Sunday, March 02, 2008

Online vs. Brick-and-Mortar

I like shopping for yarn, online or in stores, but each have their pluses and shortcomings. Online you are more likely to find exactly what you are looking for, in the colors you want, in the quantity you need, but the colors may not be accurately rendered on your monitor or the yarn may not live up to your expectations. Conversely, at your LYS you can see the yarn in daylight, feel it, sniff it, rub it against your cheek, but the variety and quantity may come up short.

If you are buying a single skein of hand-dyed superwash for a pair of socks, a lot of these differences disappear. Or if you like surprises, you may not care. But if you are looking for sweater quantities in certain colors, well, good luck.

I purchased some yarn from Elann recently, enough for the pinwheel sweater and the sun ray shawl. Being color challenged, I decided to go with the colors on the model for the pinwheel sweater except I didn't like the looks of the grape heather, so I substituted garnet. The switch looked okay on my monitor but not so much in real life. In fact, my color consultant (daughter) suggested I should stick with the original.

Likewise, yellows make me look jaundiced, so I substituted dusty rose for the shawl, but in real life the pink looks kind of flesh-colored. Sometimes colors knit up better than they look on the skein, so I think I will stick with my choice... for now.

I don't blame Elann for my color choices. After all, I have purchased yarn in an LYS, knitted it up, and only later realized that it is not the colors I thought. But this is an example of why we need both online sources and LYS's.

That's not the end of my whining, though. There is good news and bad news about the Jaywalker socks. For one thing, my daughter eyeballed them and declared them too big for the son-in-law (this is bad news for him but good news for me because now they are mine!)

But I ran out of yarn. I knit them in the larger size, which requires more stitches around but (surprisingly) fewer rows. As they are now, the toes are way too big, so I am going to rip them back far enough to decrease the toes and give me enough yarn to finish them properly.

A little more whining: I decided to pick up the lovely powder puff pink shawl I started a while back and make some progress. The problem is I can't count, which means I have to count more, over and over, while I figure out where I went wrong. This is very frustrating.

Right now, the shawl looks like most lace projects, a little blob of yarn. But it's a pretty blob of yarn, and I am getting better at counting.

Needing something simple to work on, I knitted up this neck warmer yesterday.

I found the pattern here - not that a neck warmer really needs a pattern but I was uncertain of how many stitches to cast on, plus this pattern provides a nice staggered ribbing. I used a 50g skein of Nashua Handknits "Snowbird," a wool-alpaca blend, on US8 needles but I ran out of yarn after about 5 inches. This seemed plenty big, though, unless you like your neck warmers scrunchy. Very quick to knit and you have to count to only 3. (Note: Use a sewn cast-off or something equally stretchy.)

And we enjoyed a little sunshine this weekend.

Time to start making preps for spring. Really!

1 comment:

Qutecowgirl said...

I luckily have not had that problem (yet knock on wood) Ok that might not have been a smart thing to say =) anyway while I was stash diving today I pulled out my Wool of Andes (which I have way more then I thought) and I now have yarn for a pinwheel Yeah!