Saturday, July 23, 2011


These are all yarns I am not using but I could have chosen to use for my current project.

That's an overstatement really because I am knitting a sock from one of the balls and the two sumptuous orange balls are completely the wrong weight. Oh and the lime green wouldn't work either. But the six balls of other sock yarn could have been chosen. They were all in my stash before they were selected to add to the decor of my living room in a vintage bottle crate.

And I am really very glad that they were all wrong for the project I was planning and that I had to go to the yarn store (woe is me) and buy new yarn (double woe).

I went to Alamitos Bay Yarn Company with two problems. One was a pair of Addi Turbo Needles with the varnish coming off despite only having knit one shawl on them. I understand tarnishing, but they were turning my hand green which is unacceptable.

My second problem was the second yarn for a Chadwick, a pattern by the excellent up and coming designer Stephen West. The previous week I had bought the first color at the same store, a navy blue jeans kettle dyed alpaca/cotton confection from Manos named Serena. I thought I had a grey in my stash that would match, but it was the wrong weight. So there I was, in the store, trying to find the perfect grey.

I do not ask questions at yarn stores. This is partly because I don't like asking questions to strangers (who does?) and partly because I rarely feel welcome at them. I just browse, pick, pay, and leave.

This time, however, the store had a sample knitted in a yarn I liked but no balls of that color out, so I had to talk to someone and see if they had any. I am very glad that I talked to someone and I am very glad they didn't have any of that first yarn I was looking at. At 100% silk it was the wrong weight and much to shiny, really, for the person I am making the shawl for.

I don't actually remember if she asked if I was looking for something in particular or if I told her what I was looking for, but I managed to ask if they had a grey yarn in a weight to match my soft jeans colored Serena. The woman walked over to one of the deep corners of the store, pulled out a plastic container I would never have found, reached in, and plucked out a small ball of the perfect grey. At 65% cashmere and 35% silk the Trendsetter Bollicina was perfect. Mostly because I only needed one ball so I could afford it.

Lesson learned Universe, ask questions of your yarn shop staff. They know they're yarn.

I am nearly finished with the shawl. I absolutely love work on it. The contrast between the two yarns feels so delightful on my hands. I don't like working with cotton, but it does not bother my hands so much blended with the alpaca. The shawl is knit using intarsia technique (brilliant pattern) and in the same row I then switch to the Bollicina and I feel like I am knitting with a cloud or with butter, a butter cloud.

The other yarns in my stash are lovely, and one day I will use them. But this foray into quality materials has demonstrated to me how much the materials make the experience of knitting, and they have helped me to become obsessed with my knitting all over again. 

I would show you a picture of it's loveliness now, but it is a gift whose recipient may or may not stumble upon this before the gift giving happens. Pictures next time for sure.

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