Plumage, blankets and cats

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I work for a wool company. I flit between two stores; one large city store, and a small boutique-y store in the suburbs. This may seem an ideal situation, but honestly, I think I spend more there than I earn. The temptation is far too great when you’re faced with this sort of thing at every turn…

So, yesterday at the smaller store I was tasked with making a pair of finger-tipless gloves for display in our store. Hooray! Gloves! I do gloves. No problem. So I went over to the 8ply merino to pick out a colour but the owner already had a wool in mind. I was a little disappointed that she’d picked out a 4ply, because I knew for certain that I wouldn’t finish the gloves, let alone the first one, during my shift. But what disappointed me more was the colour she’d chosen.

This colour is known fondly as Plumage (or as Plum-AHHge, when you awkwardly think that the name is some French derivative and embarrass yourself in front of the owner’s daughter.) To be brutally and unnecessarily honest, I found this colour to be repulsive. Whenever customers have bought it and extolled the virtues of its transcendent beauty I’ve just politely nodded or replied with something probably quite unconvincing like ‘oh, rather!’ or ‘indeed, it is gorgeous!’

But no longer! For after a few false starts, gauge issues, needle tip changes etc. etc. I began knitting. And with every row and every new bit of variegated patterning, Plumage began to grow on me. Now, I’m not sure if it’s because I’m unbearably attached to any sample I make. This is often the case when I have to knit a one ball sample of any new yarns for the store as I become obsessed with that particular yarn and making sure the sample is always neatly visible on the shelf. But somehow, by some kind of bonding ritual, I realised I’m no longer repulsed by Plumage. Hooray!

This is my little work station behind the counter. I don’t think one could ask for a better view, particularly not at work. I don’t have this kind of luxury so much at the city store which is just as busy and bustling with people as the world outside it. We don’t have time to knit or even sit down there, so yesterday was a kind of lovely respite. Don’t get me wrong, I love the dynamic of the city store. It’s just that this is a nice way to cap off the working week. It was unusually busy at the smaller store yesterday though, so I didn’t get a huge amount of the glove done. However, I did take a few happy snaps of the glove in progress to show you.

For some reason, even looking back at these photos the Plumage doesn’t look nearly as gaudy to me as it did yesterday. I’d always found it a little too variegated. A little too overwhelming. Maybe it’s just that I’m making a smaller garment so it’s less of a sea of splotches.
Anyway, the whole exercise has got me thinking about making some supersoft merino gloves for 107. I made the pattern up as I went so I have yet to see if the gloves are well-designed enough to sell. But yesterday was useful as it means that I don’t have to go and do all the research again to make a glove pattern for 107. There are plenty of colours to choose from in that particular 4ply, and I believe we’re getting some new greens in that range very soon as well. I’ll put this on the to do list.

I seized the opportunity during my break to take some photos of a crochet ripple blanket I started for 107 a few days ago.

I found the last three balls of a discontinued Noro Taiyo yarn at the city store and had to snap them up. Despite the balls being 100g, there was still not quite enough for the blanket I has in mind, so I supplemented it with some grey and black wool. I wanted to let the Taiyo’s unusual combination of salmony pinks, lime greens and a kind of kelly green colour stand out so I decided not to introduce any other colours.

I estimate that I have enough to make it fairly blanket-y. The width is about 1m and I’m hoping I have enough for a length of 2m. If all else fails, I can go around the edge in black a few times. Or just call it a rug rather than a blanket.

I know that Noro isn’t the most economical yarn to work with, but the results are always gorgeous. And how is one supposed to resist displays like this?

I have a couple of balls of Noro Kureyon I bought online last year somewhere, so maybe I should use that up before I buy any more. I’m not sure I have enough for a blanket though, so I’ll have to find a particularly special and worthy pattern to make with it. I love how the ripple stitch shows off the Noro, so perhaps a scarf is in order…?

Speaking of indecision, I’m also trying to decide what to do with this…

It’s a really awkward ply to work with. It’s marketed as an 8ply at work but it’s really a 6, or rather, marketed as a DK but more like a sport weight. Awkward. But in all honesty, I can’t decide for the life of me what to make with it! I was thinking of a scarf because there’s enough for it in a single ball, but then actually knitting it would be very time consuming. So crochet would be another option (ripple stitch anyone?), but that eats up so much more yarn than knitting. The current plan is to knit a man’s tie with it, but I’ll have to come up with a pattern first. I really want to do this wool justice because it is just so wonderful. Ideas, anyone?

Now, I would be correctly making my debut into craft blogging unless I posted a picture of a cat or dog and told you a pointless yet adorable anecdote about it. So, meet Puska, the wool store’s resident cat. As you can probably tell by the photo, Puska likes grazing her head against things. I was told it’s because she has a toothache and it relieves the pain.

So anyway, I’d assembled the two pairs of circular needles I thought I’d need for the gloves I was making. I placed the the ones for later underneath the ripple blanket so they wouldn’t go missing. I knitted the ribbing and went on to change needles for the hand but couldn’t find the other pair. I searched high and low all around the desk, in the blanket, on the floor. Several customers had come and gone in that time, but one stuck in my mind as being a bit, well, dodgy. She’d rifled through the things on the desk inspecting them all, and there was one point where I’d bent down to get a bag in which time she’d probably had the chance to nick the needles.

Great. I felt violated and a little defeated. I’d been so nice and helpful to her and she stolen my knitting needles! I desperately didn’t want to believe a customer was capable of doing something like that. I mean, I’ve always been told by the other people at work that shrinkage is a part of the business and that things get taken all the time. But I never thought that it could happen almost right in front of my eyes.

So I decided to assemble a new pair, the last pair, of 3mm needle tips onto a new cable. As soon as I was ready to transfer the ribbing onto them Puska came up to me, meowing for attention. She proceeded to do her usual thing of grazing her head against everything in sight. She moved from slightly pointy object to slightly pointy object until she found the holy grail of face massagers. When the dodgy customer was rifling through the stuff on the counter she must have knocked the needles off, because here was Puska rubbing her head against them as they were tangled in the computer cords near my feet.

Thanks Puska, my helpful feline friend. You go girl.

Last of all, I just wanted to share with you a photo of the splendid old bench we have in the store. It must be from an old cinema as the row number is marked on the wooden base and the chairs flip upwards if not weighted down. Many a disgruntled boyfriend/husband has sat on it waiting for is girlfriend/wife to finish choosing her wool.

Don’t you just think the smiling dolphin cushion is the greatest cushion in existence?

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16 thoughts on “Plumage, blankets and cats

    • It really is a joy to work there! The other store, while gorgeous and fun, is hectic and demanding, so I’m very lucky to get to work at this store some days to relax a bit.

  1. The cubbies! It’s the cubbies full of yarn that I can’t resist. For realz. It’s wicked, wicked magic. I really, really like your crochet’d ripple blanket. There is something so simple and perfect about that pattern. I’m a total sucker for feather and fan and old shale.

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