Monday, December 19, 2016

It's the yarn

This is Malabrigo Mecha, in "Arco Iris".  I don't know what an Arco Iris is, but I think it must be some kind of fairy rainbow clown pajamas, because this yarn, in this color, is a thing unto itself.  It is so beautiful, and so everycolored, and so detailed.  And so multi. Which is something I love a lot but can't figure out what to do with.  I have fallen for this game a million times, and I keep falling for it--those gorgeous, handpainted skeins that are total works of art.  They are so irresistible!  And then they disappear into the bottom strata of the stash, coming out once every few months for petting and admiration, and then back in they go.  It bugs me, this, because these skeins are so luscious until I start knitting with them, which is when I fall out of love.  My dear friend Ethel collects beautiful, soft skeins of yarn like this, yarns that are carefully, artfully handpainted by an expert--a genius, probably--and she leaves them that way, in the skein, and she loves them.  But I knit things, so mittens happened. 
This yarn is a densely spun single, and my meticulous scrutiny (I stopped after every row to gasp at how the colors were layering) revealed that this density is where the magic is--the thick single ply is still mostly white in the middle, and the dye--All The Colors!--skims the surface layer only, so that the yarn seems somehow to glow from within, like a watercolor painting, which works the same way;  white paper glowing from beneath a transparent layer of glaze=light.  I made myself work on these mittens only during daylight hours, to maximize appreciation of the colors as they unfolded, and it was joyful.  There was no striping, and no pooling, either.  What?  How?  I don't know.  Magic and genius, I guess.  
 
As the mittens developed, I (predictably) sort of liked them less and less--I love this color up close, and in small quantities.  Making it into a mitten seems to have diminished it somehow, and made it ordinary.  
Look at the light coming out of those wrong-side stitches.  Just, oooh.  
I liked the wrong side better, so when the mittens were done, I wove in the ends that way and turned them inside out.  
 
I like them, but just.  Knitting them, and watching this yarn do its thing, was a rainbow of happiness.  They'll get worn a lot, and probably will get worn out--I live in a snowy world, after all--and they are warm and colorful, and there's nothing wrong with them at all, but the fun in these was all in the making of them.  It was a pretty nice way to spend an afternoon.  

48 comments:

  1. These mitts are amazing. The colour is just well, they look like a water colour painting! Using the "wrong" side was a great idea! If there is a wrong side to this wonderful yarn! Great job!

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    1. I agree, there is a very strong watercolor effect. So dreamy. :)

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  2. Arco iris is Spanish for rainbow. :) Beautiful mitts!

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    1. They are very rainbowy, so that name is perfect! :)

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  3. ONE afternoon? for a whole pair of mittens? mercy! They're beautiful and they look *so* cozy. I'm sorry (though not surprised) that you don't love them. (I'm actually more surprised that the yarn remained in mitten form ;-)
    stay warm ~ Tracy

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    1. Well, there was a blizzard happening, so not much else to do, haha! :)

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  4. That is amazingly gorgeous yarn. I love them and the thought of turning them inside out is brilliant, although I love the other side equally. So pretty.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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    1. If I were better at weaving in the ends, they could be reversible, too! Must work on that... xoxo

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  5. Super gorgeous yarn! I know what you mean about handpainted multi colored skeins once knitted can be a disappointment, but this one is beautiful! A handful of jewels is what I think about them.

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    1. Yes! Jewels. I agree totally. It really is best enjoyed up close, and perfect for mittens. :)

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  6. Crikey they are simply beautiful which ever way you wear them. Will go with everything and brighten up the dullest of days. You lucky lady.

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    1. They do go with everything, yes. And they're as soft as kittens, which is a bonus, too. :)

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  7. They came out so pretty! I like using yarn like this for mittens or hats, it's kind of fun to see a bright pop of color when you're all bundled up. :) And I love that you used the "wrong" side. When I worked at a fabric store I'd constantly get questions of "Which side is the right side?" about fabric and I'd always say "The one you like best!" and smile. No one seemed to like that advice. Haha.

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    1. That's the very best answer to that question! :)

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  8. beautiful! gorgeous! & as one said shining jewels!
    yes, am not fussed on those self striping yarns either & they seem to be on the best wool half the time!
    enjoy your jewels
    have a wonderful xmas
    thanx for sharing

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    1. Yeah, what's that about? Well, I can't stop falling for them. :)

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  9. This yarn is beautiful, I like the various colors and a slight shine :) The mittens turned out really good!

