“I just want more of her.” A wonderful piece on the late lamented food writer, Laurie Colwin.

Help An Olympic Pal

piemancentercable.jpg
Dear Ann,
Kind of a good news/bad news situation here in the New York outpost of Ravelympics Team Afghans for Afghans.
piemanbackinprogress.jpg
Good news: I love this pattern (Pie Man from Rowan’s hoary Tadpoles and Tiddlers of 1995) as much as I did during my Olympic training, i.e., 6 or 7 years ago when I knit it the first time.
Bad news: When I went to the stash, I learned that I only had 6 skeins and a little of the red Magpie, whereas the size I was planning to knit calls for 7 skeins.
Good news: Children were so much bigger in 1995 that the finished dimensions of the Size 3-4 years are bigger, in both length and girth, than any garment belonging to my boy, who will turn 10 in October. Although I am troubled by the shrinkage of children in the past 13 years, I am prepared to be OK about that if it means I can finish this sweater with only 6 skeins of Magpie. (What 3-4 year old wears a 32 inch chest, I ask you? For a toddler, that is a life-threatening amount of ease.)
Nervous news: Having finished the first skein, I am only halfway done with the back. This means the back and front will take most of 4 skeins, leaving only 2 skeins-and-a-little for both sleeves. Not sure I will be able to get 2 circa 1995 sleeves (o, the flappage we enjoyed in the latter days of the 20th century) out of 2 skeins and change.
So I’m looking for someone to be the Jason Lezak to my Michael Phelps. If Jason Lezak had a skein of discontinued Rowan Magpie, in Shade 684 (“Berry”), he would totally swap it with Michael Phelps.
In return, in addition to a square swap for your Magpie, I promise not to strip to the waist and scream at you like a wild man. Frankly I think the not-stripping deal is worth a hank of Magpie all by itself.
Please email me, Magpie owner. I know you’re out there. They made a lot of this stuff. Somebody’s got it.
Love,
Kay
PS Plan B is to call the back the front and work the new back and/or the sleeves plain, without the heavy cabling. My question: would this really save much yarn? Bueller?

46 Comments

46 Comments

  1. First, work so far totally rocks! And I see you can speed knit without one of those special suits like MP wears. I would knit up the sleeves taken in as you describe and in St stitch. Then see how much you have left for the back to see if you could eke out some cabling on the back or need to go plain. Of course, I expect the Knitting Olympian Gods can come through with a skein for you making this moot.

  2. I personally like a cap sleeve on a wool aran sweater. So summery!

  3. I don’t have any Magpie to swap with you, but there’s a shop in Anaheim Hills, CA that may be able to help you. I know they have Magpie. It’s called Velona Needlecraft. Their phone number (open at 10 am PDT). Their number is 800) 972-1570. Good luck!

  4. This is what I did when I found I was two balls of yarn short for my Afghans for Afghans sweater. I searched Ravelry to see if anyone had it stashed. Then I sent each person a begging pleading pm. I got one reply and the yarn is on its way. Give it a try. Actually it works better then posting in the Searching for Yarn forum. That place moves so fast, the right person might never see your request.
    Good luck
    If that doesn’t work. I would knit one sleeve and see just how much yarn you will need. I would also knit the back plain.
    Suzann

  5. Me again. I found one person with 6 balls of 684 for sale. The bad news she is in the Uk. I also found two people who have that color in their stash. They are in the US but they don’t have it up for sale. I think they each have a single ball. You need to look through all the stash as not everyone lists the color number.
    http://www.ravelry.com/people/placeofbits/stash/magpie-aran-4
    Cheers

  6. I agree with looking in the Ravelry stash. I just went in for a gander and there is lot of Magpie to be had. It is a lovely yarn. I really miss the older Rowan yarns.

  7. Yes, a plain back really will save you lots of yarn. Sadly, I can’t help further, as no Magpie here. The new Pure Wool stuff they do is not a patch on the old Magpie. x x x

  8. I think that knitting the back and sleeves plain would probably save a surprising amount of yarn! Good luck with your search; I expect that someone will be able to send you the yarn.

