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  • OH my gosh, Ann– I am eating my lunch as I read this, and spraying sandwich crumbs all over the laptop as I laugh out loud! Totally laughing WITH you! You are my Knit Hero of the day. I say make the yarn combos as outrageous as possible. Outrageous overcomes any hint of mediocrity.

    • Go big or go home!

  • It’s so brave…. I love it!

  • I love this project! Yesterday I came to the conclusion that I needed more yarn to make the “Cardi Cozy.”
    Following your inspiration, I went stash diving. I am so excited about the new possibilities!

    • Ohhhh, the Cardi Cozy. Wishing you good luck with that one.

  • Oh Ann, we are all rooting for you, not to mention living vicariously. Keep those goblins at bay!

    • Thanks, Kimberley. The goblins are sort of like zombies: you can whack them on the head and they don’t fight back. But they do keep wandering into the room just after you thought they were gone.

  • I am loving your journey through this project. Can’t wait till the finish line!

    • Getting a charleyhorse at this point. Craving a little more variety in the stitch pattern, for some weird reason. I love the way this looks. But I have been doing A Lot Of It by now.

  • Definitely splendor. Loving the differences, and hearing about the goblins. I WOULD wear it 8 times a week, particularly as it’s been snowing all night here, and continues to do so. Keep going!!

    • Last night it was reported that all 50 states had below-freezing temperatures, even Hawaii, atop Mauna Loa. What is that about? SWEATER HEAVEN IS WHAT IT’S ABOUT. I AM LOVING THIS!

  • …and I too have a bin of white yarn…. You have grit and dash; GO! The finish line is in sight! jdu

    • C’mon, go for it! You can go the easy route and make a blanket. Or you can give yourself chronic anxiety about whether a set-in sleeve is going to set in when five different yarns are about to collide. Fun!

  • Better than ok! It’s a … design feature!

  • I am dying from laughter. You’re being too hard on the project – this is one of the coolest sweaters I’ve ever seen, I am having jealousy. Embrace the strange!

    • Oh, it’s a bear hug of an embrace all right.

  • I just don’t understand how there can be so much of it already. Can you please teach me to knit this quickly?

    • Four stitches to the inch means you’re cranking major square footage without much effort! There’s, like, air in between each stitch. It’s so NOT a sock.

  • ok, my knitting mantra is Only God is Perfect…therefore if an error doesn’t just happen (ha!) one must make sure one is included or it is a blasphemy….

    That said, this sweater looks awesome….put in a real mistake!

    • Oh my goodness, this thing is lousy with mistakes! The cable keeps wanting to be too short or too long. I seem to have lost the ability to count to eight.

  • This will be a sweater with history, that’s for sure! I love how textured it is.

  • You know what this is? This is the avante-garde existential identity sweater. This is the sweater to explain your identity, the disparate parts of self that are so distinct from one another yet are unified by the common element of your oneness, your sense of self.
    It’s not a mid life crisis, but a unification and celebration exercise!
    Am I reading too far I to this? Of course! But I spent far too long as a student to not see a little Robert Frost/Picasso vibe going on here.

    • Meg, that all sounds great to me. I’m going to go with your assessment of this project. I would say it’s cheaper than therapy, but knowing the price of yarn, I’m just not sure about that.

  • Three cheers, Ann, for your bravery and tenacity! But I have to ask…do you and Kay ever sleep? I can’t believe how much you’ve accomplished in such a short time!
    Yes, there are differences in appearance due to the different yarns, but no one should be that up close and personal looking at the cables! Having said that, I hope you’re not compelled to finish it just because you mentioned it on your blog. Please listen to your inner knitter’s voice and if you really feel you won’t wear it that often, frog it and chalk it up to a fun experiment. It’s far too much work only to finish it and be less than happy with it…just my humble opinion.

    • LOL about not wearing my sweaters often! ; ) At this point I have a Nordic sheepherder’s allotment of handknit sweaters–don’t we all? But it’s so interesting to knit sweaters! I can’t resist!

  • I think the subtle color changes might make it look like a vintage treasure you found during the attic clean up – something super special your great grandmother made for your grandmother? Maybe even hand-dyed?

