Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ellen eats crow.

If you read the last e-newsletter, you know that I started the Chelsea Sweater out of Twinkle "Cruise" yarn last week. Cruise had become something of a joke around the store. I bought it, along with Soft Chunky, when Twinkle debuted last year. Soft Chunky was an instant hit - could not keep it in stock - while Cruise continued to sit, untouched, on the shelf.

Funny thing is, when I first saw this line at market, it was the Cruise I really fell for. I tried the model garments on and was enamored with the drape and couture look. Turns out, the drape is due to the 70% silk content of the yarn. The couture look is courtesy of Wenlan Chia, a designer who in fact has a very popular ready-to-wear line you can get at Sak's and such places. How cool that this couture designer has her own knitwear design line, I thought. And the finished pieces in Cruise were so soft and light - perfect for year-round Oklahoma weather.

And yet, the cruel jokes continued. Ellen became the Cruise ringleader. Every time someone went looking for a yarn for a pattern, Ellen would loudly offer up, "How about the Cruise?" Hilarity ensued. At least a dozen times, she asked why I hadn't just clearanced it. Adding to poor Cruise's woes were the fact that every pattern called for it to be knit 4 strands at a time. And then there were those Twinkle sizes. In whose world is a medium a 28-32" bust???

So, I finally decided to take on the challenge head on. I found the Chelsea Sweater from the book, Big City Knits, on Ravelry, and loved the look of it knit in just one or two colors (rather than the 3 colors shown in the pattern book model). I read a brilliant tip from Amy, owner of a Houston yarn shop with very chic taste - she suggested pre-rolling 4 skeins of Cruise into one big ball before beginning. To add to the challenge, I decided to work with BLACK Cruise. If I could knit it in black, any other color would be cake.

I researched the sizing, and faithfully followed the Ravelry consensus to just make the size you normally wear. I wear a medium, so I tried to ignore the frightening measurements (32" bust), taking the leap of faith that negative ease is a good thing.
I got out my size 17 needles, and tried not to think about the crocheting with 4 strands that would come at the end of the project.

I cast on, and was amazed - no, shocked - at how fast it worked up. I had the half of the sweater knit in about two hours. SERIOUSLY. This was beyond instant gratification. It was obscene! A sleeve took 20 minutes. And dang, it was actually fun. I haven't had this much fun knitting something in decades! The crocheting was a breeze - just a bunch of simple chains. And I decided to go with grey trim at the end.

The result: My favorite knitted object I have ever made. Ever. And it was made - despite my ridiculously hectic life, with its two careers, its 3 children and its 2 crazy dogs - in ONE WEEK.

Here is the "couture" photo - this is my best angry supermodel look, LOL:

The first day I wore it to the store, Ellen was there. Within moments, she was coveting it. Next thing I knew, I heard the swift and winder rolling. I looked over and saw Ellen winding her very own Cruise yarn. When the yarn was all rolled up, we dubbed them "crow cakes." Happy knitting (and happy eating), Ellen!

- Shelley
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Blogger Amy McWeasel said...

What a lovely FO - it looks fantastic on you.

July 12, 2008 at 5:06 PM  
Blogger Ellen said...

I was surprised how good crow tastes. Just like chicken. I should eat it more often.

July 12, 2008 at 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm suffering from snarky comment block- there's just something about seeking approval from a moderator?- but I do love S's sweater and Ellen in general.

Is anyone knitting anything for Piglet? I sense a design-fest a'brewin'...


July 14, 2008 at 5:34 AM  

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