Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A very belated Valentine

Sometimes I make bad decisions.

For example, the time I decided to make homemade butternut squash gnocchi. I don't think there was a single solitary millimeter of space in my kitchen not covered in flour. I must've used an entire bag of flour, not to mention the arduous task of hacking open the squash, and in the end, it tasted pretty much like regular gnocchi.

Or the time in 7th grade when I read that combing mayonnaise through your hair was a great way to add shine. It's also a great way to gunk up your hair with oily egg muck that takes four tries to shampoo out. Looking back, I'm supremely lucky my parents didn't make me go to school with mayonnaise on my head to teach me a lesson.

In Knitting Land, a make all sorts of bad decisions, one of which is Setting Deadlines. It starts out innocently enough--"Oh, it'd be great to have this sweater finished to wear to Stitches"--but it's an instant jinx. Completely unpredictable, absurd knitting disasters will occur, one after the other, guaranteeing that the sweater won't be finished for Stitches, or possibly ever. If I'd just kept my mouth shut, the sweater would probably knit itself in my sleep.

In February, I made this mistake. I thought it would be just smashing to have a Puff-Sleeved Feminine Cardigan to wear for Valentine's Day. It's short-sleeved and knit in DK weight, and I figured it couldn't possibly take too long to knit. So I got started.

And I was right, for a change, it knit up quickly, and I was moving along at a good pace, right on target for V-Day. (Was I a bit too smug about my astonishing progress? Perhaps.)

The only thing was . . . "Hmmmm, I seem to be going through this yarn rather quickly. But I knit a gauge swatch, and I got gauge, and I'm using the exact kind and quantity of yarn called for in the pattern, so, I must be imagining things. Except . . . well, I'm down to my last ball and, um, there's an awful lot left to do. Let's see what the Ravelry populous had to say about this sweater. I mean, it won't fix anything, and it probably would've been smart to check on before I bought the yarn and started the sweater, but at least I'll know."

Sure enough, the vast majority of the knitters who made this sweater reported that it took much more yarn than the pattern called for.

Of course.

And it only got worse. I bought the yarn for this sweater years ago. Dye lot loooooong gone.

I got a headache imagining having to rip out my whole sweater and start over with new yarn, and sent myself to bed early. Then I woke up and raged against Stephanie Japel and the entire Knitting Establishment. How dare they publish such fradulent information?!?

And then I went back to Ravelry, and threw myself a pity party in one of the forums.

This was actually the most effective thing I did. The previously-mentioned Stephanie, who will from this day forward be referred to as My Hero Stephanie, stumbled upon my whining, and promptly produced 2 balls of Knit Picks Merino Style in Hollyberry, dye lot 40515. It was like magic. Possibly dark magic, but I was in no position to judge. 

(For the record, I can vouch that Stephanie is a Hufflepuff, not a Slytherin. Or so she would have us believe.)

(And props as well to the Postal Service for actually getting the yarn to me--that would've been a sad, but unsurprising addition to the story, yarn lost in the mail!)

While I couldn't finish the sweater for Valentine's Day, I did manage to finish it before the end of the month, check it out:


IMG_3874
wow, I'm super pale! translucent!

Pattern: Puff-sleeved Feminine Cardigan
Yarn: Knit Picks Merino Style, Hollyberry, 6.5 skeins
Needles: US 4 and 6
Size: 34"
Rav link

No mods, though I may have made it a bit longer if I hadn't been running out of yarn. Aside from the yarn quantity drama, the pattern was otherwise quite simple and straightforward. Minimal seaming under the arms, otherwise seamless. And it's a great fit.

IMG_3873


So, how much extra yarn did I end up needing? Almost 1.5 skeins! That's an extra 175 yards, give or take.

The good news is, I absolutely adore this sweater, so it was all worth it.


IMG_3875


Wow, this has become a long post. Maybe I should've skipped the mayonnaise story. Ah well.

Anyone interested in a few more photos and details about my first (of many, I hope) design can see my Ravelry project page here.

5 comments :

leann said...

Very cute! I think I actually have some Merino DK in Hollyberry leftover from my Riding to Avalon from a few years ago. How scary would it be if that were the same dyelot, too? For the record, I'm Ravenclaw, but my husband is Slytherin. ;-)

Minding My Own Stitches said...

Oh, don't you hate all the drama when you just want to knit a sweater? Something similar has happened to me, so now I read project notes before I cast on!

It's very cute now that it's done!

Ivy said...

I am so glad I read this. I have yarn for that sweater, and remember thinking this CAN'T be enough. I haven't started yet though -- I'll see if I can get more, or use the yarn for something else.

Steph said...

I'm so glad it worked out... I was a little worried about the mail, too.

~ Your Hero

CrookedKnitter said...

That happened to me recently! I was using handdyed and the dyer made another skein for me. It went missing in the USPS, with a tracking code! It showed up finally almost 2 weeks later 15 miles from her home. It was for a KAL with a deadline of 3/4. It came on 3/5. It was terribly not the same coloring as the original. Luckily, only 3 rows left of my shawl had to be done so it looked good enough.