    • I too have been thinking about dyeing . . . it just seems like a blank canvas, this thing.

  • I applaud you as I know that Goblin #2 would have captured me. But, hey, I’m debating whether I should proceed with knitting fingerless mitts and a cowl out of yarn with different dye lots. I am not brave. That said, I wouldn’t let the Elf of Mediocrity stop me. If I did, I’d never have any hand knits.

  • So brave, poignant and funny. I especially love the various sheep names, as despite being possessed of the excellent tome “The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook,” (Ekarius/Robson) I have trouble keeping track of even the most common breeds, never mind the more esoteric ones! (Though I did try to get my spinning sweetie to remember the correct pronunciation of Leicester—as in Bluefaced—by the use of the mnemonic, “We talked about Lester until we were blue in the face.”)

    I so admire the Agony and the Ecstasy of this. I still remember and use your slogan from the slogalong, “Bataan Death March or Joyous Meditative Knitting? Yes.”

  • Wow, you are a speedy knitter!

    hmmmm, interesting. I’m sure your fine knitter’s intuition will prevail.

    I wonder what Sally Melville would do? Isn’t she the queen of frankenskein-type projects?

    That’s a beautiful fabric tho’, it does totally/completely merit another version done in a single yarn.

    jake (from Canada, where it is already really, really cold)

    • A Size 8 needle makes things crank along so much faster than a Size 1 sock needle. And yes, the fabric created here really is lovely, even if the bunch stitches still look kind of like Edvard Munch screams to me. (Overshare?) (Sorry!)

  • And I was feeling all smug that I might use 3 different skeins of Noro Silk Garden from my stash on something. I did attend an ag school and can name many, many breeds of cattle courtesy of an old roommate. Your post has shown my dire lack of sheeply knowledge. Must rectify that soon.

  • Impressed as ever by your chutzpah! And, you know, god made kitchen scales so you would not have to eyeball balls of yarn.

  • Experiment. Thats what my college textiles class prof called.
    If it turns out its wonderful, if not you learned a lot. That was almost (OMG) almost half a century ago, but it has served me well.

  • I’m amazed at the progress, and with cables, too! I’m working on a sock now, so although I’ve knit a good number of stitches, the product being much smaller, the progress is less exciting. Anyway, the sweater looks so cozy and pretty, and the slight variations in stitch and color are looking “vintagy”. Love it. I think you will wear it a lot! I look forward seeing the FO!
    Longfaced Lumploin, etc.–LOL!

    • I highly recommend a project with fat yarn and big needles. You feel so PRODUCTIVE.

  • Thank you for a much-needed spell of laughing out loud for real. “Colonial Williamsburg Longfaced Lumploin or whatever the hell it is.” And other new sheep breeds.

  • This is riveting! I am weeping with laughter.

  • Gorgeous, every piece of it. Do tell, how the hell do you knit so fast?

  • You and We are having so much fun with this sweater! Keep going!!!

  • This is awesome – way to use up those random skeins of yarn! I sort of feel like you should dye it. Maybe it’s because the MDK homepage had that entry about indigo dying up for so long, but I keep picturing this dyed a deep indigo – even though you love the ecru. I feel like even though the different yarns would probably take the dye differently, it would look purposeful and cool. But then again, I usually feel that way just before I completely ruin a project…

    • Oooooh, I completely concur with this plan!!!

      • YES! I had the exact same impulse, y’all. I think at this point there’s no boundary on what can happen with this sweater. These yarns would do very different things, I think, after a soak in a dye pot. I think I may even have a line of a dye pot I could use. Might require a road trip. Which would be excellent. Kind of like stone soup, this sweater.

  • Keep on knitting Ann, I predict this sweater will launch a new trend, we all have so much leftover yarn that’s languishing in our respective stashes… 😉

    • At the very least, it may end up a decent cautionary tale. Or as Kay often reminds me, “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

  • Longfaced Lumploin has made me laugh myself silly…

    I, too, can’t believe how much you’ve done of it!!! But your goblins are why I would have divided each lot of yarn in half and used half for the front and half for the back, and then used different skeins (still halved) for the sleeves. And then when getting to the end of each portion I would have alternated a few rows with the new skein to blend a bit. But then I’m a bit OCD like that as you know. It will look wonderful, though!! X x x

    • See, Belinda, this is why you are a famed knitwear designer, while I’m sitting here covered in cat hair and staring at skeins of old yarn. I do think it would be very very interesting to have a knitalong where knitters commit to using a batch of yarns, or making a friend pick out their batch, and they have to come up with a sweater. I know, Project Runway. But I LOVE Project Runway.

