The importance of materials

You know the important thing to finish a project, the raw materials?  I started Nesselrode knowing that I had nowhere near the amount of yarn specified for the project – the pattern book specified 11 skeins of Blackstone Tweed, and I had precisely 8.  I did not let this small discrepancy deter me.  First of all, I told myself that Berroco patterns are notorious for over-estimating yarn requirements, and that I could use another dye lot for the ribbing if necessary (note – gentle reader, that I had only two thirds of the yarns recommended to complete the project)….

I sent several begging private messages to people on Ravelry who had this colour (2607 Wintry Mix)  and dyelot  (9062) listed in their stash.  I was happy to pay them for their yarn (a premium even) and their postage, but no takers.

I posted on several ISO yarn forums, and the silence in response was deafening.   I emailed WEBS (where I had originally purchased the yarn), but they had no more in the dyelot.  They did have 4 balls in another dyelot, which I ordered, hoping that it would be a close enough match – tweedy yarn and all.  When that yarn arrived, I realised that no – it really did not match.  Now, I am not an expert enough photographer to highlight the lack of matchy-matchyness, but you will have to believe me, the colour change would be notable.

So, desperation struck me (perhaps coupled with the overwhelming feeling that this predicament was entirely of my own making, and predictable to boot).  I trawled all the projects in Ravelry which had been made in Wintry Mix, and sent private messages to people for their leftovers (offering Paypal, swaps, Wollmeise, children and undying gratitude in a mix of the recipient’s liking).

I then had a 3am brainwave (which I am ashamed to admit, I actually acted on at 3am) and started emailing all the yarn shops where people had listed that they had purchased Berroco Blackstone Tweed (in the matching colour and dye lot) to see if they had any stock left that matched.  Most did not reply (with the notable exception of Jimmy Beans, who replied within 8 hours on a Sunday!)

Finally, thanks to the magic of the internet I struck gold.  Today I received my first parcel, courtesy of Elizabeth – 37 grams of precious Berroco Blackstone Tweed in 2607 in dyelot 9062.  Thanks to the intervention of Janelle, Common Threads a wonderful LYS in Encinitas CA will be sending me the remaining required 3 skeins.  I should note that at this stage I have just finished knitting the front and back, and have used 7.2 balls of yarn, without a the generous turtle neck knitted, nor either of the sleeves.  There might be some more begging for left-overs yet, and my complete confidence the propensity for Berroco to overstate yarn amounts might well be misplaced…

Apart from my idocy in setting out to make a sweater where I did not have the yarn in the quantities specified, this sweater is notable in that I’ve tried out quite a few new tools on it.  The first is the Lantern Moon Interchangeable Needles, in rosewood, that I purchased from Yarn Over.  They appear to be out of stock now, but I’m sure if you ask them nicely, they will get some in stock for you.

These are not a cheap interchangeable set, but they are very pleasant to knit with.  I particularly like the swivel on the cable, which seems to to minimize problems with the cable unscrewing.  There is however, a notable omission in the set –  I knitted the sweater in the round to the arm pits, and them split for the front and back, and realised that the set does not come with cable caps – that led to me needing to use a stitch holder (which I really don’t like needing to use). Hopefully Lantern Moon will sort that part out in the near future.The next tool that was new to me on this project is the Wanda (look at the bottom of the linked page). You can see  it floating (seemingly disembodied in the photo above) – or here is a shot of them that I ganked from Lacis’s web page.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am an advocate of cabling without a needle.  However, there are some cables that don’t play nicely without a cable needle, and Nesselrode has one of them.  The fact that there is actually a video on the pattern page from Berroco, that illustrates the particularly tricky cable; should have been a clue.

This photo gives you a much better idea of the complexity of the cabling exercise.  In any event, I had bought the Wanda because Nancy Bush told me to, and it turns out that it makes a fabulous cable needle, and it fits neatly in my little kit of  knitting tricks.  They cost only USD $12 for a set of 3, and I strongly recommend that anyone who will be  cabling, or picking up stitches, or tinking with slight lace “design features”, buy one now, and thank me for their extra sanity later. There is something very pleasing about the hand feel of a bone needle, and the experience has made me interested to find out more about them.


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10 thoughts on “The importance of materials”

  1. I’ll be glad to check the stock at they Yarnery for that color/dyelot. It is lovely yarn, isn’t it? Also, to see if they carry that Wanda, which appears to be something worth having. So, did you knit faster when you realized you were running out of yarn? I do, which is idiocy, but somehow seems to make sense at the time!

  2. Oh, I would like to hear more of the wonders of the Wanda! (and why N. Bush recommends them so!). I have a few bone crochet hooks and I love using them.

    Isn’t the Internet and the Ravelry a wondrous thing! Thanks goodness you found more yarn!

  3. Oh Ingrid haven’t most of us been down this awful road of running out of yarn, and what does amaze me about it is the way our minds tick over in order to get some more yarn – no matter what ! So glad you scored, great colour and it will look great when finished.

    LOVE those hooks !

  4. I think you deserve an award for persistence in chasing up yarn supplies. 3.00am indeed! And yet another example of how you should always, always do what Nancy Bush tells you to do.

  5. i am intrigued by the wanda. like lyn, i would do it too if nancy told me to. nancy knows her stuff. this was a most informative and entertaining post! that jumper is just gorgeous and the fact that you started knitting it without the required yarn made me laugh out loud. but i know you will finish it, and it will be gorgeous.

  6. Oh Ingrid, didn’t I teach you anything, LOL.
    Buy in huge, massive, “what am I gonna do with all this yarn?” quantities all the time.
    And love the sound of those gadgets.

  7. What a beautiful pattern, totally worth the herculean internet effort to obtain the new yarn. I liked that you knew when you cast it on that you didn’t have enough, but threw caution to the wind – for I have been there before! Great post, can’t wait to see it finished, and I hope you have enough yarn this time..

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