Spring is here in northeast Ohio. This morning was possibly the last morning cold enough to persuade Greg to don his Lopi sweater for a photo shoot. His is the third and last Lopi of the season to come off my needles after a winter-long jag of Icelandic yoked sweaters.
It all began when my son and daughter-in-law visited Iceland for their honeymoon last October.
They both bought Icelandic yoked sweaters while there. When they came for Christmas, I drooled over their sweaters. That pleased them no end because they had brought home Lopi yarn and the pattern book for a Christmas gift for me. Of course, I wanted to make more than the original gift of wool would allow. The Nordic Store was really quite happy to sell me more yarn to make more than one project.
I got right to work and made Hela for myself. I think the light green is the only color from the original gift of wool.
Like many knitters, I have quite a stockpile of yarn. Some yarn I have purchased in quantities sufficient for a sweater. Other skeins I have purchased one of, just to see how I like working with the yarn and because the color compels me. One rationale is that, like an artist, I need to have a palette of colors (and fibers) from which to work. This year, I promised myself I would knit only from my stash. I would resist temptation and slowly whittle down my stash.
Stash Buster Number One – Chevron Mini-Dress
The Chevron Mini-Dress in the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of Vogue Knitting seemed to hit all my hot buttons. It was fashion-forward in a retro way. The model was knit in pinks,oranges, and reds which never fail to catch my eye. The yarn called for is Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima, a DK weight cotton for which I had a good substitute, Tahki Cotton Classic. The only stumbling block was that I had 4 colors – an ivory, 2 shades of green, and indigo. The pattern called for 6 analogous (or adjacent to eachother on the color wheel) colors. I used the weighted random stripe generator to create a stripe pattern that might not look too amateurish.
The pattern works from the hem up and I wanted to work from the top down. If I ran out of yarn, I wanted to decide whether or not to make this tunic longer by buying more yarn. In the end, I did buy one more skein of ivory which pretty much matched my original ivory and being separated from the older ivory by other stripes, seemed to blend well.
I worked on this all summer.The finished product looks quite different from the model nad yet, it still seems like a throwback to the 1960’s. The most remarkable thing about it is that the Cotton Classic from my stash was probably 15 years old!
Stash Buster Number Two – Quadri
Von Hinterm Stein published Quadri in September 2014. What I love about this is that it is a contemporary rendering of the shawl, light as feather, double sided, and employing simple squares for pattern. I learned a new technique, Navaho knitting, to make the triple-stranded squares with the one strand of the working yarn tripled while knitting. There are many demonstrations of this technique on YouTube.
On an impulse I had purchased a 1500-yard skein of Filatura Di Crossa Centolavaggi from a Ravelry designer. That is an amazing length and look at the cake it made!
This travelled around with me all summer and into the fall. The whole 1500 yards fit nicely into my knitting travel pouch. The finished Quadri made a perfect retirement/birthday/Christmas gift for Diane.
One Step Back
Alas, I am but one persuasive article away from purchasing new yarn. I read so much knitting literature – books, magazines, and blogs – that I put myself at risk of scuttling my stash resolution almost daily. And who could be more persuasive on the subject of yarn than Clara Parkes? She offered a one-time Shetland 1.0 yarn in undyed colors through her website. I couldn’t resist the uniqueness of the offering and purchased 5 300-yard skeins. The yarn is now on the needles as Foyle;s Pullover from Customfit by Amy Herzog. Temptation wins…for now.
How many knitters have sworn to destash as a New Year’s resolution? Probably as many as there are stars in the sky. I joined that constellation this year, by casting on for the Cabled Yoke Pullover with an unidentified stash yarn that had once been a sweater for my husband. As with so many of the items knit for him, it was never worn, so I had unravelled it and stored it in the bottom on the wall unit in a plastic bag.
I do feel so virtuous. Not only do I have a beautiful new sweater for my wardrobe, but I actually did reduce the size of my stash. And, strangely enough, I identified the yarn by chance. Last Saturday, I went to a knit-in. Many of us were preparing for Anne Hanson’s Shawl Project class at Lake Farm Park. One knitter was winding a fingering weight yarn. I noticed it was awfully close in color to the yarn with which I was making this sweater. In fact, they were the exact same heathered color. That was when she told me that the yarn was Reynold’s Candide. The name clicked but I still have no idea how old the yarn is. It could be as much as 15 years old. Kind of sad to realize that I have at least 15 years in my rearview knitting mirror. Now, I wonder how old the fingering weight yarn was?