Sunday, January 07, 2007

Serious destashing through Supersizing Surprises out of Shetland

Last year's Knitting Olympics got me to finally deal with two Rubbermaid underbed storage boxes of J&S Shetland Jumperweight bought at Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp back in 1991, which was over $400 worth at the time. That's right, 15 years stashed, because I bought so much, so randomly, I couldn't bring myself to do anything with it. Bear in mind, I have the color sense of New England boiled dinner, so putting colors together is a hangup for me. Trust me, it's tough even to get me to play with crayons on paper.

My Olympic Challenge was to break into this stash and make something with it. With the help of my color coach, I came up with a tam out of Mary Rowe's Knitted Tams book. There was still lots of yarn left over afterwards.

That's when I got the idea to make Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jackets out of the remaining poundage, to be donated to charities that take non-machine washable wool items, with the added idea of changing colors each day I worked on it, so there would be a vague record of how much can get done in an average commuting round trip. The top picture is the current one, started sometime in October and set aside to do birthday/Christmas socks for my brother. The second picture is the current in-use collection of colors. Nothing like starting each weekday with a split splice.

I'm looking at the pace this uses up yarn (not astoundingly fast) and hearing that Afghans for Afghans, for instance, has enough baby things and they're looking for larger sizes. With the next Baby Surprise I'm going to work two stands together at the same time, and see how that changes the resulting size. Still change one color per day, but each color will have two days' worth of being worked.

So, to get ready I spent yesterday afternoon and this morning winding wool off the swift and I made documentary pictures. One color, the red-orange has been pretty much used up already (that was 8 ounces, I think) because there were so many other colors it didn't go with. A number of those sweaters were sent off to the Dulaan project in October. Note, that was bought back in the time before I learned there were blue-reds and yellow-reds. I have no idea what I was aiming for with the selection I bought, I just remember telling Meg I'd take 4 ounces of this and 8 of that.

I think I put too many light colors together in the picture on the right, since it seems a little washed out. The 7 skeins at the top are a sort of light yellow.

In any case, there's clearly a lot of wool to knit through. The thought with double-stranding is that each sweater will use up twice as much yarn, there'll be chances to explore interesting colorways and larger children will benefit. How large? I have no idea. I also need to figure out what size needle to use, if I'm now working single strands on a size 3. I'll probably try a 5.

First step is to finish up the one currently in progress, then be ready to start fresh. 65 one ounce skeins wound, ready to go, plus the oddments up top. Time to eat that elephant and free up two boxes.

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