One of the things that I like most about knitting is the long timeline. Sometimes a project goes quickly from idea to item, and sometimes it sits on a back burner and simmers for a while. In most things, I don’t delay much between idea and implementation. But in knitting, there are no deadlines, and sometimes things just need time to ripen. If a yarn makes it into the stash, it seems that my average turnaround time is 2-4 years before it comes back out and gets made into something. Designs are the same way; some are knit immediately, and others simply take their own sweet time.
In October of 2009, I had a scarf project that failed.
We were living in Germany at the time, and Branden had brought me back a couple of skeins of Claudia handpaint (in the Ink colorway) from a trip to the US. I only had two skeins, but I hoped to use them to make a scarf. I came up with a highly textured knit-purl pattern, and began to knit. Sadly, it turned out that two skeins wasn’t enough, and I frogged the project. (The yarn later became one of Branden’s favorite pairs of handwarmers.)
I loved the way the ribbing and welt texture worked in the fabric, though, and I decided that this would someday become an allover pattern for a sweater.
I decided on the yarn that I wanted: a BFL worsted from the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Raven clan. But I had other things on the needles, and it just wasn’t time yet to start the project.
In April of 2010, I went to the BMFA website to order the yarn. They were temporarily out of the BFL worsted, and I decided to wait again.
This August, I ordered the yarn. It just happened that they had a new Targhee yarn base, and I decided to go with that instead, in the Shadow colorway. I put in an order for 4 skeins, which they estimated would take 10-12 days to arrive (they hand dye to order, so it takes a little longer than the usual yarn order).
It turned out that there was a delay in their shipments, though, and they ran out of the yarn base just after I ordered. It is sourced from a single farm supplier, and there had been a snag in the processing somewhere along the way. They knew that there would be a delay, but there was no way to know how long it would be. Well, I figured I’d waited 5 years already, so a month or two probably wouldn’t make much difference.
The yarn came last week, and it was well worth the wait. When I showed it to Branden, his first comment was the it reminded him of the colors in my Irtfa’a shawl. The man has a good eye for yarn; Irtfa’a was knit from a BMFA laceweight in the same color clan, but a slightly different colorway (and it was knit in 2008, though I’ve worn it quite a lot since then!). I was impressed that he was able to call it so quickly.
Over the past few days, I’ve been swatching it up in a couple of different designs to get a feel for the yarn.
It will be interesting to see if the pattern keeps this depth of texture through the blocking process. It’s probably terrible for my yardage, but I love the 3D feel of the pattern in the swatch. Knowing that I wanted a highly textured pattern, I bought 2464 yards of yarn, so yardage shouldn’t be too much of a limiting factor (I hope).
The pattern on the right is actually a pattern of spirals, but they don’t show up quite as strongly as I’d like.
The left hand side is a simple basketweave pattern.
That one keeps all the wonderful curves where the ribbing and welting wrap around one another, and it’s currently winning the design competition. Looking back at the pictures of the original swatch, I’m thinking I might try one or two more patterns before I’m done, though Branden tells me that he likes the basketweave and I can stop now.
So, 5 years after I first conceived this design, it is finally inching its way toward completion. This isn’t the oldest design in my backlog, but it seems that it is the one whose time has come.