• Dwynwen at Loch Ness Knitting

Game of Cone(s)

I've had a little extra free time on my hands recently and I've been using it to tackle my dormant yarn stash. I think we all have yarn that we've bought with good intentions, that ended up sitting at the bottom of the knitting basket or back of the cupboard. The flushed excitement of the original purchase has passed, maybe the label has been lost or the pattern you had in mind just doesn't whet your creative appetite as it first did.

I bought this cone on Ebay 3 years ago as a cheap way to practise with my Knitting Machine. When it first arrived I used it to make some swatch samples and understand gauge but when I had completed that project the rest of the cone was abandoned.

I never throw out yarn, I'll always find a way to use it myself or gift to another maker. Our local refugee support project often asks for yarn donations to make warm scarves, and they've received bundles of cones from me in the past.

I wanted to hang on to this cone because I liked the tweedy blue colour and I'm pleased to say I've finally cast on.

The project is Hoxton, a cropped cabled sweater by Martin Storey, suitable for beginner knitters. It is knit flat with garter stitch as the main stitch pattern and one cabled feature making it an ideal first cable or first garment project.

If you are interested in knitting from the cone there are some fabulous bargains to be found at Colourmart. They specialise in selling mill end yarn so you'll find luxury yarn there for excellent budget prices. If you've never worked with cone yarn before there are a couple of things to know.

  • You need to check your purchase to see if the weight of the cone is included in the listing, particularly if buying on Ebay. 500g of yarn could include 50g or cardboard cone if you don't check carefully.

  • Cone yarn is set up to work on knitting machines and is therefore lightly oiled to stop excess fluff from floating off the yarn and building up in the machines. You can remove this oil before or after knitting. I prefer after, and I'll show you how to do this in a follow up post on blocking this project. You can also check out the Colourmart Group on Ravelry where they have kindly put together pages of detailed instructions on how to remove oil from cone yarn.

  • Cone yarn is brilliant for large projects such as garments and blankets. It is measure in large kilo weights which usually means very few joins. If you've ever made a blanket using 50g balls you'll appreciate that choosing a cone could avoid the extra work of sewing in multiple ends.

  • Take you own measurements, unlike working with shop bought balls or skeins mill ends don't usually come with information on weights and measures. Even if they do it is worth checking before casting on your project. I always take a 10metre measure of the yarn and weigh it to check that I have enough to complete my project.

  • Swatch at least once. As you need to remove the oil from the yarn you will be washing at some stage, either before or after making up. When the oil is removed that yarn tends to fluff up and fill out gaps between stitches. This means that your project may change in size and drape. To ensure a good result you should swatch, wash and measure before committing to your larger project.

I hope you have the courage to take on a cone project and help to reduce yarn waste from the larger knitting mills.

#knitting #sustainable #coneyarn #gameofcones #ilikepuns #martinstorey #ravelry

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