When last we left our knitter, I was wondering whether I would run out of yarn and have to rip back the Optic Waves scarf. I did just barely have enough (it's currently waiting to be blocked), but decided to do one last pass through the stash and make sure I didn't have another bit of that pink yarn lurking in some forgotten corner. If I do, it has eluded me for the time being. However in the course of rummaging through the yarn (two three-gallon pails and a large basket- I'm a real lightweight in the stash department), I realized that I still had a lot of untasked yarn lying around. Specifically, I had a bunch of yarn that I had intended to knit up *before* buying a bunch more sock yarn.
Well, there were extenuating circumstances regarding the sock yarn (I happened to be in a yarn store), but I decided that I might as well take a break from socks and try to do a couple of quick knits and eliminate some of the yarn overage.
Hence, mittens- there was a third pair, but they got given away before being photographed.
I happened to be knitting these at our local knit night (which I managed to attend for the first time a week or so ago), and someone asked what I was doing. I explained that I was knitting mittens- two at a time, flat, on straight needles.
"But, why?!" she asked. (I presume she meant 'why knit them flat instead of in the round?'. Why knit mittens at all, is kind of a non sequitur in New Hampshire.)
Well. There are several reasons to do it this way. For one, I'm faster on straights than on dpns or circulars. And I don't mind seaming, as a rule. But there's a practical reason as well- when I'm using up scrap yarn, it's very important to me to knit both mittens at once. I double wind the yarn so I have the middle in the center of the ball and two ends to knit with, and then I don't need to count rows, I can add stripes at the same time, and best of all? When I run out of yarn, I run out at the same place on both mittens at once. So when I change colors, it looks planned, because the two mittens match. And I use up nearly all the yarn- I'm generally left with less than a yard. And yes, of course I could knit two mittens at once, in the round, on circular needles, if I had them. No doubt when I get around to picking up that size of circular, I'll try it. But this works fine for me.
*pauses to defend breakfast cereal from marauding cat*
Where was I? Oh, yes, using up scrap yarn. Mittens. Of course not all yarn is suitable for mittens. In particular, I had a bunch of balls of fluffy blue yarn, quite likely mohair. Pretty color, but the yarn had been used to knit something else and ripped out, and then wound very tightly so it was all stretched out. By itself, I couldn't think of anything good to do with this yarn. It was too damaged to knit by itself- it just didn't look right when swatched. And even doubled with something else, it just wasn't strong enough for something that gets as much wear as mittens. But I couldn't bring myself to just throw it out, so it has hung around for years. Until last year when hats occurred to me.
I also had a lot of white acrylic, a staple of yard sale boxes. (My theory is that people knit-or-crochet afghans with it, then use up the remnants of the interesting colors on other projects. Then they can't think of anything to do with it, so they stick it in a box with two or three bright skeins on top to disguise it and sell the box as a lot....) Anyway, put together and knit on bulky needles, the duo makes perfectly respectable hats. And since I couldn't face more than one hat? A long, long fluffy scarf chewed through the rest of it.
And now I have room for more sock yarn my yarn basket isn't overflowing, though I have come across a few more odd balls of yarn that ought to be used- but that's a topic for another day.