Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Inspiration, Deliberation, *Anticipation*

Every so often, as a needlework junky, you come across a design that stops you dead in your tracks and speaks to you with a profound sense of recognition and belonging. Helloooo, says a little voice in your head (presumably in reply to the object of desire that, as I said, has already started the conversation), I need you in my world. We can make rapturous music together...

That's what happened to me a week or so ago, when, after many years of knowing it was out there but never having seen it, I finally got ahold of a copy of the book Tudor Roses through ILL at my local public library (it came to me all the way from Carson City, NV!!) and first laid eyes on this *remarkable* sweater. The designer has been a familiar name to me since 1988, when I was still in college and her encylopedia of fair isle patterns made me realize just how wide and wonderful the world of knitting truly is. Long out of print and coveted on ebay, that wonderful resource is now scheduled for re-release, and I heartily recommend it to anyone interested in colorwork patterns.

But back to Tudor Roses: the instant I turned the page and saw the photo, I knew somewhere down in my bone marrow that Peggy Tudor and I have a date with destiny.

So I've been shopping around for the right yarn ever since, hoping to get going right away on what can only be a LONG-term project.

See the paradox? The thing is this: I am eager to start soon, but then I intend to take my time, in order to savor the whole experience and to let CRAFTSMANSHIP be my byword, rather than something more like EXPEDIENCY.

I wanted 100% wool or a mostly wool blend, probably in a dark green color (although royal blue, dark purple, and blood red were heavy contenders too). It imagined something resilient that will also drape well, with excellent stitch definition to show off the pattern. And, to top it all off, I didn't want to spend a lot of money on something fancy and imported if I find the right high-quality material made right here in this country. My sister-in-law comes from a sheep-ranching family in Montana/Wyoming, so I have a personal tie to the home-grown wool industry.

Last night, after the acquisition and careful scrutiny of several color-cards (examined at various times of day under different lighting conditions, etc.) and lots of web-surfing and mulling over various options, I finally came to a decision. And today I ordered 18 skeins of Brown Sheep Nature Spun sport-weight wool in shade #24, Evergreen.

Nature Spun sport-weight is a springy 3-ply 100% wool yarn. My hope is that it will be enough like the designer's own yarn (for which the pattern was written), or this other traditional 5-ply guernsey wool from the British Isles, to meet my specifications. The really good news is that NatureSpun is available in the US at a fraction of the cost. Even with tax & shipping I paid less than $85, rather than $150+, and in these economic times one can't be too careful.

I think the sweater will look spectacular in a dark, rich true-green (not too bright or too yellowish or too teal), which has the fringe-benefit of being a favorite color of mine that is decidedly under-represented in my sweater wardrobe. When all the knitting and the careful sewing are done, this is the type of garment that I am going to want to wear, and wear often.

I never ceased to be AMAZED amazed by the power of the Internet to facilitate commerce. And now comes the best part: watching the mailbox for my goodies to arrive. :-)

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