Knitting Blog: Stashbusting in my Favorite Color
When I was diagnosed with stage IV cancer, one of my very first thoughts was that I would never knit another sweater for myself. It’s hard to justify the work if you aren’t going to be around very long to enjoy it, right? However, I have changed my attitude, and have proceeded with my knitting with two precepts in mind:
1) I do not know what the future shall bring.
2) I can knit whatever I want to.
A particular group of eight skeins in my stash was calling to me. Beautiful Classic Elite Yarns Inca Alpaca in a rich, complex shade of coral. I bought the yarn as a closeout when a yarn store went out of business, and realized later that while the yarn was a bargain there were also three dye lots included in that bundle of eight skeins. Mixing dye lots is a perilous business, as yarn dying can vary slightly from batch to batch. It’s sad to realize that you have a demarcation line in your work where the color changes, and once you see that, you cannot unsee it.
I finally decided on a project where the dye lot issue could be avoided: a vest with a texture patterned neckband. I had enough yarn in the main dye lot to knit the body of the vest, and I could use a different skein to knit the neckband - due to the texture, no one would notice a slight color difference, not even me.
The pattern is “Sebasco” by Amy Herzog. Ms. Herzog is the doyenne of sweater knitting, and teaches knitters how to knit a sweater that fits well. I did have to make one adjustment in the pattern. My yarn would not make gauge, it was a wee bit finer than the yarn used to design the sweater. I knit the vest one size up in a gauge that worked for the yarn, using the height measurements for the size I wanted. It worked.
This is the first sweater I have knit for myself that I cast on post diagnosis. Photos taken in Ottawa by my friend Judy Andrus Toporcer.
I was left with about 2.5 skeins of yarn in multiple dye lots after the vest was done. Rather than put it back in stash to molder, poorly identified and difficult to use, I decided to find a pattern that could use it all up. My choice: the fabulously popular Honey Cowl by Antonia Shankland. Ravelry lists over 19,000 projects made with this pattern to date. It was a simple pattern, easy to memorize and crank out. I knit the cowl in only 5 days, pretty much a speed record for me. As I hoped, the texture of the Honey Cowl complements the texture of the Sebasco Vest beautifully. These photos were taken in back of our home by my husband.
I have all of maybe 3 feet of yarn left. Mission accomplished!