Thursday, January 25, 2007


I have a pile of gray yarn that haunts me. I think it is cursed. It occupies a twingey little spot in the back of my brain that itches every time I purchase another skein of anything. "What are you doing?!" It says. "Why don't you love me? What will become of me? Sniffle." Grah.

Oh how I loved this yarn when it first came home with me. It was destined to be the most beautiful cabled sweater from a Rebecca magazine. So what if the gauge wasn't even close - I was going to make it happen! Never mind that at that point I had never altered a sweater pattern to make it fit, or really tinkered with much of anything. Never mind that I knew going in that the English translation of the German pattern had some sort of error and the chart was wrong. Big deal, this was going to be fantastic.

Here is the yarn in its first life as the Rebecca sweater. Sorry for the dark picture, it was taken before I knew any better. It almost makes me teary to look at - the cables are so pretty! I knit the back and one sleeve. I knew deep down there was no way it would fit... it was only about 34" around and the Girls need more room than that. Not to mention that since the gauge was totally off I had monkeyed with the depth of the armscythe to deal with the cables but did not do similar monkeying for the sleeve cap, which was way too shallow.

When I finally came to terms with reality, I ripped, and washed and hung to dry, and fortunately the yarn did not seem too disturbed.

The next incarnation was another cabled sweater - Saltwater from Rowan Classic Beach. I hate the beach; I should have known this would not work out. (You can see a beautifully executed version here, though.) I don't even think I have pictures of this. I had decided to do some waist shaping and shorten the ribbed section, but was too lazy to do the real math (clearly learning nothing from the earlier experience). Back to the frog pond. This time, the yarn was a little less accommodating, although I only killed two balls or so.

When Interweave Knits arrived last fall I saw Arwen. I must admit I was not completely besotted with the sweater but I thought the reversible cables were interesting and, more importantly, I could get rid of this grim pile of gray yarn!! In the meantime this sweater has developed quite a cult following. It was not until I saw this one finished over at Juju's blog that I decided I could really get behind this sweater.

So, I have been swatching. I think I made a mistake in the cable, but I think you get the point.* I'm going to make it smaller than recommended because it will never be worn closed and the finished measurements in the instructions have the front cables overlapping. I might add waist shaping... then again I might just knit feverishly to make the gray yarn GO AWAY!

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* Note to self: Do not knit half a swatch of reversible cables, fail to mark your place, and attempt to resume on the subway while balancing your magazine, overstuffed handbag and coffee in your lap and barely having enough space to bend your arms.


Carrie Z. said...

Wow, Arwen is beautiful. Can't wait to see how happy the gray is when knitted into such a pretty sweater!

Francesca said...

Your story made me cringe. All that beautiful cable work! I hope you can make good use of that yarn soon or forget about it. Some projects (or yarns) just seem to consume our energy without behaving properly in return.

I had a similar problem with my first St. Brigid sweater. I ended up making it too small, but was too stubborn to stop when I could have. In the end I gave the sweater to a friend.

blair said...

I admire your determination to actually use the yarn, seriously. I seem to give up on things sometimes way too fast.

Catherine said...

Ah, the grey yarn. It's the bad boyfriend of your knitting life. It comes back, looking so promising, but always, in the end, you have to make it go away!