Sunday, April 19, 2009

More Gifts from My Readers

Irena, a student of mine, recently read my blog post searching for old Paton's sock yarn.

She had found a stash of even older Beehive 3 ply and 4 ply yarn at the Textile Museum's Yardage Sale, and having read my post, she very generously gave it to me.

(If you don't know about the Yardage sale, and live in Toronto, mark off May 29th and 30th on your calendar. Every year, the Textile Museum has a fundraising sale. They sell the most amazing selection of odds and ends I've ever seen -- all sorts of materials and equipment and books for all sorts of crafts: fabrics, yarn, thousands of pattern books, needles, notions, all sorts of things. And the prices are amazing. What I love best are the bags of UFOs. Crafters from far and wide donate from their stashes - including partially completed projects. I've bought more than one UFO simply for the raw materials. I bought a half-finished cross stitch once, for the princely sum of 50 cents, just to get the embroidery hoop.

The very first time I went, I bought the most amazing sewing proejct: a 1960s vintage furry mohair suit. Well, ok, all the pieces had been cut, but not a stitch had been sewn. Even the lining was intact. I took it to a dress maker, and have an incredible, one-of-a-kind, custom-fit vintage suit - and it cost me $20 for the materials.

Anyway, yes, back to knitting. One year I found the much-sought-after book "The Knitter's Guide to Sweater Design" for $2. People pay upwards of a hundred dollars for this amazing reference. And there it was, for $2. You do have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and dig, and flip through an awful lot of terrible 1980s pattern books, but there are many, many treasures to be uncovered.

For the second year in a row, I'm actually going to be away and will miss it. Very sad. I shall ask a few key friends to keep their eyes open for more vintage sock yarn goodness, however.)

This yarn is amazing. I hesitate to use it for socks - I want to show it off. I feel a lace design coming on.

This being vintage yarn, however, there is essentially no information on the ball band -- no yardage, no washing instructions, no colour name or number, no weight, no recommendations for needle size or gauge, no indication of what the yarn is made of, even. All is says is: "Beehive 3-ply Scotch Fingering".

The good news is that I can figure most of these things out -- but it rather puts into perspective my frustrations with current yarn-labelling standards. Here's me getting annoyed when you only get the stitch gauge and not the row gauge. I shouldn't take so much for granted...

I do love this - the dye lot tag:

The 2 brown balls (on the right in the upper picture), I think, are probably a little newer -- they are balls rather than skeins, and there is one additional tid-bit on the label: "Shrink-Resist Patonised Finish". I take this to mean it's superwash.

But yes, given that I have idea of the yardage, and I doubt the majority of the yarn is machine-washable, I think it's going to be a scarf.

Many thanks to Irena!

UPDATE: I found a bit of info about the yarn... 170yds per 1 oz skein. It's definitely an ounce, I weighed it.


TracyKM said...

WOW!! I have some old Astra, but none of that! It was used in a lot of the pattern books I have. Definately vintage yarn! I doubt I'll make it to the sale this year, but will definately try for it next year when I'm living closer and can go on the Go!

Kirsten said...

Thanks for reminding me about that sale! I have been once before - did I go with you that first year? - but I'd forgotten about it. I've been looking for ways to augment my stash while still following my "not buying new" rules, and this is the perfect way.

I will definitely keep an eye out for Patons sock yarn for you!

(By the way... when you look at the label, you'll see there's no apostrophe in Patons, despite what the spellchecker thinks.)

Kirsten said...

Oh, and I checked the Textile Museum website, and it says Friday May 29 and Saturday May 30. I'm going to try to hit it on Friday after school, in the hopes that it won't be as busy as Saturday.

I'll stop being picky now.