And so the days are filled...

28 March 2007

Swans paraphernalia, past and future

A couple of weeks ago, when we made a trip to North Sydney Oval to see the Sydney Swans' annual pre-season friendly match (this year against Collingwood - boo hiss), I took the opportunity to take out the old Swans scarves and give them a good wash and an airing before the weather got cold enough to necessitate wearing them. (As every good Sydney Swans fan knows, you gotta wear the scarf even if it's 30C out!)
A balmy night at the beautiful North Sydney Oval

While hanging the scarves out to dry, I noticed that Fiver's knitted Swannies Scarf of 2005 (the one that made the Swans win the premiereship for the first time in 80 years, of course) is not faring too well.
A warning to Cleckheaton Merino Supreme knitters! This stuff fuzzes and pills like there's no tomorrow! (when subjected to heavy wear - I think Fiver wore this scarf every single day from May to September last year.)

Comparing my boring old machine-made, Vinnie's-bought Swans scarf (with the name 'Perkins' written on it in black texta -- who ever said I was a cheapie?! I spent $2 for that scarf!) made me think I need a hand made Swans accessory for myself. And thus, my lust for some red and white Anemoi Mittens was born. And a woeful tale ensues... (it's long winded, but there's a happy ending!)

Claudine has used my favourite yarn, Grignasco Bambi, to great effect in making the Endpaper Mitts, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to use up some red Bambi I had left over from my mum's Ene shawl (itself, coincidentally, knitted during the last weeks of the 2005 AFL season). All I needed was some white Grignasco Bambi. Too easy!

My LYS (Champion Textiles, 47 King St Newtown) did not have any Bambi in stock at all. This was a bit of a disappointment as I'd bought it from them in the past. I turned to the website of LYS #2 (aka, the expensive place). Their website claimed they had 70 balls of white in stock. A trip to the shop one Thursday evening revealed, however, that these 70 balls were kept in the mystical 'warehouse' somewhere. I placed an order in the shop for 2 balls to be brought from the warehouse, and was told they'd be in by Monday.

When no phone call came one week later, I followed up. After some to-ing and fro-ing, my order was located and I was told 'Albert's looking into this one and it should be in by Monday.'

I was very patient and waited until the following Thursday. Still nothing. (Meanwhile, the lovely Jacqueline was busy ringing every yarn shop in Melbourne to find me some white Bambi! No luck!) So I ordered a different white 4ply merino from The Knittery. Of course The Knittery managed to ship this stuff to me interstate overnight (the people at Tapestry Craft were probably still looking for the car keys to drive to the warehouse across town at this stage). Unfortunately, the white was not the brilliant bright white that a Swannies fan needs to go with her brilliant fire engine Swannies red - but Daphne, the proprietress was very kind and agreed to accept return of the goods. She even refunded my money the same day I emailed her to ask if I could return the yarn! Score: 5 shiny stars for fantastic customer service!

And so my hunt for white Bambi continued. I contacted Claudine to find out where she gets all her Bambi - and she cleverly Googled it to discover that STYK used to sell Bambi, and an archived web page still existed to show that they stocked white! STYK is my local purveyor of Addi needles so I was thrilled at this discovery. I immediately emailed Janette, who told me she wasn't selling the Bambi at the moment, but she had some odds and ends sitting around, including 2 balls of white Bambi. Within an hour, she had put a web page up on her site just for me, so I could order the yarn.

Not surprisingly, given Janette's great track record with getting the Addi's to me in record time, the yarn arrived the next day and I was finally ready to begin my Anemoi Mittens. Score: another 5 shiny stars for brilliant customer service!

The punchline to the story - at least one full month after I placed my request at Tapestry Craft, I finally got the call that my "cream" Bambi was in for me to pick up! Thanks, TC, but I ordered WHITE! Not to mention that I've had time for not one but two different retailers send me yarn in the meantime, at a fraction of the price! No guesses as to how many gold stars I am awarding to Tapestry Craft for their appalling customer service! (The good news you've all been waiting for - my old LYS says they are going to stock Bambi very shortly.)

After all that, I have finally cast on for the mittens. Hereis the first one:
inside out on right, rightside out on the left

The lovely Hege has been my tutor, mentor, and spiritual guide when it comes to stranded colourwork. Thanks to her tips, it's been a relatively painless entree into the world of colour. There is only one thing I'm less than happy about with the mitten so far, the cast-on edge is a bit tight. The places where the dpn's switch is pretty evident in the knitting, but I'm not too fussed. Blocking will take care of some of that and we all know I'm no big perfectionist when it comes to knitting. I am a little concerned about knitting the thumb - I started it but wound up with a big gaping hole at the base of the thumb. I know I've seen a tip for this on someone's blog recently so I need to do some research before proceeding - anyone know what I should do to avoid that dumb hole?

The big question enquiring minds now want to know is - can I finish mitten #2 in time to wear for the Swans big first game of the season??!?