The G is for Generous

Published on Wednesday April 23rd, 2008

While Mr. G was in Toronto, I had to point out to him that he was in Yarn Harlot country, and that while she herself was a stone’s throw from my own home town at the time, he should really be storing up impressions of the lay of the storied land to relate to his wife. He should especially keep an eye out lest he should happen to stroll by Her LYS.

Reader, the sainted man walked thirty-five blocks to visit said LYS. And he brought me this:


I may have suffered the most fleeting of disappointments that this is a Budweiser cap and not Molson or some other brand that’s, well, Canadian. But it’s still an awesome idea, and it’s also a magnet — a pleasingly powerful one at that.

But let’s pull back for a better look at the yarn, no?


Just imagine how improved the world of knit blogging will be if they ever invent Pat the Bunny technology for computer screens. You know, so you can feel the yarn in the picture. Because this is HandMaiden Casbah: a collective 975m of 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon. Ain’t it glorious? Poor Mr. G was a little crestfallen that he hadn’t brought me something I’d never seen in the U.S., but I assured him that he’d managed to peg one of my very favorite yarn companies, and it’s a colorway I’ve never seen. It isn’t on the HandMaiden colour card – perhaps it’s exclusive to Lettuce Knit?

According to the company’s information, this is designed to be a sock yarn. I’m here to tell you it doesn’t feel like one. And I have such a wealth of it! I do believe it needs to be a sweater of some kind. I think I’ve written before that I have opinions about the use of variegated yarns in large garments. Socks can be as rangi changi* as you like. Babies can get away with anything. But it’s tough to sell me on strong random color changes in large swathes. I need regular striping or something to subdue the chaos. I’m half considering designing a sweater made out of narrow strips of garter stitch so I can figure out the color repetitions and make them stripe. That instinct, I realize, borders on the psychotic. Think of the seaming! There must be an easier way. Miters might do it, for instance. So leave me your suggestions – what patterns do you know that might make the best use of these soft desert colors?

Of course, I can always settle for a lovely lap blanket. The yarn is machine washable, after all. And no matter what it becomes, my husband is a sweetheart.

*This is a useful Nepali word with the felicitous dual meaning of “riotously colorful” and “drunk.” Honestly, is there a better descriptor for some of the sock yarn out there? Why don’t we have an equivalent word in English? Nepali fills many holes in my English lexicon. Another is kaancho, which describes the mouth feel of under-ripe bananas.

23 Comments to “The G is for Generous”

  1. soknitpicky Comment Says:

    My mind goes blank for any useful suggestions, but I just wanted to say a big *awwwwwhh* about Mr. G’s finds.

  2. chrispy Comment Says:

    There is actually a long ago pattern in the Knitter’s Magazine by Rick Mondragon where you knit the width of the color repeat and simultaneously create a way to attach another panel without seaming. I kept it because it was such an unusual technique.

    It was in issue K63. The technique is called sliding loop.

    I have no clue what you should make. Whatever it may be, it will be lovely.

    You for sure have a sweet husband.

  3. materfamilias Comment Says:

    What a devoted man you have! Definitely a keeper. Your post has made me realize I should be making more demands on my daughter who has just moved to Toronto. She should at least be determining the quickest route to Lettuce Knit so that I won’t have to waste any time when I fly out to visit her. (Great mail-order service there — I’m on my fourth Dream in Color tulip/rocketry cardigan kit)

  4. Meg Comment Says:

    Hmm, bottle top magnets… I will have to think of that next time I’m grumbling about having to throw out the bottle tops that seem to congregate just near the fridge…

    For the yarn, I’m not sure, but what about Anna Bell’s Marla pattern?

  5. Lisa Comment Says:

    Mr. G earned some serious points with that yarn, plus the 35 block walk to get it. That’s husband of the year stuff, right there. I have no ideas for a garment, but the yarn is truly lovely and I’m sure you’ll find the perfect pattern to fit that delicious colorway and texture.

