Darn Good Yarn: Recycled Sari Silk Mittens

Howdy, knitters! I hope you’ve had a wonderful week. In North Carolina, the pollen has been out in force and my allergies have been acting up something fierce. We’ve had a couple of good rains that have washed everything down, so hopefully that will go a long way to helping me breathe normally again. But you didn’t come here to talk about the weather, you want to talk about knitting! For those of you visiting the Knitting Daddy blog for the first time, welcome! If you’re a repeat visitor, thanks for coming back! In either case, I do hope you enjoy your stay and come back for more.

This week, I’m going to be talking about a mittens project I recently completed, and the company behind the yarn I used. But before I get into that, let’s take a look at the other things that have been going on in my knitting world this week.

Happy Mittens

Don’t the mittens look so happy together?

Scrappy Sock Yarn Preemie Hat Update

I appreciate the support everyone is showing for my first published pattern, the Scrappy Sock Yarn Preemie Hat. It’s fun watching new project pages come up, and I’m very excited to hear the stories of people knitting this hat for friends and family members who have tiny babies. Remember, all proceeds from the pattern sales go to support Family Support Network of Central Carolina (FSNCC), and you can get a $1 discount by using the coupon code “BLUEBERRY” when you purchase the pattern at Ravelry (expires 2015/05/31). Join us in the Knitting Daddy Designs Ravelry group to show off your finished objects and chat about knitting preemie hats (any pattern, not just mine).

This Week In Podcasts

I’m mostly keeping up with my podcast listening. And I’m starting to figure out how to keep track of what I’ve listened to in Downcast since the last time I posted a blog entry. So maybe I’ll be able to do a better job of reviewing individual episodes. We’ll see if I’m able to keep up with it. This week, I listened to episodes of 2 Knit Lit Chicks, CraftLit, Yarn Thing With Marly Bird, Knitcircus, KnottyGirls KnitcastCreative Yarn Entrepreneur Show, and Teaching Your Brain to Knit.

In 2 Knit Lit Chicks Episode 89: I Was Like, Yeah, I Hate That, Too!, Barb and Tracie continue talking about their Alana-Along. They also announce their Cardi, Tank or Tee-Along. They are also super-excited about the Northern California Knitting Retreat. That retreat was this past weekend, and I’m looking forward to hearing podcasts about how it went.

I continue to catch up on the back-episodes of The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show. I especially enjoyed Episode 3: 8 Tips for Organizing Your First Pattern Test. It would have been nice to have listened to that before I had a pattern test for the Scrappy Sock Yarn Preemie Hat, but I instinctively did most of the things suggested anyway, so that was reassuring.

In Knitcircus Episode 57, Amy and Jaala talk about some upcoming shows, the Mall of America, a handful of books, and the movie “Mall Cop” (which is apparently enjoyable). Also, Amy’s going to Ireland again in May.

In KnottyGirls Episode 46: Technocrat Yet Artisan (Or Melissa Does Not Have Legionnaire’s Disease), Laura talks about dressing up awesomely for trips to Disneyland. She’s been dying lots of yarn. Jen is having difficulty finding time to knit because of the real job that pays the bills thing. I hate it when that happens. The episode was also full of lots of awesome talk about the cool knitting everyone is currently doing. The highlight of the episode was, of course, the Stitches wrap-up. I want to go to Stitches.

I’m still loving the Teaching Your Brain To Knit podcast, and am catching up on back episodes.

Yarn Thing with Marly Bird continues to have excellent guests. I recommend all the episodes. I’m especially enjoying hearing Tammy on the podcast more often lately. She and Marly have great chemistry. Every now and then, I make it on-air and win a contest.

CraftLit is well into “Sense & Sensibility” now. So far, I’m enjoying it, even though I’m having a hard time keeping everyone straight. I love the background Heather gives on the book and chapters as we go. I’d probably be lost without that. This is my first experience with a Jane Austin novel, so I’m glad to be catching up with the cool literature so many of my friends like.

