An epic saga of death (nearly) by bind-off…

Hi there yarnlovers. I hope you had a wonderful weekend doing the things you love. Mine was quite good ~ surviving my eldest’s sleepover on Friday night, helping out at the Parktown Girls Small Stalls Market on Saturday (read a bit about that further down), making a gorgeous Mediterranean Lamb lunch on Sunday and getting just a bit of knitting done in-between.


On the projects front…

I finally finished my “Stella”! It was such an epic saga to cast it off that I was cursing the knitting gods all of Thursday! 

I got this stunning pattern for my birthday as a Ravelry gift from a dear friend, Maureen, and had to cast on ASAP if I stood a chance of wearing it this winter. I used Rowan Alpaca Soft DK. Not a South African yarn, but the merino they use quite possibly is (I hope!). 

I try my best to keep my number of WIP’s to a minimum. I have about one crochet, one weaving and six (three too many!!) knitting WIPs going at the moment. And there are some in hibernation. Past experience has taught me that it becomes too chaotic if I have to keep track of so many at a time. But, so much stash, too few years to use it in and, surely, the more I cast on at a time, the greater the chance that I get to use it all in this lifetime? I have recently made so many plans for projects (I mentioned some in my last post), that I now find myself getting quite desperate to finish off some of the stuff that’s on my needles and loom. Unfortunately, Murphy was not on my side last week…

By Thursday morning I had only eight rows of ribbing left to do before I cast off. But sometimes things just don’t go according to plan. The one spanner in my works was having to get our 1 year old baby-cat, Quidditch, to the vet after dropping the girls at school. We had another young cat die of FIP last month, so we’re on high alert to any changes in mood and behaviour with the others. And we just can’t bear the thought of losing this one as well. Many tests later, we’re still not sure what’s going on and will take him back this week to reassess.

I managed to start working on my Stella again when we got home an hour and a half later. Honest-to-fricking-goodness, I struggled the rest of the day trying to get the darn thing bound off. In-between medicating the cat and fetching kids from school and whatever else. I no longer believe that you need only three times the circumference of what needs to be cast off. I had four times the length of the circumference and kept on running out of yarn. So I googled and you-tubed alternate bind-offs that would use less yarn and still have enough stretch. But no matter which one I used, or how I changed my tension, I ran out of yarn every time, just five to ten cm before the end.

I decided that night that it would be like dying a thousand torturous deaths if I didn’t get it bound off before I went to bed. So, as a last-ditch attempt to just get it done (and not die of despair), I grabbed a ball of acrylic in an almost matching colour and finished casting off. Yes, I really did that (see pic on the right)…

And I felt quite satisfied with my deranged efforts, too. I showed Christo the outcome of my day’s struggle. His immediate response was, “That’s going to bother you forever. You’re never going to be happy with it. Why haven’t you just undone the last row so you’ll have enough yarn to do the cast off you want?”

And there you have it. The most logical solution. A verbal “wake-up!” (Thanks, my love). I’m sure you were thinking it, or even saying it out loud while you were reading. And under normal circumstances, I would have. I frequently tink back my crochet, weaving or knitting because I’m not happy with something I’ve done. But I just couldn’t even get my thoughts straight enough to take that step backwards. I think my stress about the baby-cat was partially to blame for my poor judgement and pathetic problem solving. I know, for sure, that my mind was also on all those other yarns and projects that I’m desperate to get my hands on. Their magnificence and softness, their desire to be something beautiful, calls to me endlessly!

Nevertheless, I got focused and did my best to block their siren-calls. I finally got it done the next evening and I love it! The best is, there’s still a whole month of winter left to enjoy wearing this supersoft alpaca-merino sweater. It took two whole days to dry while blocking. The temperature for today is 24˚C, and I’m wearing it! Even if I die of heat stroke!

Now I can finally get started on something else. My heart is yearning and my fingers are itching for the Suburban Wrap. But I have to start on that fox-hoodie for Meghan’s birthday. Maybe I should just cast on both?


The weekend…

The Small Stalls Market on Saturday at Parktown High School for Girls was really great. They had such professional stalls and handmade goods. I hope they do it again next year. There were so many good food options! I’m not usually a fan of vegan burgers, but I do like beans and the flavours of the Meraki Burgers sounded so enticing that we decided to give them a shot. It would have been awesome to try them all, but the 2Thai4 burger was already sold out. We chose a Godfather and a Tango and we were absolutely blown away. Their Chimichurri sauce was also divine. The frozen burger patties are available at some stores – a good option for meat-free Mondays. If we run into them at another event, we’ll definitely try the other flavours. Keep a look out for them… 

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  • Megan Caldwell

    Oh WOW!!! It really turned out beautifully! I think all of your struggles with the bind off would not have been in vein for how well the finished product turned out. I definitely agree with Christo, the acrylic would have really annoyed you to the point that you wouldn't have worn it.

    • Yarntails

      Oh gosh, I thought I'd replied to you. So sorry! 😳 Thanks for that! I do love it, possibly even more than my Boxy. Definitely the right decision to remove that acrylic. What was I thinking!

  • Marisa

    Gorgeous jersey! It's the worst when you run out of yarn just before the end.

    • Yarntails

      Thank you, kindly ☺️. I usually win at yarn chicken, but I suppose I can't win them all 😁

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