitter-friendly web programmer type person who could rig a database. Something so that the entrants would type their info in, and then you (or designated helpers) would only have to approve each entry and it would go automatically into code on a webpage so that it linked their name with their blog and listed what they were making. Totally possible… for someone not me.

  121. I think the Summer Spinning Olympics is a done deal, it’s just a matter of realizing it. Sorry.

  122. In the spirit of our own lovely Clara Hughes, Canadian medalist at both summer and winter olympics, albeit in two different events, I think we should have fibre olympics every two years. The idea of spinning or crocheting for summer is lovely.

  123. WOW… I’ve had a skein of the same type of alpaca (different color) that I have been agonizing over what to do with it! This couldn’t have come at a better time πŸ™‚

  124. I’m going to second the idea for knitting it up as a pair of VooDoo knits from Knitty.com. Very mindless k2p2 so we can all watch our dvds while they happen. I’m 2/3 of the way done with a pair in a 100% alpaca yarn (from Elann can’t remember name for the life of me). Love them so far.

  125. I haven’t read thru all the comments yet, so this may have already been suggested. That being said… I bought a pet skein at my first wool fest (here in CT). It was this lovely, soft, and fuzzy, inexpertly hand-spun angora rabbit yarn. I loved this skein. I would take it out and pet it and give it to the baby and say “soft, soft” and he would grin and a spot of drool would drip down (from him, not me) and I would take the skein away and hold it to my face and… Well, you get the idea.
    Anyhow, I kept saying to myself that I really ought to knit it into something. I guess there was a sense that if I didn’t knit it into something, I’d wasted the money I’d spent on it. However, I didn’t take into account that there were only 15 yards of it. Let me say that again. 15 yards. There is nothing (useful) on this earth than can be knitted from 15 yards. (Is there? I didn’t really look that hard.)
    What I ended up doing was a lovely cable swatch from the Viking Knitting book. And the swatch is as soft and lovely as the skein was. I can still pet it and love it can call it Lenny if I want. And, if anybody says, “yeah, but what’s it FOR?” I can tell them that it was a learning experience–that I gleaned knowledge from it. πŸ™‚

  126. I recently made the handwarmers in Last Minute Knitted Gifts and loved them!
    I agree, the point of the Olympics is it is only every four years that an athlete gets a chance.

  127. What a lovely skein – call it Alice and I can suggest some lovely ‘Paws’ with it from issue 3 of Yarn Magazine (if you type Yarn magazine Australia into your google growser it will pop up – they are gorgeous – like fingerless gloves without the fingers (if that makes sense) – Do NOT under any circumstances discourage people from buying wool – I can’t get mine to buy me wool – I have trouble getting him to buy me anything!!!

  128. i have to say that i am a very *new* but now a very devoted reader of your blog. you make me laugh, cry and shout out loud. thank you for this and for the insights into mothering daughters…i just have one so far, turning 5 tomorrow!
    i have a pattern that i’ve changed quite a bit without too much horror, from the Yarn Barn in Kansas. it is the “cabled artist glove” or the “beth’s lace ribbed artist gloves”. i’ve done many of these, with and without the cables and such, and the thing i love the most is the thumb; not like most, it’s more like a gusset and it fits very nicely.
    i realize that this is not for fingering weight yarn, but it should get you more toward a workable fit than just winging it. and i will say that you should see about ordering some other things from them should you decide to get the pattern, for they will charge you $5 for the pattern AND $5 for shipping. even if all you are ordering is the pattern. i ordered a skein of the jade sapphire mongolian cashmere and, despite living in california, i’ve had happy hands this winter!!

  129. I like pet yarn. I have the opposite problem right now tho, yarn I can’t wait to get rid of! I promised a friend of mine, who has carpel tunnel etc. that I would finish knitting a little (2T) sweater for her and she chose the most awful horrible yucky (plastic) yarn. I have to knit it, actually I’m on the sleeves but I put it down to work on something nice (with organic wool!) much nicer but now I have to go back to the other stuff. yuck. I could use a nice ball of pet yarn next to me to comfort me while I work on this stuff! I hope you find a nice pattern for the lovely yarn! (I’m signing this ‘annonymous’ just in case) p.s. I like to crochet so all for the summer olympics/crocheting idea, that could be fun!

  130. I second the idea for Anne (knitspot.com)’s patterns (lace and or cables). Also there’s a pattern for Wine and Roses mitts from Winter Interweave 06 or a lace pattern from MagKnits too. Hope you find some that are just right for you!

