AKA – It will be mine . . .
There’s a sweater I’ve wanted to knit for a long time. It’s by Alice Starmore, who designs beautiful sweaters, some with complicated cables and others with beautiful color work. She lives on a croft (small farm) in Scotland where she raises sheep for wool. She began her career designing for a company and now she and her daughter have their own business selling their knitwear designs and the wool to knit them.
The sweater I want to knit is named Malin. It has a gorgeous cable on it that looks like rope. (You can see it best here on the sleeve.)
The pattern is in a book titled In the Hebrides, which was published in 1995 and is now out of print. Alice has since redesigned Malin with a few little changes and she sells kits on the Virtual Yarns web site. One of the changes is that the rope cable has been replaced with a simpler one. I wrote to them asking if they’d send me the chart for the nice rope cable, but they won’t. (I wondered if maybe the design belongs to the company that she was working for when she designed it.) So I went looking for a copy of the book. People are selling them for over $150 since it’s out of print. No way!!
Discouraged but not defeated, I submitted a request to borrow a copy via inter-library loan. They found the book in Delaware and I got to borrow it! It only cost me $3.10 for postage. When the book arrived, I tried out that beautiful rope cable on matching vests for my granddaughter and her (then) yet-to-be-born little brother.Now that I had my hands on the book, I realized there were several sweaters in there that I really wanted to knit, so I kept looking for a copy and finally found one on Ebay for a $38 buy-it-now price! Snapped that right up!
Since I’ve gotten the book, I’ve already knit one sweater from it, the Reef. I’ll post about that another time. I’m still completely smitten with Malin! I went to the Virtual Yarns web site and chose the color I wanted: Foinaven. It’s a deep, dark red. I didn’t have the time or the money right then so I didn’t order the yarn. You guessed it. Now that I had the book, the yarn was out of stock. I contacted Virtual Yarns and asked when it would be back in stock, and Jade (Alice’s daughter) wrote back and said they’ve discontinued that colorway and don’t plan to bring it back!!
I was lamenting my bad luck in the Starmore Junkies group on Ravelry and someone contacted me saying she had Foinaven yarn. Would I like to buy it from her? Yes! Unfortunately, we couldn’t agree on a price. (‘nuff said about that . . .) Months went by with me still swooning over Foinaven. I took to looking in people’s stash pages on Ravelry. Most had one or two skeins that they listed as “not for sale or trade.” One person had 13 skeins, enough to make the sweater, but also listed as “not for sale or trade.”
I took a chance and messaged her, asking if she’d be willing to part with it. Eventually she got back to me and asked what I would make with it. I explained my obsession with Malin in Foinaven. She (reluctantly, I think) agreed to sell it to me because I would be knitting a Starmore design from it.
I sent her a check right away and have been swatching ever since. Here’s my first swatch, made with the same yarn in a different colorway that was left over from a sweater I made for my granddaughter. There’ll be some tweaking, most significantly for size. I’ll write a separate post about my modifications as soon as I figure out all the numbers. I’m working feverishly to “clear the decks” so I can start as soon as my yarn arrives!!