This Week On My Needles

After last weekend’s retreat where I cast on five new projects, I’m working to clear my needles off a bit. I’m not an entirely monogamous knitter, but I do start getting uncomfortable when I have a lot of projects going on at once. According to Ravelry, I currently have 8 WIPs, which is more than I’m comfortable having. Although, three of them are very long-term knitting projects, so it’s not that bad. We’ll have a WIP Round Up after we take a look at the two items that came off my needles and became FOs this week.

Little Dragon

The Little Dragon that I started at the retreat last weekend was the first FO of the week. I absolutely love this pattern. It was so much fun to knit up and watch the dragon come alive. I did use polly pellets in the bottom of the body to give the toy a little more heft. So far, I’ve only seen one pellet escape, so I think it will be fine. The bobbles on the back of the dragon were a lot of fun to make and give her some character. In class, Susan showed us a super-cute way of posing the dragon — with its head in its hand. That pose makes the dragon look shy and bashful. Really, it’s super-cute.

Little Dragon

Hi! I’m a little dragon. Can I have a cookie?

Little Dragon Back

Check out my pretty awesome ridges on the back of my spine. And those wings!

Bashful Little Dragon

I’ll just hold my head like this and look cute, if that’s OK with you.

Adorable Face

Is this not the most adorable dragon face you’ve ever seen?

Leftover Dragon Yarn

The Little Dragon leaves plenty of leftover yarn for mini-dragons, hexipuffs, mitered squares, etc.

Blueberry’s birthday is next month, and I think I’m going to give it to her as a birthday present.

Ravelry Project Page: Little Dragon
Pattern: Little Dragon by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn Used: Cascade Yarns Heritage Paints

Little Owl

The other FO of the week is also from last weekend’s retreat. It’s the Little Owl. I finished most of it during the retreat weekend. All I had left to do was the eyes, beak, and feet. Twinkly eyes on felt came out great, and I actually had a good time sewing the eyes to the knitted fabric. I tried several times to place the beak how I liked it, and I’m happy with how it came out. The feet were a piece of cake, then the project was done. It’ practically flew off my needles! (See what I did there? Yeah, go ahead and groan….)

Little Owl

Hi! I’m a happy little owl. Will you be my friend?

The light worsted yarn made for a slightly smaller owl. I might knit this pattern up with larger yarn for a larger owl. I might even do some math and make the pattern itself larger for a larger owl. We’ll see if I get around to experimenting on that.

Ravelry Project Page: Little Owl
Pattern: Little Owl by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn Used: Classic Elite Yarns Liberty Wool Light

WIP Round Up

So what else is on my needles? A little bit of this, a little bit of that. I mentioned that I have a few projects that are long-term. It doesn’t bother me that they stay on my needles for a long time. Two of those projects are sock yarn blankets. I have a a few hexipuffs for my Beekeeper’s Quilt. I have lots of sock yarn that can turn into hexipuffs, so I should whip out a few more. I also have a mitered square sock yarn blanket on the needles. This one is tremendously fun and easy to work on. So much so, I’m probably going to start keeping my eyes out for some of those sock yarn mini-skein trading groups. So far, I haven’t repeated yarn for any of the squares in the blanket. I doubt I’ll be able to keep that up, but it’s fun making them all different so far. My third long-term project is a Crackerjack scarf for the local minor league baseball team. I’ll be working on this scarf all season long, so it’s scheduled to come off the needles in August. The Crackerjack is a lot of fun. Look for a post about it in the next few weeks.

2015 Hoppers Crackerjack

I’m looking for lots of green and orange in this Crackerjack scarf.

