Monday, August 15, 2011

Experimenting with a new yarn.

Michaels has brought in a whole bunch new yarns that have caught my attention. This in particular.

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This is Red Heart Boutique Doodle yarn. It's a 100% polyester yarn that's listed as 6/Super Bulky, with a recommended hook size of Q/16mm or needle size of 50US/25mm. It's the thickest, squishiest yarn I've ever seen! Very soft feel to it, too.

The sample at the display, however, was very disappointing. It's just a length of the yarn, braided. So I went looking at the free patterns available at Red Heart for this yarn.

More disappoint. I can't believe the folks at Red Heart couldn't come up with something more creative. I kept going back to the display, wondering what I would make with such a soft, squishy and bulky yarn.

Perhaps I'm showing my age, but the idea that kept popping into my mind was a butt pillow. *L* There have been a few times recently where I really would have liked having some sort of cushion I could use to sit on, such as during Taste of Edmonton, when what few seats were available were quite wet from the rain.

So I finally forked over the cash and got the two hanks pictured above.

After some thought, I decided to do the equivalent of double ended crochet. I dug up a piece of dowling to serve as a double ended hook. Here is my first attempt.

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I started off by hand chaining 7 stitches. I picked up the loops through the back bars of the chains, placing them on the dowling. The dowling serves only to hold the loops and nothing else. Tension was all maintained by hand.

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After turning the work and pushing the loops to the other end, the new colour was pulled through the loops...

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Then the new loops were drawn up the same way as Tunisian Simple Stitch.

The whole thing was turned and the loops pushed to the opposite end of the dowling to pick up the first colour again.

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Here the first colour has been drawn through the loops.

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Then the new loops were picked up again.

Working with the dowling was all right except that it wasn't as smooth as it should have been, making sliding the loops from one end to the other less than idea. Here is how it looked at the end.

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Here's one side, before I wove the loose ends in.

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I had more of the lighter coloured yarn left, so I hand chained it to make a carrying loop before tucking the end in.

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Here's how the other side looked.

I was no happy with this. As the work progressed and I got more used to handling the yarn and loops, my tension changed a fair bit. The last rows were quite a bit tighter and denser, and I found I preferred it. I also didn't like the dimensions very much. So I undid it and started over.

Here's the finished result.

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For this, I worked with 10 stitches, but made everything a lot tighter, making the resulting butt cushion smaller than thicker. I ended up with two fairly long ends, so I hand chained them and tied them together to make a handle.

That's when I discovered a problem with the yarn. The yarn is made up of short lengths of fibres caught in a twisted core. Some of them came loose as I was tying the ends of the two colours together. The next thing I knew, tufts of colour was bursting loose in my hand. I ended up taking the small lengths of yarn that had tied the hanks together to tie around the ends to stop it, but those started coming apart, too. It seems stable now, but I'm now afraid the knot will simply disintergrate at any moment!

Aside from this, however, I consider the project a success. I still ended up with the last rows looking narrower than the first rows, but I don't think much can be done about that.

It is also a very comfortable butt pillow! *L*

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