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Eight Yarns, One Sweater: Ecru Swamp

Dear Kay,

The pile of yarn doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller. I knit and knit and knit, yet the ecru yarn persists. It’s . . . spawning. There must be five miles of ecru yarn here.

It does not help that I am being offered skeins of ecru yarn. Kay, you may NOT offload your ecru yarn in my direction, for any purpose. I am not going to accept it! If I get out of this thing alive, it will be because I told the UPS guy to return any and all parcels suspected of containing ecru yarn.

Sleeves. I remember suddenly that sleeves are just not that much fun to make. Didn’t we write a book about not knitting sweaters? Weren’t we pretty vocal about the brilliance of a blanket? The sleeves prove to be a problem. There’s the counting, the increasing, the widening, the anxiety of potentially overshooting the exciting moment when you get to cast off five stitches for the next two rows, the measuring. The suspicion that the sleeve cap is the wrong size for the hole it’s supposed to fit.

I also develop a festering dread about how these set-in sleeves will actually set in, when the finishing begins. How much can we ask of a yarn? Can we ask it to join hands, forever, with another yarn of a different weight? IS THIS TURNING INTO A CHEESY METAPHOR FOR WORLD PEACE?

Sleeve Number 1 features two yarns.

Sleeve Number 2 features three yarns.


A kind reader mentioned the utility of a kitchen scale in dividing a skein into two equal-sized balls of yarn. Tools? I’ve got a pair of 20/200 eyeballs built into my head, for pity’s sake! When my eyeballed estimate ended up being not all that accurate, it left me with a seriously unsymmetrical yarn situation. For all who crave symmetry, I am sorry you have to see this.


The good news, if you’re looking for such, is that the gauge on all three yarns seems to be pretty solid. Despite the fact that there’s a sport-weight merino, a slightly heavier Rump-fed Ronyon, and almost-fingering weight Irish wool, it’s all working OK. I have no explanation for this. I take with gratitude all that comes my way.

The next act of this drama, the finishing of the back piece, weighs on me mightily. My notion that the back side should use the heaviest yarns now seems really poorly conceived. That semi-bulky mulespun merino is looking less and less like yarn, and more and more like a pile of dryer lint. Can it even be knitted?

Finally, I just want to assure you all that I’m no speed knitter. I’m blogging slower than I’m knitting, so this all has the fifth-dimension time-warp feel of Interstellar, which also gave me a great whackin’ headache.

Cheers! Remember: cold weather = glory days for knitters.



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