Yarn tales…Adventures with Sally

sally.jpg   After reading a lot of good (more) and some bad (less) reviews re: Sally Melville’s knitting books, I decided to give Book 1, the Knit Stitch, a try.

I liked the concept of the book. Easy but (mainly) stylish designs EXCEPT for a couple of patterns that ‘jumped out’ right from the start as just plain weird!!

Weird example 1- page 66, Best Friend Jacket (wow, I wouldn’t give this to my worst enemy!), example 2- page 70, Asymmetical Vest, same idea, sans sleeves. Let’s get real Sally! Would someone actually spend the time and money to make a sweater/vest with one side 2-3″ shorter than the other? If you haven’t actually seen these patterns, they are quite a surprise, at first glance.

I digress…Back to my own Sally story. Decided to give the Shape-it Scarf – page 46 a try. The finished scarf in photo looked great: drapeable and pretty in a soft variegated yarn. What I found strange was the pattern called for a bulky (5) weight yarn and 6 MM needles, even though the photo scarf looked anything but heavy or bulky. Oh well, what the hay, I’m no expert. I went with what Sally suggested, picked a suitable yarn that produced the correct gauge EXACTLY, picked from my (took years to accumulate) stash. Cast on and began……

And I knit and I knit and I knit…..What did I end up with? A very bulky, chunky-looking scarf, definitely not what I wanted and a far cry from the beautiful photo scarf. This one landed in the Sally ANN bag; not a scarf I would wear, even in the worst Prairie snowstorm!!! Rats, strike 1.

Next (and still pending from 05, explanation to follow) Sally project to tackle was Sally’s Summer Sweater (hereafter known as SSS). A good looking, cotton summer tunic, again at this point, judging by the photo.

DSCN0205.JPG      DSCN0204.JPG

Purchased a lovely (Patons Grace) lilac cotton yarn, luckily found in the discontinued bin for a mere .99 a ball. And although I had PROMISED myself never to go below a size 4MM needle again (just too slow), here I was again knitting endlessly with 3.5 MM needles (for the opaque parts) and one of each 3.5 and 6.5 MM (for the sheer parts). Strange but true. And with every passing day, my blissful intentions of wearing my SSS with jaunty linen capri pants by August 1st at the latest, was fading fast.

Update: Sept. 05- Leaves starting to fall, days getting shorter, summer fading fast along with my patience. Me, still garter-stitching my way through SSS. Back, front, one sleeve-yikes!!! Enough already, I was ready to break out the warm woolies of winter. SSS was safely stored to be again brought out today, to resume again. ETF (Estimated time to finish) no later than July 06!!! As for those jaunty capris, still a piece of beautiful fabric at this point (from another long-standing, took years to accumulate stash) but that’s another story. Strike 2 Sally.

So, have I had enough adventures with Sally? Not quite yet. A thoughtful and much appreciated gift of enough Lopi yarn in a beautiful deep crimson still waits to be transformed, this time, Jen’s Poncho (same book, page 33). I will give Sally’s patterns one more try. Again, looks great in the photo, an easy take- along project and size 8 MM needles. Three times the charm they say- I just hope this time, it is. 


7 responses

  1. I knitted up the Shape It Scarf and love it. I used some kind of pretty blue yarn that wasn’t as bulky as called for (I can’t find the label, but I think it was a Lion brand boucle-type acrylic) and it made a nice scarf. I like the style of the scarf and think the basic pattern could be used with all kinds of yarns, creating smaller and more refined scarves.

    I was wondering about the Summer Sweater, because it looks adorable, but I’ve never knitted with cotton before and as I’m on the big side I don’t think I have the patience to do it. Shoot, I’ve only knitted scarves and socks. I’m too nervous about committing to a real sweater in fear of messing it up royally or never completing it.

    I was going to knit up the poncho for my niece, but never got around to it. By the time I do the poncho will be out of style again.

    I’ve purchases the Purl book also. My goal is to just go through and make most of the items in the Knit book, just to get real comfortable with knitting – the same with the Purl book. I figured I’d be a pro by the time I was done. The thing is, you have to actually knit and lately I’ve been blogging. Where does one find the time? 😉

  2. Hi there, Glad you had more luck with the Shape-it Scarf. Sounds like using a lighter yarn did the trick.
    I do think the Summer Sweater will be nice. Its very simple but I made it in one of my fav colors, lilac, so think I will get a lot of wear out of it. The last sleeve is almost at the 1/2 point so it won’t be long now. Its not a fitted sweater at all so I think it would be suitable for every body , it IS a lot of knitting though…I will be glad to finish it.

    As far as knitting time, I drag mine around, in the car, when I am waiting (sitting hahah) anywhere and although I don’t watch a lot of TV, when I do, I knit to justify the ‘tube time’ . I really would like to find a way around sleeping (I don’t have nearly enough time!!!!) but so far all Ive done is cut back a bit, usually get about 6 hrs. of snooze time, that’s the minimum I can function on.

    Thanks for your comments, I am really enjoying your blog too, I will be back for a visit soon.


  3. Hi Geraldine! I checked out this book from the library and read it, when I first started knitting. I enjoyed Sally’s writing, and her instructions and pictures for doing a yarn over were the only ones that worked for me. But I’m always looking for quick and easy patterns, and don’t feel up to a sweater coat just yet!! There was one pattern in there for a sweater jacket– I think it was rust-colored — that I thought would be cool to make. I am nearly 6 ft tall, and have trouble buying clothes with sleeves long enough. It’s fun to think that I could make my own sweaters and such with a custom fit, but there’s that element of TIME that always escapes me…… Good luck with your future Sally adventures!!

  4. Hi Kim, If you are looking for easy and FREE patterns, the Lion Brand site is worth a browse. Really a lot of selection and not just for clothes. I was just checking out their pattern for felted clogs (how cool!) this a.m., this pattern does cost a bit, but I really want to try felting soon and thought I would make these first. Have you tried felting? I am wondering how difficult it is to get the garment or any item, to just the right size???

    Re: Sally, I do like the look of some of the patterns in her books, the sweater coat you are mentioning (is that the Einstein one?) looks interesting, I do think it might sag a bit as bottom part is knit up and down I believe. Im 5’9″ so I can relate to the sleeve length problems. Thats the great thing about making your own (I also love to sew) you can make all the changes you want.

    Nice to hear from you and BFN, Geraldine 🙂

  5. I’ve felted 3 pocketbooks and I’m working on another one right now. I love felting with different yarns….it’s so much fun. But I’ve yet to make a felted item to wear (eg, hat or clogs). I do know that yarns felt very differently. My purse made out of Manos del Uruguay shrunk much more than my Cascade 220 one, even though I washed it the same amount of time. My advice would be to try to stick with the yarn specified in the pattern if you’re worried about sizing.

  6. Thanks for the advice Kim, I will plan to do that with the clogs, my first (hopefully soon to be!) felting project. I wouldn’t want clogs 2 sizes too small, just as bad as booties two sizes too big!!!

    Have a great day, BFN, Geraldine 🙂

    PS Hope to see some of your new projects on your blog soon. I love seeing other knitters and crocheters projects, in progress and/or finished, very inspiring.

  7. […] I’ll include my previous ’Sally’ post, in case you missed it the first time: My adventures with Sally Part 1 […]

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