cats · crafts · knitting · patterns · yarn

On substitutions

Thanks for the compliments on the Shetland Triangle – I love it and can’t wait to get a chance to wear it (I do wear shawls; just yesterday I wore my Chanson en Crochet, which the girl at Starbucks claimed was “rocking.”)

I can’t bear to be without a project, so I’ve started a quick sweater project to tide me over.

Surely you must recognize this one, yes?  It’s Green Gable by zephyrstyle.  Top down and in the round, knit in worsted weight yarn (in this case Knitpicks Comfy, which is not as red as it appears here.)  I want to finish it before we go to Chicago, for no reason in particular – mostly I want an easy project after finishing two that were pretty finicky.  I’ve had this pattern forever, but I had never picked a yarn.  It calls for Cotton Fleece, which we all know I adore, but since I already have 4 cotton fleece sweater and 3 others in the queue, I wanted to use something else.  When I got comfy this week I knew it was perfect, and I cast on as soon as my shawl was finished.

One of my favorite parts of knitting is substituting yarns.  I’ll spend ages looking through the yarn database at Ravelry or at a LYS, imagining how the project in my mind will look and feel knitted up in different yarns.  In fact, I actually feel a little bit guilty if I knit a project in the recommended yarn, although occasionally I will have to have something exactly like the photo.

I have several new potential projects on my mind this week.  The first is Bianca’s Jacket, from either Winter or Fall’s IK 2006/07. 


I must confess that the photo in the magazine did nothing for me.  I don’t care for the styling, and that particular model bugged me – everything she wore in the issue looked weird and dowdy to me.  But there are some gorgeous finished ones on Ravelry, and I’ve just realized that I love the designer, Michelle Rose Orne.  I also have her Clementine Shawlette in my queue (using up some RYC Silk Wool DK that I have had for an age.)  She has a book coming out in June, which I would have already preordered if we weren’t possibly moving.  You can see a preview here.  Of course, that romantic aesthetic is totally up my alley – lucky I finally grew into the look, because I can tell you that I was totally not fitting in wearing those clothes during the days when grunge still existed.

(On a random tangent, that’s actually a funny story.  I felt like I was blending in too much in high school, and I read a book that said you should pick something as your “trademark” in order to get noticed.  I chose dressing up, and never ever wearing anything other than heels.  Lord only knows why I thought this was my ticket to popularity, but then again up until that point most of my wardrobe consisted of craft projects from girl scouts, most of which involved heavy use of puff paint and “spattering.”  I didn’t even own jeans until 2004.  Needless to say, this did not get me the positive attention I desired, but I stuck by it, and I’m proud to say that at my class reunion that’s the thing that everyone remembered about me.)

Anyway, I needed to find a yarn to substitute for the Meunch Sir Galli called for by the pattern.  At one point I actually owned a bag of that yarn, but it turns out I cannot abide the smell of raw silk (other silks are ok) so I destashed it.  It was a pretty yarn though – soft and not to drapey, with a sort of tweedy appearance.  I also noted that the smallest size in the pattern is a 35.  I need a 32, espcially in a swingy style like this, so I thought I would try a thinner yarn and knit a larger size.  I searched all over for something tweedy that wasn’t all wool.  I thought about Jo Sharp DK Tweed, but I wanted something with more drape.  My solution?

This is Sylvan Spirit by Green Mountain Spinnery, 50/50 wool and tencel.  This color is called Sterling, and it is a wondrous thing – a silver I can wear.  Silver in general makes me look kind of jaundiced, but this silver has some nice warm tones.  The yarn isn’t super soft but it’s nice.  It knits up at 5.25 st/in for me, and it has the tweedy appearance I wanted without being oppressively heavy or hard on the hands.  I haven’t done the math yet, but I’m looking forward to this knit!

That’s an example of buying yarn for a project, but what if you already have way too much yarn (um… not that I do.  Really.  I need all that sock yarn, even if I do only knit 2 pair a year.)  Ahem.  Anyway, I’m in love with Sivia Harding’s Norweigan Woods Shawl (did you know my grandparents immigrated here from Sweden by way of Norway?  It’s meant to be!)

Oh so pretty!  I want to make the scarf size (shown in the photo) because I think it’s big enough.  It uses just over one skein of Sea silk.  I don’t want to buy 2 skeins and only use a little.  I also have another Sivia Harding design in my queue, the diamond fantasy shawl.  I could make it with 1 skein of Sea silk, but I have Handmaiden Mini maiden lined up for it instead, and it has better yardage than seasilk.  So if I use the mini maiden for this shawl, I can buy 1 skein of sea silk (for the diamond fantasy) instead of two.  I’m pretty sure that I can subtract the cost of the skein I don’t buy, making the cost of knitting these two shawls free (because the mini maiden is stash, and stash never count, right?) 

Marc’s family are “math people” – Mom is a math professor, Marc has math degrees.  I feel sorry for them because they cannot seem to understand this unique “yarn math.”  Poor things.

Ooh… pretty yarn.  I’ve wanted to use the moss colorway since the first time I saw it!

On a more serious note, we took Sarah Jane into the vet this week because I noticed she was drinking a ton of water.  They tested her blood sugar, and she may have diabetes – poor kitty, as though she hasn’t had enough troubles!  She’s in good health otherwise though, and if it is diabetes it has been hopefully caught pretty early.  We’ve been giving her medication and she’s doing just fine.  I’m so glad we found her – imagine her being all alone and sick.  It breaks my heart to think of the way she was when we found her.  Here’s a picture of the first day we got her, and one from today.  What a difference in only a few weeks!


She has quite a personality, which she is currently trying to lord over my other two cats.  Relations seem to be improving, so I’m hopeful they can at least ignore each other!  We got a Feliway diffuser for the room they are together in the most often, and I do believe they have calmed down.   The problem right now is that she has latched on to me and wants to follow me everywhere, but so do the other cats.  Sarah Jane is quite spunky, and in spite of her tiny size and lack of claws is totally capable of intimidating Leon, my giant fluffy Maine Coon.  We love her, and are glad to give a home to a kitty with special needs.