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Mahogany over Marmalade - Elizabeth Unexplained
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greyautumnrain
greyautumnrain
Mahogany over Marmalade
I belong to a yarn club. A little over a year ago when the club opened up for the first time, I thought the idea of signing up and getting skeins of yarn without knowing the colors in advance or having a project in mind was madness. Also, half of the six installments in the club were of sock yarn, and I am not really a sock knitter, mostly because I hardly ever wear socks. So I didn’t sign up for the club the first time around, but twe and firstfrost did, and through the magic of ravelry I got to see what I was missing. In fact, because I was carpooling with twe I got to see and feel the yarn in person. I started thinking of what I would do with the yarn each time they got a shipment and really regretted not signing up. When the club opened up again in the spring I signed up, especially since I knew by then that I would have a good use for the sock yarn (baby clothes!).

Unlike other yarn clubs that simply give everyone the same thing, this club comes with four options. You can sign up for the spring, summer, autumn and/or winter collection. The collections will have colors that suit each season. I signed up for spring and autumn; I tend to like the spring colors best, but I know the autumn colors tend to be better for me to wear. There is a lot of trading in the yarn from the dyer who runs the club on ravelry, so I knew that if I didn’t like anything I could probably either trade it for something more suitable or sell it outright, so I knew that one way or another I would end up with something I liked.

The trading is actually interesting to follow. With four seasons to pick from and a very active ravelry group following and discussing the yarn, it seems like with every shipment there is a yarn that either almost everyone wants or that almost everyone wants to unload. With the first shipment, it was the autumn sock yarn that seemed to be the in demand yarn. Ever contrary, that was one I decided I did not want, and I persuaded twe to take it in exchange for something from her lovely stash. Her eye for color is fabulous, and she gave me a skein that was not only more suitable for baby clothes, it worked nicely with the spring color that I had. The second shipment was silk lace, and in that shipment it seemed that the autumn color was the one that everyone wanted to unload. The name of the color was “Mahogany over Marmalade”, and it was described as being orangish. The posts seeking to trade it away started days before I got my skein of the stuff. I am not a big fan or orange, but happily I did not judge the yarn until I had my own skein. This yarn is notoriously difficult to photograph with good color accuracy. My own photo certainly doesn’t do it justice. It was heavy on the mahogany, and only orangish in the same way that my hair is orangish. I loved it, and just couldn’t understand why so many people were willing to part with their skeins.

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The yarn immediately suggested a pattern. This had happened to me before when I was not in the club; I’d see twe’s yarn and immediately think of what I would do with it. I’d had no interest in doing a Juno Regina Stole before, but once I got my skein of Mahogany over Marmalade it seemed like the perfect pattern for the yarn. I started it in September, shortly after the yarn came in the mail. I started out on the size 4 (3.5mm) needles that the pattern recommends, but I didn’t like the way it was turning out. Luckily for me the dyer had an incredibly helpful post on her blog about needle size choices for her silk lace yarn. One look at the pictures told me what I needed to know: to get the look I had in my head I needed to go all the way down to size 0 (2mm).

Once I made the decision to change needle sizes I procrastinated. I hate ripping out and starting over. I used to never do it, even when it was obvious that there was a problem. After a couple of projects that were essentially unusable because I’d been stupid and not reworked them, I mostly got over this little mental block. I am just left with a lingering tendency to procrastinate once I decided to rip out and start over. So, the skein of silk and the tiny triangle sat for a while. I finally started again after a month and a half because of my new coat. I’d been trying for a few years to find a replacement for my winter coat. The one I had was purchased early in 1994, when I didn’t have as much money. It was fine, and I liked the color (dark grey), but it only came to just below my knee, and what I really wanted was an ankle length coat, preferably in a slightly nicer fabric than just plain wool. Then Warren found a cashmere coat on sale on the internet, and it was perfect. He got me the camel colored one; he has convinced me that camel is an even better color for me than grey. It arrived, and when I saw it I knew that the silk lace would be lovely with it, especially when paired with my brown hat.

I’m working on the lace again. It is slow going. The pattern is complex, the needles are tiny, and the 100% silk yarn is slippery. I can really only work on it when Margaret is asleep because it is not a project that is easy to drop in seconds. Since I really need to go to bed shortly after Margaret does, this does not make for much knitting time. Did I mention the needles were tiny? It is going to take forever to knit up the 1000 yards of silk, and the resulting garment will be a scarf, not a stole, due to needle size. I’m fine with it being a scarf since I have decided that the destiny of this project is to be worn with my new coat. The expected time to completion is less happy, but I really want to do this right because I love the color so much. I am hoping that it will go faster once I finish with the increase section and the lace pattern gets less complex. Right now all I have is a tiny triangle that has the rumpled look of unblocked lace, but I am hoping for great things… eventually.

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