  131. The color (assuming, of course, that my monitor is showing it accurately) makes me think of some lovely, cool moss in the woodlands. I don’t know if you are interested in the little people (ie Fairies otherwise known as the Fey) but this might make a lovely little knitted bowl that could hold neat little nature gifts like acorns or pretty Autumn leaves or a little knitted catch-all bowl for that table near the front door that catches keys, loose change and other shiny bobbles. You might even felt it. Your husband has excellent taste and must be commended for his thoughtful and excellent choice.

  132. Have you seen the Wine and Roses fingerless mitts from the most recent Interweave Knits? Twee, but a fun knit. I made a pair in fingering weight (Sapphire Jade 2ply) which were too small for my too big for any pair of women’s gloves hands, and a pair in sport weight (their 6 ply) knit tight as chain mail which fit perfectly.

  133. Knit a lasso. You have a husband and three teenage daughters. You never know when you might need it.

  134. I have another idea. The yarn looks like it would go with the blouse you wore on CBC Newsworld last week, and also with the scarf/shawl you wore with it–shades of greens and coral/pumpkins? Anyway, have you seen the Nicky Epstein roses that are knit? Would make a lovely decoration–maybe a brooch or shawl pin to go on the other things that you have in those colours. Do you like jewellery and embellishments? Then you could pet it’s softness while having a pretty decoration.
    But ask it first. As others have said, alpaca has a mind of it’s own.

  135. Steph. I am stunt-blogging for Joan Hamer while she recovers from surgery and I am doing a fingerless mitt knit-along over the next week or so since veryone seems to want to knit a pair right about now…
    I have the swatch excercise up at the moment; tomorrow or Sunday we will cast on.
    P.S. burn some sage over that yarn before you start again, it has absorbed all the angry cussing and doesn’t want to play now.

  136. Fetching is a great pattern – I made 3 pairs for Christmas gifts – all from Noro Silk Garden and they were all big hits. Not to mention pretty!

  137. Although I think it is wonderful and sweet that Joe bought you yarn, I don’t want my husband anywhere near my LYS. He doesn’t know how much yarn costs and wouldn’t understand if he did. He does understand that power saws and other things that can be plugged in are expensive but yarn, no.

  138. anne over at knitspot.com has been making fingerless mitts like there’s no tomorrow. she has several very pretty patterns. (forgive me if someone already suggested this, I didn’t read all the comments)

  139. I totally understand ‘pet yarn’. I have my own .. mine is not alpaca, but angora. One single skein of snuggly soft, beautiful cream-colored angora. That I cannot bring myself to knit. At all.
    I will only second Fetching for a pattern, as I’m sure a dozen people have already mentioned it. I’ve not yet knit them, but they are very pretty.

  140. I recently bought a pattern for wristlets (they are actually hand mitts) from the Fibre Company (www.thefibreco.com). They were for a yarn that is just as pettable but not too affordable. The pattern at $4 was however.
    I have a question for you–the husband here has decided he wants a gansey and a new aran. He has now read all of Gladys Thompson’s pattern book. I have received a book report and directions. The sweaters must have traditional yarns used. Suggestions please! I just don’t think shipping from Scotland or Ireland is necessary.

  141. How about a little collar. They have several patterns and styles in the “One Skein Wonder” book I got (myself) for Christmas. A nice little ruffle collar with a nice couple of vintage buttons?
    On a side (and totally unrelated note), I just received in the mail a hand knitted scarf from my soon to be 96 year old grandmother. She is blind and deaf now but still knits. She uses the really large 12 US needles and bulky weight. She just keeps it simple knit purl. Still, it is beautiful. She taught me to knit when I was 9. Every time I pick up my needles I think of her and call down a blessing for her.
    Thanks for the blog Steph and letting me share

  142. In response to the thing about what they do in China, there’s this thing where you basically make knots with this type of string and you knot it into patterns and stuff. There’s calligraphy. They also knit/crochet, just it’s for the lower classes because it’s “uncouth.”
    Lace? Uhmmm…. You could make small pouches/potpourri(sp?). Hairbands. Stuffed animals. Needle case. Small handbag. Book cover. I can’t really think of anything else. But I think that the yarn just wants to be the pet yarn. You know how sometimes kids that are getting younger siblings freak out and misbehave because they want to stay the baby? Like that.

