When I first discovered the wonderful world of knitting on the internet I had never heard of the idea of yarn clubs, where a yarn designer will send you a mystery parcel of yarn or fibre so that you have both the surprise and excitement of receiving a skein or braid in the post, but also the challenge of finding the perfect pattern or design for it, even if the colour took you well beyond your comfort zone.
Of course, it was very easy to rather overstretch both resources and time and I will be the first to admit that I probably joined a few more yarn clubs than my budget allowed and some of the skeins are very likely still sitting unknit in my stash. I have learnt my lesson and am now a lot more careful with my yarn budget.
However, I have always found it very difficult to resist the yarn clubs that my friend Natalie at the Yarn Yard has run over the years. If you look at some of the earliest entries on this blog you will find some of my very first efforts at simple designs, inspired by her first yarn club which combined variegated yarns with a toning solid. I used to really look forward to solving the puzzle of what to do to make the best of the combination of colours that she sent.
At the beginning of the year I was a member of no yarn clubs at all. Whilst I felt very virtuous, I did miss the pleasant surprise of a new skein of yarn falling through my letter box every month but I had to be strong! Regular readers will have seen just how many pairs of socks I actually own, even though I give away many of them. A pair of sock's worth of yarn every month wasn't really what I really needed or could afford.
At the moment I am really enjoying designing and knitting mittens and wristwarmers which on average never take more than 50g of yarn. This is why when Natalie launched her Small Skein Society where she offers as little as a 50g skein of yarn per month I couldn't resist. Despite all my other commitments it takes me back to the excitement of when I first discovered yarn clubs and the revolutionary idea that I didn't have to stick to someone else's pattern. A monthly 50g skein is my chance to doodle and come up with a mitt or wristwarmer that really suits the yarn. Some features and motifs may appear in future designs but they are mainly an opportunity to play and experiment.
The first skein was a lovely smooth Blue Faced Leicester semi solid yarn in a range of deep pink tones. With Valentines day in mind I found an Austrian twisted stitch pattern called Forgotten Love which seemed appropriate.
Using cables and twisted ribs I was able to create a stretchy well fitting mitt.
Of course, life has been rather busy and whilst I am very excited to say that Installment Three of the Small Skein Society is about to drop through my letterbox I haven't quite finished working on Installment Two....
It's great fun though.
Thanks to my friend Mary for taking the photographs. As I specialise more and more in designing mittens and gloves I am coming to realise how difficult it is to take pictures of my own hands!