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Friday, July 20, 2012

I'm up to the Sleeves! Ack, Yarn Shortage. Yay, Ravelry Miracle!

I've mentioned before that I've been knitting on a Swirl Jacket that I started in January with a a class at Kiwi Knitting (roughly a month before all the Hospital adventures began). The pattern is from Sandra McIver's "knit, Swirl!" book.
The premise and the book are VERY clever and well documented. The charts and illustrations appear a bit daunting at first glance, but they are invaluable and excellent support (even more so for me!).

With the excellent coaching and assistance of the ladies at Kiwi and a favored Knitterly Friend who lured me into the class (that would be YOU, Liz!), I'm up to the sleeves of this Swirl Coat. No small feat, I assure you!

On Ravelry, I'm calling my project the Scarlet Shade of Shades of Grey coat. I'm technically knitting the "Plum Perfect" pattern ('cause I am more short than tall), but I fell in love with the color stylings of the "Shades of Grey" Swirl coat: Dark grey with occasional single lines of knitting in scarlet - with a welt (4 rows) of knitting down the middle of the sleeves and an outside edge welt of scarlet.

I went stash-diving to see if I had anything suitable to knit swirly with and found a bag of lovely "Red Wine" heather Cascade 220 that had been intended for a vest (based on the pattern stuffed in with the yarn).
I have NO idea why I thought I would need 7 skeins of yarn for a vest, but there it was.
I needed just a couple hundred more yards to meet my swirl needs. I decided to follow the "Shades of Grey" premise but use heathered scarlet for the coat with accent lines in black.

I found a tactile black yarn for the accent knitting at Kiwi and cast on! And on...and on...and (I LOVE stitch markers!) knit the initial 3 rows.
The Liz applied her been-there, knit-that knowledge to help me layout the knitting to join it in the round without twisting and I started knitting in earnest, every chance I got.

There was a long pause in the swirl knitting whilst the Little Brother was in the Hospital. Due to the required Hospital outfit of gloves and gown, knitting was not a good option.
I seriously got back into knitting the jacket in June and quickly outgrew the largish bag in which I'd been storing/transporting the project. I then resorted to "luggage" for a project bag.

By late June, I'd slowed down...beginning to suspect that I was not going to have enough yarn. Based on the width of the sleeves when I'd just gotten to the middle welt (where the the 4 rows of black accent knitting would go)

I decided to remove 2 welts to make the sleeve less wide around and possibly resolve my yarn shortage.

By early July, I was irrationally stalling with the vague idea that if I knit slower ...there would be more yarn when I got closer to the end.

Yeah, not so much. At the last knit-in at Kiwi, I had to face the harsh reality that I had another 10 welts to go as well as seam up the jacket and I had maybe 1/2 a skein of yarn left.

I checked with the original yarn shop I'd bought the yarn from years ago - they didn't have that color. 2 more yarn shops didn't carry it and the 4th had some, but due to a change in the Cascade label numbering they had no idea if they had the color I needed.
I plotted a trip across town to look at what they had and then I decided I'd try Raverly first.

If you've been visiting the blog for a while, you might recall a blog from last year where I described some "de-stashing" inspired by a couple of ladies that were able to obtain yarn they needed by searching Raverly and finding it in my stash.

So....I searched the stashes on Raverly for Cascade Heathers, Color 9489, Dye Lot 6485.
There were 21 people who had stashed the Exact same Yarn and Dye Lot on Raverly. One of them was in Australia!!
I didn't pester the people who had more than 3 skeins (or who showed the yarn as used) but there were 8 people who had fewer skeins/yarn leftovers from bigger projects and I e-mailed them via Raverly, offering to purchase the yarn, trade, bake for them, donate to a favored charity in exchange for any unused yarn in this particular color/dye lot.

Within 5 days, 6 of the 8 responded.
All of these ladies were extremely kind, sympathized with my plight, and all wished me well on my yarn-y adventure (not listed in order of response):
Two offered to check their stash (the first was Smallfields411 and the 2nd was the lady from Australia).
The third indicated she'd used up the yarn but wished me good luck.
Another person's stash was still packed up from rearranging for a new baby.
Although the woman in Australia and a 6th knitter contacted me to also offer me scarlet yarn, I'd already accepted the offers of two other generous ladies:

Althea found she had (I thought) a 1/2 a skein and asked where to ship it! (When it arrived, it was actually closer to 2 skeins!!)
Althea's gift on the left, Smallfields411 deconstructed scarf-yarn on the right.
Much more yarn than I expected!
Smallfields411 got back to me after she checked her stash and offered me 3/4 of a skein that was left from a completed project - and then offered to de-construct the completed project so I could have the yarn (!?!). I balked at the idea of the completed scarf having to "sacrifice it's strands" so I could finish my swirl jacket. She reassured me (several times) that she was Not fond of the scarf in question, that she wouldn't wear it, wouldn't show it to folks, and would be perfectly content to pull it apart and ship me the resulting 2+ skeins of yarn. And she did just that!
(For the record, she showed me a picture of the scarf and the pattern may have been a bit bulky but it was neatly knit and very well constructed.)

So I'm up to the sleeves of my Swirl Jacket and by a miracle of Ravelry and the generosity of several extremely kind knitters with Excellent taste in yarn, the Swirl Jacket Yarn Shortage is over. 

I feel very lucky and blessed - and - I am very tickled with the idea that my jacket will carry the Karmic grace of these lovely, generous souls via their yarn.  
My thanks to all of the wondrous people who assisted me in this yarn quest. 

I have some knitting to do...and some baking and shipping. ;-)


  1. I'd give you yarn just to bargain for your Hawaiian shortbread!

  2. Miss Emma, I'll make you shortbread anytime!! Hmmmm - do you like Hawaiian Shortbread enough to come back to AZ to visit? ;-)
    If you can't come visit just now, I'd be happy to ship some to you...when would you like it to arrive? Hugs!

  3. I absolutely love this story, KiniaCat! I too have had cause to thank the miracle of Ravelry on more than one occasion, and just like you was enthralled with the good fellowship I discovered, with friends willing to mail yarn from all over the world to help.

    What, oh what, did we do before Ravelry?

    1. Raverly is an AMAZING community and a mind-boggling resource.
      I also think it is a blessing on many levels. {Happy Sigh}.
      Thanks for the comment, Miss Jo. I always enjoy your blog - thank you for sharing your Ireland with us!