  143. I know it’s been said but Fetching is the way to go! Simple, instant results & fun…though you may want to gusset the thumb. I’m just about to start my third pair.
    Oh – and I had a bit of a giggle that you got socks in your stocking this year. Were they handmade?

  144. I must admit, I haven’t read through all of your comments, and am probably repeating what a lot of other people have already said.
    If you get this far…comment # 196 or so…for what it’s worth, I just knit a fabulous hat out of fingering alpaca. It’s lacey and light, yet warm enough for a day that isn’t too cold. It’s also so soft. I just love it. Pics on my blog.
    Oh, and I totally agree on the four year Knitting Olympics. This is the Olympics after all. One neads to train. Yes, the Crocheters should get the Summer Olympics.

  145. It looks like a two-ply. Maybe a simple lace like feather & fan on say, 3mm needles. You like the socks, why not fingerless mitts?

  146. Send me your hand measurement (length and width around) and your gauge (yeah, the swatch) and I will design you a pair. And no, I am not a weirdo stalker- I knit and I design things. (I am Deb from Kingston with entrelac sweater)

  147. I absolutely loved your book. I was already a knitter but am looking forward to becoming a Knitter. I have a question though. Can you give me any information on the supplies I will need to make alpaca fur into yarn? I have a friend who is going to give me some fur, but I don’t know what else I need.

  148. There’s a really lovely pair of lacy fingerless mitts in the winter issue of Interweave Knits. I knitted them for a friend for Christmas and she loved them. Of course, there were moments (okay, hours and hours) during the knitting of the first mitt that I wanted to jab those pointy little needles into my eyes…but I digress. With your lace-knitting skills, you’ll do just fine and you’ll love the finished mitts!
    And what beautiful yarn, by the way!

  149. If I can wing this, believe me, anyone can! I used a pattern for handwarmers from knitpicks(about US$2) that was written for straight needles and figured out how to do it on dpns by referring to a regular mitten pattern. 36 stitches size 2 needles(maybe 1.5) in sock yarn fits my hand, which is on the large end of average, well. I made a pair of these to keep in my violin case for those cold gigs and wound up getting a lot of requests from colleagues for them. I wear them so much-mine are all black for professional purposes, but at some point I’m going to make them in some fabulous colorway, just for fun!
    And yes, let the crochet crowd have the summer olympics. It’s the least we can do.

  150. Wish there was a way to clink and link to the great web addresses people are sending you the same way you have the links already in place on your page. I’m doing alot of copy and pasting today.—peace

  151. I’m hyperventilating…yes, yes, yes, knit Fetching. Everyone is right; it’s a beautiful pattern. I knitted a pair in two days standing in all the lines at Disneyland at Christmas-time, then I wore them standing in all the lines. I want one in every yarn and every color…

  152. There should be enough for the Fetching fingerless gloves from knitty. They look really neat, have cables, and are what I imagine you were thinking of. Of course, that might just be my imagination running wild, so feel free to ignore.

  153. Ok, I’ve scrolled through tons of comments. And no one has yet recommended Ann Budd’s “Handy Book of Patterns.” Her section on gloves should be just the thing. Take _your_ gauge, she gives you the required number of stitches and you can add the stitch details you desire.
    Although with all the designing you seem to do, you must really be frazzled to ask commentors for recommendations. We are the ones usually begging the pattern from you.

  154. I hear Fetching is the way to do. For an absolutely plain, very easy pattern, try the mitts from Knit Mittens (the book shaped like a mitten).

  155. There are always pedicure socks, ie toeless socks. It’s not like you don’t have sock patterns down pat.

  156. I like the idea of a spinning olympics for summer!!! I don’t know who suggested it back there, but, yeah!

  157. I like the “basic” glove pattern in Knitting Fairisle Mittens and Gloves by Carol Rasmussen Noble. There are several half-fingered gloves there, as well. The gauge is good for fingering weight yarn.
    And Summer is for Spinning, of course!

  158. yep, it was the ann budd book I used for gauge and construction. I actually made fingerless mittens before I ever made any “normal” ones, as they are so much more useful to, oh, just about everyone!

  159. Me LOVE pet yarn. Mine is silk. And pink. It’s in my knitting basket as we speak staring up at me adoringly. I have no plans for it.
    I sooo feel your pain on the ass knit. I too, created ass, but it was a washcloth. Crochet, which is what I am teaching myself to do now. I have a heinously sore right wrist, a throbbing right hand, and a mishapen ASSCLOTH. This, too, shall pass. I will prevail and you will, too.

