Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The "mal" in Malabrigo

I won't be the first to say this: Malabrigo has enormous goodwill among knitters, because it's soft, offers great yardage for the money, and comes in such pretty, pretty colors. I've used it on more than one project and it's a pleasure to touch (um...just don't ever try to frog it).

However, Malabrigo seems not to be as well-liked by LYS owners and yarn buyers, because their supply chain seems to be a *wee* bit erratic. They're victims of their own success, apparently, and either can't (or don't bother to?) meet demand. People come into my local store on a daily basis wanting to buy Malabrigo laceweight--or any weight--and find that all they have left is a sad few hanks, and no word on when more will be coming. The order was put in months ago, and no one is answering the phone at Malabrigo, and the shop owner has thrown her hands up in despair.

Those of us who've had an eye on this summer's hottest pattern, the Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig, have started to feel this pain too. I want to make this sweater (or, OK, maybe something of my own design, but along these lines, and with this yarn) but not in pale yellow or bright pink Malabrigo--which was all my poor LYS could offer.

UNTIL NOW. Spinning Colors proprietor and crackerjack kettle-dyer Stephig has come to the rescue! She's offering a nearly indistinguishable laceweight 100% merino in some of her signature colorways, in a 950-yd. skein, for $20 (just one is enough to make the Featherweight in size Small). The color shown above is Jade; she's also got variegated Amethyst, Glacier, and Be Mine in stock. I have touched this stuff, and it's the real deal--downy-soft and superfine. Get your own before she stops answering her phone, y'all!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Well, that wasn't so hard after all.

Just 19 days later, Vera's done. And just as I'd hoped, working on something completely new helped me get back in the saddle on the old stuff, too--I'm making progress already and should be done with at least one of those projects by the end of the week, or maybe even sooner. I'm in a better groove with my "real" work, too. Things are looking up! (Including me, apparently, in this picture. Suggestions on how I could look ANY dorkier are always welcome, har har.) Thanks to those who made supportive and thoughtful suggestions on the whole feeling-bleh-about-working situation--it totally helped!

So, a word or two about Vera: This is a sort of remake, as I mentioned--same yarn, same stitch patterns, but with some structural changes/fixes and subtle improvements. It's worked with only two seams, one across each top shoulder, so finishing is really minimal. The body is in one piece up to the underarms, where the sleeves (worked separately) are joined, decreased on right-side rows up to the cap, and then the fronts and back are worked separately with the sleeve cap stitches decreased in seamlessly. The collar is squared off in the back, sort of like a sailor collar, and worked flat in one piece across the fronts and back neck after the body and sleeves are done. I've left the front open, but fastened it with a pin; it could be belted, snapped or buttoned if you feel you need closure. More pics and some additional pattern details are on Ravelry...

(If you are interested in test-knitting this for a larger size (44-54" bust), let me know! It'd take about 14 balls of Rowan Calmer, but there's no deadline.)