Decision Making Time
First, an update on my recent “Save My WIP” post from a couple of weeks ago about my Betsey shawl. I ended up ripping the whole thing out. But, before I did, I checked my gauge and it was actually okay. Well, the stitch gauge was right…there was no good way to check row gauge as the whole pattern is curved. It’s a little surprising my stitch gauge was right since I hadn’t blocked the piece. In any case, gauge isn’t all that critical for this. It’s all about the relative stretch between sections. I think a tighter gauge leads to the (unwanted) ruffling effect I was getting. I did swatch on a few different needle sizes but the resulting information wasn’t that helpful.
I decided that the drape of the fabric on US11s promised to be the best option. Since I don’t have a set of circulars in that size with a long enough cable, I ordered some. They will take a while to arrive (cheap price, long shipping) so that project is temporarily on hold.*
On to the next WIP dilemma! I am currently working on a test knit for Marion Crivelli, the Athena Shawl. The prototype took 800 yards of fingering weight yarn. I chose to use madelintosh tosh merino light, of which I had 880 yards in my stash. Ten percent is an adequate margin, right? Well, I got started and have been cruising along. It’s an interesting but ultimately simple construction. There are five sections, knitted vertically and added on one by one as you knit. The whole thing ends up being on the bias. After gradually increasing to the the full width of all five sections, you bind off a few stitches on each WS row until you’re out of stitches. Then you pick up stitches along the long edge and work an I cord border. It ends up being a triangle with one elongated tip. In other words, an asymmetrical shape that makes it very hard to determine where you are in terms of yardage!
I got to a handful of rows away from starting the decreases when my first skein (440 yards) ran out. For a symmetrical triangle, that would have meant I definitely wouldn’t have had enough yarn to finish it out as written. Since the decreases happen a lot faster than the increases, I thought maybe I’d be okay. The designer’s shawl had used 800 yards! I checked out the other testers’ projects and found a lot of variation on yardage used, but some of them had made some modifications and it just wasn’t clear what the implications were for my situation. So, I forged ahead, knowing there was at least a decent chance I would ultimately lose a game of yarn chicken.
I kept on knitting. I finished the increases and got about halfway through the decrease rows…and got down to about 2 gm of yarn. That equates to approximately 8.5 yards, which equates to approximately nowhere near enough to finish out the shawl. I’ve got something like 90 or 100 stitches still on the needles so I’ve got a good…40 rows left, maybe? They will take less and less yardage as I go on as each row will be shorter than the last, but that’s still not going to make it.
Let me talk a little about the yarn I’m using. MT tosh merino light is a single ply fingering weight yarn. As with all MT yarns, it’s hand dyed in a complex colorway that may or may not be matched to other skeins in the same dye batch, much less skeins dyed at different times. There’s typically a ton of variation between dye batches. In other words, there’s no way that I can match this colorway. To take it a step further, I got this yarn from dbny. That means there’s no telling how old it is or where it came from. The two skeins I have are each 440 yards which means they’re from January 2011 at the latest. After that, MT adjusted the yardage to 420. After doing a little more research, I learned that the Filigree colorway is discontinued. Which is a shame as it is really luscious to work with.
This doesn’t mean I’m completely without options, though! There’s one skein in the same colorway and yardage fsot** on ravelry. I could buy that and just not worry about any subtle variations in the colorway. From the pics, it looks pretty much the same. I could get a whole skein in a different, but complementary color. Or, I could get a couple of Unicorn Tails, which are 52 yard mini skeins of the same type of yarn. I can’t get them in Filigree but again could get a complementary color.
It’s a little tricky to tell from the pics, but this colorway incorporates a wide range of shades. Olive green, forest green and amber are punctuated by a brilliant copper and occasional hints of robin’s egg blue. This at least gives me a lot of options when choosing a complementary color. Part of me is tempted to use a light blue shade, as I like bold (!) color combinations. However, even I think that might be too garish! Here are the color options I’ve narrowed it down to:
All three above images are from Hill Country Weavers.
And, if I’m really daring, I could use one UT I already have. I don’t know if just one would have enough yardage, though. I could be stuck binding off early, or I could run out halfway through the I cord. This color is sold out everywhere I looked, so I probably can’t get another one:
So, dear readers, what do you think I should do?
Poll expires in one week. I’m looking forward to the results!
*After writing but before publishing, the new needles showed up in the mail!
**fsot=for sale or trade