Roped Shell WIP

It's true. I'm way behind, on any number of things. I've been out of town a couple of times this summer and one of my part time jobs has turned into full time, plus I've just taken on some weekend catering work in an effort to fluff up my bank account - especially with a late July Portland trip coming up and I hear there is much nice yarn in that part of the country. I am fairly sure some of it might be coming home with me. I am particularly looking forward to visiting Yarnia if possible - where I can design my own yarn and get it made up on the spot. In the exact quantity I need. Erm, just might have to make some notes ahead of time on how much yarn would be needed for some of the fall projects from my queue. Or I might go insane in the shop trying to figure it out on the spot.

In June, before leaving for a week's vacation in NC, I swatched:


The motif at the bottom there is my first attempt at colorwork - I thought the pattern I wanted to start would require it, but I was totally reading the pattern wrong. So once I figured out what I was doing I started this:


And it turned into this:


(Sorry about the toe in there.) Which you might recognize as the Roped Shell from the Summer IK 2008 cover. I just love the look of the pattern, and so far it is outstandingly well written - I love the cable that you work first for the bottom hem and then pick up stitches around so that the top grows right out of it, very organic. I am using some yarn I ordered last summer, Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy in chocolate and turquoise. I love this color combo, I can't help it.

Speaking of this yarn, I have a funny story about it. Well, funny in the way that I had to put it in my stash for almost a year and not look at it because it took so irritatingly long to get it in my hands after I ordered it from an online store that will not be named.

I thought I would tell this story last summer at some point when blogging but it dragged on so long -- I kept thinking it would come to an end and I would finally tell all (and laugh, and laugh) but ultimately I was just so annoyed that when it finally ended I dropped it and tried not to think about it any longer.

Here is a short and snappy version:
Early last summer I read that Grumperina got a fab deal on Hempathy, a yarn I had been interested in for awhile, and thought that if she got such great service from a particular online retailer, I would too.

I ordered enough to get the baker's dozen type deal they have going on - ordered 12 balls, got the 13th free, plus there was free shipping. I ordered 9 balls of chocolate, 2 each of sand and turqoise.

I wanted to make Serrano with my Hempathy; I thought it would work out well and I loved the look of the cardigan, love love love hook and eye closures.

I waited. I'm not going to be petty and go back and check my email archives for order dates but I waited a couple of weeks and didn't hear anything from the shop, not even a shipping confirmation.

I contacted them and they responded saying that the yarn was backordered. I asked for an estimate of how long it would take and they did not know. Now I do realize that this often depends on outside market forces which can be a bit nonchalant about getting the yarn I need in my hands when I need it, rather than a month or two later.

More waiting ensued. After a bit longer I was contacted and told that my sand colorway had been discontinued. Happily, there were several new colors to choose from and I replaced it with a red rose sort of color, a deep red that looked much nicer than the original sand anyway, which I had only chosen because I thought a neutral color might be nice to have on hand. The red looked like it would be a great match with the chocolate, since I hoped to have some yarn left over from the cardigan knitting and that I might be able to accent a red summer top with chocolate. Mmmm. I liked the thought of that.

I wanted some more. Even though they now apparently had the new red color in, my other colors were still hanging out on a shelf somewhere not getting to the shop in order to be shipped to me. I continued to find that customer service was fairly slopped about keeping me up to date with what was going on.

It started to become apparent that by the time I got my summer yarn, ordered while summer was just getting into full swing, summer would be over.

At last! my yarn arrived. Again, I won't check the dates but it took a long long time. My thirteen balls were intact. I was a little miffed that they hadn't thrown in a little something to make me happy, since I had waited so long. I did get my free shipping and I did get that extra free ball of yarn that was the whole reason I had ordered twice as much of the yarn as I would have needed for the project I had in mind.

The yarn was nice, the yarn was pretty. And I kind of felt empty about the whole experience.

Did I mention that they had included the two balls of the original sand color I had ordered without telling me that the pretty red color I had now started to plan on using would not be in my package? Yeah, they returned to the original plan after telling me the sand was unavailable, and normally that would have been a happy thing but in this case I was really looking forward to the new red color they had promised me instead. I was a bit surprised they hadn't contacted me again to tell me that the original color was in fact available after all.

The yarn was placed carefully in the stash. I didn't even swatch with it. Fall was around the corner and thoughts of my summer hemp cardigan did not make me happy.

There, that's the story. I was less than impressed with the shop and will not order from them again.

Happily though, I did finally pull out the Hempathy again and swatch, as you see above. And I chose a totally different pattern, which is helping me get over the whole bad order business for good. And the yarn is nice and it fluffs out just a little bit when washed (according to my swatch) and although it was tough to see the geometric pattern appear at first, it is very visible from a distance and with a bit more length.

I am working on the waist shaping, and have high hopes for finishing it before the summer is out!


  1. beautiful! and a testament to your skill that you picked up colorwork so quickly!


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