Monday, March 24, 2008

Change of plan

Well..."the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry." At least I'm not alone in this.

My oh so carefully planned sweater already has experienced a set back. The pattern and gauge are fine, the knitting is going along very well, and I like the look of it very much, but there's a problem. The yarn that felt soft and lovely in the skein, knits up into a fabric that is scratchy against the skin. I was going to continue on as if nothing was wrong, but then I had to ask myself if I would actually wear a sweater that felt like that. With a resounding "No!" going through my mind, I'm ripping it out today. Thankfully, I didn't wait until I was half way up the body before deciding to change yarn.

I'm nearly sick as I think about it. All that handspun yarn, all the experimentation and planning...well, welcome to my world. Sometimes it seems like I spend more time ripping back than actually moving forward with a project. I have loads of black alpaca and some charcoal unspun Icelandic wool that would go together nicely if I change the gauge and some of the pattern elements, but I'm really saving that for another hooded jacket. Hmmmm.... Today looks like a day to search through my yarn inventory for about 2000 yards of...something...something plain that will show off the pattern stitches. I have lots of painted yarns, but I don't like to combine knit/purl stitch patterns with elaborate color because I think you lose the effect of both elements. Less is more, you know.

So what to do with the white handspun? I'm remembering how I already wrote about jumping on the bandwagon of making little crocheted toys and that's been fun--really fun. I suppose that I now have yards and yards of white handspun yarn that can be turned into little toys and dyed to my own taste. If I double the yarn and use a bigger hook, I can probably felt them as well. With the mohair in the yarn, the felted pieces will become furry and fuzzy. Just the thing for stuffed animal toys, so all is not lost. I also have a teddy bear book that I've never really taken seriously. Maybe there's a silver lining out there somewhere?

On a happier note, the rose gray jacket is ready to assemble. I'm going shopping this week for polar fleece with which to line it and for some really great buttons. I expect to have to spend as much as $2 per button to get what I want and I'll need eight of them. Ouch!

On an even happier note, the Easter snow storm has melted away already and it's looking a little more like spring. The first two yellow crocuses just poked their heads up, so there's hope for warmth and green that will end what feels to me like the longest winter on record. While I was walking yesterday, I noticed that the trees were just beginning to bud. The sea gulls were following the tractor through the field as the farmer was discing it up, so there must be insects and such stirring in the ground. All the signs of spring are there, but it has yet to spring!

With warmer weather comes major cleaning of livestock pens, a huge mucking out of the barns, irrigation, and shearing. There will have to be a large renovation effort to repair the damage that the freezing wind has done on several fronts during the winter--sagging wind breaks, loose boards here and there, posts broken off in the frozen ground, and such. I'm looking forward to it this year. Just to have winter say goodbye for a while will be worth it.

Well, off to rip! With the prospect of spring, ripping out that sweater doesn't seem so bad!


Pondside said...

Last week I bought my neices some very sweet slippers, knit from white home-spun yard. The were decorated with felted ears - one a mouse, and the other a bunny - with embroidered faces. The cuffs were knit with pink ribbing. Maybe something like that would work for your wool. Would you post photos of the rose sweater when it is completed?

Elizabethd said...

Oh what a disappointment for you to find that the planned wool doesnt work. I guess the hunt is on now for toy patterns, good idea.

lampworkbeader said...

I'm glad your spring is well on the way. We've had spring and now it's back to winter! It's snowing and it hardly ever dares to do that in southern England!

Kathleen said...

What if you make that same sweater in a cardigan, and maybe line it, too, with flannel or some light material? Make it a jacket instead of a sweater and the ithciness won't be an issue.

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Oooo can imagine how horrible that was when you realised that the yarn was too itchy. I have had to return lots of jumpers and cardigans because I simply could not wear them . . . you think you can . . .but ooooo no . . itching just thinking about it.

Perhaps Spring will burts forth rather than Spring when things warm up.

Looking forward to seeing the Teddies and animals you choose to make.

Fennie said...

You are so dedicated and talented! I'm afraid I don't have the patience - I have would you believe sitting in a cupboard for perhaps thee past ten years a half finished long cardigan knitted by my mother-in-law from the combings of my first Newfoundland dog. Unfortunately she ran out of wool before she finished the coat which really should, I suppose, be unpicked and made into something smaller, but I haven't the heart to do that and not the sill to blend another wool into the garment and so finish the facings, not that I think I would be up to that anyway.
But the wool is so beautiful and soft and brown, despite the dog himself being black.

Wooly Works said...

You're all so great! Good ideas abound in good company. Thanks for all the suggestions, and yes, Pondside, I'll post pictures of the rose gray jacket. I think that felted slippers are an excellent idea. I'll look into that!

Oh Fennie, what a shame about the unfinished coat. I wonder if someone you know would pick it up and re-make it for you.

LWB, we had driving wind and snow here just a few days ago. I'm sure your snow will melt quickly, though.

I'm with you, WW, when it comes to itchy sweaters. They're nearly torture to endure, and that's what you inevitably end up doing, just enduring until you can rip it off and be rid of it.

Cait O'Connor said...

I have a gorgeous grey wool cardigan but I am going to have to ditch it because it makes my neck itch so.
An over-jacket is a good idea.
Do you make rugs at all?

Breezy said...

Shame about that yarn who would expect something that felt soft to knit up harsh? Well not me. The grey jacket sounds wonderful

Debra in France said...

Hi Wooly, how disappointing for you. All that planning and dreaming. All you hadn't finished the sweater before you realised!