Ravelry Project Page: Crackerjack
Pattern: Crackerjack by Stacey Simpson Duke
Yarn Used: Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash® and Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool Worsted

The rest of the things on my needles are WIPs that I definitely have my eye on for completing them soon. They’re the projects that make me uncomfortable with having so many things going on at once. I have The Fox & The Hen reversible toy in progress, but I haven’t made any progress on it in almost a year. I have my Fox in a Vest, which I really do need to give some loving to. And I have the other three projects I cast on at the retreat last weekend: Mary (the seamless doll), a bat that I’m trying to design, and my Sweet Christmas Mitts. The mitts are the project that I’m actively working on primarily, then I think I’ll pick Mary back up. I just don’t know about the bat. I should go ahead and do his head, ears, and feet. But I know I’m going to get stuck trying to design some wings.

What I’ve Got My Eye On

I really want to clear off my needles some, which will clear my head out enough to allow me to cast on another project. And I know exactly what it will be. Another pair of socks for myself. I have the yarn. I have the pattern.  I have the bacon.I have the needles. I’ve even done necessary math for the pattern. I’m ready to go. But I won’t cast on until I clear my needles off a bit.

Once I do, I’m going to make some Bacon Bootstrap Socks by Lara Neel.

Bacon Bootstrap Socks

Bacon Bootstrap Socks. Some assembly required.

Darn Good Yarn: Recycled Sari Silk Mittens

For this post’s feature, I want to go back to a project I completed a few months ago. I’m going to take you back to the Recycled Sari Silk Mittens I knitted for my wife for Valentine’s Day. The story of these mittens goes back to the episode of Yarn Thing with Marly Bird where Nicole Snow, the owner of Darn Good Yarn, was being interviewed. I won a prize on the podcast, which was a gift certificate to Darn Good Yarn, which I used to purchase the yarn I used to knit these mittens.

Darn Good Yarn is an interesting company. Nicole started the company in 2008 with a mission to create a yarn company that not only sells yarn, but also helps others. Darn Good Yarn sources its yarn internationally, primarily from Nepal and India, and the yarn they sell provides income for women who would otherwise have a very difficult time earning a living. They’re a great company, they sell interesting yarn, and Nicole is really making a difference in the lives of the women who produce the yarn for her. I highly recommend them. Check out their website, read about their background, and give some of their yarn a try sometime.

So after I won the gift certificate, I poured over the Darn Good Yarn website looking for something I wanted to try. I eventually decided on their recycled sari silk yarn. I wasn’t even really sure what I would make with it, but the yarn sounded interesting and I figured that once it arrived, I’d think of something.

Recycled Sari Silk Yarn

The recycled sari silk yarn is unlike any yarn I’ve worked with before. Once I got used to it, it was a blast to work with.

When it arrived, the adventure began.

I searched Ravelry for ideas and found the Recycled Sari Silk Mittens pattern by Odessa Reichel. That sounded like a good thing to try. The yarn is considered second-quality yarn, and is recommended for bags and the like, not for garments you’d have against your skin. To heck with that, I knitted mittens anyway.

Working On The Mittens

It’s pretty amazing how the yarn just disappears into itself as I knitted up the mittens.

The yarn had several knots in it, and I cut them out when I encountered them. I just knitted two strands together for a few knits to join in after the cut, and it worked fine. The knots weren’t a problem at all, and I expected to encounter them as I went, based on how this yarn is constructed. It is made from sari silk, cut/torn into strips and twisted together. It’s an absolutely delightful crazy yarn. It took a while for me to figure out how to best work with it — it’s not like anything else I’ve worked with before.

In order to get the pair of mittens, I ended up knitting 4 mittens in total. The first mitten, I knitted on US7 and it ended up being too small. So I ripped it out and knitted it on US8. Perfect fit. I knitted the 2nd mitten (from a 2nd ball) on US8 and it was too small. So I ripped it out and knitted it on US9 and it fit fine. In the end, that wasn’t a big deal since the mittens knit up pretty quickly. My advice is to just have fun with the yarn and see where it takes you.

Thumb On A Stitch Holder

The mitten knits up quickly, and in no time I found myself ready to decrease for the fingers.

The mittens themselves came out great. They’re very warm and so colorful. Everyone who has seen them has remarked on how interesting they are. I would totally use this yarn to knit these mittens again. I would also love to try knitting a bag of some sort out of this yarn. The silk is extremely sturdy and I think it would hold up very well to rugged bag use.

