I thought I was going to be a good girl and go on a bit of a yarn diet this year. Truly, I did. I have a fair amount of yarn, I thought, so using it up before I bought more seemed wise. It turns out that I have no restraint, plus I’ve given all of my relatives a good clue as to what might make me happy no matter what the holiday, so the stash keeps on multiplying. Rarely has it grown at the rate it did this week, though.
You might recall that I mentioned ordering a pack of RYC Soft Tweed and some Rowanspun. They arrived as expected, but when I opened the package I had a bit of a shock. The shade of Soft Tweed that I ordered, Twig, is a very light greyish brown, so the glimpse of raw shocking pink that I got when I opened the package was a real surprise. This is where the best customer service on the web comes into play. Actually, I’ve usually had excellent customer service from the companies I order from. Mr. Kninja, in ordering a gift for me from Little Knits, for example, tells me that they called him on the phone shortly after he placed his order because he’d picked a bad method of shipping and they wanted to advise him that there was a cheaper option that would take the same amount of time. Most often, though, I buy yarn from Cucumber Patch, usually through their Ebay shop, and they are wonderful. I’m sure many of you already know and love Cucumber Patch, so I’m probably preaching to the choir, but I still have to rave about them. I’ve never had a mix up in an order before, so I emailed them and asked what I should do next to correct the problem. They wrote back promptly to tell me that they were sorry, that the correct package was already in the mail and winging its way toward me, and that they’d just write off the package sent me accidentally. In other words, I received a free pack of Soft Tweed in the color Bramble for a minor mix up. It’s a lovely color, a lovely yarn, and I’m overwhelmed that the Cucumber Patch folks would be so generous.
You’d think that three packs of yarn would be enough for now, but you’d be wrong. I also ordered the green yarn I’ve been craving after finding the perfect shade at Sundara Yarn. I have not yet received it, but it was shipped last week, and may even arrive today. So, that would seem to be enough, right? No.
You see, my seventh anniversary is on Sunday. According to this chart of traditional anniversary gifts, the seventh anniversary is traditionally the wool or copper anniversary (with the bizarre “modern gift” of desk sets). We went with wool and exchanged gifts early, partially because we got mixed up and thought our anniversary was sooner than it actually is, and partly because we’ll be on vacation on Sunday, and hauling gifts along is cumbersome. I began a wool sweater for Mr. Kninja, tailored to his specific likes and dislikes, and he gave me…yarn. Beautiful, beautiful yarn. Three skeins of a lovely clear blue-grey Yorkshire tweed four ply that will be the basis of fair isle gloves, and a whole pack of Scottish Tweed Chunky in a rich, delicious brown studded with orange and blue and green flecks. Oh, and a subscription to Craft magazine, as though he hadn’t done enough.
I don’t know how I got so lucky. Seriously. I can start now and go backward in time, and it’s still bewildering. I have a husband who not only tolerates my
obsession hobby with grace and charm, but actually encourages me and indulges me in it. But how I managed to meet this man at eighteen years of age, and how it is that here I am with him ten years later is a mystery for the ages. There aren’t many people who could handle the roller coaster that our life together has been, and we’ve had our tough moments, but no matter how hard it gets I have the good fortune to have married my best friend, the funniest person I know, and one of the only people who makes me feel comfortable in my own skin.
Enough mushy stuff, you cry! Pictures! Well, I have them, but you’re going to have to excuse me here. I’ve had some sort of nasty illness all week that kept me mostly confined to bed, and while I’m better today, my hands kept shaking when I took pictures, so they’re a little…well, they’re not my best. Better than the washed out flash pictures, though!
Here is a representative sampling of my vast yarn haul.
Starting at the bottom left hand corner and moving clockwise, we have RYC Soft Tweed in Bramble, Rowanspun 4 ply in Jade, RYC Soft Tweed in Twig, Yorkshire Tweed in Sheer, and Scottish Tweed in Peat. I know some people have complained of Rowan’s fanciful names before, but I love them. Yes, I’m a pathetic Rowan fangirl on the one hand, but on the other, I just like the words.
