Guest post by Danny Ouellette

Photo by:  Dean Palmer
Danny’s Blog link: All knittings great and small

The fun of group challenges

One of the joys of belonging to various groups and guilds is taking part in group challenges.

These all bring with them new learning experiences and can challenge you to step outside of your comfort zones with your crafts.

I’ve taken part in several challenges over the years. One of the biggest problems I had with them was finding time or making time to do them. I have a problem with procrastinating, as I’ve mentioned before.

Fibre to Scarf Exchange

The basic mechanics of the exchange work like this:
There is a central coordinator for the group taking part. Each person provides 450g / 8oz or more of fibre, a description of what the fibre is, the type of person (male, female, either) that the scarf is for, and any other information they think necessary. The coordinator distributes the fibre to the other participants, either by mail or in person, with the information provided. Participants do not know who’s fibre they are working with. The participants then spin and make a scarf from the fibre they have. If the group is local then they all can meet at a designated time and exchange the scarves. Otherwise the participants let the coordinator know when they are finished and the coordinator gives them the contact information for the person they are making the scarf for and those two people arrange delivery of the scarf.


These are the three scarves I received from the scarf exchanges I have taken part in. These were a lot of fun to do.

The left scarf was from the 2008 challenge. This was spun and knit by Barb Brown.

The middle scarf was from the 2009 challenge. This was spun and knit by Alan McLean.

Both these scarves were made from pencil roving that I had dyed in a crock pot. The roving came in bags with two strands wound together. I believe the fibre is a mix of Canadian down breed sheep. I put the fibre into crock pots, wetted it, and then poured dyes on top. The variations in colours came from how the dye was absorbed by the fibre. The final yarns are fairly scratchy, but I don’t mind that.

The right scarf was from the 2012 challenge for the Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat. It was spun and knit by David DiGiacomo.

The fibre was two batches of pencil roving top – one was a 50/50 blend, the other a 65/35 blend of merino and silk. I nature dyed these with Black Walnuts. The 50/50 blend was mordanted with iron and the 65/35 blend was mordanted in alum. The iron mordanted one gave darker brown tones that then alum, but it was also more variegated in colour. I believe David spun his 2-ply yarn with one ply from each fibre. This scarf has a lovely hand and is incredibly soft.

Thanks to Danny for Guest-Posting…

I first got to know Danny Ouellette from his amazing knitwear designs, especially his hats.  Then I got to meet him at the Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat a number of years ago.  Now I’m thrilled to have him guest-blog for me today.

Danny Oullette

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