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  10. What a joy to see the yarn and the magic that you performed so quickly, I am in awe of your skill. A beautiful pair of mittens so perfect for the season. Have a wonderful Christmas.

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  11. I can't begin to imagine how to "hand paint" yarn in that many colors. Once a skein of yarn totally captured me by the colors in a faraway place (I purchased it), and then I got home many hours/days later and examined it, only to find that (after a call to the shop) that it was angel hair! Fell off the needles it was so fine. Had to resort to a crochet hook! The result was lovely, but I'm now very wary! BTW - hugs to you all and your Mom when she arrives tomorrow!

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    1. Angel hair! That sounds rather wonderful to me. :)

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  12. Oh my aren't they so pretty?

    It reminds me much of Glass Gem corn


    http://www.rareseeds.com/glass-gem-corn-/


    I always squee & admire those hand painted skeins, always 1 of a kind

    I don't knit...and those skeins don't take to crochet as well

    I can admire your lovely mittens =)

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    1. It does look like gems, definitely. :)

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  13. I feel that way about a lot of yarns, and not just the colors. I pick up a skein and think 'Oh, how soft this yarn is', then knit it up and it never feels the same. More stiff. And I struggle so much with colors. I love the beautiful jewel colors (and variegated colors like your skein) so much in skein form, but I never wear anything else much than navy blue and white. Oh well. I guess I just need to knit for other people and not for myself!

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  14. Wow that yarn is magical! One thing is certain - you can wear those mittens with just about anything and they will look perfect.

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    1. They certainly show up against my gray coat! :)

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  15. I get you lady, I understand... breathe and enjoy your mittens. Jo x

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  16. Oh I am so with you! I love the mittens and all - they're great (I think they're really sweet), but that yarn is like "Oh My!". I often have this issue but with softness disappearing as you crochet. Where does it go?!

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  17. Hello,
    Just to say I love your blog and also that Arco Íris is the portuguese term for Rainbow!

    Happy hollydays from Portugal!

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    1. I think it is very aptly named, then, for it is definitely a rainbow. :)

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  18. Malabrigo is my favorite yarn, I could take a bath in it, sleep with it under my pillow and frankly if I was not married I might just marry it!

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  19. I kind of think those yarn are a good excuse for linen stitch, but in what?

    Mittens are just fabulous, those ones especially, but I love mittens. I have a whole huge collection of mitten patterns on Ravelry and Pinterest, and when I have a whole other lifetime at my disposal I will make them all. Sadly, though, I find mittens, not of the fingerless kind, fairly useless for walking the dog or any other outdoor activity which all tend to need fingers at some point!

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    1. Ooooh, yes, this would be great in linen stitch. If there had been a bunch of it in my stash, I think a big scarf in linen stitch would be the answer. xoxo

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  20. I too, buy occasional skeins of hand-dyed/painted wools, leave them in a plain bowl, just to look at. Sad I know.

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    1. Not sad at all--it's your yarn, feel free to enjoy it any way you like! :)

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  21. I love your thought and reminder to ...knit in daylight, to appreciate the unfolding of the colors... Such a wonderful nudge to remember we love this craft because of the doing, the noticing, and the bonus is the artifact of this experience one gets to wear! You also 'noticed' at the end how the purl side was the answer for you- love that.

    But question: what 'would' you have liked to do with this yarn?

    p.s. Happy New Year everyone! Here's to staying calm and responding--as we learn here--to the moment.

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    1. Hi Margo, thank you! I think I bought this yarn quite awhile ago, on impulse, without really remembering that what I really like is gray, neutrals, and muted color. It seems like mittens is probably the only possible thing Arco Iris could have become and still have a use in my life. :)

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  22. I have the same problem with variegated and hand-painted yarns. So pretty in skein form and then knitting it diminishes that somehow. Or like there is no project fancy enough to live up to the beauty of the yarn, or display it properly. Although these mittens are lovely. :)

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  23. Gorgeous result in the end! :) Your tip for looking into the b-side is good: I have to do that with some of the yarns that I'm bit doubtful of...

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