Sunday, January 20, 2008


I think we've all had the experience of our yarn talking to us...only sometimes we are a little too focused on a particular goal to hear what it's saying. The Weekend Getaway Satchel was one of my early 'big projects' I invested in once I starting knitting things besides scarves. I made great progress on the solid back, bottom and side gussets, but stalled out pretty early into the intarsia front.

The biggest hindrance to progress was the large number of 'bobbins' I had hanging off the back. This was further compounded by the fact that the yarn for this project was supposed to be doubled, which meant either twice as many bobbins...or making doubled stranded bobbins...or what I did, which was work with the whole ball from the inside and outside at the same time. This meant at points up to 16 balls of yarn hanging off the back. Needless to say it was a nightmare.

The thing is, I really liked this bag and I kept telling myself that I was going to pull it out one of these days to finish it. When I bought the yarn, I felt that it was terribly scratchy and suitable only for felting and thought with so many coordinating colors, there were lots of possibilities for small felted projects with all the leftovers, which I knew there would be plenty of. Well that's been a couple years now and I still hadn't bothered with it, but my brain kept telling me to finish it so that I could use all those leftovers for other projects.

Then a couple weeks ago, I was at Lori's shop in Alpine and caught sight of some great wool. I was looking for contrasting colors for my Celtic Tote and noticed some lovely wool that at first glance reminded me a bit of the Lamb's Pride I'd been using. I picked it up and was shocked to discover that it was Lopi! And it wasn't the scratchy brillo pad wool I remembered it being! It certainly wasn't next to skin soft, but it was good, solid, outerwear wool. I realized that I hadn't really developed an appreciation for wool when I had last worked with Lopi, so in my head it had stayed scratchy and rough, and certainly nothing I would have previously considered for garments.

I got excited about the yarn all over again, only this time I started dreaming about using the leftovers for the yoke of Aftur after seeing Lolly's lovely version. And maybe even a Leftovers vest with stripes made from the different colors. And then it hit me - the leftover projects had become more interesting to me that the main project! I also realized that the kit contained about 3500 yards of good wool, about 1/2 of which in a great charcoal gray. And since I hadn't felted anything for the bag yet, it was all reclaimable!

Rip, rip, rip I went. It took awhile to separate all of the double stranded yarn, but its done and I've been able to take stock of what is now available sweater wool. I realized that I had almost enough of the strap yarn in Crimson to make the body of the Aftur sweater. So with a couple of clicks, I ordered the Lopi 25 pattern book and a couple more balls of yarn. And now I'm ready to go!

And the best part? I placed my order at Ram Wools (unbeknown to me at the time) three days before their site-wide 30% off sale. Oh well, I thought. But guess what? When my order was delivered, I discovered that they had given me the discount anyway!! I'm thoroughly impressed, because they certainly didn't have to do that and I never would have even thought to ask for it!

And the grand total? Given what I paid for the kit through WEBS (it was enough to get the 20% discount) more than 2 years ago and including the Lopi pattern book and additional 3 balls of yarn, I will now be able to make at least 3 sweaters for approximately $30 each! A steal in and of themselves on any day, but given that this is stash wool, that makes them practically free! Right? ;-)


jillian said...

That was nifty of Ram Wools! Glad everything worked out so well. I love the plastic zipper bags their orders come in. So good for storing stash and projects!

mle said...

Oh I love it when yarn get's a new life! the colors are so gorgeous and would be perfect for Aftur!

Jennifer said...

Yay! Isn't it great when everything comes together for some fantastic sweater planning?

Kim said...

I love recycling yarn and have experienced unwinding double the strands...ouch and to make matters worse it was about a furry mess..can't wait to see the completed projects! Happy Knitting!

knitzalot said...

Wow! It must feel good to get rid of that albatross. I can't wait to see your creations!

Anonymous said...

Did you frog the whole bag? Why don't you knit a plain front to it, and decorate it another way? You'd still have lots of leftover yarns.

Susan said...

I know how you feel. I buy yarn for a specific project all the time and there's no reason to be boxed into keeping your original plan. Change is all part of the knitting plan. lol.