Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hesitation, Resignation, *Determination*

[[ Is the rhetorical pattern to these most recent post-titles painfully self-evident yet? I do sincerely apologize to those readers with delicate literary sensibilities who might be wanting to throw something at the computer screen (or better, at *me*) right about now. Words are just so much fun fun FUN for a person like me that it's easy to lose control. ]]

I have just been called out on my previous post, via Ravelry mail, by a friend with a lot more experience than I have at knitting traditional fisherman's guernsey sweaters.

Simply put, she does not think that the Nature Spun would be a good yarn choice for Peggy Tudor. A self-avowed purist, she firmly believes that there is simply *no* substitute for a genuine 5-ply traditional guernsey yarn like the designer's own yarn (for which the pattern was written) or this other authentic guernsey wool (both links repeated from my previous post). I should emphasize that she wrote to me not in the spirit of criticism but rather out of genuine concern and wanting to see my project succeed. She even offered to send me a sample of the "real thing" from her stash, just so that I can see and feel the difference before making up my mind.

I have since edited the post in question to prevent further misunderstandings. But I originally wrote that my yarn would be "just like" the traditional guernsey, which I openly admit is neither a true statement nor what I really meant to say, and it was to that bald pronouncement that my friend was mainly reacting. The new version — hoping that my yarn will be "enough" like the others "to meet my specifications" — is a much more accurate reflection of my real thinking. In point of fact I have never seen or handled the traditional guernsey yarn, only read about it, so I do indeed have much to learn. And in addition to awaiting the yarn sample from my friend, I have also taken the step of ordering a proper shade card & sample pack from the manufacturer to help relieve my ignorance further.

But all that having been said, the important thing is that I *do* think the Nature Spun is bound to be more like a traditional guernsey yarn than the single-ply Brown Sheep yarns (Top of the Lamb or Lamb's Pride), which I considered first. Only the former comes in a sport-weight variety, as it happens, but even so the nature Spun was a come-from-behind winner, largely because of the availability of the proper shade of green that I wanted. The potential advantages of its 3-ply texture came as a delightful afterthought. When I saw that and superficially compared it to the guernsey yarn, I got a bit carried away in my exuberance at having found what looks like *just* the right balance between authenticity, drapiness, and economy.

So... I am resolutely going to give my alternative a try, because I think it might work. We shall just have to wait & see.

Nature Spun sport-weight may not be as dense and tightly wound as the authentic guernsey yarn, and that may turn out to be a fatal flaw, but I am nonetheless still eager to find out how it will behave when I start to swatch it with the Peggy Tudor pattern.

*IF* I can get the right gauge without too much hassle, and...

*IF* I like the look/feel of the resulting fabric...

I will move forward — full steam ahead — with no apologies to anyone.

Quite frankly, what's the worst that could happen? The bottom line in all of this is that even if the Nature Spun turns out to be completely wrong for this particular project, I would simply end up with great load of yummy green wool to use for something else. It will definitely not go to waste!! Meanwhile, the "echt object" is readily available, and I can always decide to order it at a future date, should I see fit. But we will burn that bridge only if/when we get to it...

Meanwhile, I do not see my friend's challenge as a true setback. Not by a long shot. I still have that date with Peggy Tudor. :-)

1 comment:

  1. Go for it! If the Nature Spun swatches up in a manner that you like - it is a nice, good quality yarn. Don't forget that Alice Starmore must knit with a vice like grip. I knit a child's gansey with her yarn and had to go down 3 needle sizes to even approach guage and I am a bit of tight knitter.