I am fortunate to be located just twenty miles or so from where the Madrona Fiber Retreat is held each February. This proximity makes it easy for me to go all four days, to enjoy the market and demonstrations in small but frequent doses, and this year: to take classes. If you have attempted to register for classes at Madrona, you understand that to get into a class is quite an accomplishment.
But that has nothing to do with my story.
Last year while at Madrona, I was taken by the Black Water Abbey Yarns booth. Absolutely taken – every fiber of my wool-loving soul was wooed by the earthy colors, the rustic heartiness, the very Irishness of the yarns. So much so that my lanolin-allergic skin was ignored and I bought four skeins, in four different colors from a warm mustard to a chocolate brown with two shades of rust in between.
In my mind, I envisioned a cozy cabled vest. I would combine these four autumn-like colors into something magnificent, something awe-worthy.
I was so overcome by wool-love that I missed a rather important thing: cabled vests don’t really lend themselves to four different colors. Fair isle, sure; but cables? Not so much.
Unsurprisingly, I was unable to find a cabled vest pattern that I though would look good in my four colors, and so the yarn sat in the stash. I had just about resigned myself to making hats with it, when this year’s Madrona rolled around again.
As soon as I walked in the Marketplace doors, the Black Water Abbey booth pulled me in with its sheepy gravitational force. Once again, I was overcome by the earthy shades, the wee flecks of color that can only be appreciated up close. I sighed over the yarn, thinking of the four skeins I had at home, and as I turned to leave the booth my eyes traveled up to the knit samples on the wall above the yarn displays.
No, not a four-colored cabled vest. But a two-colored crescent-shaped shawl (Calista May). In two of the very same colors I had at home. And it looked exactly right; warm but not too warm, cozy and fall-ish, with just the right blend of rustic wool and stripes and lace along the edge. Not too frilly, not too farm-girl. Totally something I would wear. And even better: the pattern called for just two skeins.
Let me tell you, I bought that pattern so fast the salespeople were alarmed. I gushed about buying the yarn last year and started to tell them my story of trying to find the perfect four-colored cabled vest and then realized that even to fiber-loving people I was sounding just a wee bit crazy.
I took the pattern home and cast on. When I discovered that the pattern called for sport weight and I had worsted weight I didn’t let it bother me, I just went up a needle size and forged ahead. I didn’t let the fact that my worsted skeins had less yardage than the prescribed sport weight, because I have FOUR skeins to work with. I didn’t let my lanolin allergy bother me, I bought a barrier lotion and have been knitting away every chance I get. I even ordered a longer circular needle yesterday to accommodate the increasing bulk.
Maybe I am a wee bit crazy. No matter, for the moment, I’m happy – and my shawl is coming along beautifully. Look: stripes!