  9. Alas, I’m no help when it comes to finding some more Magpie. Instead of anchoring the relay, I’m just in the stands cheering. Good luck!

  10. Ohhhhh, I hope you find more yarn!! It would be such a shame to have to make the back and sleeves plain. My tried and true “I meant to do that” methods when yarn runs short is to knit cuffs and neckline in a contrasting color or to make the sleeves in another color if I have really calculated badly.
    He did scream like a wild man, didn’t he? I was a little afraid he’d injure his lungs and never swim again.

  11. Colorblock? With sleeves of a different color or two different colors?I believe it was all the rage back in ’95.

  12. OR what about NO sleeves, and make it a vest!
    (Course he might not like that, but hey.)

  13. Or–knit the sleeves down from the armholes (didn’t the knitting pharm do that??) and end ‘em when you run out of yarn. Kids always push their sleeves up, anyway…right?
    Of course all of this creative and crazy advice will be moot because due to the magic of Ravelry and the somewhat insane generosity of knitters you will soon have enough to make this in full ’95 fashioned glory, plus a matching skirt & headband.

  14. peaceweaver on ravelry is listed as having 12 skeins (Rowan magpie aran, berry). You could send her a message asking if she’d spare some.

  15. My brain is in a fog from all of the Olympics viewing (and knitting, though yesterday was a knit free day to give my hands some rest from the gruelling pace).
    I always feel a little self conscious asking someone on Ravelry if they have yarn I could beg, borrow or trade for even though I’ve never had a rude comment from anyone on the site.

  16. Sorry, don’t have any, but enjoyed your post. Flappage is a good word for it. I recall a Debbie Bliss pattern for a ten year old girl’s cardigan that called for a fifty inch chest. Fifty! 5-0, like the old show set in Hawaii.
    Book ‘em Dan-o.

  17. Ok hang with me here this is gonna sound kind of screwy….but what if you did the top quarter or so of the sleeve like the pattern calls for but then just above the elbow use an off white or some such color you like with the body, and do the rest of the sleeve in a stitch that looks like a henly (sp?) type stitch the rest of the way down. So it looks like how when people wear the long sleeve shirt under shorter ones. O r is that too much to hang with? :/

  18. You just might end up with enough Magpie to upolster another chair or even a sofa.

  19. I am Magpie-less, but about Rowan sizing – they are crazy for width. I am still knitting sweaters for my six year-old from the Miss Bea’s books using the “2-3year” size and just adding length. I want to knit Primrose, but I have been too lazy to do the math to knit the 2-3 year width, the 6-8 year length, and the 4-6 year sleeve ;>

  20. might the sleeves be knit
    in another colour school colours
    i do not think any one should send
    the yarn then we can see what you like
    in a rant i have a pattern for one

  21. I found this: http://www.shopfinepoints.com/product.php?productid=1985
    I was able to put it in my shopping cart and everything.

  22. Totally loved your Swimming team analogy! Not to mention the addition of Bueller on the end! You rock!

  23. Totally loved your Swimming team analogy! Not to mention the addition of Bueller on the end! You rock!

  24. Whenever I watch movies from the ’90s, or read knitting books from the ’90s, or really, encounter any ’90s fashion at all, I become very grateful that I am not 10 years older than I am, and that my more fashionable shirts from age 14 are just a bit too short, suited for clever layering and/or sleepwear, rather than wearing on their own, and not approximately the size of an Olympic swimming pool.

  25. Oh, Kay (not to be confused with Okay…this is a sort of endearment),
    No one makes me chortle like you. Not chuckle, not giggle, not even guffaw, but chortle.
    If chortling were an olympic event (and why not? I mean badminton?) you would be a chortling champion.
    Or a chortle making champion.
    Thank you for the reminder of the stripped-to-the-waist-animal-screaming-Michael-Phelps visual imagery. I can now finish the day at work without smashing my nose in the keyboard of my computer.

