Tuesday, February 13, 2007

San Francisco is YarnTastic!

It was so cold in Chicago. So so cold. Last week Monday, it was -9 in the morning. I didn't know this, but when I went outside, I knew something was wrong. Very very wrong. I was bundled up and had a scarf around my face, only one strip of forehead and my eyes were exposed between the scarf and my hat. And that strip of skin hurt. After a while I began to notice my eyelashes were sticking together. I wiped them and ice chunks came off. Ice chunks on my lashes people!

But I was looking forward to the weekend because I would be in San Francisco. San Francisco, and I had been promised any yarn I want as a Valentine's Day gift. I asked around, and got some helpful suggestions from people on Knittyboard and Knitter's Review. I wanted a silk/wool blend, DK to worsted weight, hand-dyed, and with multiple plies.

While I was dreaming of and searching around for my new yarn, I was also making a sweater as a gift for the one who would give me the yarn. Yes, I know about the curse. In case you don't remember, I brought it about with just a pair of socks. But this relationship had, indeed, gone on longer than I had/have really wanted. Not to say he isn't a good guy who has helped me a lot, but I don't feel that way about him anymore. He's more like my travel and dining partner. The paying partner. No, truly, he's a really good friend. Anyway, I decided to knit him the Andoa Sweater from Berroco. I decided this about 12 days before the schedule SF trip. Hmmm. Not, you notice, a plain stockinette sweater. Textured, all over, front back and sleeves. Hmmm.

So I knit with an intensity heretofore unknown in this world. It was truly a Knitensity. I ordered some Cascade Ecological Wool. It arrived Thursday afternoon. The SF trip was the following week Saturday and Sunday. I started as soon as it arrived. By Friday night I had 15":

At which point I admitted to myself what I had known for the past 6 or 7 inches; it was too big, despite my gauge swatch. Somamabitch lying gauge. Damn, wasn't like I had all the time in the world to rip back and start again. I put it to the side thinking I might be able to cut it, before or after sewing it together. I would think about it. I set it aside and began to work on the front. I spent all weekend on it. By Sunday night I had this:

I decided I was just going rip back the back and start over. I did so, did the neckband, and started the sleeve. I was not getting enough sleep and was beginning to shirk other responsibilities. By Thursday, I had this:

Was I really going to make it? My wrists were hurting, I had shooting pain up one forearm. Was I going to give myself carpal tunel? Injury be damned, I must continue! By the next Friday night I had this. It's surrounded by the stuff I'm packing for the flight next day.

I was knittng on the bus to the airport, sewing up seams in the airport before I had even finished the sleeves. I needed to rip back about 3 inches on one to make it longer in the garter stitch section. I was knitting and seaming the whole plain ride. All the non-knitters "ooh, so pretty. do you sell? a gift? i wish i were your friend. 8 days you say? oh no, i'd never have the patience". As I was weaving in ends, the pilot announced the initial descent (speaking of which, I just saw the movie The Descent. A legitimately scary movie. I was impressed). I had to buy a pair of nail clippers at an Oakland Aiport store to cut the yarn from all the woven in ends. But I had finished. Later in the day, he tried it on. It fit!

Now, to the yarn. We went to Art Fibers, which was nice but didn't have really what I wanted. Actually, they had a nice yarn called Cheescake which was very pretty but I didn't want any of the colors it came in. They had beautiful silk yarns, but we know silk, with the whole lack of elasticity thing, I couldn't go for silk that didn't even have any plies to give it some springiness. Not for a sweater.

We went to Imagiknits, which is a truly great store. I'm still dreaming of some of the stuff I saw there. But not what I wanted. Lots of different companies making the same thing, but not enough making what I wanted to be at this store. We went to eat here. It was delicious. I got drunk, broke a wine glass. The next day I called around to lots of stores asking for a dk to worsted weight hand dyed silk/wool blend with multiple plies. No luck.

We went to Sonoma to drink wine. We stopped at a small yarn store that didn't have what I wanted, but she suggested we try one in Petaluma called The Knitterly. They weren't open yet, so we went to the Sebastiani winery. After the winery, we went to The Knitterly in Petaluma. I drove this time because he had gotten an urgent business call and it was going on and on and on. We used the super cool NeverLost GPS. I got there and Eureka! I got 8 hanks of Alchemy Sanctuary, a 70% wool 30% silk hand dyed blend, plied, DK, in the Rainforest colorway. Also a couple of balls of KidSilk haze. They will go into a sweater I'm designing for myself

Nice stuff, huh? Somehow, I feel strangely unsatisfied. Someone suggested it was all in the hunt. But I had a great time. SF and the surrounding area was warm(er), especially Sonoma where it was sunny and 60 degrees. And I had beautiful yarn I couldn't have got myself. The Andoa sweater was finished and it fit. What more could I ask for? But still not satisfied. I'm a spoiled brat.


dickie said...

great find! i love the colors.
awesome work on the sweater, too! it takes me that long to knit a scarf.
havn't been to any yarn stores outside of illinois, but, i hope i get the opportunity soon--california looks like a great start.

did you miss cold chicago? the weather isn't AS freezing as it was last week but we got some snow. i even felt strangely 'warm' yesterday.

Brown Berry said...

Amazing sweater, and a fitting reward/exchange of knitting goodness :)

Memeeflye said...

YOU ARE CRAZY!!! But let's see if the curse works/ doesn't work in your favor

Knitting Addict said...

Ohhhhhh, it fits PERFECTLY too!!! It's GORGEOUS Nikki!!!

And it may have been the thrill of the hunt with the yarn!! But it sure will make a beautiful sweater! I cannot wait to see it, and I hope you have enough left to offer for sale!!! I'd love to touch it in person!!

And I just have to comment again on your SKIN!

Whatever you're doing now, sure works for you -- are you willing to share what you use on your face? We've spoken on KH about what you use on your skin, is it the same for you face as well?

AR said...

Ooh! I like it all. I wouldn't miss any cold weather, if I could get away for a bit.

Wanda said...

What a great sweater! It looks great on him. I'm impressed with your knitting deadline. Great yarn find too.

you da mom! said...

i like imagiknit too. did you try noe knit on 24th street? their selection isn't that large, but they have some beautiful yarns. i'm from sonoma...which store there did you visit? never been to the knitterly. i'll have to check it out next time i'm in wine country.

Adrienne " A little dramatic at times" said...

BEAUTIFUL!!! Love the colors!