Bushwhack Knitting, or Knitting Without a Pattern

Guess the needle size. Or enjoy the mystery.

Sounds daring & crazy, right?

Not so much.  I decided to knit a blanket out of a bunch of mostly mohair yarn I’ve had sitting around for years.  It’s a variegated grey to white and very thin, so I decided to use 2 strands instead of just one.

Knitting with 2 strands is probably the first technique I learned after I first began knitting as a child.  It’s extremely easy. Knitting 2 strands of mohair at a time is slightly less easy because everything about mohair yarn is less easy.

Mohair

I don’t think I’ve ever knitting anything out of mostly mohair yarn.  And here I am knitting a blanket (maybe) out of it without a pattern.

Here’s what I’ve observed about mohair so far:

  • it’s inelastic – make your stitches loose or you’ll never get the needle back in the stitch!
  • it’s sticky – the yarn loves to stick to itself, sort of like duct tape
  • it’s very fuzzy – I’m worried that it might felt with minimal friction.
  • it’s very slippery – it loves to fall right off my wooden needles.  I hear it’s even worse with metal or plastic needles.
  • it’s thin and fuzzy, but considered a much thicker weight for knitting purposes –  I find this confusing, but so far, the actual knitting does look much thicker than such a thin-seeming yarn should produce.

Gauge-less Knitting

Since I don’t have a pattern, and it’s probably going to be a blanket, I haven’t bothered to figure out the gauge.  To be honest, I’m not even sure what size needle I’m using.  I think they’re size 17, but I’m not certain because my needle gauge doesn’t go that high.

Knitting Hack:  Always cast on with a larger size needle than you’ll be using for the project.

In this case, not knowing what size needles I’m using, and only being able to find really HUGE needles that are bigger than what I’m using, well, I did it anyway.  I have 2 sets of needles that are bigger than the 17(?)’s I’m using.  I chose the smaller of the two, which looks like it’s about a third bigger than project needles.

It’s a blanket, it’s a stole, it’s a … um, … ah, … er….

Ok, I don’t know what it’ll end up being.  Here are a few factors that will determine what it becomes:

  • yarn yardage – I have what seems like plenty of yarn to make at least a lapghan, but will it really work out that way?
  • time – I’d like it to be a Christmas present for my daughter’s fiance.  (We live in New England, there’s no such thing as too many blankets and they’re gender neutral, especially grey ones.)
  • patience – At some point, I’ll get sick of knitting this thing.
  • gauge – I can hear you.  Yes, I said this project is gauge-less.  And it is, in the sense that I have no idea how many stitches/inch.  That doesn’t mean there isn’t a gauge that’s affecting the project.  What I’m referring to here is that I cast on a bunch of stitches in hopes that the result would be an appropriate size for a blanket.  Did I succeed?  I haven’t figured that out yet.

Playing Knitting Chicken

I recently came across this term in a pattern designer’s notes on Knitty.com.  I have to admit the term fits.  I’ve jumped into a project with both feet and no real plan, aka pattern.

I’m not worried.  Unlike all the times I’ve tried to finish a project with not enough yarn, this time, I’m flexible.  I’ve got more than enough yarn for a stole or a scarf, so once I get about a 15″ to 18,” I’ll reevaluate the project and adjust my goal accordingly.

It’ll be great.  You’ll see.

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