WIP: The second 4th Doctor Scarf, mixed yarn, Cascade 220, and the great yarn saga of 2014
Since I ended last evening just a few rows over halfway done with the second of the two 4th Doctor scarf commissions I’ve got, I thought I’d give you a WIP update. This is the scarf I committed to making BEFORE the first one, but then some stuff happened and I didn’t understand how custom ordering and Etsy work and a few other things and someone ended up ordering one before I could take the listing down. Which brings me to where I am today…making TWO 3.5+ metre long scarves between the beginning of December and the middle of January. It’s not a hard pattern, and it’s definitely not work I mind doing, since I can (and have!) literally knit these without looking at them, while watching TV, in the dark while riding in a car, and with my eyes closed as I try not to fall asleep, but I have to admit that I’m getting a bit tired of it. Mostly because I have all these new designs bouncing about in my head and I really want to get to them. But deadlines! And I honour my commitments! So, this is also the first of these I’ve made in sport weight (though I argue that Cascade 220 Superwash is basically sport weight yarn) and the first one I’ve made with mixed yarn sources. In fact, it’s pretty much the first thing I’ve ever made with mixed yarn sources. I just don’t like the unknown terror of matching gauges across brands and the paralysing thought that one section of this is going to be way bigger than another and it’s going to look weird and be really obvious and… I’d continue, but I think you’re going with this. My OCPD tends to make me a bit of a brand loyalist. Story behind the mixed media on this scarf goes as follows: I hadn’t advertised that I could do this in sport weight (mostly because knitting things in non-worsted weight yarn never occurs to me, okay?), but when the customer asked if it was possible, I immediately said yes. After all, Knit Picks makes the Wool of the Andes in sport weight too. NBD, right? Wrong. On top of the fact that this was all happening immediately after Knit Picks had their mega-huge sale and were basically out of everything, it turns out that they don’t have *all* the same colours in sport weight as they do in worsted. Whoops. Thankfully, this customer is super amazing and we worked out a deal where I would order the colours I could get from Knit Picks (green, yellow, red, purple) and the customer would hunt down the rest of the colours we’d found (thanks yet again to the awesome resource of doctorwhoscarf.com). I charged less for shipping because the customer had to pay to get yarn shipped from three different places and less overall because my yarn cost was smaller, and then everything was happily worked out. Except, of course, that it wasn’t. When it came time to do the Knit Picks order, they were out of the WotA Sport in Saffron. So…I had no red yarn. Being resourceful, and having just learned that Cascade 220 Superwash is the right color, and is basically sport weight yarn, and also happens to actually come in sport weight, I headed to the internet (same place I had ordered all the C220S for the previous scarf). By this time, I was nearly done with previous scarf and ready to ship. I knew that in order to keep my deadlines I’d have to cast on the next one as soon as I started blocking the first one, so I was a bit tight on time, but I was still waiting for the other three colours to arrive from the customer so I figured I was alright. So…instead of just ordering the C220S in worsted (yarn that I knew would work out) I thought to myself, but what if it’s not the right size? I should order sport weight! So I did. And I even used my coupon code for free shipping that I’d earned for spending $95 on my previous order. Very proud of myself, I awaited the yarn’s arrival. Arrive it did. Except…and I realize this is my fault, really, but seriously the point of calling the yarn 220 is that there are 220 yards on a hank…the sport weight apparently comes in 136.5 yard hanks and not 220 yard hanks. I didn’t even check this because, seriously, 220. Considering I had used pretty much an entire hank of 220S on the last project (despite the pattern saying I would need 175…I blame Cascade. Knit Picks never does this to me.), I knew I didn’t have enough. I thought about re-ordering, but paying the shipping the second time around when I should have just ordered the right amount of yarn in the first place when I got free shipping would have angered me. So I took to the streets. I searched all the LYS that said they carried Cascade. None of them had it. One store supposedly had 8 balls of it somewhere, but no one could find it. I mean, it’s not that burnt orange is a totally regular colour, but it’s not that weird. I wasn’t asking for the odd yellow colour. Still, not a one to be found. Next step…Ravelry. No one had the right colour in C220S. No one had the right colour in C220S sport. No one had the right colour in C220 sport. Finally, the only ball I was able to track down in the allegedly right colourway (I’ll get to that later) was a Cascade 220 regular worsted weight in non-superwash. Which I had never used before, but I made yet another assumption that if the superwash was basically sport weight, then of course the regular was basically sport weight. It isn’t. TBH it isn’t even light worsted. I don’t know exactly what happens between the regular yarn and the addition of the superwash chemicals, but it sure as hell shrinks that yarn down something fierce. So, now here I am (a week behind schedule) with one obviously larger weight yarn amidst all my sport weights. It gets worse. Despite the fact that the “burnt orange” colourway in C220S is a delightful red with just a hint of orange in it, this C220 I was sent in “burnt orange” is basically just orange yarn. Here is the end result of my yarn saga:
Now, as I’ve never seen another ball of C220 “burnt orange” in real life, I don’t know for certain whether the yarn I was sent was the wrong colour (the person I ordered it from had lost the tag) or Cascade just uses 4000% different dyes for two yarns with the same colourway name. Suffice to say…I will never use C220 (non-superwash) for this again, at least not until I can get it in my hand and see what colour it is. But! I was behind schedule and it’s not the *most* wrong I’d ever seen someone get the red bits (despite the fact that people seem to be ordering these from me because I do a bang-up job of getting the colours proper right) and I just wanted to get going. After I got a quarter of the way into the scarf, I turned to my husband and said…I think I want to rip this out. I hate this orange. He talked me down. For better or worse. To my customer. I sincerely apologise for this HORRID yarn. I figured on-time shipping was better than another two weeks of setback for something that to people who aren’t me is probably close enough. So I persevered worked a few 8 hour knitting days that every muscle in my upper back is still screaming at past-me about, and am mostly back on track.
As I feared, the gauges are slightly different so the edges aren’t stick straight (I’m counting on fixing this in blocking). The tan is too saturated for my liking and there’s that damnable orange yarn, but it’s coming along nicely. I’ve learned that I really, truly do love Knit Picks above all else. Whenever I reach a Knit Picks colour I just sort of coo at the delightful way it slides on the needles, the way it feels in my hands, and the perfect amount of tension in the knitting. The other new yarns are okay (Tan is Rowan Pure Wool DK - I would use a lighter colour next time. Plus it’s superwash so it has that weird feel that I’m starting to learn is just a feature of superwash yarn. Brown is Jamieson Shetland Double Knitting and it’s very scratchy wool and I sort of hate it. Grey is Dalegarn. Which I’ve oddly never used before. It’s wool. It’s fine. I don’t find it remarkable for any reason. It does knit up a bit bigger than the other sport weights, though. More often than not it’s the grey sections — more even than the orange bits — that are wider than the others. I’ll give you another update when I get this done, but it’s going well and I’m making progress and I’ll hopefully not have to push myself so hard that I’m in physical pain for days on end and maybe I’ll learn to accept the orange (doubtful). For now…it is what it is.