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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Yarn, HO!

On Friday I completed a teeny yarn crawl looking for more totem...

I decided I would drive up the Pacific HWY and stop off along the way to see what I could find. First stop was Greta's Handcrafts - I actually expected to find Totem in abundance there. Greta's has a feeling of a yarn store from 20 years ago that hasn't quite given in to the renaissance of knitting, and for some reason I thought it would stock all the classics.

Greta had a few balls of Totem, in a handful of colours - but not more than two balls of any one colour, and not colour #4249 like I was looking for. In fact, I did have a quick browse at Greta's, and it appears that they didn't have enough of any one colour yarn to make a garment out of. I could be wrong - perhaps they have a display of the variety on the shelves, with the majority of the stock out the back, but that wasn't the impression I got.

I continued up the HWY, bypassing Rubi and Lana (I know they don't stock Totem, and I find it impossible to walk out of there without a skein or two) and ended up all the way out at Hornsby craft and wool nook. (I think there is a fabric store/haberdasheries somewhere along the HWY that stocks yarn, but I don't know where that is. If anyone knows, please leave the details in the comments)

Here, I hit the jackpot -
1. They stock Totem..
2. They had colour #4249 (incidentally, the colour is called "old gold" - so technically I am not knitting another green jumper)...
3. Freakily, it was the same dye-lot as what I already had, and...
4. Due to Patons re-labelling Totem, they were selling all stock cheep!

Yes, It appears that Totem is not actually changing, but the labelling of it is. The description is going to change from "8ply premium wool crepe" to "100% pure Australian Merino Wool". (I guess "Merino" sounds more luxurious than plain old wool) - however, it appears that Patons is also using this opportunity to re-vamp the colours available in the trusty yarn. And "old gold" has been given the "heave-ho" (Thank you very much to the assistant at Hornsby craft and wool nook for sharing some of the info in the Patons marketing binder with me - sorry, but I forgot your name)

Which left me with a bit of a dilemma. I only had 8 balls of yarn have already used 3 and a bit balls for the back of my loopy mohair trim sweater. I figure the front will use similar amounts, and the sleeves 1.5 to 2 balls. By those calculations, I needed 2-3 balls to complete the sweater. Seeing as I knew this colour was going to be discontinued, I didn't want to get to an inch from the final sleeve cap and run out... so to be on the safe side, I got double what I thought I would need. The laws of knitting dictate that 4 balls excess is always better than 4 metres short.....

While I was out at Hornsby, I decided to do a bit of window shopping, and low and behold, I found this...

What can I say - the black PVC cover called to me, and I had some borders vouchers to burn.

I have only had a cursory browse, but it looks like this is have technical manual (not just learn-to-knit) and half patterns (some knit on the bias...ooh).

This will be an upcoming kniterature for when I have no knitting progress to share with you...

...which, fortunately I do have today...
Thanks to some of my favourite podcasts having new episodes available this week, I managed to get through those 55 rows of stockinette before I blinked twice. Once piece of the loopy mohair trim sweater is complete (and 100% endorsed by Pierre)

So far, I have followed the pattern except for a couple of minor changes.
1. I changed all the sl 1, k2tog, psso to sssk to better match the k3tog on the other dart.
2. I haven't cast off the back yet because I am planning to complete 3-needle cast-offs for the shoulders, and
3.In order to get nice sloping shoulders instead of steps I completed all the decreases as short rows. If you look under the stitch markers in this close up picture you can see where I turned for the short rows - I haven't tried this before and so far I am happy with the results.

And this is the pattern I am working from, now out of print. I bought it about 1999 or 2000.