Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Valentine's Day has Passed, but Red is Never out of Season

I probably have more than enough yarn to keep me busy for a while and I can occasionally resist a good thing when I see it. But. Sometimes something is too good to let it go.

Someone on the Ravelry Unravelers group announced that she was destashing all of her sweaters. She used to sell the yarn but she was getting out of it. She had boxes of them. Give her a colour and she would give you a sweater. Four for $10 plus shipping. That's a pretty good deal.

So I asked if she had and true red. Not purple red or orange red, but red red. She said she did. So I said sign me up and these four sweaters winged their way to me via USPS:
All cashmere and three of them very luscious. One didn't feel like "all that" but still good. I gave them all a bath and then I just enjoyed the potential of them. Ok, and enjoyed patting them like bunnies every now and then. I even wore two of them for a day because they fit well enough. But the styles weren't all that flattering on me.

710 grams of cobweb weight cashmere. I couldn't begin
to guess how many metres that is!
And I had plans.

Last weekend I enacted phase one and spent most of my free time on Saturday taking the sweaters apart. Sunday was spent raveling the pieces. Church in the morning was cancelled so I had even more time to do it! (And one station had the Princess Bride on. I realized that is the perfect crafting movie. I don't have to watch to know what is happening, and even if I can't hear it over the whirring of the ball winder, I can recite all the lines myself anyway!)

I didn't quite get it all done Sunday, but was able to finish up on Monday. The only piece that gave me much trouble was the first one. The strand broke at least a dozen times or more. I didn't bother with knots or making it a continuous strand. I just started the new end on the ball winder and kept winding. My plan is to use the four strands at once and if one of the four isn't continuous in a spot, it won't matter. I'll just leave some length on the inside to work in later.

I think that piece was troublesome in part because it was cabled. Where the stitches cross each other, it creates an easy place for the yarn to become tangled or felted together. But the rest of that sweater went fine and the other cabled sweater wasn't nearly so bad. But I had learned and went a little slower on the cable rows.

Once I had all that yarn balled up and organized, I couldn't wait to start knitting with it. I still haven't decided on a pattern, so I thought I'd start with swatching and let my gauge direct where to go with a pattern.
I put a ball from each sweater in a box to manage them and started knitting. You do have to manage the string so that they are kept at an even tension, but it's a lot less work than the alternative of plying them together. In this case, just not worth it to me.

I knit up my swatch and used a tip I just learned from someone:
See those holes from yarnovers on the right side? That tells me which size needle I did that part of the swatch with. Brilliant right? I realized it works a little better with US needle sizes because they're all whole numbers. I have mostly metric needles so whereas the first one is 4mm and the second one is 5mm, I had to modify the code on the top one for 4.5mm. I just put one hole above the row with four holes to indicate the half size. No, I don't know what I'd do for 3.25mm. (Don't need to yet. :) ) It's surprisingly hard to remember which needles you used even when you're sure you won't forget. And yes, making notes is one solution, but it doesn't seem to happen around here!

I think I like the gauge and feel of the top one the best, but it will still partly depend on what pattern I choose. I'm looking at something fitted because I want to make sure I'll have enough yarn. There's one pattern that could use just a little of some handspun so I'm also toying with doing that. Yes, I'm still working on a little spinning! Slowly I am making improvements and it is feeling more natural. Very slowly. But I don't mind. I don't make things by hand to get them done quickly.

For now with this project, I am savouring the possibilities before I settle down. If you have suggestions, I'd love it if you would post it in a comment.

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