How do you like my new slippers? I love the colour. Rust. They are 100%wool, felted and very warm. I love them.
But in case you think - as my Mother would have said - that I have more money than brains, I didn't intend to spend $88 on slipper yarn. This yarn has a history.
A few years back, I went to the Kitchener Waterloo Knitters Fair with 'the list'. The list of all the projects in my 'queue', along with the yarn (colour, fibre, gauge, yardage) requirements. Number one on the list was the long-coveted Ribby Cardi
, by Bonnie Marie Burns
. I had purchased the pattern some time before and had been patiently waiting for the right colour, in the right yarn, to present itself. The colour, I had decided, must be rust. And the yarn, of course, wool.
I wasn't long at the Knitters Fair when I spotted rust-coloured yarn. The crowd was thick, and I had to thread my arm between shoulders to grab a skein. Ooooh
, so soft. It was South American wool, and the wrapper confirmed the correct gauge. Great. Right colour, right fibre, right gauge. And at $11 per skein, right price. I grabbed 6 skeins, and over the heads of other shoppers, handed them to the clerk. Briefly, then, I panicked. Had I had read the gauge correctly?
I asked the clerk to check the gauge, mentioning it was important.
"19 stitches over 4 inches" she said. Perfect.
A card-swipe later, and I had my prized, Ribby Cardi
The next day, anxious to get started, I slid the wrapper from the first skein. The wrappers on those skeins covered much of the yarn. Only an inch or so of yarn was exposed at each end. Removing that wrapper gave me my first real look at the yarn. Hmmmm
. It looked quite fine. Finer than 19 stitches over 4 inches should look, I thought. Hmmmm
. Better do a gauge swatch, I thought. Using the recommended needle size, I cast on.
Swatch number one told me, my gauge was w-a-a-a-y off. A change of needles, a second swatch, still off. 6 swatches later (swift learner, me) I knew that I was never going to get 19 stitches over 4 inches with this yarn.
Monday morning, I stuffed the yarn into my bag and took it to work with me at London Yarns.
I knew a discussion with my co-working-friend and knitting mentor, Patti-Ann, would help.
P.A. and I decided the best solution was to re-calculate the pattern numbers. Actually, not as hard as it sounds, I had done it many times before. But to knit a sweater at a finer gauge requires more yarn. Could I get two more skeins of the same dye lot? And did I want to spend $88 for my sweater? That's a whole different price point! I dithered, but in the end decided to go ahead.
With the name and phone number of the store on my invoice, I called.
Clerk 'One' answered. I told her I had purchased yarn at the Knitters Fair and would like to buy two more skeins in the same dye lot. She said I should talk to Clerk 'Two' as 'Two' was the staffer who had gone to the Fair.
'Two' came on the phone and I asked about more yarn in my dye lot. She checked and yes, more was available. At that point, I told her that I needed the extra yarn because I was having great difficulty getting gauge. I explained that 22 stitches, not 19, was the best I could get.
"Yea. I know", commiserated 'Two'. "I find those South American yarns always knit to a finer gauge than what the wrapper states."
Most likely, 'Two' had sold me my yarn. Most likely, 'Two' had double checked the gauge info for me when I briefly panicked.
Most likely - no - most definitely
, I will not buy yarn from that store again.
The story goes on. The extra yarn arrived and the cardi
got knit. Unfortunately, I didn't like it. What had felt 'oh- so- soft' in the skein, knit up to be picky and scratchy in the sweater. And those tight- fitting, ribbed arms did nothing to compliment my aging 'flex-a-flab' triceps. So the Ribby
was ripped. And the yarn sat languishing on the shelf in the 'wool' room until this winter when I needed new slippers.
And I really like them. They' re wool, they're felted, they're warm. But at $88, they're pricey.