      • No, it’s merely an OCD symmetry thing I have… But I am very much liking your idea of committing to a batch of yarns. Although really if you design professionally for companies then that’s what you do anyway, so it’s probably not so far from what I’m used to!

  • At 630 AM, this post may be more fun than I should be allowed to have. Colonial Williamsburg Longfaced Lumploin made me laugh so hard it brought tears to my eyes. Piper shifted meaningfully in her bed by the woodstove, making sure her complaint had registered.
    At this moment, my entire house looks like the attic project you describe. If I thought that at the end of it I would have a sweater, I would be thrilled!
    I think your new sweater looks uncompromisingly interesting. It will command attention. It will demand appreciation. And rightfully so.
    Plus, there’s always blocking.
    How I wish I could block my house right now.

    • You are uncommonly generous, Q. I can’t wait to see how your porch turns out. High drama. Just seeing the windows show up is a peak of excitement over here.

  • […] Ann Shayne’s crazy 8-yarn sweater for the […]

  • goblins do love tea. as in … if all else fails … a nice little bath in a tub of brewed black tea. does wonders to mellow out things. just an idea to keep the “what ifs” in the corner for a while longer.

    • At first I thought you were encouraging ME to have a nice little bath in a tub of brewed black tea. It sounds so lovely! Maybe I’ll just take my sweater in there with me . . .

  • Your sweater is an inspiration! I’ve been knitting up bits and bumps of assorted cashmere and cashmere blend rovings, carding wastes and clouds on and off for a little over a year. Final destination – some drapey project to use them in. Keep knitting and overdye if need be!

  • What a novel idea. It reminds me of a sweater my mother bought for me on one of her trips. It was a lovely striped sweater in blues and reds, except for the top 1 1/2 inches of the sleeves, which were dark brown.

    • Love that idea! I am craving some socks with contrasty toes. Can’t remember where I just saw some, but they’re such a great idea. You can’t get too serious about handknit socks.

  • Food For Thought

    Now I remember! Years ago I had a co-worker from Europe who had a grandmother who liked to knit clothes for her. The thing was, grandma knit with “rescued” yarn. My friend wore a black dress to work, knit by grandma, which were various shades of black. Granny had unraveled black garments (had them or found them) to make the dress (her own pattern). My friend would try to give her grandmother purchased yarn, all of the same make and dyelot, but it wasn’t good enough. Granny liked the challenge of the “rescue”yarn. ‘Nuf said. 🙂

    • Granny sounds like a brilliant knitter. I do think that constraints force us to think harder. My architect friend Frannie loves a constraint–it’s where the interesting ideas come from, she says.

  • What a great sweater! And you could never, ever buy a sweater like that.

    I always thought that Belinda Boaden’s Aspen design (http://www.theknitter.co.uk/2010/10/aspen-belinda-boaden-issue-24/) is an inspirational example of how to use yarns of different weights and colours in one jumper – to be precise, five different colours and three different weights, with lace AND Fair Isle.

    I guess it’s the same Belinda who’s commented above!

    • Yes! Mad knitter Belinda is the same Belinda! She is fearless and brilliant and doesn’t blink at the idea of, say, sequins on a handknit. Not a problem. She’s so amazing.

  • I’m fascinated by this project. I was thinking about the dye idea until you mentioned the obvious drawbacks of the different yarns. Surprises all around with this one.

  • Lankfaced longloin. I had to go tell my husband about that one. Deborah Robson would be proud. She has gotten through to you. (Sorry this is so late. I’ve been perusing the cranberry varieties and pondering the make-ahead gravy options.)

Travel Alert:

Join us for a festive dinner at Vogue Knitting Live Chicago featuring Clara Parkes and us! Friday, March 9. Details here.