  160. I gazillion the idea of checking out Anne’s gauntlets at Knitspot.com. Beeyootiful.
    What was your name again? πŸ˜‰
    (You are, in no uncertain terms, a love. Thank you for putting up with my particular brand of stupidity.)

  161. Well, you may not read this far down on the comment list, but do you think it’s enough yarn for the fingerless mitts on page 122 of the Winer 2006 Interweave knits magazine? I think they’re beautiful and would work really nicely…..

  162. Can’t you hear it? The yarn is screaming “lace scarf!” No wait, it’s jumping up and down and screaming, “lace scarf, lace scarf!”

  163. Knit a tube with a lace panel in the center(or a cable). Add a thumb gusset in there, somewhere, and call it a day. Oh, and don’t forget to knit one right, one left…

  164. Aw, poor Joe. He doesn’t understand that you’re not upset with the yarn, but yourself. Although I am a bit surprised he hasn’t grasped the concept of pet yarn by now. It’s not like you two just met!
    BTW, I didn’t want to email you, what with the computer issues and donation backlog, but I never got an email back from you confirming my MSF donation. I sent it 12/19.

  165. Well, I didn’t plow through all 224 comments, but, in case you get this far, last night I found a beautiful free pattern I just love at garnstudio.com, a Drops Design 86-8, Wristwarmers in Vivaldi Special. Simple but luscious. So are their yarns, so try not to look. Your alpaca should look great this way, and so should you.

  166. Nicki Epstein’s embroidered gloves VK fall ’05
    but without the embriodery. All around amazing pattern with ever so much versatility.
    Much Love.

  167. Stephanie,
    I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but unless someone else has pointed it out already (in which case I apologize for reitterating), the purpose behind going to having Summer and Winter Olympics as they are now scheduled was to allow someone who might compete in both “seasons” to have time to train for both. Now this could allow us to have a Summer Knitter’s Olympics as well as the Winter Knitter’s Olympics. Perhaps we could all knit in cotton or a cotton blend or silky fibers? Or only work on summery things?
    BTW, the yarn is lovely!!! Maybe instead of turning the air blue when you are frogging, you could say something like, “I love this yarn, but this pattern isn’t doing it justice”? Too many words, but you get the idea!!

  168. Idea for gloves: Check out the gloves pattern from Ann Budd’s “Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns.” If you don’t have this book, you should You would love it. I used that gloves pattern as a launching place for writing my own fingerless gloves pattern. It knits at about 6.5 sts/inch — maybe not right for your alpaca. But I’d be honored to share it if you’d like a copy. Send me your e-mail and I’ll send you a copy.
    See you in Tacoma next weekend!

  169. Oh goodness, this is the 230th comment. I just wanted you to know that Lolly at “http://www.lollygirl.com/blog/” has discovered a way to have people sign themselves up for things. You can check out how she’s doing the sign ups for Project Spectrum to see what I’m talking about.
    Hope the best for the Pet Skein! =)

  170. Step 1: Locate beautiful crystal sundae glass.
    Step 2: Purchase (if necessary, maybe you already have one in the back of your keepsake dishes cabinet?) and wash ’til it sparkles.
    Step 3: pile frogged section of yarn into the bottom of sundae glass and nestle remainder of ball on top.
    Step 4: find a spot that receives sunbeams and is also within fondling reach.
    Step 5: make sure Joe sees you looking at the beautiful yarn basking in the sunbeam, and catches you fondling it often.

  171. hmm, I have some alpaca exactly like that, same colour and everything but a different brand! (of course, I can’t remember what now).
    I had a couple of skeins so I made a mini Clapotis, but I haven’t bothered finishing it yet since it’s (supposedly) summer and I got so bored knitting it (I think I’m the only person who didn’t like knitting Clapotis) that I can’t bring myself to weave the ends in and block it yet.

  172. That is beautiful yarn. I found a merino silk blend at Rhinebeck that is almost exactly that colour that Stitchy, who happened to be there at the time, assured me would make the perfect clapotis (since she had made several with the same yarn). So I’m giving that a go. It looks lovely so far!
    Anyhow, I second the idea of a lace scarf. You make such lovely ones.

