Oct 25, 2015

Lost in Neverland

My sister always said in my world, every skein of yarn and knitting project had a story, and she was right. This particular sweater saga is just one example, something I alluded to in a recent stashbusting post and reader Martina insisted I share.

The tale begins on a gorgeous fall day. I was out of town staying with a dear friend, and we'd decided to spend the afternoon running errands and doing casual things. We tackled a few items on her list, then popped into a local yarn store so I could fondle fiber and inhale yarn fumes.

I quickly discovered a pile of Korall, a lovely chunky merino yarn that was exquisite and expensive. Enamored with the soft hand and beautiful clear red, I stood rooted to the spot, stroking it and admiring the color.

Perhaps I muttered something about a sweater. Perhaps I sighed audibly, knowing full well I'd already spent every cent of my yarn budget on premium yarns to make gifts for friends and family.

Since I was browsing not buying, I stiffened my spine and moved on, petting random skeins while I explored the store. As we climbed into the car to head to lunch, my friend handed me a bag filled with the lush Korall and said, "I saw how much you admired this, so consider it a belated birthday gift."

I was speechless. Not only was it a thoughtful gesture, that bag of yarn represented an outlay far greater than our traditional token gifts. I stammered my thanks, we hugged and then got on with our day.

When I returned home, I started searching for a suitable sweater pattern. With the limited yardage typical of most chunky weights, it was painfully evident I would need more yarn. (The loose and relaxed look I prefer requires plenty of yardage.) After lots of math and preliminary swatching, I realized I needed roughly 15 more skeins to make the vivid red cardigan I imagined.

And so it began. I hit the phones and called every local yarn store. No luck. I contacted the original yarn store to try to snag more, but the Korall was gone. I searched online, contacted more stores, and struck out again and again.

Finally I managed to track down 10 skeins of red and 10 of black at two distant locations. After months of searching, I wasn't willing to risk running short: I bought all of it, paid a bundle for shipping, and soon it was on its way. Finally, I would have sufficient yarn in hand.

Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months as I swatched and searched for a design that would optimize this new mix of red and black, hoping to create the wonderfully wearable cardigan I envisioned. As time marched onward, I began to wonder if adding a third color might improve my options.

Yep, you guessed it. I tracked down a gorgeous purple (Torino Bulky), bought a handful of skeins, then returned to sketching concepts and scouring books, blogs and Ravelry in an effort to find the perfect pattern.

Therein lies the rub. I swatched repeatedly and tried the growing assortment of bulky yarn in one design after another to no avail. In more than one instance I knit significant portions (50%, 60%, 70%) before it became evident the design wasn't right for me, the yarn or both.

Time and again, the Korall was swatched, knit, frogged, rewound and returned to stash. I simply couldn't seem to land on a combination that did justice to it and my friend's generous gesture.

Then one day, the right light bulb turned on. I worked up some sketches, whipped out my needles, knit several swatches then made this:

While I'd cheerfully forego the years of trial and error when the yarn and I were lost in Neverland, this version of Flashpoint worked up so quickly and was such fun to make, I couldn't be happier.

Clearly from the very beginning, the yarn longed to be something other than a cardigan. This is actually good news, since many bulky merino skeins remain in the stash, eager to find their purpose and fulfill their destiny. As afghans, not sweaters.

And more are OTN or in the pipeline.


  1. It's amazing how those yarn journeys can bring you to places you didn't expect! Thanks for sharing your post with the Knitting Love Link Party.

  2. Had to smile: Have had my fair share of projects with similar convoluted journeys. Doesn't it feel great when you finally match the right project to the right yarn?!

  3. What a terrific yarn story! I love the project - and you really did find what the yarn wanted to be :-)

  4. There's something to be said for delayed gratification! (Something I'm terrible at, btw.). Your Flashpoint is amazing; thanks for sharing.


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