Ready To Close The Second Mitten

I’m ready to close the second mitten!

I tried knitting this yarn with several types of needles. I finally landed on Marblz by Knitters Pride. That was a perfect match — the yarn slid across the needle nicely, and the needle had enough “give” to help make the knots with the tugging that I had to do every now and then on the yarn.

Completed Mitten

When completed, the mitten loos really cool. It’s also very sturdy and warm.

Ravelry Project Page: Recycled Sari Silk Mittens
Pattern: Recycled Sari Silk Mittens by Odessa Reichel
Yarn Used: Darn Good Yarn Wild Peacock Recycled Silk

I’m glad I won that contest on Yarn Thing, because I wouldn’t have known about that yarn otherwise, and I probably would have been skeptical to try it. Being able to just have an adventure with it was perfect, and I’m going to be keeping my eye on the Darn Good Yarn website for other interesting yarn in the future. It’s an adventure!

What’s the most adventurous yarn you’ve worked with? Please tell me that you were as happy with your yarn as I was with the recycled sari silk yarn. Or, if not, tell me why — especially if it makes for a humorous story. You can leave your comments here on this post, or visit the Knitting Daddy Designs group on Ravelry and join the discussion there.

Until next time, keep on knitting for the ones you love!


12 thoughts on “Darn Good Yarn: Recycled Sari Silk Mittens

  1. Great blog post, thank you. It was nice to see your face in the Pipeline Georgia retreat pictures.
    Are you familiar with Jay O’Callahan? He’s a storyteller and has the most wonderful story about Little Dragon – it would make a great add in to your cute dragon present for Blueberry if you could get a copy of it. Here is a web address
    Linda (jaxie985)

    • Hi, Linda! Thanks for the kind words. Wow, I wonder how my face showed up in the Pipeline Georgia retreat pictures. 🙂 I’m a huge fan of Paula and her podcast. I’ve always wanted to find a way to attend one of her retreats, but haven’t figured out how to make it happen yet. Some day….

      Thanks for the heads-up about Jay O’Callahan. I spent some time on his website today, and really enjoyed it.

  2. Great blog post, Greg! I am envious of your weekend with Susan B. Anderson – it looks like so much fun. Your dragon is adorable.

    I love Jane Austen! I’ll be interested to hear what you think about Sense and Sensibility. I recently listened to the CraftLit version of Persuasion (also Jane Austen), because 2KnitLitChicks were having a read-along. I really enjoyed it. I’m listening to Sense and Sensibility as well, but because I got so spoiled being able to listen to multiple episodes of Persuasion at once (it was featured on Craft Lit several years ago), I also decided to listen to the Craft Lit version of Jane Eyre (by Charlotte Bronte), which I’ve never read, for some reason. I’m liking that one too.

    Don’t forget to let me know if you’re interested in doing a sock yarn swap for our blankets!


    • Thanks, Laura! Yes, you should be envious of a weekend with Susan. I don’t mean to rub it in, but she really is awesome. If you ever get the opportunity to attend one of her workshops, I highly recommend it. I totally dig the adorable dragon, too. I’m a fine knitter, but it’s really the pattern that makes the dragon shine. 🙂

      So far, I’m doing my best to keep up with Sense and Sensibility. It hasn’t hooked me, yet, and my mind easily wanders while listening. Blueberry’s got a Sense & Sensibility counting book, so I’m actually kinda familiar with the character names and other aspects of the book. Some day, when I get time (lol), I intend to go back and listen to the the CraftLit version of Pride and Prejudice. I run with too many people who reference that book often enough that it’s embarrassing that I haven’t read it yet.

      Yes. Let’s do a sock yarn swap. I’ll PM you on Ravelry.

