Thursday, 9 January 2014

Grab Bag Challenge #1

It’s taken much longer than it should have to complete this first challenge!

I started with one solitary 20 gram ball of long-discontinued Panda Double Bubble, a boucle-style 5ply (sport weight) 100% acrylic yarn. I’m not even sure how I know it was sport weight – I must have found it on the internet somewhere because it’s not in Ravelry’s yarn database!
Panda Carousel Double Bubble
Logic told me to give it away; after all, what can you do with 20g of yarn? But the colour was so pretty – just right for a little girl – so the challenge was to find something useful I could knit with 20g.

I have no idea how much length there is in a 20g ball of sport-weight acrylic yarn. I know that there are between 250 and 300 metres of yarn in 100g of acrylic 8ply (DK), therefore there are about 50 to 60 metres to 20g. This is sport-weight not DK, so I figured I probably had about 70-80 metres to play with.

And here is where Ravelry shines. I opened the pattern search page, ticked the filters for acrylic, sport-weight, 70m or less, free knitting patterns (or those in my library) that had photos. From the 25 patterns shown, I found two hat patterns that I thought would work with this yarn and chose Jeffrey’s Stripey Hat by Heather Wells, simply because I liked the shape better.

Ambitiously, I cast on 120 stitches (the 3-6 months size) on 2.75mm needles (I couldn't find my 3.25mm needles).

The first obstacle came when I realised that working with that boucle yarn on small gauge needles caused a great deal of pain in my left forearm and elbow. I could only knit about 300 stitches then I had to stop! So it took several days before I realised I was running out of yarn faster than I was running out of pattern! ;-)

I ripped it all out and decided to knit the newborn size. I cast on again but my arm ached worse than ever. I wondered if the small gauge was the problem. There was only one way to find out – I needed to locate my 3.25mm needles. (That’s the problem with having guests staying – things get shoved away to make room for extra beds).

With 3.25mm needles in hand, I cast on again. Still some aches but not as bad as before. It must be the combination of the acrylic boucle yarn and the small needles - - I knit socks on 2.25mm needles and have never experienced “knitter’s elbow”!

Taking it slowly so as not to aggravate my arm further, I completed the hat in four days.
2014 Double Bubble hat
the colour in this photo is the most accurate

The hat will go into my stockpile until I hear of a charity needing hats for newborn babies.
I had more yarn leftover than I thought, so I planned to knit a pin-cushion for my own use.
double bubble hat leftovers
After four attempts at double knitting with a single yarn, I gave up. Three times I dropped stitches and couldn’t find them in the boucle bumps. The last time I had obviously not slipped my stitches correctly because I didn’t end up with a tube I could fill! This has never happened to me before – I assume it was because I’m too tired to concentrate properly (we've had a lifestyle change and I’m now getting up three hours earlier than my natural inclination). my arm is throbbing from four hours of knitting that yarn so I’m going to cut my losses; who knows, I may pick up the yarn again some day but, if not, it will go in the bag of scraps DD uses to needle punch toys for cats at the animal adoption agency!

Time to grab a new bag and find a pattern to use up the yarn it contains!

If you’d like to join me in this challenge, grab some odd balls of yarn or some orphaned quilt blocks or fabrics that work together (you get the idea), put them in a non-see through bag, then label it on the outside with generic labels (eg 2 x 50g balls 8ply wool/nylon blend); one 12” orphaned block; three fat quarters). You want to have a general idea of what's inside, not a specific one. Seal all the bags and place them in a drawer, cupboard, basket, box or tote bag. Grab one bag at random and make something using as much of the contents as you can. No putting one bag back to grab another – the challenge is to use up what's in the bag and therefore use up items that you have had around for a while but don't quite know what to do with!
Never too hot to stitch!
There’s no linky party for this challenge (I’ll create one if enough people are interested) but there’s a button and ‘grab code’ in my sidebar if you want to add it to your blog. You can leave a comment on this (or any other) post to invite me and others to come and see what you’ve done with the contents of your “grab bag” and I’ll put a link here on my blog which will, hopefully, drive some traffic over to your blog!

Won’t you join me? We all have miscellaneous items we keep avoiding!


  1. Well, against all odds the little hat turned out beautifully!

  2. hmmm, nope I'll not join you in this challenge... for some reason I'm in the embroidery mood now, maybe knitting will come later...

  3. What a fab challenge! That is such a good idea. I really daren't commit myself to anything more at the minute though - I'm planning on joining your Something Old, Something New challenge, but I'm having to wait for the weekend to take pictures and write a post!

  4. Such a sweet little hat in a beautiful color! I am looking forward to learning more about Ravelry... I tend to buy pretty yarn and then wonder what I can make with it.

  5. The hat is so pretty! How funny that working with that yarn caused you such pain. I need to finish up some of the things that I know about.... So frustrating that I procrastinate so much.

  6. Great use of some very pretty yarn. I love that bright pink!

  7. What a pretty pink! Somebody's going to really enjoy that little hat on their new little girl. :)

  8. Now this an interesting challenge. Think I will try, but no promises. I do love the pink however!



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