Friday, January 16, 2009

Yarnia is My Narnia

After I got the last of my Christmas knitting books in the mail the other day, I decided that I wanted to knit a sweater. Really, I've been wanting to knit one for a long time, but the arrival of all these great patterns cemented the idea from a want to a need. So, I went in search of some yarn. Unfortunately, if I bought yarn either in person or on the interwebs it would wind up costing between $60-70 to make something sweater-sized. I can't justify spending that much on an already made sweater let alone the raw materials for one that I make myself. I put everything on hold, until I found Yarnia. I think it was through Maybe not. I can't remember. In either case, Yarnia blew my mind (as many things yarn oriented seem to do these days!). When you go to a yarn store in pursuit of yarn, it is generally sold in skeins. Each skein is between 50-100 grams which is generally enough for 1.5 hats, .33 scarves, 1 pair fingerless mittens, 1.25 pairs of socks, etc. To back it up even further, yarn is (generally) comprised of several threads, twisted together to make one larger piece of yarn. Yarnia, on the other hand, sells a couple thousand different kinds of single strands that you can then choose from and the group of strands is then combined to form a unique yarn, just for you! Make sense? Essentially you pick out, ohh... maybe three different kinds of thread and then you take them to the nice lady and she loads them on a machine and they get wound onto a cone and voila! Yarn! Plus they're sold by the pound. Unlike piddly things like mittens or hats, sweaters generally require between 1 and 2 pounds of yarn to make so this system is absolutely beautiful. Plus when you buy anything from food to yarn in bulk, the price tends to go way down than if you buy it in pre-measured increments.

Anyway, Mom and I made it down to Division and 42nd yesterday to check yarnia out. I had two or three sweater patterns in mind before I went and the minute I walked in I settled on the perfect one. It's from my new Vintage Knits book. Mom and I spent about 15 minutes oogling all of the spools before deciding on two wool strands and one acrylic strand to give it some shine.

Here it is being wound on this incredibly crazy machine she's had custom made from older machine parts. It looks a bit like this vintage sock knitting machine I saw online a while ago. That process is also very neat from a mechanical standpoint. I took a video of a portion of the process but it was a little boring if you weren't there. And you can't see much because, in one of my genius moments, I was standing right behind her back. So, bummer, you'll just have to do there for yourself and order up some yarn.

And the final product! It's very nice (a little rough and not so stretchy, hopefully that'll be just fine in the end.)The yarn and the pattern. I started knitting with it last night so you can see it starting in the corner there. Oh, and it wound up costing $40.04 for 17 ounces (1 pound 1 ounce) yarn.. much better than $60 or $70 and well worth watching that process! And since it's all about the weight, if you picked lighter weight yarns than I did, it would cost much less. Oh and if you bought less than I did as well!

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