WORKING REPORT – WATERSPUN PONCHO

I’m still nibbling away at the The Small One’s Waterspun poncho. To recap – I had seven colors to start, but only about 80% of a skein of each. I decided I really had to have at least one more skein of yarn, so I went out looking throughthe myriad local yarn stores for Waterspun.

How many local yarn stores make up a myriad? An amazing number. I live in the Boston metro area – a yarn paradise compared to most of the rest of the USA. Here’s just a sampling of the shops within an hour’s drive of my home, and most of these are reachable within a half-hour. This list doesn’t include the "big box" hobby shops sellingmostly mass-market yarns:

Places I’ve been:
Wild & Woolly, Lexington (favorite & "home base" LYS)
Woolcott, Cambridge
Minds Eye Yarns, Cambridge
Hub Mills/Classic Elite Outlet, Lowell
Fabric Place, Woburn and Newton
The Knitting Room, Arlington

Places I’ve never been:
Knittin’ Kitten, Cambridge
Circles, Boston
Sit’n Knit, Melrose
Putting on the Knitz, West Newton
Yarnwinder, Boston
Concord Needle Arts, Concord

Please don’t be jealous. The cost of living in this yarn heaven is very steep, and the economy ofeastern Massachusetts is still hit hard by the Great Tech Crash. Those things make up quite a bit for having so many knitting sources nearby.

In any case, I quickly found that even with a ton of local yarn shops, very fewstock Waterspun during the summer season. Even fewer had a range of colors on hand. I could place a special order formy yarnjust about anywhere, but doing so would mean taking a full single-color bag – much more than I needed. Since I know with absolute dead certaintythat Waterspun is NOT about to disappear, I decided on trekking the 45 minutes up to the Hub Mills/Classic Elite outlet. I had a lunch date aboutten minutes away from the place anyway, so I was able to piggyback my errand and save some gas.

Hub Mills is two small, dusty rooms in the same 19th century brick mill building that houses the Classic Elite manufacture/distribution facility and design offices. Think crumblingblock in an industrial New England mill town, complete with a silted-in canalacross the street. Aside from the usual suspects from the standard set of makers in their full-price inventory, they stock cone-ends and "out-takes" of Classic Elite’s various lines. Fantastic bargains can be had, but like every mill-end shop, it’s hit or miss.People who head for the yarn first and are able to figure out what to do with limited quantities or variant dye lots are the best suited tothis type of shopping. I head up there maybe once every 18 months or so,butI’ve found some interesting bits over the years including samples of a heavier version of Sand that never madeit into distribution, odd cones of Montera and Provence, and assorted Fox Fiber natural-color cottons in non-standard weights, all for bargain-basement per-pound prices. I’ve also made the trip but returned empty-handed because the discount shelves were empty.

This time I found my Waterspun, even though the outlet store didn’t have much either. I found one more skein of the plum, plus a remnant cone of the blue that weighed out to the equivalent of about a skein and three-quarters. The plum’s dyelot looks quite close to my yarn. The blue was off a bit. Here’s what I did with them:

First using the method I described earlier. size US #6 (4mm) needles and my new blue yarn, I picked up 100 stitches around the inside of the neck edge. I placed a marker at the point corresponding toeach corner in theponcho body. I worked nine rows in K1, P1 ribbing. Every other row I started each between-marker section with a SSK, and ended with a K2tog. Because I was decreasing 8 stitches every other row I ended up binding off 68 stitches.

Then I went back to the bottom edge. I had already knit the final blue stripe, but I ripped it back because I wanted to alternate rounds between the new and old blue yarns in order to make the different dye lots less evident. (You can still see some minor striping thanks to the wonders of flash photography. In person the difference is less noticeable). I kept going, alternating yarns until I ran out of my old yarn. I finished up using every scrap of the new yarn.One interesting effect I got from using more or less the same quantity of each color (until the blue) was that with the increasing circumference of the piece, the width of the color stripes changed. I didn’t have more teal than pink, more pink than green and so on. That’s just the way the piece worked out. Had I used only the blue I had on hand, the final stripe would have been proportionally smaller. Adding the yarn I did is why it breaks the established progression of diminution. I’m pleased though. I ended up having a blue strip that’s about twice the width of the previous one. Although it is wider, the proporations aren’t all that bad.

The last step is adding an four-stitch I-cord edging in plum onto the live blue stitches. I’m using US #9(5.5mm) needles, the same size employed for the body. I’m attaching the edging by working the last stitch of the I-cord row as a SSK along with a live blue stitch. I’m doing this at a 3:4 ratio – three attached rows of I-cord, followed by one "free" unattached row. This is keeping the I-cord from bunching up the poncho into a gathered edge. (I could make a ruffled bottom by increasing the number of free I-cord rows.) I’m handling the points by working four unattached I-cord rows at the corner tips.

So far I’ve used less than a quarter of my remaining original ball of plum, and have completed more than a quarter of my I-cord. I should have enough to go around the entire piece once. But as you can see, I’ve got the classic stockinette edgeroll problem. I need more weight to stabilize the thing and tame the roll. Iplan toadd another round of the I-cord on top of the one that’s already there. I’ll document how I attach one row of I-cord to an existing row of I-cord in my next progress report.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s