The Novice and the Novelty Yarn

Once upon a time, when I was a new knitter, I discovered a wacky skein of yarn at the store that fascinated me. It was Alp Premier by Feza, an interesting novelty yarn that contains numerous, very different textures and weight of yarn hand tied into one skein. The yarn shop employee knew I was a new knitter and told me that there was a pattern to go along with the yarn for a scarf that wouldn’t be too difficult for me to figure out. There was even a sample of the scarf knit up for me to see. She sent me home with the Arrowhead Scarf pattern and the yarn.

As someone who taught themselves to crochet, I should have known that novelty yarn isn’t compatible with a new knitter.  I should have told myself all those tidbits of wisdom: it’s hard to see your stitches, difficult to handle, slippery, whatever. I didn’t.

The following mess is as far as I got.

I was having the hardest time keeping the fuzzy/slippery/lumpy/skinny/textured yarn on my needles and seeing my stitches was near impossible. At the end of each row, I would find my stitch count off from the pattern, every single time. As a novice (and, in hindsight, silly) knitter, I would just add stitches at the end if I was short, or knit a couple together if I had extra. Don’t even ask me why it didn’t register in my brain that this would effect the shape of the final product. The fact that the scarf came out as arrow shaped as it did is a miracle of nature.

One big issue was dealing with the transition between yarns. Each variety has been hand tied to the next in a big loop. You can’t just knit an entire knot and loop into your scarf in such an open pattern and think it won’t show. My idea was to untie each connection and join it back in like you would a new ball of yarn. Of course, this meant joining a new yarn in every three or four rows. I thought I was a genius, I knew better than to knit a tie into my piece. Here’s what I didn’t consider, several of these yarns have an odd texture – some are ropy, some are like ribbon, and my clever little joins… fell apart. Well that, plus the fact that I had probably dropped a stitch or two (or three, or five) along the way and ignored it.

Once I made it as far as is shown in the picture, I picked the project and watched not one, but two, stitches work their way down the scarf, leaving behind a trail of destruction. If you look closely, you can see one hole just right of the center in the sage green section.

Not exactly a scarf

Not exactly a scarf

I decided I should have never taken this project on. I had no clue what I was doing. I really should’ve known better; I had been burned by novelty yarns before. I once crocheted a hideous capelet from some fire colored ribbon yarn. Oh, and gave it tan, fuzzy trim. No one will ever wear that thing… In retrospect, I have no clue what I was thinking. I had yarn for brains that day, I guess.

Now, a year later, I decided to rip this monstrosity off the needles and try again. I made it to the first yarn join and gave up again. I honestly don’t know what should do about those big, loopy knots and this yarn’s resistance to joining.

After browsing around on Ravelry, it would seem that a lot of knitters had the same issues. The project notes are rife with complaints about how terrible the yarn is to work with. ‘

I’ve decided to toss this yarn into the bottom of the scrap bag and move on like i’ve never seen it. Some yarns just weren’t to be knit by me, no matter how much experience I gain.

 

My scarf could’ve looked like this…

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