  173. This morning on Shay Pendray’s Needlearts Studio show (PBS) a nine year old girl, Patrice, was featured, demonstrating knitting. She had also been involved in the Knitting Olympics and finished her hat then. Knitting Olympics appealed to every age and type of knitter. Truly a worldwide sport!! Looking forward to 2010!!

  174. I did some fingerless mitts for dd (20-something) with some blue sky alpaca that was just a touch beefier than fingering. I used a patt from weekend knitting (p 96). They’re also thumbless.

  175. Here’s a second thought on the whole Olympics thing.
    Knitting Olympics is already on its 4-year cycle with whatever Steph wants to do with it. It seems like we all pretty much agree on that, and lots of people have suggested resources that will make it easier for her to manage the project in 2010.
    Crochet Olympics sounds like a perfect match for the Summer Games — usually being lighter weight things, or lace, or what have you. (Does “crochet world” have a Harlot?)
    But somebody’s got to make all that yarn, so why not have fiber and spinning events in the odd-numbered years? How many of us have promised to learn to spin “someday”? Nothing like a little structure to get us going. Events could include drop spindle, wheel, dyeing, plying, nontraditional fibers, and what have you.

  176. While we’re all waiting (and planning our projects) for the next winter olympics, maybe we could have training camp this winter? Don’t keep track of names, just announce the days “camp” will be held and shout “Go!” And myself, I wouldn’t mind if camp was say, a week long, instead of 16 days. 16 days is a long time not to do any housework, after all πŸ˜‰

  177. It’s lovely yarn, what if you knit a headband /
    earwarmer for cold weather?
    Just think how soft and wam that would be on your ears. πŸ™‚
    Happy Knitting

  178. I feel your pain… Just had a partial skein of alpaca (dk weight tho) that someone sent me and decided I had maybe juuuust enough to do fingerless mitts. First one was too big. Second one was a tad too short. Alpaca is just too danged fuzzy for cabling or fancy stitchwork. Ribbing, plain and simple, at cuffs and top and just stockinette for the rest. Let the yarn show it’s plain, warm, fuzzy beauty. For sure you have to decrease around the knuckles – a lot more than you’d ever expect. Looks weird off the hand that way, but fits right. Bodies are weird that way.

  179. With all respect to those who think the Knitting Olympics should in some way be parallel or comparable to the sport Olympics, I’m having a ‘private’ Knitting Olympics this year — and anyone who wants can join! Last year I chose as my Olympian challenge to finish all my UFOs. I didn’t, but I was SOOOOOOOO thrilled with 16 of 19 UFOs done that I’m at it again now – I’ve made my list, have the projects stacked in bins, and have a 6 week Olympics going from now until March 1. Make up what schedule and challenge works for you and have at it! PS – my rules include I can still start new things until Feb 1 – but after Feb 1 no starting until all are done – or March 1, whichever happens first!

  180. Another vote for the Natalya’s. The pattern is easy to use and easy to adapt. I quite prefer mine to any other fingerless mitts I’ve made. The cables would be lovely in Alpaca.
    PS. Great Taste Joe!

  181. Eric’s Glovelets from Green Mountain Spinnery (in their book or available as a separate pattern) – one skein, in a mini-faux cable, real thumb, actually warm (due to the reverse stockinette) and not slouchy/slippy/droopy. I’ve made several pairs and they are always a ‘winner’!

  182. I’m surprised you are asking your readers for pattern ideas! Having read your blog for about one year now, you’ve made it quite clear that you hardly ever follow patterns. You are just humouring us, aren’t ‘cha? If you do find a simple, simple pattern for fingering weight fingerless-mitts, and it isn’t copyrighted, will you please share the info. in your blog. I would love to have one to use up my leftover sock yarn πŸ™‚

  183. I have been winging it on a pair of wrist/hand warmers with some sport weight yarn a dyer/spinner friend gave me to test knit and also having problems. I want them to look really nice not just serve a purpose as they are supposed to show off the yarn, but I wanted to wing it so they would be original and inspired. I feel your pain.

  184. I think the last issue of Interweave Knits had a pair of lacey fingerless gloves that were pretty.
    Or…take a glove pattern and don’t do the fingers.
    Or, take 1/2 glove pattern, 1/2 your favourite stitch/cable/lace, mix together…and don’t forget to measure your wrist and your hand.