I also got a fair amount of knitting done this week as I was lying in bed. I can’t show you one item yet, as I need to send it out to a friend first, but I’ve got pictures of a few of the items I was working on.
Pattern: Boy’s Booties, from Louisa Harding’s Natural Knits for Babies and Moms
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Worsted in color Marigold Melange
Yardage: Unsure, but I’d guess about a quarter of a skein was used, so less than 30 yards
Needles: size 6 bamboo needles
I found out that a friend I haven’t seen in a while is having a baby boy in just a few short weeks, so I whipped these out. The pattern is straight forward, but I think these would be better suited to being knit in the round. Still, they’re cute, and Misti Alpaca is one of the softest yarns in the world. I was thinking of using a more washing machine friendly material, but I couldn’t resist picking something as soft as baby alpaca.
I also made some headway on Mr. Kninja’s sweater, which is being knit in Rowanspun 4 ply (Sludge and Squirrel), and which currently looks like a striped heap of nothing. It’s slow going since the Rowanspun is fingering weight and this sweater will be large, but I can work on it in increments, and it’s nice to see progress made. Mr. Kninja likes fine weight yarns, tweed, and V neck lines, so I’m using all of these things here. He does not like fancy embellishments, cables, lace, or unnecessary detail, so there will be none of these. It is not the world’s most exciting sweater to knit, but it will be a nice wardrobe staple when it is done.
Also, it may make Mr. Kninja look like a convict. We shall see.
My body was achey from the fever I had for much of this week, though, and knitting on size three needles soon made me weary, so I started on Kim Hargreaves’ Willow, from Rowan’s A Yorkshire Fable. This is going much faster, and I have a few comments.
First off, the Soft Tweed is a delight to work with. I feel as though I gush over every new yarn that I try, but I do try to buy yarns I’ve read about before and heard good things about, so maybe that’s part of it. Anyway, the Soft Tweed reminds me a good deal of Rowan’s Plaid. It is similarly squishy and soft, but without the slight scratchiness that some of the alpaca hairs in Plaid seem to add. The yarn is 56% wool, 20% viscose, 14% polyamide, and 10% silk. I wondered what viscose and polyamide are, so I looked them up. Viscose is apparently an organic liquid used to make rayon or cellophane, and it comes from cotton or wood. Polyamide (also called polyimide or polymide) is a plastic, but it doesn’t contaminate its surroundings when it is made, which makes me feel a little more cheerful toward it than I do toward most plastics. It is very durable, very insulative, and it can handle high temperatures. So we have this mix of wool, wood cellulose, plastic, and silk, and it ends up ridiculously light. Soft Tweed is a chunky yarn, but it is sold in 50 gram skeins. It feels, when you touch it, like someone sent a jet of air up the middle. It just feels too light for what it is, but it’s also very warm. I’m sort of bewildered by it, but in a pleasant way.
The Yorkshire Tweed Chunky called for in the pattern is, of course, discontinued, but Soft Tweed swatched to exactly the same gauge. It comes in 87 yard skeins, though, while the yarn used in the pattern comes in 110 yard skeins, so if you use the Soft Tweed as a substitute, be sure to adjust accordingly. I’m making the size small and using 13 skeins of Twig as opposed to the 11 you’d need with the Yorkshire Tweed. The sweater will be considerably lighter weight, but I hope still quite warm.
The pattern is wonderfully, mindlessly simple. It’s simple enough for someone knitting their first sweater, but it’s got Kim Hargreaves’ stamp all over it. First, it’s simple but very nice looking, and the ribbing moves seamlessly into the simple cables. It’s got pockets, which I love in a coat, and the belt is a nice touch. I mentioned before that there’s another Willow by Kim Hargreaves done in Ribbon Twist, but that was before I noticed that her current collection, Summer Breeze, also contains a Willow. That should make things nice and confusing, but heck, when you’re producing as many (beautiful) patterns as Kim Hargreaves, you’re bound to reuse some names every now and then.
I’ve rambled on for too long again, haven’t I? Well, no worries – I’ll be silent as the grave for the next week. We leave on vacation tomorrow and will be having what I hope will be a relaxing time at the lake. Happy summer!