  3. I am a new reader and love your blog, your outlook on knitting and your willingness to jump right into something new. I have been knitting for about 8 years and I am envious of how far you’ve come in less than half the time! It’s inspiring, actually. All the projects and new techniques I’ve wanted to try but have held off due to uncertainty- WHY? It’s crazy of me to be so cautious- there’s tons of help everywhere and nothing is really lost if I screw something up, right? I need to jump in and just start something.

    I love the sari silk mittens- I am thinking Christmas gifts for friends in the midwest. We don’t get to wear a lot of mittens here in Las Vegas 🙁 Thanks for the inspiration! How many skeins did you use/buy?

    Looking forward to trying your preemie hat pattern- every year on her son’s birthday, a friend brings hats and books to the NICU where he spent a long time after being 12 weeks early. He’s now almost 12 years old! I will be sending her some hats this year.

    See you on Ravelry!

    • Hi, Melissa! Thanks so much for dropping a note. I’m glad that you’re enjoying the blog — I hope you continue to enjoy what I will write in the weeks to come.

      It’s humbling to be considered an knitting inspiration. Here’s my secret: the things about knitting (or pretty much anything) that are supposed to be hard? Yeah, I jump into it before I learn it’s supposed to be hard. Knitting, especially, has been great for that attitude. As one of my good friends kept telling me when I was first learning to knit — “Don’t worry about how it comes out. There’s no yarn police. It’s just yarn. If you really don’t like it, rip it out and try again — no big deal. And if you make a ‘mistake’ and don’t mind how it came out, call it a ‘design feature’ instead and celebrate it.” I think at my core, I’m more of a “process knitter” than a “product knitter,” which really helps that attitude. Yes, I love having completed knitting objects. But, really, I love the actual act of knitting. So when I rip something back, it doesn’t hurt me too much — I just get to knit cool yarn on a cool pattern again. Having that kind of attitude really helps. So, yes! Jump right in! Knit with abandon! Be fearless! Let your knitting bring you joy! And challenge yourselves to learn new things — that always keeps it interesting. Like you say, there is plenty of help all around if you get stuck.

      The sari silk mittens would make a great Christmas gift! I used about 1.5 skeins for my mittens. Go ahead and get 2, and you’ll have a little left over. I made a tiny garter stitch scarf for Blueberry’s stuffed animals with some of the leftover. I think I’ve got some more left over, still, and I might see about knitting up a simple garter stitch square that I can use as a coaster.

      That’s such an awesome gift your friend has to honor her son! Thanks for giving my preemie hat pattern a try — I’d love to see pictures when you finish it. Feel free to post your pictures in the Knitting Daddy Designs Ravelry group when you knit ’em up.


  4. I am loving your dragon! Great color choices. I think you listen to about as many podcasts as I do – which is really saying something! They seem to be great companions to knitting and crocheting. Thanks for your kind words about my show, and I’m glad to hear you are enjoying the back catalog.

    • Thanks, Marie! I am totally loving the back catalog — I’ve listened to three episodes today, even. Just finished listening to the one about G+. I got hooked on a lot of great knitting podcasts when I had a 75-minute (each way) commute a few years ago. Now that my commute is only 10 minutes, it’s hard to keep up, but I do my best.

      Thanks for the kind words about the dragon. It’s such a fun pattern to knit. I highly recommend it.

    • Thanks! I’m glad you enjoy the blog, and I appreciate your kind words about my Little Dragon. Big shout-out to Paula at Knitting Pipeline for mentioning your podcast. I’m really enjoying going through the back-episodes. I like finding a podcast early enough in its run that “catching up” is doable!

  5. Hahaha! In a phrase, Greg, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.” The key to not clutter up the brain with too many WIPS is NOT to enter them into Ravelry too soon. The down side of this is the proliferation of needles and a major culprit of singles…socks, mittens, etc. Ask me how I know this???

    • Ha! Yes, very true. My problem with that is I like to use Revelry to keep notes on my knitting as I go. Sometimes, at least. Plus, it can be nice to bounce around from project to project. Sometimes. I’ve still got too much on my needles and really need to focus on taming the WIPs a bit.

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