  185. i have used a basic wristie/wristwarmer/gauntlet pattern that i created a couple of years ago… but in essence, it is to figure out your guage, measure around your wrist at it’s smallest, cast on that number, join in a circle.
    knit for as long as you want it until the base of your thumb. increase one stitch every row (or two stitches every other row) until you have enough for your thumb. hold the thumb.
    rejoin for an inch or two.
    cast off, then pickup a stitch or two for the thumb (in addition to the hold stitches) knit for a couple of rows. cast off.
    usually i do it in seed stitch to get the most warmth.
    *or* use a favorite basic mitten pattern, but keep it in ribbing instead of changing to stockingette, and castoff way before you’re supposed to.
    i dunno. you probably have too many suggestions already. πŸ™‚ i know when i’m looking for a good pattern (after i tire of my new endpapers) i will come to this post and these comments. πŸ™‚

  186. May I suggest Fetching on the knitty site. They were my first pair of fingerless gloves and I wear them to knit and stitch. Lovely cables and done so quickly.

  187. Are you sure that yarn wants to be fingerless mittens? ‘Cause I think it wants to be a collar. A nice lacy collar on some sweater that badly needs prettying-up. No wonder it’s fighting back.

  188. Hola Stephanie and All readers of StephanieΒ΄s blog.
    I am coming to the end of my three week Guatemalan Journey sitting in Antigua and needed a dose of home.
    Thanks for being there for me.

  189. You know, as a citizen of the many countries for whom the winter olympics is kind of… boring… (since we really don’t do much in the way of snow thing, and certainly not where I live – Perth, Western Australia..)
    I, for one, was hanging out waiting for the chance to get involved come Summer Olympics!
    Go Team Australia!

  190. The last time I bought fingering weight alpaca, I planned on using it for fingerless gloves. This despite the fact that I already had a half-finished alpaca glove which had been languishing on the needles for, oh, maybe a year.
    Fortunately, the yarn spoke in the knick of time. It told me that it wanted me to carry it with some Rowan Tapestry and become a London Beanie for my stepson. Oh, it was beautiful. And it was a joy to knit. And my stepson wears it every day, even when I’m not looking.

  191. Crocheting Olympics would be great. I’m much a much faster crocheter than knitter, since I have actively crocheted for the past 13 or so years, but only came back to knitting 3 years ago. πŸ™‚
    If I wasn’t so bad with the webstuffs (my HTML is state-of-the-art as of, oh, 1996?) I’d step up and host the Crocheting Olympics. We crocheters need to stick up for ourselves, especially those of us who are bicraftual. πŸ˜‰

  192. Dearest harlot,
    now, I have not taken the time to read 266 comments so I don’t know if anyone pointed this out: This beautiful yarn does not want to be knit into fingerles mittens. It wants to be something else. I have no clue about the length, but how about a one skein wonder?

  193. I love the yarn and the color.
    Knit picks has a simple ribbed fingerless pattern for fingering weight yarn. I think it costs $3 or something. Check it out.

  194. I did try to read/skim most of the comments, so…
    Don’t do Fetching!! I’ve made a number of them, love the pattern, but don’t like them in alpaca. They roll annoyingly on the finger ends.
    What about a narrow lace scarf, maybe using that ‘magic’ pattern in which stitches are *gasp* dropped at cast-off?

  195. One of my early projects was a pair of alpaca wrist warmers done in seed stitch. I hadn’t learned to knit in the round yet, so made a square, roughly 17 cm x 17 cm, and sewed the cast-on edge to the cast-off edge. You can make them however big or little you want. Yeah, it’s a pre-novice knitter’s project, but I mention it first because the seed stitch showed the yarn off beautifully and second because they’re still my favorite pair of wrist warmers even though they don’t have a thumb gusset or go much past the wrist. Having read all the comments so far, though, I may have to go in search of another yummy skein, and try something with cables . . .

  196. Hi Stephanie,
    I can’t be bothered to read through all 270 (!) of the comments so I apologize if someone already made this suggestion…I was just perusing the latest issue of Interweave Knits and there is a lovely fingerless mitt pattern (Wine and Roses by Jolene Treace). It has a sort of picot cuff and a fine lace pattern on the hand, made with a 32 st/10 cm cashmere.

