Why do some of us suddenly and unaccountably stop knitting? Does a tree fall in the woods on a day you’re not knitting? Do the birds still sing? It’s a strange one. Back sometime in oh, Februray or March, I just stopped. Not suddenly. It was just that each day I found myself knitting less and less. A couple of rows here and there. Picking up a project, looking to see where it’s got to, and putting it down again. Knit night at our local cafe, all coffee and books and chat, but no knitting. One knit night adventure even involved frogging an entire shawl. That’s negative knitting.
Back in the autumn of 2008, I completed an ambitious cabley jacket project designed by Stephanie Japel from her first book, Fitted Knits. It was a nightmare to make, details of which are too tortuous to mention, but it did – it does – look sort of terrific.
That’s until it started to pill. It began while the knitting was in progress. Multiple tinkings back do usually affect how a yarn might look, alter its construction or twist, but strangely the big problems weren’t in the tinked areas. After one wear to a posh dinner, where it was taken off for the duration, it started to look tatty. Second wear was to a trip down to Bobby Davisons in Hartlepool, where the yarn had been purchased, to ask for a second opinion. Sixteen balls of Sublime Cashmerino Silk Aran. Sixteen.
Bobby Davisons is one of those rare and precious jewels, a proper old fashioned yarn shop. Nothing is too much trouble, and there isn’t anything they don’t know about your knitting, the yarns they sell and their own suppliers.
Vivienne took a good look and suggested a phone call to customer services at Sirdar. Some painless to-ing and fro-ing involving a prepaid postage label and the jacket was back, de-pilled and bagged up, pristine. Almost. The letter that came with it was beautifully written, and Sirdar do seem to acknowledge that there is something wrong with this yarn. They’re right.
I can say that it makes a reasonably good hat, but any light wear is would be completely out of the question….
Vivienne worked out what my 16 balls of Sublime Cashmerino Silk Aran had cost, and gave me a bagful of Sirdar Peru, in a jolly cheery red, in its place. Its alpaca content makes for tickly, but it’s tough and won’t pill. It’s on the way to becoming an own-design top-down cardigan, loosely knit for a summer cover-up.
More on that in another post…
Give a loud whoopy cheer for my local yarn shop, another to Sirdar for making good this misery, and yes! Finally, I’m knitting again. Quite what happens to the sackfuls of faulty Sublime Cashmerino Silk Aran in yarn shops all over the country, who knows?