  6. Mom2Schnauzers Comment Says:

    WHAT A GUY!!! As for the yarn…it’s beautiful…how about an entrelac scarf (and matching hat?)…if you search entrelac on ravelry, you’ll see a cute “beret-ish” type hat…Can’t wait to see what you do with it!

  7. Katie Comment Says:

    Three cheers for Mr. G. I’m impressed. He’s quite the expert yarn chooser.

  8. Ingrid Comment Says:

    What lovely yarn! My hubby would have no idea how to buy yarn. He’d probably come home with some gaudy eyelash crap.

    I immediately thought of Roam from Knitty’s Spring 2007 issue, but I guess you’d need a couple more skeins. Too bad.

  9. jess Comment Says:

    whoa! many props to Mr.G — not only did he do the 35 block walk, he picked out gorgeous yarn! 🙂

    I was going to suggest blending that yarn with another color for striping…

    I love the description of “rangi changi” (definitely perfect for crazy handknit socks). The fact that there is a word for the feel of underipe bananas in Nepali? I am in LOVE with that.

  10. rebecca Comment Says:

    Whoa! You are one lucky gal!
    I love Jess’s idea of striping the hand-dyed yarn with a solid.

  11. Veronique Comment Says:

    Rangi changi! I’ll have to remember that!
    Wow, Mr. G sure knows how to pick the right color… It’s lovely. As for the perfect pattern, now that’s quite a quest! Do you remember the striped scarf in IK a few years back? It was a Fall issue. The idea was to figure out how many stitches you could knit with each color repeat so you could get perfect stripes (of one row or more). The result is lovely but I do believe that many knitbloggers tore out their hair over that one!
    Personally, I like the idea of striping it with a darker color. Have fun!!

  12. gleek Comment Says:

    nice score mr g! he did great! 🙂

  13. Lawanna Comment Says:

    When you mentioned “Miters might do” it made me think of a pattern I saw just yesterday that I’ve been thinking would be perfect in just the right colors… and I think you might just have it…

    Whatever you decide to make I’m sure it will be gorgeous!

    What a good man!

  14. Debby Comment Says:

    Not that there was any doubt, but Mr. G is a keeper for sure. What a nice way to make up for his absence!!

  15. jane Comment Says:

    Nice one Mr G 🙂 That yarn is beautiful. I like the entrelac idea (a Lady Eleanor of sorts?) and the idea of striping it with something else 🙂 You could even use it for lace.

  16. Sarah Comment Says:

    May I just say WOW! He is definitely a keeper! 😉

  17. Andi Comment Says:

    What a fabulous colorway. I like the idea of a sweater that is knit sideways, or mostly sideways, like Poppy from the book Yarnplay.

  18. Seanna Lea Comment Says:

    You might be able to use this yarn for the Tapestry sweater (Ravelry link: Tapestry). If you can find a simple solid you like that doesn’t detract from this yarn, then it would be a great option!

  19. sioux Comment Says:

    my immediate reaction was: clapotis! but i have the clap on the brain, as i have yet to make it and am always searching for the perfect yarn. maybe you’ve already done one?
    delurking, sioux in nyc

  20. Karma Comment Says:

    Mr. Garter certainly deserves an award of some kind. He did very, very well.

    Also, I’m glad to finally have a word for the mouth feeling after having bitten into an unripe banana, thank you very much!

  21. Wendolene Comment Says:

    Gasp! That is amazing yarn. You could knit it together with a strand of solid yarn to mute the color changes, but that might detract from those gorgeous colors.
    Rangi changi–that is exactly what drives me nuts when I look for sock yarn (I have this idea of socks that could go unnoticed under black trousers). I’m glad I finally know what to call it!

  22. Abby Comment Says:

    If you’re set on knitting with just this yarn, and not striping in a solid, why not alternate every two rows from different hanks, since you have three of them? This should help make it stripe without driving your brain crazy.

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