  197. This has nothing to do with pet yarn or handwarmers (although I did just finish my first all fair-isle project in Eunny’s Endpaper Mitts – easy peasy and fun) but I am constantly in awe of your knitting and knitting knowledge, and I know that many many accoplished knitters read your blog and comments and I’m looking for a little help. I am recently engaged (!!!) and want to keep the tradition in my family of making some or all of my wedding dress. My sister had a lovely lace veil she made out of lace she and her husband found in Mexico (all lace, not like a mantilla) and I am now decided on knitting my own lace veil. My question is: what pattern!? I’m sure I’m gonna have to do a bit of designing on my own, but any suggestions as to a good lace pattern or where to look would be very much appreciated. Thank you to anyone with suggestions!

  198. Your yarn has spoken to me and it believes it will be happy as sheep in wool if you knit it into a nice ear warming handband…wait, wait…
    I hear you…”do something with cables, will ya please!”

  199. The yarn is a pretty soft color. I bet you can think of thousands of uses for it, maybe a knit bag with a matching silk lining to keep specials things in. Have a fun day, we are finally getting somesnow here.

  200. This yarn would make gorgeous cuffs for socks. You know, the fold-over kind. You could reach down and pet them!

  201. Well the yarn is much nicer that the usual clementine or mandarin orange that is traditional up north. lasts longer especially as a pet. I am gearing up for some serious alpaca knitting, courtesy of Rhinebeck, so I am interested in comments about what best suits the yarn…
    I would not presume to make suggestions at this point. Sometimes the yarn needs some time…

  202. I’ve noticed most of my sock feet would fit my hand nicely as a mitt. How about casting on as for socks (palm part of mitt) and working towards the wrist? At the wrist you could decrease to a nice snuggish fit and do a pretty bind off, maybe a picot. πŸ™‚

  203. A miracle has occurred all thanks to you… Sure you motivated thousand of knitters to take on the Olympic, donate to Doctors without border but your greatest feat so far (in the most selfish knitter way) My family got it. After the Christmas list for knitters… My husband sent to my family members. So low and behold… drum roll for my birthday I got yarn and a ball winder…. Thank you for your persistence in addressing the muggles!

  204. I’ve just had a brainstorm!
    (Yes, that’s what that almighty whooshing sound was.)
    What if you were to try creating some art of your own out of it.
    Make yourself a tiny little green alpaca. You can admire it, pat it to your heart’s content –AND– Joe is much more likely to ‘get’ it. Added bonus: it doesn’t have to fit and it doesn’t need any stitch memory to fit later, since it’s not going onto your person!

  205. I googled “crochet Olympics 2008” and came up with several “official” Knitting Olympics 2008 countdown timers – one of them from TeamCanada. It looks like the Knitting Olympics is taking on a life of its own. The summer olympics will be August 8-24, so maybe I will knit some cotton socks.

  206. LOVE Sonia Delaunay. Worked at a job years ago where I found a print of hers in a closet. Adopted it, put it on my desk. When I quit, asked if I could buy it from the company. They said it would be too hard to work out the logistics, so no. Did I surreptitiously put it in my briefcase? NO. Do I kick myself every single day? Oh, yes. Seriously, in a closet. They never would have noticed it missing.

  207. I’m sure it was a ton of work and that you probably want (And certainly deserve) some time off. And I agree that knitting is a winter sport as a whole. But wouldn’t a summer knitting olympics be entirely different sorts of projects than a winter knitting olympics? Sort of like the different between ice skating and roller blades?

  208. When are the next Knitting Olympics? How does one join in and are English lasses allowed in???
    If all else fails with the Alaca you could knit some socks.Ha, ha!!

  209. Summer Kniting Olympics please cos its so cold and dark here in England We can’t see to knit.
    If all mitt attempts fail with the Alpaca, you could knit some socks. Ha,ha!

  210. When are the next Knitting Olympics? How does one join in and are English lasses allowed in???
    If all else fails with the Alaca you could knit some socks.Ha, ha!!

  211. OK, so I love your blog and although I am fully aware that I am one of possibly thousands of other fanatical yarn lovers -I just wanted to say thank you for the laugh.
    Today, I tried for the 4th time to shape the heel of my first pair of socks and finally they worked. This was after me cursing at the yarn, throwing the sock and being miserable for three days of sucky attempts.
    I also have ‘Pet Skeins’ and have just come to realize I feel at home with all of you other yarn lovers – I have two beautiful hanks of yarn (and no I don not know their content type at the moment) but they are great and I am waiting to be inspired by them.
    Thanks for the smile.

  212. Oooh, pretty yarn. And I am certainly in on helping with anything regarding the Olympics again, of course. I’ll even be a real live qualified librarian by then!

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