  26. OMG – have you guys seen this? A whole stash for sale – not a bad price and some great yarn!
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270264572191&_trksid=p3907.m32&_trkparms=tab%3DSelling

  27. Kay, I don’t have red, but I do have some black Magpie if you decide to make the arms a different color.

  28. In response to your PS query – yes, I am sure making the back and sleeves much plainer would save you potloads of yarn (and spare everyyone from the waist-stripping procedure) ;-) I have also noticed the dimunization of children over the years, but am pleased by the sizes of the older patterns, as it often means I can wear a toddler’s sweater at my post-midcentury age. What an ego-booster!

  29. In response to your PS query – yes, I am sure making the back and sleeves much plainer would save you potloads of yarn (and spare everyyone from the waist-stripping procedure) ;-) I have also noticed the dimunization of children over the years, but am pleased by the sizes of the older patterns, as it often means I can wear a toddler’s sweater at my post-midcentury age. What an ego-booster!

  30. Egads! PLEASE do not knit the sleeves a different color. It reminds me of how our mothers used to lengthen our too-short jeans by adding on an extra couple inches of denim — or worse yet — calico, as if no one would ever notice that! I have great faith that the Deities of Yarn will come through for you.

  31. No cable back and sleeves would easily save a ball of yarn I think, but lots of options out there. I wouldn’t do just the sleeves in a separate colour, but you could do the yoke/sleeves in a second colour, or stripe the top of both front and back (or that could look horrible, I’m not sure).

  32. I have several full skeins of green and a wee ball (half-skein?) of white. Go wild!

  33. I have no magpie, but the socks I’m knitting match your sweater. Maybe the same little boy who gets your sweater will get my socks!

  34. I have no magpie, but the socks I’m knitting match your sweater. Maybe the same little boy who gets your sweater will get my socks!

  35. I have no magpie, but the socks I’m knitting match your sweater. Maybe the same little boy who gets your sweater will get my socks!

  36. Rats! I missed the Magpie by one number. I have 4 skeins of Shade 683 (Moss), but no Shade 684. Give me a holler if you think of a way you can incorporate the moss in with the Berry.
    Mary G. in Texas

  37. Did you see there are two people on Ravelry with that color? One has 12 balls (peaceweaver) and the other has 1 ball (halfbisqued).
    Good luck getting them to send you some! I totally would send you some if I had it, but I have sock yarn, not much yarn in my stash (if any) is aran weight!

  38. Dear Kay,
    I do think someone will come through with the goods. On the off chance that it doesn’t happen, I say keep it as pure as possible. Go for a vest if you have to, but keep it to one color. It would be tough at this stage to introduce “color blocking” on a cable knit sweater.
    Don’t know what the sleeves are supposed to look like, but if the’re cabled, why not then opt for a seed st. or a nice double moss st.? I don’t think those stitches will take up as much yarn as cables.
    Another (not so?) hot idea would be to get a really close color match and gradually incorporate it into the sweater a la Elizabeth Zimmerman. This would be best accomplished on the back of the sweater, no?
    So. Hope you don’t have to go for any of this, but if you do, hope it helps.
    Oy, Kay! (not to be confused with “okay”…)–I almost forgot–LOVE the sweater!
    You go, girl!
    LoveDiane

  39. must tell you I had a long painful day at work and reading your post and laughing hard cleared away the work yuck … thanks
    really wish I had some of that yarn for you

  40. What? a 4 year old? a 3 year old, even? You can’t be serious, a 32 inch sweater would fit ME.

  41. I really want to know how many people get the “Bueller,” because whenever I say it, nobody gets it. But, Charlie Sheen’s first screen roll, I believe.

  42. do you have a dyelot for that berry? I’m sure that I have some in my stash …

  43. do you have a dyelot for that berry? I’m sure that I have some in my stash …

  44. do you have a dyelot for that berry? I think that I might have some in stash

  45. do you have a dyelot for that berry? I think that I might have some in stash

  46. I, personally, am all for stripping naked to the waist and screaming like a crazee person–but only if you have Phelps’ bod and wax Really Well!