Time for a new sweater…

So at the end of October, armed with me and Kara’s Stitches passes from the Rhinebeck Rav party, my friend Sandy and I drove up to Hartford for yet more yarn shopping.

It turns out I don’t get tired of shopping. For anything. I might want a bite to eat, I might want to sit down, but really, the hunter-gatherer-gatherer is strong in me. I will scour the universe in search of perfection.


Perfection came to us at Stitches in the Webs booth, where a knitted-up sample of Kirsten Hipsky’s Dunes Pullover caught my attention. The undulating cables are just beautiful.

Then I touched it.

Ooooh. Alpaca. After some lackluster encounters with Berocco yarns in summer 2004, I probably wouldn’t have become the yarn snob I am today after my first few visits to LYSs in Atlanta. I was wandering around Needlenook on Briarcliffe, however, and touched a scarf off-hand…and fell in love. I left there with three balls of Plymouth baby alpaca and a pattern for what would eventually become my first finished object that seemed pretty much perfect. I still wear it regularly. Delicious.

So once I’ve felt this beautiful sweater (and have fallen into at least lust with it), I brace myself. Alpaca sweater. This won’t be cheap…

And then I figured out that since it was once of the Valley Yarns house yarns, it was only $26 for yarn and project. Sandy looked a the colors, handed me the plum, and said, “make it in THIS.” She nailed it.

I started it on the genetics departmental retreat and continued through November. At some point in early December I noticed a mistake at the increase along an arm seam – it has top-down, in the round raglan construction – like six rows back.

It takes a long time to unknit that many stitches. I spent a good portion of December, including the evening before my 28th birthday slowly picking backward. Sometime right before I turned 28, I did finally get moving again in the right direction. Appropriate.

I was making great progress on the sweater – in fact, I was almost done! – and on the last weekend in February, on the RUF retreat, with just four inches to go on one arm…I saw the end of the yarn come out of my bag. And nearly screamed.


Frantically, I looked to see if I could just order more. I even emailed Webs directly. Yarn? Discontinued. So I began the frantic Ravelry stash-search-who-else-has-this-yarn-polite-begging that only a truly desperate knitter engages in. I hate asking people to sell me yarn not marked for sale or trade. I wouldn’t even imagine doing it if it weren’t this kind of dire straights.

Fortunately, I found two knitters who were willing to pass it along to me – one of whom had bought an extra skein (note to self: be more like her). I honestly never would have imagined that I could run out of yarn four months after buying a yarn that wasn’t on clearance and that the yarn would already be discontinued and sold out. The yarn came in the mail, I finished up my sweater, and am going to ship the remainder of the skein back to her. I made the medium, which calls for 6 50g balls. I unraveled my swatch when I started knitting (fiesty, I know). I used 10g from the rescue ball, and the final project weighed 285g – which means my six skeins only weighed 275g combined. Losing 5g to weaving in ends and snipping off the excess from that, I’ll believe, but 25g? Half a ball? I’m at least somewhat reassured that I did buy the right amount of yarn. I’ll start weighing the whole pile of yarn before starting just to make sure.

The nice thing about being a New England resident is that you can finish alpaca sweaters in March and still wear them – more than once – before it gets too warm for them. I think I’m most excited to wear this on spring nights when the low is in the mid-40s, with a skirt and some tights, feeling so free of the burdens of a coat. Like spring really has arrived.


About Kristy Lamb

I recently finished my PhD in genetics at Yale and am currently a postdoc at Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University in NYC. I love science, people, and the fiber arts. We'll call it my muse. I taught myself to knit over Christmas break in 2002, when I was home from my sophomore year in college and was terribly bored. Despite starting with three big mistakes (very long aluminum needles, a very bad Coats & Clark how to knit book, and Lion Brand Homespun), I kept at knitting, even after that first 1/2 hour trying to tie a slipknot. Science...seems to be much the same process as the above.
This entry was posted in alpaca, fiber community, for me!, FOs, sweaters and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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